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9 Best Moc Toe Boots: After Years of Looking, This Is It

It seems like every boot brand offers some kind of moc toe. With so many similar features, it’s hard to tell which one you should get.

After testing over 100 boots myself, I’ve picked out the best moc toe boots you can get right now so you can save your time and get the best possible boot for your budget.

Top Picks Overview

Moc toes have a reputation as work boots, but there are plenty of versions you can wear casually—and of course, they have a reputation as work boots because they’re fantastic for working conditions. 

I’ve bought 13 of the most popular moc toe boots (and kept 9 pairs), tested their leather thickness and sole hardness, plus polled over 8,000 members of my YouTube audience to find out what the best moc toe boots are in various categories.

So if you’re looking for style, work, or a boot that can handle anything, I’ve broken down the reasons why these are some of the best boots a man can get. 

How Did I Come Up With My List?

Author Showing All 9 Moc Toe Boots Tested
These are the 9 moc toe boots I currently own. There are a few that didn’t make my list.

I’ve reviewed over 100 pairs of boots in the years I’ve run BootSpy. Over that time, I’ve also tried 13 different moc toe boots.

For this review, I walked at least 100,000 steps in each pair of boots, plus did some objective testing, like measuring the upper thickness and sole hardness.

However, I like boots for fashion, so I’m also sharing what I think about the intangibles: how they fit, feel, comfort, and whether or not I like the style.

My Objective Testing Methods

Measuring total upper leather thickness
I measured the total upper leather thickness. This includes any lining if present (many of these boots are unlined, so will have a thinner upper in comparison).

For the data fans, I’ve measured out the total upper thicknesses of each boot. Keep in mind that a thicker upper doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. Some of these boots are lined, and others are unlined.

An unlined upper will generally be thinner than a lined upper (one piece of leather vs two). There are benefits to each, and there’s a lot more that goes into the quality of a leather beyond its thickness.

But I present the data to you as just that—another piece of data to help inform your decision.

Measuring the hardness of moc toe boot outsoles with a shore a hardness meter
I tested the hardness of all these boots’ outsoles with a Shore A hardness gauge.

Like with the leather thickness, a Shore A hardness rating doesn’t tell the full story. However, to generalize this data, I can say this:

Harder outsoles will last longer. Softer outsoles will offer more shock absorption (comfort). Durability and comfort are on opposing ends of the spectrum for outsoles.

That said, it’s worth reading the in-depth portions of this review because you can make some wrong assumptions just from this data.

For example: the Thursday Diplomat has the hardest outsole. Does that mean it’s the most durable and least comfortable?

No. Thursday offers a Poron footbed that adds back a lot of comfort, and the way this specific boot is constructed is solid, but not nearly to the same degree of durability as Nicks.

Moc Toe Leather Thickness and Outsole Hardness Data

I Polled Over 8,300 People to Find a Winner

I made a moc toe bracket contest to find a “people’s choice” winner from among the moc toe boots I tested. I polled my 50k+ subscriber YouTube audience and received over 8,300 votes through nine rounds.

Below are the results of each of the nine voting rounds, including number of votes.

Moc Toe Madness Bracket Finals copy
With over 1,000 votes, the Red Wing Classic Moc beat out the Grant Stone Brass for the BootSpy People’s Choice Award

I’ve left some brands off my list. I’ve tried the Danner Bull Run, Timberland moc toes, the Carhartt Moc Toe, and Irish Setter Moc Toe, and they didn’t make the cut for me.  

Personally, I don’t agree with every poll result above. So I’ll dive into my detailed thoughts on each of these moc toe boots so you can get a clear idea of which is right for you.

9 Best Men’s Moc Toe Boots

Best Value for Money: Thursday Diplomat

1.
Thursday Diplomat

The Thursday Boots Diplomat is a one-of-a-kind moc toe. Most comparable boots have a huge toe box that doesn’t work well with a pair of fitted jeans or chinos. Combine a slim design with high quality materials like a Vibram Christy wedge sole, steel shank, and Thursday’s excellent oil-tanned Rugged & Resilient leather, and you’ve got a winner here.

Check Price Read Our Review

I consider the Thursday Boot Company Diplomat to be more of a style-forward boot, but I was surprised when I compared this boot head-to-head with Red Wing, Thorogood, and Danner to find that it was on the high-end for leather thickness and the sole was #2 for oil-slip resistance. 

