best-shoes-for-railroad-workers

7 Best Boots for Railroad Workers & Buyer’s Guide [FAQs]

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If you are a railroad worker you definitely know the importance of good boots. Railroad workers spend a lot of time working and are on their feet all day. So, they need boots which are comfortable, provide essential support and most important provide protection. As we all know while doing the fieldwork, a person might injure himself. 

Especially in a risky job like this, there are many chances where a person might injure his feet. That’s why they need shoes which provide complete protection. Comfort is also an important feature the boots need to have.

If the shoes are not comfortable, even a simple task like walking becomes really difficult. Railroad workers are on their feet all the time. Their job is also very difficult and requires a lot of physical activities. They need shoes which will provide support to their feet, knees and back.

All these boots are BNSF approved. According to BNSF, there are some safety features which a railroad worker’s shoes must-have. Like- the shoes must be 6 inches or taller, the shoes must have a comprehension ring and composite toe, the shoes should have a non-steel shank and rubber outsole and the shoes should be waterproof. The boots should be equipped with anti-fatigue technology and should be EH rated. 

It is not easy to find that perfect pair of boots which have all these features. That’s why we have made a list of the best boots for railroad workers. 

1.Timberland PRO Men's Boondock 6" Waterproof-M Brown Oiled Distressed Boot

These shoes fit perfectly into BNSF’s criteria. These shoes have a 6-inch boot. These are EH rated and have a non-steel fibreglass shank. These shoes have a composite toe and are water, oil and slip-resistant. 

These shoes are made of 100% leather. The shoes are also equipped with anti-fatigue technology. The shoes are durable and abrasion-resistant. The shoes also provide electrical hazard protection. The shoes have a rigid heel cup and cushioned top collar. 

Sale
Timberland PRO Men's Boondock 6 Inch Composite Safety Toe Waterproof Industrial Work Boot, Brown Oiled Distressed, 7
8,019 Reviews
Timberland PRO Men's Boondock 6 Inch Composite Safety Toe Waterproof Industrial Work Boot, Brown Oiled Distressed, 7
  • RELIABLE DURABILITY: We reinforce our Boondock men's waterproof...
  • ANTI-FATIGUE TECHNOLOGY: A comfort system designed with...
  • A SOURCE OF PRIDE: We know you take pride in your work, so our...
  • QUALITY WORKWEAR: Timberland PRO assesses the unmet needs of...
  • Premium waterproof leather with waterproof membrane

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • BNSF  approved
  • Waterproof
  • Oil, slip and abrasion-resistant
  • Fibreglass shank
  • Composite toe 
  • Durable
  • Electrical hazard protection

Things we don’t like

  • May not be true to size

2.Reebok Work Men's Rapid Response Rb Rb8894-m

These shoes are made of Suede leather and Cordura. The shoes are available in 2 colours- Tan and Black. The shoes have a removable insole. These shoes have a composite toe. The shoes have a shock eliminator heel plug and a side zipper. 

The shoes have Tailex and Cambrielle lining. These shoes are water-resistant, oil-resistant, slip-resistant and chemical resistant. The shoes are 8 inches and are EH rated. The shoes have a black rubber sole. The shoes weigh around 2 lbs and their heels are around ½ inch tall.

Reebok Men's 8' Rapid Response RB Composite Toe Combat Boot Desert Tan 3 M
2,540 Reviews
Reebok Men's 8" Rapid Response RB Composite Toe Combat Boot Desert Tan 3 M
  • Tailex and Cambrelle lining
  • Removable Molded Dual Density Polyurethane Cushion Insert insole
  • Dual Density; Cushion EVA Midsole and Mountain Trail Sole Bottom...
  • Shock Eliminator Heel Plug, Stealth Side Zipper
  • Composite

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • BNSF approved
  • 8 inch
  • Removable insole
  • Shock eliminator heel plug
  • Oil, slip, water and chemical-resistant
  • EH rated
  • Composite toe

Things we don’t like

  • Not waterproof
  • No compression rating
  • Ankle support is not proper
  • Less durable

3.Ariat Men's Overdrive. 8" Wide Square Toe Composite Toe Work Boot

These shoes are made of 100% leather and are available in brown colour. The shoes are completely waterproof and have a rubber sole. The shoes have a composite safety toe and composite shank.

The shoes are oil-resistant and slip-resistant. The shoes are 8 inches tall. These shoes provide maximum safety. 

The shoes provide electrical hazard rated protection. The shoes also provide torque stability. The shoes have 90-degree heel and welt construction. The shoes have EVA midsole.

Ariat Men's Overdrive 8' Wide Square Toe Composite Toe Work Boot, Chestnut/Brown, 7 M US
233 Reviews
Ariat Men's Overdrive 8" Wide Square Toe Composite Toe Work Boot, Chestnut/Brown, 7 M US
  • COMPOSITE TOE WORK BOOT: Ariat's OverDrive combines comfort,...
  • ATS MAX TECHNOLOGY: Experience durable support for tough tasks...
  • WATERPROOF PRO: These boots take protection in wet environments...
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: These expertly crafted lace-up work boots...
  • SCIENCE OF INNOVATION: Ariat excels in advanced technologies to...

