A tradesman’s body takes a beating. The constant moving, lifting, bending, climbing, and handling of rough, heavy, and sharp materials can really take a toll. And that’s to say nothing of actual injuries; I’m strictly talking about the day-to-day wear and tear on your body. Although there’s a toughness that comes along with the work, our various trades can still, literally, be a pain in the neck! You can work with that, or an achy back, or a stiff shoulder. But, if your feet get injured, you’re really out of commission…which means lost income. No, thanks. There might have been a time when I didn’t have the right footwear for the job. But, no more, because I’ve started wearing the Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot. Let me tell you why these boots are a big step up from what I used to wear to work.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best work boots review article for our favorite products for all applications.
CarbonMAX Safety Toe
Perhaps the most important feature of any safety boot is the toe cap. Traditionally, we think of steel toe caps when we think of safety boots. And, while steel works just fine, it does make the boots somewhat heavier. Sure, you can walk around with steel toes. But, the cumulative load of working in them all day takes a toll. Well, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of the Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot. Chances are at least 50/50 that you’ll question whether there’s a toe cap in them at all. They are remarkably light. Lighter, perhaps, than some non-safety boots.
So what’s the secret? It’s Wolverine’s CarbonMAX Safety Toe. Wolverine uses this nanotechnology to build an incredibly light, incredibly strong material for the toe box. Millions of “nanotubes” come together in a unique honeycomb pattern that creates an ultra-strong, protective toe. So, despite employing a toe box that has thinner walls and uses less material, these lightweight boots actually meet ASTM F2413-11 M I/75 C/75 EH standards.
All of that sounds well and good, and very scientific, but practically, how did the Wolverine Contractor LX boots protect my toes? I’d love to say that I tested the toe cap by dropping something heavy on my foot, but the opportunity didn’t come up naturally, and I’m not quite crazy enough to potentially hurt myself intentionally. My Wolverines only suffered the normal banging around that happens on a jobsite, but with what it was exposed to, the toe cap did a wonderful job of keeping my foot protected.
The Wolverine Contractor LX uses a full-grain, waterproof leather upper and an abrasion-resistant toe. Of course, we all know that a safety boot can tend to wear around the toe cap, and only time will tell how this abrasion-resistant toe wears out.
Slips and falls are always a danger on a jobsite. Between slick, wet conditions, dusty conditions, or the variety of potential dangers that come from a jobsite full of cords, staircases, and scaffolding, you need footwear that keeps you on your toes. The security of having a very grippy outsole is key here. The Wolverine Contractor LX Safety Boot has just that with its deep, grippy, rubber lug tread.
I felt secure in these boots throughout this review, where I spent my time on plenty of wet surfaces, particularly ladders and scaffolding. I’m sure we’d all like to only bid jobs where we can keep our feet on the ground but, until that time, rubber lug outsoles are the right thing to wear.
Making the Connection
Now, I’m not a cobbler, but as I understand it, cement construction makes for a flexible and comfortable shoe, though it loses some durability when compared to direct attach and welting methods. The Wolverine Contractor LX Safety Boot features cement construction: the upper attaches to the insole and is then cemented with adhesives to the outsole.
Inside the boot, a waterproof membrane and a moisture-wicking mesh lining are designed to keep your feet dry. I always thought that was a tall order since breathability and moisture barriers seem at odds. But, my feet did stay relatively dry. Now, there’s probably no reaching the “totally sweatless and cool foot” status when you work in safety boots. But, the Wolverine Contractor LX did a commendable job of not making my foot excessively hot. The boot also did a solid job of wicking away the sweat that did occur.
Wolverine also designed the interior of the Contractor for user comfort. According to the company, the Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot aims to have an athletic feel. The design includes a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) footbed with a memory foam top. Complimenting this, Wolverine fashioned the midsole from a compression molded ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) for comfort. The Contractor also features an advanced ladder shank for foot support, as well as a Posi Fit heel, which holds the heel in place.
I have a lot of high praise for the Wolverine Contractor. At $145, it’s a little more than I’d prefer to pay for a boot with cement construction, but not completely out of the ballpark.
The Bottom Line
I’ve been around the jobsite for over thirty years now, and I tend to wear high-end sneakers to jobsites that I can get away with it because boots just feel too heavy. Despite my sneakers’ relative lack of stability and foot protection, they’ve just been preferable to lugging around a hefty pair of boots on my feet all day.
But the Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot has made me seriously reconsider my sneakers, which I’m wearing less and less these days. With the incredibly light Contractor, my biggest objection to boots is gone. In addition, I get the added security of the rubber lug outsole, the support of the shank, the remarkably comfortable footbed, and of course, the protection from the CarbonMAX toe cap. I’d be willing bet that once you try them, you’ll give your current footwear the boot!
Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot Features
- Premium waterproof full-grain leather upper with abrasion-resistant toe
- Breathable waterproof membrane with moisture-wicking mesh lining
- TPE footbed with a memory foam top
- Ultra-light compression molded EVA midsole
- Rubber lug outsole
- Cement construction
- Advanced ladder shank
- Posi fit heel
Wolverine Contractor LX CM Safety Boot Specifications
- Item Number: W10831 (Coyote color)
- ATSM F2413-11 M I/75 C/75 EH
- Price: $145