Slip On vs. Lace Up Boots


As with all workwear, the type of job for which it is being worn makes a difference. That includes choosing between wearing slip-on boots or lace-up boots. Sites such as Overlook Boots and Boot World offer several perspectives, as does Prime Foot & Ankle Specialists, a Michigan-based podiatry practice.

Safety on the Jobsite

Regarding safety, lace-up boots are ideal for use on construction sites, where maximum puncture and slip resistance are desired. They provide ankle support – optimal in the case of a slip or trip – but can potentially be hazardous should laces come loose. Slip-ons, also known as a toe boot, offer less puncture resistance. Higher quality slip-ons provide ankle support. The boots are thought to be more comfortable.

Boot World recommends choosing the ideal size for each foot, as each foot is not necessarily identical. Lace-up boots are easier than slip-on boots to fit properly, given their ability to adjust the lacing to the size. Convenience is another factor. Lace-up boots may be preferred on construction sites where workers need optimal protection and comfort for day-long work.

Slip-on boots may be preferred for someone working on an oil rig or a worksite requiring workers to frequently put on and take off footwear. There also isn’t the concern of tripping over laces or getting them caught in machinery.

How boots fit and stay fit over time is important. Boot World makes the point that lace up boots are firmer and maintain their fit longer. As the boot loosens and the worker feels heel slippage or more room within the boot, they can be adjusted by tightening the laces.

Support and Comfort

With no laces to adjust the fit, slip-on boots may be of concern to some workers. Other concerns focus on a lack of support and protection needed for heavy-duty jobs. Slip-ons may not maintain their shape as long. Use an insole for an added layer of cushion to mitigate that.

Lace-ups are considered to have higher upkeep as they offer less ventilation, a driving factor toward more sweating and odor. This can be mitigated through occasional cleaning by removing and washing the laces. While slip-on boots are snugger, they provide more ventilation and less odor and are more water resistant.

Comfort is key. Podiatrists note a strong outsole and insole will take more pressure off of the foot. A durable outsole also offers optimal grip and traction, slip resistance for wet conditions, and seam-sealed waterproof construction. Other criteria: padded tongue and collars, room for a removable pre-made or EVA orthotic, and firm shank embedded in the midsole with possible rocker bottom for walking.          

For toe and ankle protection, podiatrists also recommend taller boots that protect the ankle from rolling or spraining and protection on the toes to prevent them from being crushed.

A Closer Look at Foot Type

Foot type is another key factor.

The American Podiatric Medical Association notes that feet with high arches (a supinated foot) is best served by footwear focused on flexibility and cushion as such a foot type cannot compensate as well for impact. A flat foot (over pronation) benefits most from support and correction to address the arch and the inside of the ankle being stretched and overworked. A taller boot with a stronger insole and shoe would work best in this case. A neutral foot type benefits most from support and cushion. Podiatrists recommend one way to get more life out of work boots is to get a removable pre-made orthotic insole.

Options for Slip On and Lace Up Boots

Thorogood has many lace-up and pull-on choices, including the Thoro-Flex Series 6″ Trail Crazyhorse Composite Safety Toe Quick Release Pull-On With Translucent Bottom. CAT Footwear offers numerous lace-up and pull-on choices, including the Women's Echo Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot. The lace-up boot is one of many choices offered to female and male workers.

Those working outdoors in wet or muddy conditions may find pull-on boots more convenient as there are no laces to get wet and muddy. For those needing extra grip and traction, lace-up boots with sturdy soles may be a better option. Among the new offerings from the Original Muck Boot Company is the Men’s Apex Lace Up Boot, manufactured with 100 percent waterproof construction coupled with breathable mesh linings for optimal protection and moisture management.

Looking for a pair of heavy-duty boots for your construction job? Check out the BRUNT Marin Comp Toe work boot!

Page 1 of 21
Next Page