A good pair of work boots has to serve several purposes. They need to protect your feet from sharp and rugged objects, keep your feet dry, keep you from slipping, and support your arch so you don't come home sore after a long day on your feet. How can you tell the difference between a good pair of work boots that will serve these functions, and one that will leave you feeling sore and in danger? Look the boots over carefully, and purchase a pair with these three qualities:
A lot of work boots have soles made from hard, plastic-like rubber that appears to be nonslip because it has a deep tread, but that when worn on a slippery surface will cause you to slide. Steer clear of boots with these harder, plastic-like soles, and instead opt for a pair with a lightweight, waterproof material that is extremely good at gripping to wet and slippery surfaces. Boots with this type of sole typically have a thick layer of rubberized material that composes the bulk of the sole, and a thin bottom layer of waterproof material with a waffle-like pattern on the bottom.
Laces that start further up the boot.
You really don't want a pair of boots that lace all the way down to the toe. These will expose you to a lot of water should you walk through a deep puddle or some mud, and once your feet get damp, you'll be prone to blisters and fungal infections. Look instead for boots that lace from the top of the upper just down to the point where the upper meets the base of the boot. This allows you to walk through deeper water without it seeping through the lace holes.
A firm arch support.
A lot of rugged work boots appear to offer good support from the outside, but when you look at the inside, you'll notice that the sole is completely flat. Without any arch support, your feet and legs will get sore on days you wear your boots for more than a couple of hours. Make sure you choose a pair of boots with a distinct arch support on the inside. The arch support should give slightly to pressure, but be rather firm so that it does not get compressed over time.
If you purchase work boots with Gore-Tex soles, a higher lace pattern, and good arch support, you'll be more comfortable throughout the day, and you won't find yourself running back to the store for another new pair of boots after a month or two. Find a store that sells work boots in your area, such as Cowpokes, to get started with your search for the perfect pair.