Woodworking often means spending hours in the shop standing on a concrete floor. It also means dodging the occasional dropped chisel or piece of wood. And if your shop is anything like ours it can get stifling hot in the summer and downright chilly during the winter. Because of this having the right woodworking shoes can make all the difference between a comfortable, fun day in the shop or a day of misery.
We actually have 4 different pairs of woodworking shoes we will wear in the shop depending on what we’re working on and the weather. A pair a Merrel Jungle Mocs, boat shoes, flip-flops, and (don’t laugh) crocs.
Because we, like most people, are woodworking in our garage that often means we’re in and out of the house a lot. So while I love leather work boots they are a huge pain to take on and off anytime I want to step inside. This means I have gravitated more towards slip on shoes with a few options depending on the weather and what I’ll be working on.
Our Favorite Woodworking Shoes
Merrell Jungle Mocs
Merrell Jungle Mocs have been our go-to woodworking shoe for years now. They are easy to take on and off, are comfortable to wear all day, and are warm enough for cold days in the shop. They do tend to collect chips around the ankle if you are using tools like the wood lathe or router but that is pretty typical of most any shoe.
I know. I know. Crocs have a bit of a…stigma attached to them. But ask any woodworker who has tried them out and they’ll tell you they are the most comfortable woodworking shoe they have ever used. Working in crocs is like standing on an anti-fatigue pad all day and can work wonders for woodworkers with back issues. They are also incredibly easy to slip on and off, can be hosed down at the end of the day,
and look very stylish come in lots of colors.
Redwing Work Boots
Redwing boots are one of the American gold standards for great work boots. While they are not cheap these boots are built to last a lifetime. For anyone working full time in the shop these boots are a great option for comfort, looks, and safety.
Merrell Hiking Shoes
The Merrell Moab hiking shoe is on the best selling shoes on Amazon and for good reason. They fit well and are extremely comfortable for long days in the shop. They also feature a leather toe cap which offers a bit more protection for your feet and grippy vibram soles.
Timberland Steel Toe Boots
If your woodworking journey has taken you to a more industrial setting then steel toe boots can be a necessity. The Timberland Pit Boss work boots have been around a long time and for good reason. They are affordable, comfortable, and provide all the protection you’ll need for your feet in the shop.
Flip flops aren’t my go-to woodworking shoe by any means but they do still get plenty of use in the shop. I actually like wearing them a lot when I’m woodturning in the summer as they are easy to clean off at the end of the day. If i’m doing any other work with power tools though I will typically switch to something with a bit more foot coverage and traction.
Sperry Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are another easy on/off shoe option for the shop. During the summer when I want a shoe that is cool yet has a bit more traction and coverage this is typically my go to choice. They are extremely comfortable to wear without sock and tend to do a good job of keeping wood chips out.
Anti Fatigue Mats
While this isn’t a shoe we highly recommend adding a few anti fatigue mats around the shop as well. They can work wonders when spending hours in front of the workbench or stationary tools like the lathe. They also provide a level of protection for tools if they fall off the bench.
Final Thoughts on Woodworking Shoes
Finding the right pair of woodworking shoes that meet your needs can sometimes be a bit of a trial and error process. We’ve certainly cycled through a few shoes over the years before finding the mix of choices that have worked best for us. Hopefully, this helps out in your search and you are able to have a great day woodworking.
What are your favorite shoes to wear in the shop?