Thursday Diplomat burnt copper profile view
Walking in my Thursday Diplomat boots.

The Diplomat is a really well-built boot, and while I think the low-profile toe makes it less viable for working conditions (but better for style purposes if you wear slim-fit jeans), there’s no denying that the material and build quality are great. 

What I Like

  • The Diplomat has a steel shank and a Vibram Christy wedge sole (boots that cost double have the same exact outsole).

  • High density foam footbed with cork midsole means these boots are immediately comfortable. 

  • These have a glove leather lining, which is great for comfort and durability. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Thursday only offers their Rugged & Resilient line of leathers here, but I’d love to see a full grain leather. 

What Other Reviewers Say

One issue with the Thursday Diplomat is that there aren’t any wide (E or EE) sizes available. Some reviewers mentioned just getting the next half-size larger and reported that the fit was perfect. So if you have wide feet, order what you normally would in sneakers, and you should be all set. 

Otherwise, the Diplomat has a 4.9-star rating with over 2,000 reviews, which is impressive.

The Verdict

If you’re choosing a moc toe boot based on the style and not necessarily for work-purposes, the Thursday Diplomat is going to be the easiest on your wallet. And it has the lowest profile toe-box, so it’s the most stylish for guys who wear slim-fit jeans. 

But just because it’s more style-forward than the other options on this list doesn’t mean the Diplomat is wimpy. 

It’s got 3.5mm of leather throughout the upper, 360-degree Goodyear welt construction, steel shanks, and a well-respected Vibram Christy wedge sole.

Best Value for Money
Thursday Diplomat

The Thursday Boots Diplomat is a one-of-a-kind moc toe. Most comparable boots have a huge toe box that doesn’t work well with a pair of fitted jeans or chinos. Combine a slim design with high quality materials like a Vibram Christy wedge sole, steel shank, and Thursday’s excellent oil-tanned Rugged & Resilient leather, and you’ve got a winner here.

Check Price Read Our Review

Highest Quality: Nick’s Moc Toe

2.
Nick’s Boots Moc Toe

The Nicks Moc Toe features classic moc toe stitching, even through the heaviest of work boot leathers. Its moc toe construction prioritizes durability from the ground up. 

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If you want a moc toe that you can wear for the next decade and absolutely thrash without worrying about ruining your boots, Nick’s is your brand. 

I once shot a bazooka at my Nicks Americana and they just picked up a little patina. Just kidding—but there’s a kernel of truth in the joke. Nick’s are the most durable, sturdy boots I’ve ever put on my feet.

Nicks Moc Toe boot on author william barton

While I haven’t tried the Nicks Moc Toe, it has all the same features as my Americana cap-toe boots: handcrafted double-row stitchdown construction, 6 oz leather upper (you can also get 8 oz leather), and an oak-tanned leather heel counter. 

The Nicks Moc Toe will take a while to break in, but it’s going to be the longest lasting boot on this list.

What I Like

  • The Nick’s Moc Toe is built for durability over all-else, including even comfort—though these will become comfortable after they’re broken in.

    There are quick-ship versions, or you can fully customize the boots down to the leather, size, and sole.

    Nick’s offers the best variety of widths, all the way from super narrow (B) to extremely wide (FF).

What I Don’t Like

  • Quick shipping boots actually take more like 3 months to arrive, and custom boots can take up to 9 months to get to your door.

What Other Reviewers Say

Nick’s boots has a loyal following—they got their start as a wildland firefighting boot company, so durability is in their DNA.

Reviewers of Nick’s boots are the kind of people who don’t mind spending $500+ on a pair of boots and then waiting the better part of a year to get them. 

For me, I think Nick’s are the most durable, sturdy boots I’ve ever worn—and they may actually be too much boot if you’re only doing light-duty work.

The Verdict

You might not need the kind of boots you can wear for 10 years—the kind of boots that take six months to break in—the kind of boots that feel custom-built for your feet and can take an absolute beating. 

But if you want the absolute highest quality work moc toe boot you can get and you don’t mind sacrificing some cash and a bit of comfort up front, then the Nicks Moc Toe is the way to go. 

I’m willing to bet that no matter what your job entails, the Nick’s Moc Toe will last you a decade at least (so long as you resole them once every three or four years and reasonably take care of them).