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • 8 inches
  • BNSF approved 
  • Oil and slip-resistant 
  • Waterproof
  • Composite toe and composite shank
  • Welt construction
  • Electrical hazard rated protection

Things we don’t like

  • Less comfortable
  • May not be true to size
  • They might create squeaky noise

4.Carhartt Men's 6 Work Safety-Toe NWP Work Boot

These shoes are made of 100% leather. The shoes have a rubber sole for safety and protection. The shoes have electric hazard protection. 

The shoes have a breathable moisture-wicking lining on the inside. Cushioned midsole provides shock absorption.

The shoes provide better traction and have ladder lock grips. The shoes have a padded collar and cushioned insole. The shoes have a speed lace hardware at top.

Sale
Carhartt Men's Traditional Welt 6' Steel Toe Work Boot Construction, Crazy Horse Brown Oil Tanned, 8
1,978 Reviews
Carhartt Men's Traditional Welt 6" Steel Toe Work Boot Construction, Crazy Horse Brown Oil Tanned, 8
  • Leather work boot featuring comfortable cushioned collar and...
  • ASTM 2413-11 and ASTM F2892-11 Electrical hazard (EH) protection
  • ASTM rated 2413-05 steel toes

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • Electric hazard protection
  • Cushioned midsole for shock absorption
  • Cushioned insole
  • Rubber outsole and ladder lock grips

Things we don’t like

  • They have a steel shank
  • Not durable

5.Thorogood Men's GEN-flex2 Series - 6" Cap Toe, Composite Safety Toe Boot

These shoes have a stylish look. The shoes are available in brown and black. The upper is made with full-grain leather which provides abrasion-resistance. 

The shoes have removable EVA cushioned insoles. These are flexible. The shoes provide electric hazard protection. The shoes are equipped with an anti-roll bar and space mesh lining for comfort and support. 

The shaft measures 7” from the arch and heel measures 1.5”. The shoes also have side bumpers. The shoes have a composite toe which provides both comfort and protection.

Thorogood 804-6444 Men's GEN-flex2 Series - 6' Cap Toe, Composite Safety Toe Boot, Black - 7 M US
1,770 Reviews
Thorogood 804-6444 Men's GEN-flex2 Series - 6" Cap Toe, Composite Safety Toe Boot, Black - 7 M US
  • GEN-flex2 outsole
  • Goodyear storm welt construction
  • EVA Cushion Flex Insole
  • Toe Protection: Composite Safety Toe
  • Removable single-density polyurethane footbed

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • Stylish
  • Composite toe
  • Flexible
  • Cushioned and removable insoles
  • Abrasion-resistant

Things we don’t like

  • Less durable

6.Timberland PRO Men's Hyperion Waterproof XL Alloy Safety Toe Work Boot

These are very stylish. They have waterproof leather uppers. The shoes are equipped with safety toe caps. The shoes have Vibram soles which provide comfort. The shaft measures 6 inches from the arch. 

The shoes have a power fit comfort system. The shoes have mesh lining for anti-odour treatment. Shoes have anti-fatigue technology and dual-density footbeds. The shoes are lightweight. 

Sale
Timberland PRO Men's Hyperion 6 inch XL Alloy Safety Toe Waterproof Industrial Shoe, Brown, 7
2,139 Reviews
Timberland PRO Men's Hyperion 6 inch XL Alloy Safety Toe Waterproof Industrial Shoe, Brown, 7
  • STAY ON YOUR FEET: These men's work boots have alloy safety toes,...
  • ANTI-FATIGUE TECHNOLOGY: A comfort system designed with...
  • A SOURCE OF PRIDE: We know you take pride in your work, so our...
  • QUALITY WORKWEAR: Timberland PRO assesses the unmet needs of...

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Anti-fatigue technology
  • Comfortable
  • Anti-odour treatment

Things we don’t like

  • Do not have arch support
  • Less durable

7. KEEN Utility men’s Pittsburgh 6" Steel Toe Work Boot, Bison Brown/Red, 7D

The shoes have aluminium safety toes. The shoes have locking metal lace hooks. The shoes have EVA and PU midsole for comfort. 

The shoes provide support to the knees, back and heels. They are shock absorbent. These shoes can be easily worn for 8 to 10 hours a day. The shoes have a moc-toe style with triple-stitching detail. 

The shoes also have rear pull loops for easy on and off. The outsoles provide a better grip. The shoes are durable. 

KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh 6' Steel Toe Waterproof Work Boot, Bison/Bison, 7.5 Medium US
2,296 Reviews
KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh 6" Steel Toe Waterproof Work Boot, Bison/Bison, 7.5 Medium US
  • Locking metal lace hooks
  • Removable metatomical dual density eva footbed
  • Dual density compression molded Eva and PU midsole
  • Left and Right asymmetrical steel toes

Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things we like

  • Durable
  • Aluminium toe
  • Moc-toe style
  • Padded collar for comfort
  • Durable metal eyelets
  • Slip-resistant
  • Comfortable midsoles

Things we don’t like

  • The lace-ups are not covered under warranty
  • No arch support

Buyer’s guide

When you are investing in boots for railroad workers. There are some features your shoes must have to ensure your safety and comfort. Following are the features your shoes must-have if you are a railroad worker-

  • Safety toes

There are mainly 2 types of safety toes- Composite and steel. Steel toes provide maximum protection but the shoes with steel toes are usually really heavy and bulky. 

