Best Work Boots For HVAC: Ultimate Guide To Buying Reliable Footwear

Thank you, Willis Carrier. Thank you, James Watt. Thank you, John Desagulier. It is because of these men that we have air conditioning, heating, and ventilation as we know it. While it’s true that thanks to Ding Huan ancient China had a manually powered rotary fan, the technology for an effective air conditioning unit just wasn’t there until the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

Benjamin Franklin had his stove but that was limited to one room and his experiments in cooling never bore immediate fruit. Humanity has had windows and chimneys since they moved out of the caves, but obtaining real ventilation was an effort. With advances in technology, humanity developed methods to heat, cool and ventilate their homes. And thus, there is a need for HVAC employment!

best work boots for hvac

What to Look for in a Pair of Work Boots for HVAC

If you are an HVAC technician there are a few things you should consider before buying boots. Some of these traits are what anyone would look for in any work boot and some are things unique to your work area.

  • Durability You, of course, need a shoe that is going to last for a long time. A soft inner sole and a hard outer sole are what you need to look for.
  • Weight As you are on your feet for a long time, lightweight boots will keep your feet from getting tired. It will also make your feet more agile.
  • Heat Resistance This is very critical in your line of work. You’re often in tight, hot spaces or rooms where the air conditioning does not work.
  • Shock Resistance This is always a good advantage. It is a particularly good advantage if you do a lot of walking.
  • Comfort Of course, the one thing every boot needs. There must be plenty of internal cushioning so you can do your job without even thinking about your feet.

The Reviews:

Here are the five work boots that are best suited for HVAC work. They are all lightweight boots that should not cause foot fatigue or back pain. See which one is best for you.

1. Timberland PRO Pit Boss 6″ Soft-Toe Boot

Timberland PRO Men's Pitboss 6" Soft-Toe Boot,Brown,10.5 M

Do you want a comfortable boot, a safe boot or a tough boot? The Pit Boss is all of those things! The insole practically guarantees no blisters even after putting in some long hours. The traction is slip-proof and it meets all electrical hazard standards. It is made out of one hundred percent nubuck leather so you will have this safe and comfortable boot for a very long time.

Features and Benefits:

The tough nubuck leather upper makes for both comfort and long-lasting wear. The traditional lace-up design includes metal eyelets and cast metal top hooks for an adjustable and secure fit. The Goodyear® welt construction ensured sturdy durability.

The PRO 24/7 Comfort Suspension™ technology is one of a kind comfort system that endures the most demanding worksite jobs. The Cambrelle® fabric lining has antimicrobial treatment for odor control. The PU midsole is for durable comfort and underfoot comfort.

The lightweight nylon shock-diffusion plate offers both support and torsional rigidity. The soft toe conforms to ASTM F2412-11, ASTM F2413-11, and ASTM F2892-11 electrical hazard standards in order to deliver secondary underfoot protection.

What We Like:

  • The open-cell polyurethane footbed is removable for convenience and even prevents bad odor.
  • The roomy toe box gives the toes room to move which can reduce fatigue caused by walking.
  • The flexible rubber sole increases traction and keeps the wearer from slipping on wet surfaces.
  • The shoes are shock resistant.
  • They are also abrasion-resistant.
  • The comfort technology aids in the reduction of foot fatigue, supporting the arch and cushioning every step.

What We Don’t:

  • Some have reported that it rubs the ankle, causing it to be uncomfortable to wear.
  • Some of the parts are of poor quality. Rivets for the eyelets, for example, have been known to have just tumbled off.

2. Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Caterpillar Men's Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot,Dark Brown,10.5 M US

We all know the story. Cat started out as the world’s number one manufacturer of heavy equipment. Their earthmovers are known all over the globe as a symbol of honest work, not to mention strength and integrity.

Cat Footwear creates boots and shoes based on those exact principals. The brand has grown from work boots into a range of footwear of all types crafted with the singular purpose of keeping true to their initial goal, to create real, hard-working boots and shoes.

Features and Benefits:

The lace-up design provides a secure and adjustable fit. The full-grain leather or nubuck leather upper is durable and breathable as is the nylon mesh lining. The Climasphere insole wicks away moisture and provides a more odor-resistant environment.

The Goodyear® welt construction offers superb durability and flexibility. The flexible rubber outsole is slip-resistant. The steel toe conforms to ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75, EH standards.

What We Like:

  • The Nubuck leather mesh sees to it that the shoes are even more flexible and breathable.
  • These shoes are very rugged and durable, making them perfectly suitable for daily wear and tear.
  • The PU sock liner lets you remove the insole easily so that you can lay it in sunlight in order to kill bacteria and bad odor.
  • They are durable enough to last many years.

What We Don’t:

  • The shoes are not as waterproof as water seeps through.
  • The rubber sole isn’t glued on right and can come apart.

3. Skechers Men’s Verdict Men’s Boot

Skechers Men's Sergeants-Verdict Fashion Boot, WTG, 11 Medium US

Here’s a brand that is very proud of itself, though with just cause. Some claim that Skechers put too many copies of their logo over the shoes. Could be they’re just proud of everything from the padded collar to the insulated sole. This particular boot is marketed towards bikers but they work just as well for the working person as they do for the weekend warrior.

Features and Benefits:

The leather upper is rugged but breathable ensuring both protection and comfort. The lace-up front makes a secure yet adjustable fit. The padded collar makes for additional comfort as does the lightly padded insole. The synthetic lug outsole makes for a supportive shoe. The rubber sole is flexible and supportive with good traction.

What We Like:

  • An extra-wide option is available to let people with wider feet wear these shoes with no problems.
  • The shoes are suitable for everyday wear as they offer both comfort and protection.
  • These are sturdy shoes that let you move about easily and freely in your workspace without suffering any injuries.

