5 Best Tree Climbing Boots in 2021 That Will Keep You Safe and Secure

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by  Karlton Miko Tyack | Last Updated: 

Whether you’re a professional logger, perennial adventurer, or a weekend woodsman, if you want to climb trees and make it home safely for supper, you’ll need specific footwear.

Stay safe and avoid injuries with our carefully chosen picks of the six best tree climbing boots on the market today.

Best Overall
  • Unique interior construction that makes for a lightweight, flexible, yet still durable boot
  • The composite safety toe protects your feet, but are still lightweight enough to climb in
  • The topgrain leather uppers look rich and rugged
Best on a Budget
  • Full-grain leather and Goodyear Welt construction hits far above its price point
  • The lug outsoles are oil-resistant for superior traction
  • The subtle pattern on its crazy horse leather exterior is distinct
Best with Composite Toe and Shank
  • Reinforced steel shank and heel stabilizer provide balance and support while climbing
  • The composite toe is lighter than a steel toe and is ASTM-certified for impact resistance
  • Carhartt insoles provide excellent cushioning
Best Work Boots for Tree Climbing
  • The one inch heel is pronounced enough for climbing, but low enough for comfortable everyday wear
  • Grippy outsole made of abrasion-resistant Georgia Logger rubber
  • The SPR leather-constructed uppers are waterproof and durable
Best Waterproof
  • Features multiple interior and exterior waterproofing systems for reliable protection
  • The Bay Apache leather feels luxurious and looks stylish
  • Chippewa is known for their dependable customer service

Climbing trees isn’t just for kids.

Sure, I know plenty of you men might be professional loggers or arborists, but I know a lot of you just love getting out into the woods when you can catch a break too. After all, the art of vertical ascent is an emerging sport for you adventurous gents.

Regardless of what takes you up there, the proper footwear is absolutely necessary. This isn’t the same as monkeying up to your backyard tree-house when you were nine years-old.

We’ve rounded up the five best tree climbing shoes to make sure you can get as high as you like in safety and style.

Let’s get to it.

How Did We Come Up With Our List?

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We’ve chosen each pair of boots based on exhaustive research and our own experiences out on the field.

We also ensured that each boot is a genuine climber that can be used by professional loggers. This means that they all have lug soles and a heel, water resistance, and protection on all sides. 

Though each entry in this roundup is excellent overall, we’ve broken the boots down into categories based on specific strengths in order to accommodate different needs. 

5 Best Boots for Tree Climbing

Best Overall: Danner Loggers 400g

1.
Danner Loggers 400g

The perfect climbing boots provide lasting comfort and protection, and Danner Loggers do just that. This is thanks to their creative approach to the interior construction and use of soft nubuck. If you’re looking for climbers to use on long days, these are your guys.

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Danner strikes the perfect all-around balance with their 400g Loggers. You’ve got robustness, stability, and protection, all in a shockingly lightweight 75oz construction. Unlike with most loggers, you won’t experience compounding discomfort after a few hours of climbing.

Cleverly, Danner combines the shank, midsole, and lasting board into a single piece molded into the shape of the boot. By doing this, they offload excess weight and maintain the stabilizing architecture of the shoe.

The upper is top-grain nubuck with a thinly cragged surface that looks tough but rich, and feels velvety. It can still handle a beating, but it’s a lot softer than most climbing boot leathers which also contributes to its lightness and flexibility. Style-wise, it adds a masculine ruggedness to a dynamic silhouette. Safety is more important than fashion, but these boots look good.

The Vibram outsole has a 90 degree heel, which means it has more lugs and deep-set grooves for bracing against protrusions and hard uneven surfaces. We’re talking stable climbing whether you’re heading up a cedar or a mahogany.

What I Like

  • Creative interior construction makes for a lightweight and flexible boot that’s still durable and steady.

  • The 90 degree, 8 inch heel on the Vibram outsoles makes climbing safer and more stable. 

  • Comes with or without a composite safety toe, so you can accommodate to your company’s requirements or your preferences.

  • EH-certified to protect wearers from up to 600 volts in a dry setting.

What I Don’t Like

  • The heel is extra stiff to make up for the soft construction. This is great when climbing and in varied terrain, but feels tough on flat concrete floors 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers of Danner’s Loggers praise the rare mix of immediate comfort and strength. Many claim that they didn’t even experience a break-in period. Some are turned off by how soft the leather is, but there aren’t any complaints regarding lack of durability. 

Despite Danner claiming that the boots are well-oiled for water resistance, a few reviewers claim they aren’t as impermeable as advertised. Don’t purposely step into any marshlands, but you should be ok with puddles and moderate rain. Otherwise, Danner has an excellent 365-day warranty across their whole boots line.

The Verdict

The perfect climbing boots provide lasting comfort and protection, and Danner Loggers do just that. This is thanks to their creative approach to the interior construction and use of soft nubuck. If you’re looking for climbers to use on long days, these are your guys.

Best Overall
Danner Loggers 400g

The perfect climbing boots provide lasting comfort and protection, and Danner Loggers do just that. This is thanks to their creative approach to the interior construction and use of soft nubuck. If you’re looking for climbers to use on long days, these are your guys.

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Best on a Budget: AdTec 9in Loggers

2.
AdTec 9in Loggers

Everything you need in a no-frills boot that’s safe for climbing can be found in the AdTec Loggers. They’ve got tough uppers, a solid outsole, and even a Goodyear Welt construction.

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AdTec Footwear is a family-run company that’s been providing affordable boots to workers for 40 years. Despite its price, the AdTec 9in Loggers boast a tough leather structure and even a Goodyear Welt construction.

