Vegans can be found in all walks of life, working all sorts of different careers. There’s a common misconception that vegans don’t work in “blue-collar” professions like construction, farming, landscaping, and other jobs where you’d need a durable pair of work boots.
It may be true that you’ll find a vegan working online or at Starbucks before you’ll find a vegan construction worker. Unfortunately, blue-collar culture tends to be a bit judgemental of vegans and progressive ideals.
That being said, there are plenty of vegans in need of a high-quality vegan work boot.
Whether you work in construction, at a port, in agriculture, landscaping, or you just need something durable to wear while you cut the grass, you’ve come to the right place! Below, I’m about to show you some of the best vegan work boots on the market.
- Timberland-style synthetic leather work boot
- Lightweight, mid-rise hiking boot
- Synthetic leather vegan chukka boot
What Are Vegan Leather Boots?
Traditionally, work boots have always been made out of leather. To this day, the top-selling work boot of all time (Timberlands) still doesn’t offer any vegan options.
Leather is one of the oldest materials used to make shoes and has been for thousands of years. It’s durable, mostly waterproof, and can last for years if kept clean and taken care of.
However, leather is no longer sustainable.
The human population has grown to such an extent that the commercial meat industry has become a truly unsustainable evil.
Once-free farm animals are now packed into tight cages, fed garbage, abused, and pumped full of drugs… all so humans can continue to buy “affordable” meat and leather.
Vegan leather boots and work boots are made using modern leather alternatives.
Some vegan work boots are made entirely of synthetic plastic and rubber materials, while others are made using plant-based leather or synthetic leather.
They’re also made without animal cruelty, as they don’t require the slaughter of any animals to make!
What Is A Vegan Boot Made Out Of?
For the most part, vegan work boots look almost exactly like your typical leather work boots.
The difference is in the material that is used. Thanks to modern chemistry and plant-based leather pioneers, vegan leather can be made to look and feel just like real animal leather!
Here’s a quick visual breaking down the key materials used to make vegan work boots in place of animal leather:
|Vegan Work Boot Materials||Function|
|Synthetic Leather||Synthetic leather is made using a thick polyester base. This is then layered with natural waxes and PVC/vinyl coating to create a thick, durable, water-resistant material that looks and feels like real leather.|
|Plant-Based Leather||Plant-based leather is made by adding hardening agents to pulverized plant matter like mangos or cactus. The resulting material looks and feels like soft leather, is durable, and is water-resistant. Plant leather manufacturers use old “throw-away” fruits and plants that aren’t able to pass quality tests, which means that they’re an eco-friendly way of upcycling waste.|
|EVA||EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) is a thick, ultra-durable rubber material that’s often used to make soles and outsoles in vegan work boots and vegan shoes. It’s waterproof, slip-proof, and cheap to produce.|
|TPU||TPU (thermoplastic urethane) is a durable rubber-like plastic that’s often used to create skid guards, outsoles, and uppers in vegan work boots. It’s durable and water-resistant.|
Of all the materials, I’d say that plant-based leather is the most eco-friendly! It’s made by upcycling old fruits and other fibrous plants that would otherwise be thrown away and wasted. The process involves few chemicals and doesn’t contribute much to greenhouse gas emissions.
That being said, plant leather is a relatively new product and isn’t commonly found in the marketplace.
So, there are very few vegan work boots made from plant leather. Instead, it’s more common to see synthetic leather and thermoplastic materials used in vegan work boots.
Are Vegan Leather Boots Durable?
As long as you’re buying from a reputable brand, vegan leather work boots are very durable! Vegan leather and synthetic leather substitutes are just as strong and durable as real animal-derived leather.
In fact, since most synthetic leather is inorganic, it will actually last longer than traditional leather work boots.
Are Vegan Leather Boots Waterproof?
Yes, many vegan leather boots are waterproof. Most work boots are at least water-resistant, and vegan work boots typically have a completely waterproof lower that allows you to walk through small puddles or work in the rain without an issue.
The Best Vegan Work Boots To Wear On The Job 2023
If you’re looking for a pair of high-quality vegan work boots, then you’ve come to the right spot!
Whether you’re looking for a Timberland-style boot, a military-style work boot, or a traditional chukka-style boot, these are some of the best vegan work boots on the market today.
1) HI-TEC Cade Steel Toe Waterproof Men’s Work Boots (link)
- Type Of Boot: Timberland-style synthetic leather work boot
HI-TEC has an entire line of durable, high-quality vegan work boots, all made from synthetic vegan-friendly leather. These boots look great and look almost identical to Timberland’s original work boots.
If you’re looking for a traditional construction work boot, then HI-TEC’s Cade Work Boots are a great choice.
One of the reasons why I recommend these boots so often is that they’re one of the only pairs of vegan work boots with a steel toe!
OSHA safety standards often require construction workers, port workers, and other dangerous professionals to wear steel toe boots to prevent their feet from getting injured by heavy or sharp falling objects.
HI-TEC’s vegan work boots are also incredibly affordable, so you don’t have to budget $100+ for a reliable pair of boots that you’re just going to get dirty anyway.
They’re quite comfortable and are made with OrthoLite’s patented sock liners, which provide superior shock absorption and allow you to comfortably stand (or walk) all day without soreness.
Last (but certainly not least), HI-TEC Cade work boots are also 100% waterproof! The durable synthetic leather uppers are treated with DRI-TEC coating, which is impervious to water.
With these boots, you can walk through puddles, mud, and snowdrifts all day long without having to worry.
- Ultra-durable Timberland-style work boot.