Highest Quality
Nick’s Boots Moc Toe

The Nicks Moc Toe features classic moc toe stitching, even through the heaviest of work boot leathers. Its moc toe construction prioritizes durability from the ground up. 

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Best for Work: Thorogood Moc Toe

3.
Thorogood Moc Toe

The Thorogood Moc Toe is an excellent value buy work boot. While I don’t think it’s as stylish as other alternatives, lightweight features like a fiberglass shank and Poron insole boost the rugged durability while cutting cost and weight. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive moc toe work boot, the Thorogood Moc Toe is my top choice.

Check Price Read Our Review

I was painting my deck and got a pair of $350+ Red Wing’s all painty and nasty and felt a little like an idiot. And that’s when I decided that a cheaper pair of work boots that was still decent in terms of durability and comfort were necessary.

That’s where the Thorogood Moc Toe comes in. 

Despite having $600+ work boots. I still think the Thorogood Moc Toe is hard to beat: it’s lightweight, the leather is tough, rugged, and supple, it has a removable insole, and it’s relatively inexpensive. 

Plus, you can easily find an 8-inch version and a few different safety toe versions (they have a steel toe and a composite toe version). 

What I Like

  • While I usually prefer a natural-material insole like leather, the removable insole in the Thorogood is nice if you want to add your own custom orthotic for long work days. 

  • The custom wedge sole on the Thorogood outperformed Red Wing, Danner, and the Vibram Christy wedge sole in terms of oil slip resistance when I tested. 

  • You can get a 6”, 8”, steel toe, or composite toe. Lots of options for your specific needs. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Thorogood uses a plastic Goodyear welt, which really limits the lifetime of these boots. But you could easily smash these boots up in two or three years, get new ones, and still feel like you got your money’s worth. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Thorogood Moc Toe gets a lot of well-deserved love online, but there are some definite issues—one thing I saw pop up in a few reviews is inconsistencies between the two boots (left and right). There are also some inconsistencies often if you’re getting two pairs. 

Thorogoods are pretty mass-produced, so they’re not as tight on the QC as the other brands on this list. That said, I like my Thorogood Moc Toes and didn’t personally notice any differences between my left and right boots.

The Verdict

The Thorogood Moc Toe is a fantastic moc toe work boot if you’re looking for something relatively inexpensive that you won’t mind beating up. 

These aren’t the least expensive boots on my list (the Thursday Diplomat takes that role), but at well under $300, the price is right on these boots.

Best for Work
Thorogood Moc Toe

The Thorogood Moc Toe is an excellent value buy work boot. While I don’t think it’s as stylish as other alternatives, lightweight features like a fiberglass shank and Poron insole boost the rugged durability while cutting cost and weight. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive moc toe work boot, the Thorogood Moc Toe is my top choice.

Check Price Read Our Review

My Favorite: Grant Stone Brass

4.
Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

Check Price Read Our Review

The Grant Stone Brass boot is more of a stylish boot than it is a working boot, but its my personal favorite moc toe overall because it’s incredibly well built with amazing materials. 

I have the Brass in Black Horween Chromexcel leather with a heavy lug outsole. I prefer the lugged sole to wedge soles (but don’t worry—there are plenty of wedge sole versions on this list if that’s what you’re looking for). 

Grant Stone Brass boot leaned against wall
Standing in my Grant Stone Brass boots.

The Grant Stone Brass also has a 1.5mm vegetable tanned kip leather lining, which, when combined with the 2.5mm Horween Chromexcel upper nets you 4mm of leathery-goodness. That’s thick. 
Plus, Grant Stone uses a vegetable tanned insole, midsole, and Goodyear welt, so the entire boot is super durable inside and out. 

But what I like most about this boot is its style: it’s an excellent middle-ground between workwear and dressy. It’s definitely a casual boot (all moc toes are casual), but it’s not so chunky that you can’t polish it up and wear it out on a date-night.

What I Like

  • Grant Stone selects top-notch leather from Horween Chromexcel, to reverse kudu, to waxed roughout.

  • They offer a few wedge-sole versions if you’re really set on a wedge, but I prefer the lug outsole. 

  • Grant Stone uses the best materials on the inside of the boot, too—where you’d never notice: especially the 1.5mm kip leather lining, vegetable-tanned insole, midsole, and welt.

