Choosing the best work boot for your specific job description and work environment is one of the most fundamental, and the most valuable decisions you can make, in the long run.
Working on the railroad holds many dangers, and when your health and safety is on the line, taking the time to invest in footwear that may save your life, is vital.
Railroad Certified Work Boots
In order to work on railroads, by law and company policy, you will need certified work boots.
Here is the GCOR regulations and rules for what a railway safe work boot should feature;
When you are working on uneven terrain, or near tracks, vehicles, engines, and other moving equipment, you will need footwear that offers support and protection.
A thick sole to withstand punctures, good traction, and that offer slip resistance is key.
Laces and buckles need to be properly tied at all times, and the work boot must fit properly, likewise being in good condition, not worn out.
A Defined Heel
A “defined heel” typically means that the heel of your work boot is at an approximately right angle from the rest of the sole and from the ground when you stand.
Riding heels, in this case, are not appropriate and the heel should not be at an angle less than 45 degrees from the rest of the sole to the ground.
A work boot should comfortably cover your ankle, look for a boot that is 6 inches high or more.
For transportation employees, lace-up work boots are a requirement, likewise, intermodal employees that load and unload containers need a safety toe as well.
When working on railroads the OHS Act requires electrical hazard safe materials, a puncture resistant sole, as well as a protective toe in areas where there are falling and rolling objects.
An oil resistant and slip resistant sole is also a requirement in this work environment, and all work boots must be properly laced up to prevent tripping hazards.
Why Do You Need The Best Work Boot for Working on a Railroad
There are plenty of hazards when working on a railroad.
Despite moving vehicles that can crush your feet, you also need to consider falling objects for which a safety toe may be needed.
Uneven terrain is your forte in this occupation, along with wetness and oils spills that can cause slipping hazards, so a high traction outsole is absolutely essential.
Then there are also electrical hazards for which you need protection, against electrocution.
Lastly, weather conditions and wetness is also something most railroad workers are faced with, a well-insulated work boot that is completely waterproof should offer the best protection.
Not forgetting comfort, railroad workers seldom sit down and are on their feet on uneven and sometimes hard floors for long hours. In this event, shock absorption, arch support, and a well-cushioned footbed or insole should never be compromised.
Features to Look for in a Good Railroad Work Boot
If you are overwhelmed by all the safety and comfort features, here is a list of characteristics to look for, to help you in choosing the best work boot for working on a railroad;
- It is usually better to opt for a metal free safety toe and work boot when working on a railroad unless otherwise specified.
- A protective composite, or fiberglass midsole for protection against punctures.
- Where allowed a steel midsole can also protect you against sharp objects.
- A composite toe cap providing 200J of impact resistance, while remaining lightweight, reducing foot fatigue.
- If allowed a safety steel toe is much heavier and can get pretty cold, but in turn, offers the best protection against falling objects and compression hazards.
- Anti-Static materials to prevent the risk of static build up.
- Breathable waterproofing such as a gore-tex lining offers the best waterproof protection.
- Heat resistance up to 300 degrees Celsius.
- A quick on and off system such as a side zip.
- Impact resisting ankle protection.
- Good grip and traction on a variety of surfaces, including oil and abrasion resistance.
- A cushioned insole.
- Shock absorbing midsole.
- Breathable interior lining.
- Cement or Goodyear welt construction methods are most sought after for quality and durability.
Reviews: Top Picks in Railroad Safety Work Boots
The dr. Marten Calamus is an ideal choice when it comes to working on railroads. This work boot has the best slip resistant outsole, is electrical hazard safe, and is extremely durable.
- Breathable mesh inner lining for all-day dry feet.
- Synthetic uppers that are durable and tough.
- Electrical hazard safe with insulation against electricity from the ground up.
- Heat, slip, and oil resistant rubber outsole that ensure the highest level of traction.
- A safety toe cap and comfortable footbed.
ASTM rated for its superior safety steel toe and electrical hazard protection, the Carharrt Work Safety is exactly as its name states, safe and reliable!
- Protective steel toe and electrical hazard safe.
- Oil tanned leather uppers with a breathable moisture wicking lining on the inside.
- Polyurethane cushioning in the midsole for better shock absorption.
- A rubber outsole with open edge mud release lugs for better traction, along with ladder lock grips and a steel shank.
- A padded collar and cushioned insole.
The Thorogood GenFlex is a composite toe railroad safety work boot with Gen-Flex technology for better freedom of movement and heel support.
- A superior rugged oiled full grain leather uppers with abrasion-resistant toe and side bumpers.
- The non-metallic safety toe is lightweight and the Gen-Flex technology improves flexibility.
- A removable EVA cushioned flexible insole and compression molded EVA midsole with impact 300 gel, for superior shock absorption and support.
- Electrical hazard save meeting CAN/CSA-Z15 (18, 000V) standards.
- A comfortable spacer mesh lining and anti-roll bar heel support give you all day comfort and support.
- Loads of cushioning and flexibility for someone who needs plenty of movement.
Further, in the Timberland collection, we have the Hyperion, which is the perfect addition to your railroad workwear wardrobe.
Waterproof, alloy safety toe, are some of the safety features, along with anti-fatigue technology and comfortable cushioning.
- A lightweight alloy safety toe cap on TiTanXL last.
- Waterproof and breathable with a mesh lining and anti-odor treatment.
- The PowerFit comfort system ensures that you enjoy the most comfortable fit, likewise, the dual density footbed and EVA midsole offer comfort and support.
- A durable and slip resistant Vibram outsole.
These men’s Caterpillar boots have a highly functional, yet still comfortable and tough design. Enjoy all the features that you can dream of for a hard day’s work on the railroads.
- Soft and comfortable Nubuck leather uppers.
- Climasphere technology to keep your feet at just the right temperature in any weather conditions.
- Lined with a breathable Nylon lining and sock liner.
- Tough and indestructible Goodyear Welt construction.
- A high traction oil resistant outsole.
- A soft toe and plush comfortable collar.
In the end
The best work boots for any job are those that offer job-specific protection against the hazards in your work area while ensuring the best support and comfort for your foot type, size, and shape.
Choosing the right work boots for your job can mean the difference between comfort and pain, life and death, health, or injury.
By following these rules and guidelines you are sure to find the best work boot for working on a railroad that will offer you’re the protection and comfort required for this specific occupation.
Index Table: The Best Work Boots for Railroad Workers
|1||Dr. Marten Men's Calamus - Railroad Safety Work Boot||Dr. Marten|
|2||Carhartt Men's Work Safety - Electrical Hazard Safe Railroad Work Boot||Carhartt|
|3||Thorogood Men's Genflex - Railroad Safety Work Boot||Thorogood|
|4||Timberland Pro Men's Hyperion - Waterproof Railroad worker Boot||Timberland Pro|
|5||Caterpillar Men's Second Shift - Soft Toe Railroad Work Boot||Caterpillar|