Composite toes are usually made of materials like carbon fibre, plastic and kevlar. They are much lighter than steel toes but they provide protection as well. Composite toes have one added benefit- that is they are suitable for both- hot and cold weather. 

  • Durability

It is important for shoes to be durable. Considering their cost, one cannot and should not have to keep buying the shoes again and again. The shoes should be tough and should go on for 6 months to a year or two. They should not tear or fall apart. The material used for the shoes must be good enough to make the shoes last longer.

  • Comfort 

It is important for the shoes to be comfortable. The shoes are worn for 8 to 10 hours a day and for at least 5 days a week. So during that time, they should be able to provide the necessary comfort. Cushioned insoles and midsoles, mesh linings add to the comfort of the shoes. If the shoes are breathable then they provide protection from infection as well. Breathable mesh keeps the shoe odour free and keeps the feet dry

  • Protection

The shoes should be able to provide protection from electricity. Considering the work, the shoes must have electric hazard protection. The shoes should meet ASTM F2412-11 or CSA 2011 standards. The shoes should be tested for the same. 

  • Support

As we all know, railroad workers spend most of their time working, doing physical activities and they are on their feet all the time. So it is important that the shoes provide the necessary support to their feet, knees and back. During their work hours, they might injure their knees, back and feet. To avoid that, they must invest in shoes which provide support so they can work efficiently and without any worries. 

What is the OSHA standard for safety shoes?

OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.136(b)(1) says that the shoes must comply with standards like ASTM F-2413-2005, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z41-1999, or ANSI Z-41-1991. The footwear must meet F-2413-2005 standard. ASTM F-2413-2005 standard allows minimum compression resistance. 

OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.136(a) states that the employer should ensure that each employee is using protective footwear when working in dangerous areas or in the areas where there is a larger chance of foot injuries due to falling and rolling objects, objects which might pierce the sole and injure feet, and where there is a possibility that the employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards. 

When and where the safety-toe protective footwear depends on the type of protective footwear the workers are wearing. OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(1) states that the employer shall assess the workplace and determine if there are any hazards present or there are any chances of injuries and can be harmful to the employees then they should make the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) compulsory. 

If there are such hazards or any chances of injuries then the employer shall do the following things-

  • The employer should communicate selection decisions to each affected employee.
  • The employer should provide each employee with PPE that fits each and every affected employee perfectly and protect them from the hazards as identified in the hazard assessment by OSHA. 

How to protect your foot from track ballast?

Track ballast forms a trackbed on which the railroad ties are usually laid. The trackbed is formed and packed between, around and below the ties. The trackbed is used to bear the load from ties, to manage drainage water to control the vegetation. Track ballast is made of crushed granite. 

It is important to wear correct work shoes while you are working on track ballast or around the track ballast. The shoes will provide protection from any injuries and will help you avoid tripping, falling or slipping. 

What qualifies as safety shoes?

Any shoes which have a safety toe. The safety toes are made of steel are called steel toes and composite toes are made of a mixture of various materials like plastic, carbon fibre etc. The shoes which are made with materials which protect the feet from any injuries or are made to be worn in an area where there is a chance of injuries so they can ensure the safety of people’s feet qualifies as safety shoes. 

What is the general requirement for the use of foot protection?

Whenever a person is working in a dangerous area or an area where there is a possibility that the person might injure himself/herself then the foot protection is required. In electrical hazard areas or there are some professions where it is compulsory to wear foot protection. If the employees are exposed to any danger or injuries then it’s compulsory to wear safety shoes. 

Does OSHA require closed-toe shoes?

Depending upon the profession, but usually, it is compulsory to wear closed-toe shoes. If not closed-toe shoes, the person must wear socks underneath. 

Toe guards can also be worn. Metatarsal guards can be strapped to the outside portion of the shoes to ensure the safety of the toes. There are several PPEs available which can also be worn. These PPEs ensure the safety of the feet. 

Conclusion

The shoes for railroad workers must-have features like- durability, arch support, protective measures like composite toes, etc. the shoes should provide comfort, protection and support. 

The shoes should be lightweight and flexible. the shoes must be 6 inches or taller, the shoes must have a comprehension ring and composite toe, The shoes should be able to protect your feet from track ballast. 

Shoes should have a non-steel shank and rubber outsole and the shoes should be waterproof. The shoes should be equipped with anti-fatigue technology and should be EH rated. We have given a buyer guide which you can refer to before buying safety shoes which you are planning to wear for railroad works. 

We have mentioned some OSHA safety standards which are required for your shoes to have if you work in areas where you can possibly injure your feet or toes or any dangerous areas like for example- electric hazard area. We have also discussed the safety standards a work shoe must-have. 

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Last update on 2021-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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