What I Don’t Like

  • These are quite heavy because they have a steel shank and all that veg-tanned leather. I don’t mind this so much, but if you want a lightweight boot for walking around all day, the weight may catch up to you. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The most difficult aspect of shopping with Grant Stone is finding the correct size, though it’s really easiest to order a half-size smaller than you normally would with sneakers or dress shoes. 

You can read my full guide to sizing Grant Stone boots here, or you can just choose your boots the next size down from your Brannock device size. 

The Verdict

If I could only choose one moc toe boot, it’d be the Grant Stone Brass. It’s not super bulky so it looks great when styled casually, but because the innards are entirely vegetable-tanned leather, you could still work in these for years and they wouldn’t break down. 

The materials and construction quality of this boot is as good as it gets (with the exception of the Nicks I mention a little later). But factoring the value you get for the price, I think the Grant Stone Brass is the best moc toe boot there is. 

My Favorite
Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

Check Price Read Our Review

Most Iconic: Red Wing Classic Moc Toe

4.
Red Wing Classic Moc

The Red Wing Classic Moc Toe boot has quite a large toe box, which can be off-putting for some, though it’s an ideal match for American Heritage workwear aesthetic. The Puritan Triple stitching, 360-degree Goodyear welt, and thick full grain leather footbed all make for a beast of a boot that will easily last years.

Check Price Read Our Review

Red Wing invented the moc toe style, so they basically have to be on this list. But I’m not just throwing them in because they created the look—the Classic Moc Toe is a genuinely fantastic boot. 

I have the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe in Slate Muleskinner leather, but the most iconic version is the Oro Legacy leather (aka the Red Wing 875). 

Red Wing Moc Toe
Red Wing Classic Moc Toe in Slate Muleskinner leather.

Built on the Red Wing No. 23 last, the Classic Moc Toe has a tall toe box that allows for a lot of wiggle room. 

It’s a simple, well-built boot. Unlike the other boots so far on my list, the Classic Moc Toe is unlined, so it’s a little lighter in weight and more breathable. 

What I Like

  • S.B. Foot Tanning Company leathers all tend to be unique, beautiful, and age incredibly well.

  • When I tested Red Wing’s custom sole, it matched Vibram in terms of oil-slip resistance, and Vibram is regarded as one of the best in the industry. 

  • It’s a very comfortable boot with a lot of room if your toes tend to splay out because the toe-box is the tallest of any boot on this list. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Red Wing does a pretty terrible job of keeping consistent stock online, so finding the leather and size you want may be difficult. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Considering that the Red Wing Moc Toe was first made in the 1950’s and basically started an entire category of boot that almost every boot brand I know of now imitates, I’d say this boot is well-regarded. 

So many people find getting the correct size in the Classic Moc Toe tricky, so be sure to see how to find your correct size in Red Wing’s 23 last.

The Verdict

If you want the boot that started it all, you gotta go with the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe. And you might as well get the Oro Legacy leather version, too (aka the 875).

It’s a comfortable boot that’s up to both work and play, and if you’re into getting a nice patina on your boots (you know, that worn in rugged look), then you’ll love the S.B. Foot Tanning Company leather.  

Most Iconic
Red Wing Classic Moc

The Red Wing Classic Moc Toe boot has quite a large toe box, which can be off-putting for some, though it’s an ideal match for American Heritage workwear aesthetic. The Puritan Triple stitching, 360-degree Goodyear welt, and thick full grain leather footbed all make for a beast of a boot that will easily last years.

Check Price Read Our Review

Best for Hunting: Grant Stone Field Boot

6.
Grant Stone Field Boot

The Field Boot pattern is dedicated to the long weekends spent outdoors. It has the feel of a vintage leather hunting boot, utilizing stout leathers and the time-tested Goodyear-welt construction.

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The Grant Stone Brass boot is definitely my favorite moc toe, but the brand’s Field boot is basically their version of a heritage-style hunting moc toe, and it’s awesome. 

Available in reverse kudu leather (an African antelope) and bison, you’ll get a totally unique boot that’s easy to wear for lots of walking, bending, sitting, and standing. 

William Barton wearing Grant Stone Field Boot

It’s a bit taller than most boots—it’s more like a 7.5” shaft boot, plus it has a padded collar for comfort and keeping twigs from getting into your boots. 

