Best External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots

Metatarsal guards are used in protective footgear to shield the foot’s metatarsal bones in work environments that present risks of injuries to the feet.

Made from a variety of materials, the basic design of a metatarsal guard is a protective layer that goes beyond protecting the toes. 

If there is a chance of heavy materials, tools, debris, or objects falling on your feet, you need work boots with metatarsal guards.

One of the most obvious environments for these types of risks is a construction site, nonetheless, industrial sites with heavy machinery and welding workshops are equally in need of metatarsal protection.

Best External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots

Although there are two types of met guards, we are concentrating on external metatarsal guards in this review. We researched and tested in high-risk work environments to save you time.

Our team of construction, heavy machinery, and welding professionals voted overwhelmingly for the Timberland PRO 40000 Men’s Metatarsal Guard Work Boot as our top pick.

These work boots were selected because they are sturdy work boots with uppers in Ever-Guard™ Leather, a steel shank for improved support, and a comfortable footbed. Electrical Hazard protection, asymmetrical steel safety toes together with ABS met guards keep your feet fully protected. 

We also liked the Dr. Martens Ironbridge Men’s Metatarsal Guard Industry Work Boots for the combination of steel toe caps and rigid steel metatarsal guards for optimal protection.

Work BootUppersOutsolesSafetyFeatures
Timberland PRO 40000 Men’s Metatarsal Guard Ever-Guard™ leatherRubberEH, Steel Safety Toe, Resistant to heat, oil, and slippageLinings are moisture-wicking, breathable, antimicrobial, Steel shank, Goodyear Welt
Keen Utility Mt. Vernon Men’s Six-inch Metatarsal GuardWater-resistant leatherRubberASTM rated, Kevlar thread, Resistant to oil and slippageWaterproof, Breathable
Dr. Martens Ironbridge Men’s Metatarsal GuardWater-resistant leatherPV air-cushioned outsolesSteel toe, Rigid steel met guards, ASTM ratedWater-resistant, Air cushion sole, EH insulation
Timberland PRO Excave Men’s External Metatarsal GuardEver-Guard™ leatherPolyurethane outsoleEH, Steel Safety Toe, Ladder LockComfort sole, Moisture-wicking antimicrobial footbed, Steel shank
Iron Age Ground Breaker Men’s IA5016100% full-grain leatherRubber with lugsASTM F2413, Steel safety toe, Kevlar stitching, EHMoisture-wicking lining, EVA footbed, Goodyear welt

Our List of Favorite External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots 

Best Overall Work Boots with External Metatarsal Guards

1.) Timberland Me’s PRO 40000 Men’s Met Guard Work Boot

This is a sturdy work boot with boot uppers made in Ever-Guard™ Leather that resists abrasion. The boot is durable and flexible with a steel shank for improved support and a comfortable footbed.

Asymmetrical steel safety toes together with ABS met guards to keep your feet fully protected. Electrical Hazard protection. Rubber outsoles are resistant to heat, oil, and slippage.

An internal boot lining is moisture-wicking, breathable, and treated with an antimicrobial solution for odor control. Goodyear welt construction guarantees durability.


      • Ever-Guard Leather
      • EH protection
      • Linings are moisture-wicking, breathable, antimicrobial
      • Steel toes
      • Resistant to heat, oil, and slippage
      • Steel Shank for support
      • Goodyear welt


      • Quality control issues
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Waterproof External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots

2.) Keen Utility Mt. Vernon Men’s Six-inch Metatarsal Guard Work Boot

Boot uppers are 100% Water-resistant leather with a membrane that is waterproof yet nonetheless breathable. The design lets vapor escape without letting water enter.

Kevlar thread protects from sparks, abrasion, or burn risks. Safety toes are left and right asymmetrically designed with a metatomical footbed for comfort. 

Outsoles offer good grip and are slip-resistant and oil-resistant. American built in Portland, Oregon with quality materials.


      • Water-resistant leather uppers
      • Kevlar thread
      • Waterproof
      • Asymmetrical Safety toes
      • Slip-resistant
      • ASTM rated


      • Durability concerns expressed
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Safety Toe External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots

3.) Dr. Martens Ironbridge Men’s Metatarsal Guard Industry Work Boots

100% leather water-resistant boot uppers on a PVC air-cushioned outsole with welted construction create the basis of a sturdy, heavy-duty met-guard work boot for excellent protection at work.

The steel toe caps, and a rigid steel metatarsal guard offer maximum protection from impact injury. 

These boots also bring a bit of insulation to protect against electrical charges. The outsoles resist oil, petrol, fat, and alkali.


      • Steel toe caps
      • Rigid steel metatarsal guard
      • Outsoles resist oil, petrol, fat, and alkali.
      • PVC air-cushioned outsole
      • Welt construction
      • Water-resistant leather uppers


      • Quality control issues
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots for Climbing

4.) Timberland Men’s PRO External Met Excave Work Boots

Timberland PRO Men's Excave External Met Guard Work Boot

These steel-toe leather work boots are made with leather and textile boot uppers that feature a padded collar for comfort.

The lace-up front is covered by the asymmetrical Met-guard carbon fiber overlay for added impact protection. A lining in mesh affords moisture control and breathability.

Boot uppers are made in Ever-guard™ leather for superior abrasion resistance. The rubber lug outsoles are resistant to oil, slippage, and heat, and they feature Timberland’s Ladder Lock design for traction when climbing up and down.


      • Titan Steel toe 
      • EH protection
      • Timberland Pro® 24/7 Comfort
      • PU outsole
      • Ever-guard Leather
      • Cement construction
      • Mesh lining with antimicrobial treatment


      • Some quality control issues

Best Budget External Metatarsal Guard Work Boots

5.) Iron Age Men’s IA5016 Ground Breaker Met-guard Work Boots

For those on a limited budget, you can still find great metatarsal protection without breaking the bank. These met-guard work boots from Iron Age are reasonably priced and offer all the necessary protective features for workplace protection.