- Made with vegan synthetic leather.
- Steel toe meets OSHA requirements for job safety standards.
- OrthoLite sole is very comfortable.
- 100% waterproof.
- The steel toe makes them heavy, so you may want to pick another boot if steel toe boots aren’t a requirement at your job.
2) Carhartt Men’s Lightweight Hiker (link)
- Type Of Boot: Lightweight, mid-rise hiking boot
Carharrt has been making ultra-high-quality workwear since 1889, making them one of the oldest boot manufacturers in the United States. To this day, I still have an old denim Carhartt jacket that my uncle gave me ten years ago; and he had worn it for five years before giving it to me!
While Carhartt’s products may be a bit pricey, they really do stand the test of time.
Carhartt’s Men’s Lightweight Hikers aren’t specifically marketed as a “work boot,” but they are, without a doubt, some of the best work boots you can get.
They’re lightweight, incredibly durable, slip-proof, water-resistant, and comfortable to walk around in for eight-hour shifts. They’re all-black as well, so they’ll match with just about any work uniform you may wear!
Carhartt put a lot of research into these boots and scanned over 100,000 different foot profiles to manufacture an insole that’s comfortable and well suited to a variety of different feet.
The lightweight design, firm soles, and slight arch in the foot give you a real “bounce” in your step and I typically use these boots whenever I’m outside doing yard work.
Since they’re 100% synthetic, they’re also incredibly easy to wash off at the end of the day!
- 100% synthetic, made with a TPU upper and EVA sole.
- Ultra-comfortable insole and footbed.
- Water-resistant and fast-drying.
- Lightweight and easy to walk in.
- They’re definitely on the more expensive side.
3) Levi’s Men’s Dean WX UL Rugged Casual Hiker Chukka Boot (link)
- Type Of Boot: Synthetic leather vegan chukka boot
Most people know Levi’s for their jeans and denim. However, they also make some pretty stylish (and functional) shoes to go along with their great-looking jeans!
Levi’s Dean Chukka Boots are the perfect cross between style and function, providing a durable, comfortable work boot suited to a variety of job sites.
They feature a durable rubber outsole that’s slip-resistant and provides good traction when walking through the mud or rain.
While they’re not waterproof, they are water-resistant. I wouldn’t go splashing through ankle-deep puddles with these boots, but they can certainly stand up to a bit of wet grass and small puddles.
One of the biggest problems that I’ve had with other brands of chukka-style boots in the past is that they tend to rub and chafe my upper ankles. Levi’s has remedied this problem with its soft, padded collar, so you don’t have to worry about any blisters or chaffing.
They don’t have a steel toe, so I wouldn’t wear these on a construction site or anywhere dangerous.
However, if you’re looking for a durable vegan work boot that you can wear while doing some light yard work, working in a restaurant, or climbing up and down a ladder all day, these will do the trick.
Plus, they look great, so you can wear them out after you get off!
- Comfortable sole.
- Padded collar so you won’t get blisters on your ankles.
- No steel toe.
- Not waterproof.
4) SOREL – Men’s 1964 Pac Nylon Vegan Snow Boots (link)
- Type Of Boot: Durable waterproof vegan work boot for the winter
Sorel makes some of the highest-quality winter work boots on the market. Although they’re definitely on the more expensive side, the quality and warmth are like none other!
If you’re working outdoors in a cold climate or during the wintertime, Sorel 1964 Pac Nylon Snow Boots will ensure that you’ll never get cold feet.
Between the high-quality EVA rubber sole and the thick threaded nylon upper, these boots are 100% waterproof, so you can trudge through snow, muck, and puddles all day long.
The sole is specifically designed to provide excellent traction as well, which can be very useful if you’re climbing icy ladders, metal stairs, and scaffolding.
They’re also fully insulated and can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
I have a friend who worked construction in NYC through the cold winters and he swore by these boots!
- 100% waterproof.
- The outsole provides extra traction and is slip-proof.
- Made with durable EVA and threaded nylon.
- Durable and tear-resistant.
- They were expensive.
- Too insulated for working in hot climates.
5) Dr. Martens Unisex-Adult Vegan Work Boot (link)
- Type Of Boot: Durable multi-use vegan leather boot, mid-rise
Long before Dr. Martens was associated with punk rock and the fashion industry, they were making high-quality work boots for factory workers and the military.
Needless to say, they’re engineered to high standards and can last for several years, if properly taken care of.
Despite the stylish upper (which helps them double as a fashion boot), the durable rubber outsoles are sturdy, slip-resistant, and can stand up to everyday use.
They’re made with durable synthetic vegan leather and feature Dr. Marten’s patented AirWair soles that provide an ultra-comfortable fit and allow you to stand and walk for long periods of time.
The stitching quality is immaculate and I’ve never had a problem with the sole separating from the upper. I’m still wearing my “Docs” from five years ago!
- Iconic style blended with functionality.
- Made with durable synthetic vegan leather.
- Feature Dr. Martens comfortable AirWair soles.
- Slip-proof, durable outsoles that can withstand heavy use.
- They’re a bit stiff at first and can take a few days to “break-in.”
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Work Boot?
If I had to pick one, I’d say that Carhartt’s Lightweight Hikers are easily the best vegan work boot! They’re lightweight, super-durable, comfortable to walk in, fast-drying, and provide excellent traction on any surface.
Alternatively, if you need something with a steel toe for work, then I’d go with HI-TEC’s vegan Work Boots.
If you’re looking for a great pair of durable cold weather boots, then be sure to check out my list of the best vegan winter boots next!