The main thing I like about this boot for hunting is that it has a second layer of leather across the front of the toe. Here in North Carolina, there are lots of briars that can slash up that part of a boot pretty quickly, so having a second layer (for a total of about 5-6mm of leather) is fantastic.

What I Like

  • Like the Brass boot, the Field boot uses all vegetable tanned leather through the insole, midsole, and welt. 

  • Really cool leather options like reverse kudu and bison. 

  • D-ring eyelets look cool and make it easy to get on an off quickly.

What I Don’t Like

  • I’d like to see a lug-sole version here too for if you’re hunting in terrain that’s less muddy (though the wedge sole is good for mud because it doesn’t collect anywhere).

What Other Reviewers Say

The Grant Stone Field boot is only a few months old, but there are already several reviewers on Grant Stone’s site saying it’s their favorite boot ever. 

To me, I’m always going to prefer the Brass over the Field, but there’s no denying the adventure-ready look of this moc toe boot.

The Verdict

If you’re an adventurer and walking the marked paths isn’t your thing, then the Grant Stone Field boot might be your best bet. 

The main reason I say that is because of that double-layer of leather around the front of the toe. You’d be surprised at how much damage a briar vine can make when you’re walking through brush and this extra leather is like an insurance policy for your boots. 

Plus, the all veg-tanned insole, midsole, and welt is the kind of quality that’s becoming so rare.

Best for Hunting
Grant Stone Field Boot

The Field Boot pattern is dedicated to the long weekends spent outdoors. It has the feel of a vintage leather hunting boot, utilizing stout leathers and the time-tested Goodyear-welt construction.

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Best for Style: Alden Indy

7.
Alden Indy Boot

The Alden Indy boot is an absolute icon. The 405 is made with exquisite calf leather, and the 403 is made with Horween Chromexcel. You can't go wrong with either. And just wait until they age a bit.

Buy at Lost & Found Buy at Hatchet Supply

Indiana Jones wears these boots, so that’s gotta count for something. 

The Alden Indy is a totally unique boot, and it’s the most stylish moc toe out there in my opinion. 

closeup Alden Indy 405 leather toe box
Closeup Alden Indy 405 leather toe box.

It’s a very low-profile boot—much more like a dress boot than a work boot. That makes sense for a brand like Alden, which is really a legacy dress shoe brand more than anything. 

And the moc toe stitching is just for show. But these are some of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, and the extended heel counter give this boot an interesting shape that I haven’t found anywhere else. 

What I Like

  • Alden uses Horween leathers, which are easy to care for, look great, and are durable. 

  • These are some of the most comfortable boots I own. 

  • It’s built on a combination last, which means the heel is more snug than other boots, which really helps keep your foot locked down and sturdy.

What I Don’t Like

  • There’s a bit too much synthetic material in the insole and midsole for this kind of price—especially considering you can get a Grant Stone or Red Wing that’s all natural for about $100-$150 less. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Alden is a legendary brand and has many loyal followers. They’ve recently come under scrutiny because they use some synthetic materials in the midsole for added comfort (but reduced durability). 

A lot of folks think that a $500+ brand should only be using leather and cork (natural materials) in the middle of the boot, and that’s fair—leather is always going to last longer than high density foam. 

Still, I’ve got to say—the Alden Indy is very comfortable. 

The Verdict

There’s no other boot like the Alden Indy. If you want a unique moc toe boot that’s built more like a dress boot and has a low profile, you should definitely check out the Indy. 

It’s pretty pricey—probably a bit overpriced if I’m honest. But it’s still the best dress moc toe out there.

Best for Style
Alden Indy Boot

The Alden Indy boot is an absolute icon. The 405 is made with exquisite calf leather, and the 403 is made with Horween Chromexcel. You can't go wrong with either. And just wait until they age a bit.

Buy at Lost & Found Buy at Hatchet Supply

Best for Winter: Red Wing Sawmill

8.
Red Wing Sawmill

The Sawmill is a boot built to excel in cold conditions. Born from unforgiving Minnesota winters, the Sawmill steps up with water resistance, warmth, and steadfast traction. Fear no forecast and explore more.

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The Red Wing Sawmill was built for winter—it’s insulated, plus it comes with felted wool footbeds, and it has a deerskin padded collar for added comfort. 