Boot uppers are produced in 100% full-grain leather on a rubber slip and heat-resistant outsole. Rubber lugs guarantee great traction. A steel toe safety cap completes protection.

The external metatarsal guard offers great protection from falling materials or tools. Aramid stitching guarantees durability.

The lace-up design works well for a comfortable snug fit underneath the met-guard. A pull-on loop makes entry easy. A removable EVA footbed features great cushioning and a breathable lining. A sponge padded heel offers shock absorption.


      • Mesh lining is moisture-wicking 
      • Steel safety toe
      • EVA cushioned, padded footbed
      • EH protection
      • ASTM F2413 compliant
      • Rubber outsole with lugs
      • Goodyear Welt
      • Kevlar stitching
      • Affordable


      • Insoles could be improved
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

What Do Metatarsal Work Boots Do?

If you work in a high-risk environment for foot injuries like construction sites, industries with heavy machinery, warehouses, or transportation, you will need lots of protection for your feet. What do work boots with metatarsal guards do differently than other work boots?

Metatarsal work boots are created specifically to protect your feet metatarsal bones. These bones are located at the front of your foot and are the long bones that connect ankles to toes.

One of the greatest hazards is heavy objects, tools, machinery, or materials falling on your feet. A metatarsal guard adds an extra layer of protection onto the top of your feet.

Metatarsal work boots do not only protect your metatarsal bones. This level of work boot will also boast quality boot construction and premium materials and will aid in protecting feet from chemicals, oils, sparks, and molten metal.  They also may be slip-resistant so that you don’t lose your footing.

How to Select External or Internal Work Boot Metatarsal Guards 

When searching the marketplace, you’ll find metatarsal work boots that have inner or external guards. External metatarsal guard work boots have a large external cushioned flap, while metatarsal guards that are internal are integrated directly into the work boot.

Your personal preference may decide the kind of metatarsal protection you choose. However, many professions will necessitate an external metatarsal guard for reasons that we will explain. 

External metatarsal guards are also offered for purchase separately.  These are attached over the top of a work boot and can be removed if not deemed not necessary.

Types of metatarsal guards include:


These are lightweight guards that have some flexibility. Designed with a hinge, they attach to the boot’s outside. These types of guards are tough, durable, and protective.

They often are a bit unattractive aesthetically. They can be bought separately from boots and attached or removed as needed.


This kind of guard is integrated internally inside the front of your work boot. Positioned underneath the lacing, it will sit on the safety toe inside the boot.

It is not visible. Usually rigid, it may be uncomfortable.  New designs have increased flexibility to improve comfort.

Super External and Internal Metatarsal Guards.

Technological advancements have resulted in a super external and internal metatarsal guard that provides even more protection in the workplace.

Why Is a Metatarsal Guard Necessary?

Your metatarsal bones are thin and small. Their very nature places them at risk for accidents that can cause life-changing damage.

They are easily crushed just like the phalanges (toes) by falling materials or by being rolled over as in heavy machinery with wheels.

A metatarsal guard’s primary function is to furnish added protection to fragile bones in your feet.

What Features Need I Search for in a Quality External Metatarsal Work Boot?

When searching for work boots with external Met-guard protection other features are necessary.

      • External Metatarsal Guard
      • A protective toe cap in steel, alloy, or composite
      • Insoles of EVA, with cushioning or memory foam 
      • EVA or polyurethane boot midsoles
      • Slip-resistant rubber or synthetic outsoles 
      • Breathable leather or textile upper boots 
      • Moisture-wicking boot linings 

Other Considerations for Purchasing External Metatarsal Work Boots?

Several features need to be considered when selecting any type of work boot regardless of your profession. 

1.) Boot Outsoles

Regardless of where you work, at some point, you’ll have to move around on a slippery surface. Slippery surfaces and uneven terrain place you at risk for injury. Slip-resistant rubber outsoles will offer increased grip.

2.) Fit and Sizing

When buying any type of footwear, the right size will contribute to a comfortable fit. Avoid uncomfortably snug work boots. Minimum space for toes and sufficient width for comfort should enter the formula.

These characteristics will increase breathability and internal air ventilation. Do not buy boots that are too large allowing feet to slide compromising stability and safety. 

3.) Moisture-wicking

Smelly feet are disagreeable at the end of the day. If you perspire heavily, a boot lining and footbed with moisture-wicking capabilities will keep feet dry. Antimicrobial treatments will prevent unwanted odors from forming.

4.) Padding and Cushioning

Do you work or move around on hard surfaces such as concrete? Padding will increase comfort and shock-absorbing capabilities.

Padded insoles aid in protecting your foot’s pressure points on feet including both the heel and ball of the foot.  They can also add support for arches.

5.) Toe Caps

Metatarsal work boots are designed and manufactured to protect your feet. They are intended to protect your foot’s forefront where metatarsal bones sit.

Toes are an integral part of this area of your foot. They need the same amount of protection from crushing injuries. Safety toes, in steel, composite, or alloys are a must.

6.) Waterproofing 

Working outside you will eventually step in puddles of water. Therefore, waterproofing becomes crucial. Wet feet can lead to discomfort, blisters, and infections. 

Waterproofed boots, water-resistant inner linings, or waterproof booties will keep feet dry while on the job.


Work boots with external metatarsal guards provide added protection against impact injuries. Depending on your èprofession, guarding your toes may not be enough.

Protect metatarsal bones to protect from injury on the job. Our favorites here merit your consideration and will get you started on your search for external metatarsal work boots.

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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