What We Don’t:

  • The shoes are not waterproof since water seeps through the shoes.
  • They are not suited to heavy-duty work because the soles are not durable enough.

4. Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot

Carhartt Men's 6" Rugged Flex Waterproof Breathable Composite Toe Leather Work Boot CMF6366,Brown Oil Tanned Leather,10.5 M US

Carhartt has been at it since 1889, manufacturing durable footwear with premium exceptionality. These shoes are flexible enough to offer you comfort and support and yet there is no compromise at all on safety.

You never know what you will encounter on your next job site. It could be mud, it could be exposed wires, it could be bats. (Yes, some people have run into bats on this job.) Get the shoe that is prepared for anything.

Features and Benefits:

The full-grain leather uppers make the shoe durable and breathable. The abrasion-resistant rubber outsole features gripping lugs with ladder lock channels. The composite toe is extra wide in order to provide your toes with ample room to move about.

The one of a kind Strobel cushioning makes the shoe even more comfortable. The dual-density footbed plus OrthoLite top layer aids in the reduction of foot fatigue. The full-length EVA insert comes with a steel shank for better support. The shoes have electrical hazard protection for a greater safety standard.

What We Like:

  • They prevent pressure from doing damage to your feet.
  • They are very comfortable and light which can prevent fatigue and the formation of calluses.
  • The boots are durable and long-lasting.

What We Don’t:

  • The cushion support tends to flatten out after a bit of time for some people.
  • The soles come off or crack causing the shoes to no longer be waterproof.

5. Red Wing Iron Ranger 6″ Boot

Red Wing Men's Iron Ranger 6" Boot

You saw them on Dave Franco and Bradley Cooper. The iron miners of Minnesota swear by them. This is a boot that is elegant in its simplicity of design. Subtle though it is, it is still tough enough to get you through your workday and many workdays to come.

Features and Benefits:

The cork footbed absorbs shock plus it provides support and odor resistance. A steel shank further adds to the support. The Goodyear welt construction and triple stitched quality make a solidly built boot. A bump toe offers ample room up in the front. The double-layer leather toe cap and leather heel pocket protect the foot.

What We Like:

  • Scuffs rub out easily.
  • The shoe adapts easily to the shape of the foot.
  • The shoes are robust and durable.

What We Don’t:

  • They run large. Buy half a size smaller than you usually would.
  • Some customers have reported slipshod craftsmanship.

Working In the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Field

The people who work in this field are good with their hands. They are problem solvers and troubleshooters. They may work outdoors or they may work in crawlspaces, depending on what the situation calls for.

They have something different every day to work on. They like sharing their knowledge with others. Because people like to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, people in the HVAC field will always have work.

There are three types of HVAC employees. There are managers, installers, and engineers. The manager’s responsibility is overseeing the job and working with the client. Installers, as you may guess, install the equipment as well as maintain and repair it.

Engineers design the systems, always looking for a way to improve the present system. They all must be high school graduates who have earned a basic HVAC certification from their local trade school or program. This can take from six months to two years. Specific career development may call for additional certificates such as the NATE or EPA.

If tech works for private individuals, they may work with several clients throughout the day. If they work for a commercial setting, dealing with the client may be left to the manager. Such jobs may take several weeks to finish. An emergency call could come at any time.

The HVAC tech will spend the day installing, repairing and doing preventive maintenance on heating, cooling and ventilation units. This is a physically demanding job. It can mean more than forty hours a week on one’s feet. Young techs may not think anything of it, but the older ones feel it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions you may have in mind and their answers.

Q: Why can’t I just wear tennis shoes?

A: It is not at all good to put yourself in harm’s way. Your feet need to be protected from burns, falling objects, and punctures. A good pair of boots can prevent slips, fatigue and electrical shock.

Q: What is a steel shank and what does it do?

A: It is a metal plate in the sole of the boot. It provides extra support. It is especially beneficial to people who have to stand in narrow places such as climbing a ladder.

Q: Is the steel toe or the composite toe better?

A: That all depends. If you work somewhere cold or have to pass through metal detectors, the composite toe is better. They provide the same amount of protection from impact and compression.

Q: What should I do if I am a woman who needs work boots?

A: Many work boot manufacturers do tend to cater to men. It is recommended that you take your business to a manufacturer that acknowledges your needs and provides their wares in women’s sizes. If that cannot be done, get something one and a half to two sizes smaller than you would usually get. A woman’s size seven, for example, would be a men’s five to five and a half.

Q: How do I break in my boots?

A: You really shouldn’t try to rush this. A lot of the recommended shortcuts for breaking in boots can actually break them apart. It’s gonna take time. A whole lot of patience and time to do it right. Lace-up your boots at home and just go through your day. Do this ten minutes a day to start with and gradually increase the amount of time. Do not try to break your boots in on the job.

Q: Are soft insoles better?

A: Very soft insoles may feel comfortable but are actually ineffective. An insole needs both hard and soft structures. The hard structures will provide support while the soft structures aid in comfortably aligning the feet.

Q: Is there a better way to tie work boots?

A: Are you still using the “bunny goes around the tree” method you learned in Kindergarten? There’s a sturdier knot that will keep your laces tied tighter longer. Do it as usual only let the bunny run around the tree a second time. It will look like a standard bow only with a double wrap about the center.


Work boots are for work, so they have to be tough. But that does not mean they have to be tough on the inside. Good work boots should be like a crab, hard and tough on the outside, soft on the inside. They must protect your feet from injuries but also from fatigue, blisters, and calluses. They have to support the arch and absorb shock. Electrical hazard protection is always a big plus as is slip resistance. Shop around and find out which boot works best for you.

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