It’s built on the same No. 23 last as the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe, so the toe shape is exactly the same. But I like the look of the Sawmill better because it has the heavy lug outsole rather than the wedge. 

The Sawmill is easily the best winter moc toe I’ve ever found. And it looks cool

What I Like

  • The insulation is necessary for cold northern winters, and the wool footbeds feel like a dream on a chilly day.  

  • The deerskin padded collar isn’t cheap and flimsy like many other collared boots. 

  • D-ring eyelets make this boot easy to get off when your feet are muddy and wet and your fingers are freezing. 

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re extremely difficult to find online.

What Other Reviewers Say

Those who have the Sawmill all say it’s an underrated boot—I think that’s just because Red Wing has made so few of them. Mainly, people are just upset at Red Wing for being unable to make enough stock to put online (me too, can you tell?).

The Verdict

If you can find the Red Wing Sawmill, get it. You probably won’t get another chance. Last I saw them was two years ago—and I got them hoping to recommend them to everyone, and then I haven’t seen them again.

I asked the VP of Red Wing Heritage if they’d be making a comeback and he said yes. A good alternative is the Red Wing Roughneck, which is basically the non-winterized version of the same boot.

Best for Winter
Red Wing Sawmill

The Sawmill is a boot built to excel in cold conditions. Born from unforgiving Minnesota winters, the Sawmill steps up with water resistance, warmth, and steadfast traction. Fear no forecast and explore more.

Check Price

Honorable Mention: White’s Perry

9.
White's Perry

The combination of our newly developed Arch-Ease™ 1972 Last and traditional logger upper provides the perfect amount of arch support underneath and secures your heel for a fit that has virtually no break-in period. Lace ‘em up for a casual night out, or for the job site. You won’t find a more versatile moc toe.

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White’s is a well-respected brand up there with the likes of Nicks. However, for their Perry Moc Toe boot, they haven’t gone all out in the quality department like Nicks did with their Moc Toe, but the Perry is still worth mentioning. 

Whites Perry moc toe boots standing

Made with Goodyear welt construction (rather than White’s usual double-row stitchdown), the Perry is a nice balance between a lightweight work boot and a more style-ready piece.

What I Like

  • They’re ready to ship, unlike a lot of other White’s boots. 

  • White’s uses Seidel leather from Milwaukee. 

  • Vibram Christy wedge sole, which did well in oil-slip resistance tests. 

What I Don’t Like

  • These aren’t the usual White’s-level quality—they’re still great, and a fantastic value-for-money pick for the quality of leather you’re getting, but the construction is less robust (the price is also about 40% cheaper, though, to be fair).

What Other Reviewers Say

A lot of reviewers for the White’s Perry jumped on this boot because spending $600 or more on a pair of boots is a tough proposition. But the Perry is much more accessible—it’s priced around what Grant Stone and Red Wing are—still not cheap, but not outrageously expensive, either.

The Verdict

The White’s Perry moc toe is a fantastic boot. It deserves to be on this list because it has amazing leather quality for the price, but otherwise, it doesn’t quite have enough in any direction to win any category completely.

Honorable Mention
White's Perry

The combination of our newly developed Arch-Ease™ 1972 Last and traditional logger upper provides the perfect amount of arch support underneath and secures your heel for a fit that has virtually no break-in period. Lace ‘em up for a casual night out, or for the job site. You won’t find a more versatile moc toe.

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What Are Moc Toe Boots?

model wearing Thorogood for sizing

The term “moc toe” refers to the construction style around the toe: moc toe means “moccasin toe.”

So every moc toe boot you see will have that u-shaped stitching around the top of the toe-box. 

Does that type of upper construction make any difference, though? Well, from a durability standpoint: no. But because the moc toe is usually made with two distinct pieces of leather (rather than one like you’d see in a plain toe boot), moc toe boots often have a taller toe-box. 

This isn’t true for all moc toe boots, but generally speaking, you’ll have more vertical room in the toe, which is fantastic if you’re kneeling often or very active and on your feet all day. 

What are Moc Toe Boots Good For?

Most moc toe boots feature a wedge sole, which many people find helps with back and knee pain—especially for guys with flatter feet. 

