4 Best Work Boots for Ladders

Climbing ladders is an important activity found in many professions.  Whether you paint, repair roofs, clean windows, work at construction sites, or are a carpenter, at some point, you will be climbing a ladder.

This means that a good work boot will be appropriate for climbing that ladder as well as offering a variety of other protective capabilities to keep you safe on the job. 

We went to the source. We asked professionals that spend a good part of the workday moving up and down ladders, what constitutes a good boot for ladders, and then we asked them to test select work boots for us.

Best Work Boots for Ladders

Our top pick for the best overall work boots for climbing ladders is the Error: Unknown Link Type. These boots really convinced us, thanks to the non-marking rubber outsole with its Ladder Lock™ safety technology.

The pull-on Error: Unknown Link Type also captured our attention for the rubber outsoles that are dual-density slip and oil-resistant and feature a right-angle heel with quality safety grooves embedded in the bottoms.

Work BootUppersOutsolesSafetyFeatures
Timberland PRO Men’s Helix Full-grain leatherRubber with Ladder Lock technologyComposite toe, EH, Fiberglass shankWaterproof leather, Waterproof membrane, Anti-fatigue, Moisture-wicking lining
Rocky Original Ride Men’s Western Waterproof Full-grain leatherdual-density slip and oil-resistant rubber outsoles; right-angle heel; safety grooves embedded in the bottomASTM F2413 steel toe and EH, Tempered steel shankWaterproof, Welt construction, Cowboy style
Rocky Elements Block Men’s Waterproof Oiled leatherRubber, incorporated TPU ladder shank5 mm deep lug outsole for easy debris release, Chemical resistantWaterproof, Goodyear welt
Scruffs Twister Men’s Safety Nubuck leatherHeat resistant to 300°CEU safety rating, Steel toe, Steel midsole is anti-punctureHigh abrasion heel, Easy lace-up design, Micro fresh technology for odor control

What Should a Good Work Boot for Climbing Ladders Feature?

Work boots are available in tons of styles, colors, and offer all sorts of features. Typical safety features include safety toes in steel, alloys, or composites, trick treaded rubber outsoles, cushioned insoles, padded collars, pull-on grips, and much more.

But among all of these features, several stand out when it comes to selecting a pair of work boots for climbing up and down ladders: the steel shank, heels, and outsoles.

1.) The Steel Shank

If you need to stand on a ladder to wash windows, and you wear a pair of sneakers, after a while, your arches are going to start to hurt.

The insertion of a steel shank within work boot construction is one of the most significant features that footwear manufacturers have included.

The steel shank has the task of providing more support for foot arches and consequently reducing foot pain, especially if you find yourself standing on a ladder for any length of time.

2.) Heels

The greatest hazard you may face when climbing up and down a ladder is slipping and falling. This becomes extremely dangerous when using ladders that are six feet or more in length.

Ladder safety is a priority for professions and businesses that use them but getting the right work boot can make all the difference and give you a little extra protection on the job.

Labor statistics demonstrate the risks that workers face when using ladders. One safety feature that can help in limiting falls is a defined work boot heel that assists in preventing slips off ladder rungs. 90° heels will afford better and more stability on ladders.

Some heels will even feature ladder locks or grips that are integrated right into the boot heels. This is a type of rubber padding that works together with the ladder grooves for additional safety.

3.) Outsoles

The proper footwear means work boots that are suited for ladder climbing. Outsoles should be anti-slip and debris-releasing with heels that are approximately a half-inch in height and 90° for gripping ladder rungs.

Some outsoles may feature embedded grooves integrated into the arch area of the boot for extra gripping action.

Other Feature Considerations

Protective Toe Caps and Flexibility

Although protective toe caps are necessary for many professions, they may or may not be a wise choice for you depending on what else you do during your work shift. 

A soft toe work boot will offer more flexibility in the toe area than a protective toe boot, but toe flexibility is not really a requirement for climbing ladders.

When you climb a ladder, the arch of your foot is what rests on a ladder rung. Even so, flexibility in the arch area, particularly when repetitive, will cause pain in the arch area.

Because steel or protective toe work boots generally do not come equipped with flexible soles, they will function well when climbing up or down the ladder.

Soft Toe Work Boots

Soft toe work boots without safety toe caps tend to be considerably more flexible especially in the outsole. Nonetheless, these boots normally have soles with substantial traction, and traction is a plus when climbing ladders.

This is very important if you work outdoors in intemperate weather conditions where ladder rungs become wet and slippery.

If you have to stand on rungs for any length of time, these boots may not be ideal, but if you are basically climbing up and down, know that traction is an important characteristic when choosing.

Boots with Short Tops or Long Tops with Long Laces

A short boot design will only arrive at the top of your foot which allows for good flexibility. 

If you have higher work boots with lots of lacing, chances are the boot will also offer some flexibility. If the boot is tall and long laced with a bit of stiffness and a 90° heel, these boots will be optimal for ladder climbing because it supports thanks to a snug fit and good support for your ankles.

