Moc Toe Vs Plain Toe Boots: What’s the Difference?

All these different options of work boots, casual boots, shoes available in the market today, can be highly confusing for most of us. It can seem impossible to narrow it down to ‘The One’ pair of boots that you actually need to buy for yourself.

If you have come to this page, then surely you understand what we are talking about here. You are probably trying to understand for yourself which type of boot will be best suited for you, but let me make one thing simpler for you. You can never have too many boots because they never go out of style. 

Moc toe and plain toe boots have been around for several years now, making a name and reputation of being classy and functional at the same time. Both these styles are great to look at depending on the kind of design you prefer.

Moc Toe Vs Plain Toe BootMoc toe boots are more embellished with a raised seam on the upper of the toe box that gives it a more dramatic fashion. On the contrary, plain toe boots as the name suggests are a simple yet absolutely stylish and elegant looking design.

Both the styles and designs are different from one another, yet quite similar too. I have covered all the differences and similarities between the two designs in this article, so you no longer have to be confused about which style is meant for you!

Comparison table of Plain and Moc Toe Boots

Moc toe boots Plain toe boots
Material Leather Leather, synthetic fabric, suede, denier, canvas, gore-tec, etc.
Comfort Comfortable, lightweight, flexible, quiet  Comfortable, weighty, rigid, sometimes squeaky
The design U-shaped stitching or raised seam on the upper.

Two or more panels

Stylish and classy that can be worn with most attires.

Simple design with no such added embellishments on top.

One single panel

Stylish, and classy that can be worn with unlimited attires

Resistance to water and dirt Water can seep in through the seams and U-shaped stitching on the upper

Cleaning is difficult

Better resistance to water and dirt

Cleaning is easy

The outsoles Wedged soles mainly

Not always the best grip and traction

Wedged soles and heeled soles are available

Better grip and traction

Safety standards Complies to ASTM international standards  Complies to ASTM international standards 

What is a moc toe boot?

The first thing you need to know about a moc toe style boot is that it is short for the term Moccasin. An interesting fact about this style is where it drew its inspiration from – this style originated from the footwear that the Native Americans used to wear.

Initially, the material used for constructing this footwear was leather made out of a buffalo’s hide, as it could be easily found in the continent back in the day. Today, they are still made of leather but not limited to only a buffalo’s hide.

Best Moc Toe Work Boots

Moc toe boots are easy to distinguish due to the narrow shape of their toe box and the added raised seam or stitching on top of the toe box, which is in the shape of a U.

The raised seam on the upper part of the boots is made of two or more panels, and not from a single piece of leather.

These boots are well known for being lightweight, comfortable, flexible, and quiet. The distinctive stitching is what makes the boots very flexible.

Therefore, often preferred by many construction workers, plus even the toe box has a lot of extra room for your toes.

They look extremely stylish, tasteful, and pleasing due to their unique design, so you can wear them with both workwear and casual wear.

What is a plain toe boot?

Plain toe boots also go by the name of round toe boots, both the terms can be used interchangeably. So, it is possible that you are more familiar with the term round toe.

These types of boots when compared to the moc toe boots can seem rather boring or uninspiring due to the absence of additional embellishments on the upper part.

They are constructed using a single piece of leather and one panel throughout the boot. Although, there are a few brands that use synthetic and suede leather materials to make such boots.

Plain Toe Boots

For people who prefer minimalistic designs and simple styles, the plain toe boot is a perfect choice. They pretty much compliment any kind of attire, be it casuals, workwear, formals, dresses, etc.

Unlike the moc toe boots, you can choose to wear plain toe boots for riding as well, and you will still get the rugged yet classy look and feel.

This is mainly because of the unadorned design that makes it so versatile. These boots are highly durable, compact, and comfortable.

 What are the differences and similarities between moc toe and plain toe?

Let’s dive into the specific differences and similarities between a moc toe boot and a plain toe boot.


Leather is the common material used for both moc toe and plain toe boot as it is flexible, durable, and quite breathable.

However, there are plain toe boots that are made from synthetic materials, suede, denier, canvas, gore-tex, etc.

The downside to using synthetic material and suede is that the former is not breathable and the latter is dainty and not durable enough when compared to leather.


When we talk about the comfort factor, both moc toe and plain toe boots go head to head. Moc toe boots come with features like padded tongue, orthotics, foot arch, arch support, health benefits, lace-up style, and an energy-returning system.

Whereas, plain toe boots may or may not have similar comfort features, and come in both lace-up as well as pull-on styles.

The construction of a moc toe boot makes it even more comfortable, lightweight, flexible, quiet, and also reduces the break-in period.

A plain toe boot is constructed to perform different functions, hence, is more weighty and rigid. Plus, it can be squeaky.

Moc toe boots are perfect for people who have to be on their feet for prolonged periods during the day, be it at work or otherwise.

Also, good for people who enjoy light trekking. Whereas, plain toe boot is great for trekking, ladder climbing, and gradients.

The toe box of a moc toe boot is narrower compared to plain toe boots, so in this regard, the latter offers more comfort to the wearer.  

The design

Moc toe and plain toe boots are completely dissimilar in their design. The former has its U-shaped stitching or raised seam that goes on the upper part of the toe area, which is its most significant style. Whereas, the latter follows a very simple design with no such added embellishments on top.

Both designs are stylish and classy that can be worn with most attires. But plain toe boots have a slight edge over moc toe boots in this case as the options are unlimited for the former.

Resistance to water and dirt

Plain toe boots have better resistance to water and dirt compared to moc toe boots. This is mainly due to the construction of the boots.

The former has a single panel of leather running through the entire boot with no adornment on top like the latter through which water can easily seep in, and dirt can get caught in the seams.

Even cleaning them is not the easiest as the stitching can be scrubbed when trying to remove the dirt and water.

However, you can definitely treat them with oils and conditioners every few months to make them waterproof or water-resistant.

The outsoles

Both moc toe and plain toe boots come with wedged outsoles, but the latter also comes in heeled versions.

The advantage of having a wedged outsole is that the weight is evenly distributed at the boot’s bottom part. But this is not the case with heeled outsoles as the weight is stressed more on the foot’s arch.

The plain toe boots’ tread gives you a better grip and traction compared to the moc toe boots. Also, it is easier to re-sole plain toe outsoles than moc toe ones.

Safety standards

These boots comply with ASTM international safety standards. Both moc toe and plain toe boots come with safety and soft toe options. The toe caps are incorporated in each boot based on the kind of job or purpose it is being made for.

So, in this regard, you have nothing to worry about as both will provide you with the protection you need depending on what you need them for. 

See also: Cap Toe Vs Plain Toe Boots: Which One to Wear?

Wrapping up

Now you know that both moc toe and plain toe boots are not completely different on several grounds. The main difference is narrowed down to its style and design, which is what sets them apart from one another.

Due to their versatile nature, I would actually suggest you keep at least one pair of each style because they both look great with casuals and workwear.

Except that with plain toe boots, you can experiment with a few more outfits, which may not go very well with moc toe boots. Both the type of boots will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

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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