Unlike lugged boots (with a heel) the wedge sole offers under-foot support throughout your entire foot. So if you have low arches (or even flat feet), you’re getting arch support throughout without needing a special orthotic. 

Wedge soles also have more contact with the ground, so they’re fantastic if you’re working in a shop where there may be oil on the ground. Wedge soles are the way to go if you’re on concrete a lot as they have the best traction. 

Why Do Ironworkers Wear Wedge Boots?

A quick 60 second explanation of all the reasons iron workers wear wedge sole boots.

Ironworkers and those that work with metal generally wear ironworker boots to protect their feet from harm. In a busy factory or warehouse setting, they’re looking for comfort and protection, as well as something lightweight enough to wear throughout the day.

What are the Benefits of a Wedge Boot?

Danner Bull Run wedge sole while walking

A wedge boot offers much more traction than many other types of safety boot; the sole is non-slip and often has excellent grip. The wedge shape is flat on the sole, meaning a greater surface area makes contact with the floor; you’ll rarely see someone slip in ironworker boots.

An ironworker boot can repel anything from oil or chemicals to heat and electricity; many, such as the Thorogood Moc Toe, have a steel or alloy safety toe to increase protection. When it comes to electrical hazard resistance, ironworker boots are the safest option on the market; the shock-absorbing qualities of the sole are unrivaled.

How to Style Moc Toe Boots

model sitting on stairs with Thursday Diplomat boots

To style moc toe boots well, you have to understand where they came from: moc toes are solidly in the realm of workwear. 

Skip the slim-fit jeans and go right for straight-cut jeans and trousers. Because most moc toe boots are more on the bulky side, you don’t want too much taper below the knee or else you run the risk of looking like you have clown shoes. 

In this 60-second clip, I share a ton of different ways some super stylish guys wear their moc toe boots.

There are two caveats to this: the Thursday Diplomat and the Alden Indy are the two moc toe boots that I think still look good paired with slimmer styles. That’s because the toe is low profile and relatively narrow. Otherwise, stick with less taper below the knee. 

Moc toe boots are always casual. Even the dressiest moc toe on my list, the Alden Indy, is still a casual boot. 

model walking in Alden Indy 405 boots

The most “formal” I ever get with moc toes is a crisp pair of raw denim and a nice jacket. If the quality of your clothes is top-notch, then this look is suitable for a night out.

Otherwise, stick to workwear staples like canvas jackets and jeans for the best looks. I also love canvas pants with moc toe boots—feel free to roll them up a bit in warmer months. 

Moc Toe Madness

Usually, you know right away if you’re a moc toe boot guy or not. 

The style speaks to some guys—others, not so much. 

Surprisingly, I held off on moc toes for a while. But once I got my first pair, I fell hard for the style and went all in. 

If you’re just getting your first pair and you want a really versatile moc toe, check out the Grant Stone Brass. That boot is a winner. 

Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

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For style, check out either the Thursday Diplomat or Alden Indy.

Thursday Diplomat

The Thursday Boots Diplomat is a one-of-a-kind moc toe. Most comparable boots have a huge toe box that doesn’t work well with a pair of fitted jeans or chinos. Combine a slim design with high quality materials like a Vibram Christy wedge sole, steel shank, and Thursday’s excellent oil-tanned Rugged & Resilient leather, and you’ve got a winner here.

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For durability and a nice dose of break-in pain to make you feel alive again, get the Nicks Moc Toe

Otherwise, check out some of the other boots for more specific occasions. But no matter what you pick, I’m confident you’re going to love one of these boots on this list. It’s like the 1992 USA men’s olympic basketball team of boots. 


FAQs

What are moc toe boots good for?

Moc toe boots usually have a lot of vertical room in the toe which makes for less pinching when you kneel down and allows for greater spreading of your toes. A lot of moc toe boots also have a wedge sole, which offers full contact with the ground and usually leads to less back and knee pain. They’re also the best for oil-slip resistance on concrete.

Who made the original moc toe boot?

Red Wing made the first moc toe boot in the 50’s and their Classic Moc Toe is still very close to that original boot, though it has been improved upon.

What does “moc toe” mean in boots?

The term “moc toe” refers to the u-shaped seam running around the toe box of the boot. Like traditional moccasins (hence “moc”) the vamp is sewn to the rest of the upper, which allows for two distinct pieces of leather to be used, rather than a single piece. 

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