The Reviews

Best Overall Work Boots for Ladders

1.) Timberland PRO Men’s Helix Work Boot

These boots by industry powerhouse Timberland offer the maximum in lightweight comfort. A waterproof work boot that uses anti-fatigue technology so you can work long hours in tough conditions without aches and pains.

Boot uppers are made in durable full-grain waterproof leather that includes a waterproof membrane. Safety from impact injury is guaranteed thanks to asymmetrical composite safety toe caps, and these boots have electrical hazard protection as well. 

Structural support for arches comes from shanks made in lightweight fiberglass. A polyurethane footbed affords shock absorption and the moisture-wicking lining features an antimicrobial treatment to prevent odors.

This is a winning work boot; however, the best feature is the non-marking rubber outsole with its Ladder Lock™ safety technology.

Pros

      • Ladder Lock outsole
      • Waterproof 
      • EH protection
      • Asymmetrical composite safety toe caps
      • Breathable moisture-wicking liner
      • Fiberglass shank
      • Injection construction
      • 30-day comfort warranty

Cons

      • Expensive 
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Best Pull-On Work Boots for Ladders

2.) Rocky Original Ride Men’s Western Waterproof Steel Toe Boots

If you enjoy a Western-style pull-on work boot that’s waterproof too, take a look at these work boots from Rocky. This is a boot designed for comfort but with exceptional outsole performance. 

The rubber outsoles are dual-density slip and oil-resistant featuring a right-angle heel and quality safety grooves embedded in the bottom. These boots are ideal for ladders. 

Rocky designs an attractive pair of Western cowboy boots that nonetheless come with steel safety toes and are ASTM certified for impact injury and electrical hazards.

But these Rocky boots’ appeal doesn’t end there. They integrate Rocky® Ride Comfort System with an impressive eight layers. It just doesn’t get any better in a pull-on work boot.

Pros

      • Square toe design
      • Waterproof
      • Steel shank
      • 8-Layer comfort system
      • Full-grain leather boot upper
      • ASTM F2413 rated
      • Double welt stitch
      • Removable footbed
      • Heel stabilizer

Cons

      • Expensive 
      • Durability concerns
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Best Waterproof Work Boots for Ladders

3.) Rocky Elements Block Men’s Waterproof Work Boots

Rocky Elements Block Men’s Waterproof Work Boots

If you have to work on ladders in the elements, these Rocky Elements Work Boots are perfect for intemperate weather.

Other than being completely waterproof they are also resistant to chemicals and abrasion, so if you’re climbing ladders in a variety of dangerous situations, these boots offer lots of protection.

They feature 5mm deep lug outsoles with dirt and debris release and slip resistance. Triple stitching with Goodyear welt construction offers quality construction for enhanced durability. Comfort is guaranteed through impact padding and ankle padding. 

Pros

      • Waterproof
      • Six-inch work boot
      • The heel is high abrasion
      • Oiled leather uppers
      • Rocky® EnergyBed
      • TPU ladder shank 
      • Goodyear welt
      • Triple stitching
      • Milled hooks
      • Ankle padding
      • Chemical resistant
      • 5mm deep lug for debris release

Cons

      • Not as comfortable as other Rocky work boots

Best Budget Work Boots for Ladders

4.) Scruffs Twister Men’s Safety Work Boots

Scruffs Twister Safety Boots

This classic style of work boots offers lots of safety features at a very affordable price. The Steel toe-capped work boots use both natural and synthetic materials and are European Union certified as EN ISO20345: 2004.

They feature mid plates for added protection and soft padding for comfort with both the boot collars and boot tongues padded. Boot uppers are produced in durable leather.

An angled heel and treaded outsole are designed and produced to be anti-slip. These classic mid-ankle high men’s safety boots are SBP SRC HRO rated and the price is very attractive.

Pros

      • Nubuck leather uppers
      • The treaded outsole is heat resistant to 300°C
      • EU safety rating
      • Steel toe 
      • Steel midsole is anti-puncture
      • Easy lace-up design
      • Micro fresh technology for odor control
      • Budget-friendly

Cons

      • No embedded safety grooves in the outsoles

In Conclusion

When looking to find your best pair of work boots for climbing ladders, look for heels that include an orthotic form and rear foot cradle, cushioning, a flex facilitator, a shock-absorbing EVA midsole, a steel or fiberglass shank, and embedded outsole safety grooves.

Because ladders come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, you’ll need good safety equipment to navigate working on a ladder. An important piece of this PPE is a quality pair of work boots. Falls from ladders account for a good portion of work falls that prove to be disabling and potentially life-changing. 

Falls are among the leading causes of fatalities in the workplace, with a third connected to ladders. Losing your footing is the primary cause. Finding the best work boots for ladders is a guarantee for your work performance and your workplace safety.