Anyone who knows me knows that I really like cowboy-style work boots—at least in the winter. Often, you can find them both with and without reinforced toes. The Steel Blue Blue Heeler work boots we received for review came with a steel toe cap. The jury’s out on whether the steel they use is blue in color… Currently, Blue Steel only offers these boots in one color and with that security toe.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best work boots review article for our favorite products for all applications.
Steel Blue Boots Overview
Steel Blue currently makes 20 or so different boots for men and women. They range from low-top to high-top and include laced, zippered, and slip-on models. They feature boots with electrical hazard (EH) protection, metatarsal guards, static dissipative, slip resistance, and other technologies. The Steel Blue Blue Heeler boots boast EH protection, slip and oil resistance, and they’re waterproof. In addition to that, you get the aforementioned steel toe.
Mandatory Boot Cut Jeans
One thing you need to know about the Steel Blue Heeler boots concerns their rather ample girth. You need boot-cut jeans, relaxed-fit jeans, or otherwise roomy legs in your pants to wear these boots. Otherwise, they will proudly flaunt their outline to the world through your pants. We donned some Carhartt work pants that did pretty well for our photography.
Even though this review concerns the Blue Heeler boots, we couldn’t help but note the wide variety of boots available for nearly any preference or occupational need. They only carry three Wellington models, however—the Heeler, the Blue Heeler, and the Heeler Met: Bump Cap. Of these, the square-toe Blue Heeler retains the most “cowboy boot” look of the three due to its thinner outsole and lack of a protective toe cap.
Steel Blue Heeler Boots Features & Use
You can get the Steel Blue Heeler boots in any color so long as it’s oak (brown). We like the look, and the stitching alternates from single to triple throughout the design. You get some really nice loops at the top for pulling on the boots. Function meets form perfectly. Because they come on so easily, you may not even notice the waterproof elasticated gusset on the inside of the leg seam. This serves to reduce stress on the leather while making it easier to slide your foot into the boot.
The boot is largely made with full-grain pull-up oiled leather. Steel Blue apparently sources their leather from members of the Leather Working Group (LWG) if you track that sort of thing.
Unlike some other western-style boots we’ve reviewed, the outsole is molded to the boot rather than using a stitched Goodyear welt construction. The ASTM F2413 certified steel toe doesn’t feel too heavy—and you forget it’s there for the most part. The polyurethane Ortho Rebound insole works really well to reduce shocks to the footbed. Steel Blue also makes it antifungal, and they designed it with high wicking material to keep your feet both cool and dry. It seems really thick across the entire area with special attention placed on the heel. Pulling out the insole, we found a thick pad right under the heel for eliminating shocks.
Flexible, Durable Outsole
The durable TPU outsole (thermoplastic urethane) provides a high tolerance against cuts, abrasion, splitting, and cracking. It also gives you EH (electrical hazard) protection as well as anti-slip and oil-resistance. Plus, if you happen to work on really hot surfaces, TPU can withstand heat up to 266°F! You would think all of this durability would make the outsole stiff and inflexible. In actuality, we could bend and twist it quite a bit—possibly explaining why we found it comfortable to squat and climb with these boots.
Steel Blue Blue Heel Work Boot Features
- Outer material: Full-grain waxed cowhide leather
- Insole: Ortho Rebound + Poron
- Outsole: TPU (thermoplastic urethane)
- ErgoDefender steel toe cap
- Heat resistance: 266°F
- 0.40 slip resistance (F2913-11 Coefficient of Friction Forward Flat Slip Oily & Wet Test)
- Electrical hazard (EH)
- Slip & oil resistant
We found these boots really comfortable to wear. And we mean really comfortable. You can stand all day long on concrete, or walk the uneven terrain of a rocky construction site. They seem to handle it all. You definitely want some room in your pants or jeans to accommodate their wide girth. We like Wellington-style work boots that don’t drift too far from the cowboy-boot design. The Steel Blue Blue Heel boots do a great job of finding the right balance.
Overall, we can give these a hearty recommendation. Your biggest issue might be finding them. The good news is that retailers all over the USA sell Steel Blue boots and you can also get these 10-inch square toe boots online for around $235.