They’re made out of crazy horse leather, which is full-grain and treated with natural wax for extra strength and water-resistance. This distinct material also has a beautiful patina-like variation on its surface that resembles a subtle organic pattern.

The rubber outsole is thick with deep indentations designed to help you with your footing when you’re moving vertically, whether it’s up or down a tree. It’s also oil resistant, which will make muddy and wet situations a breeze.

What I Like

  • A bang-for-buck offering that doesn’t compromise safety, especially with its oil-resistant lug soles.

  • The Goodyear Welt construction ensures that these boots can last a long time.

  • Its crazy horse leather uppers are durable and rich-looking.

What I Don’t Like

  • The orthotic insoles are thin and some may find them insufficiently supportive, but they’re removable and easily replaced. 

  • The tongue is skinny and keeping it centered can be challenging unless your laces are perfectly taut.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers are broadly impressed with the quality to price ratio of the AdTec Loggers

Since they’re budget boots, there are a few complaints regarding some of the shortcuts made in the construction: A thin and uncomfortable lip, the lack of cushioning on the insole, and the inconveniently long shoe laces. 

As mentioned, these are all easily remedied with affordable replacement parts, none of which would throw you into the next worthwhile price bracket. Pro-tip: You can’t replace the tongue obviously, but you can wear thick comfortable socks to it.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for as much protection and stability as a boot can give without going full metal-toe, the Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boots are a wise choice. The shank, heel stabilizer, rubber sole, and composite toe all work together to ensure a safe climb. 

Everything you need in a no-frills boot that’s safe for climbing can be found in the AdTec Loggers. They’ve got tough uppers, a solid outsole, and even a Goodyear Welt construction.

Since they’re so cheap, they’re also a good placeholder. For example, if you ordered a premium pair that won’t be broken in on time for when you need them, these boots are so comfortable that you’d be able to use them upon purchase until your “real” pair is ready for you.

Best on a Budget
AdTec 9in Loggers

Everything you need in a no-frills boot that’s safe for climbing can be found in the AdTec Loggers. They’ve got tough uppers, a solid outsole, and even a Goodyear Welt construction.

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Best With Composite Toe and Shank: Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boot 

3.
Carhartt Composite Toe Logger

If you’re looking for as much protection and stability as a boot can give without going full metal-toe, the Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boots are a wise choice. The shank, heel stabilizer, rubber sole, and composite toe all work together to ensure a safe climb. 

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The Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boot is locked and loaded with reinforced steel shanks, giving it a protective rigidity that keeps bruises at bay. It also decreases the pressure incurred by your feet and calves when you’re ascending. 

On top of that, the 90 degree heel and sole boast ladder lock grips and deep-set indentations. These are also helpful in preventing your shoes from tracking tree remains, mud, and dirt.

The shank is further supported by the added heel stabilizer which keeps your ankle secure. This is a particularly helpful touch for you gents with plantar flexion or inversion (or if your foot just points in a little). 

Non-metallic and lightweight, the composite safety toe protects you from impact and compression without adding any extra bulk. Bonus points for the fact the composite toe meets ASTM F2413-18 standards, meaning that it’s tested and approved by the International Standards Organization for impact resistance.

Style-wise, it’s built with that excellent crazy horse leather previously mentioned. However, it’s also tanned and oiled for a luxe aesthetic that goes stylishly with its contrasting midsole and rugged outsole.

What I Like

  • The reinforced steel shank, heel stabilizer, and 90 degree ladder lock grip sole work together to provide extra stability when climbing.

  • The composite toe is ASTM-certified for impact resistance, but weighs far less than a metallic toe. 

  • The tanned and oiled leather gives the boot a masculine but luxurious style. 

  • The Carhartt insoles provide excellent cushioning. 

What I Don’t Like

  • These hardy shoes have a painful break-in period, so don’t wear them climbing on your first day

What Other Reviewers Say

These boots are so well-protected, that many of the reviewers aren’t even loggers. Diesel mechanics and construction workers who previously never tried logger style boots are impressed with the comfort, arch support, and toe protection. That they’re made for climbing is also helpful for workers who hop on and off of big vehicles.

Many reviewers mention that they’re tight around the toes during the break-in period. Depending on the reviewer, this takes anywhere from one to three weeks to ease.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for as much protection and stability as a boot can give without going full metal-toe, the Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boots are a wise choice. The shank, heel stabilizer, rubber sole, and composite toe all work together to ensure a safe climb. 

Just make sure to order them well ahead of your first day out, so you have the time to properly break them in.

Best With Composite Toe and Shank
Carhartt Composite Toe Logger

If you’re looking for as much protection and stability as a boot can give without going full metal-toe, the Carhartt Composite Toe Logger Boots are a wise choice. The shank, heel stabilizer, rubber sole, and composite toe all work together to ensure a safe climb. 

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Best Work Boots for Tree Climbing: Georgia Boot Work Shoe

4.
Georgia Boot Work Shoe

Thanks to their combination of traditional work boot qualities and logger boot features, the Georgia Boot Work Shoe is the best of both worlds. 

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The Georgia Boot Work Shoe is as effective a boot for both dry terrain workers and loggers. They’re waterproof, feature a one inch heel that isn’t too high or too low, and boast an SPR full-grain leather construction. 

SPR leather is known for being “barnyard proof”, meaning it’s 2.5 times more abrasion-resistant than regular leather, and three times stronger. 

The logger-like waterproof construction is covered by a one-year warranty that protects against any normal use. This explicitly includes boot liner leakage, as well as any damage that can be caused by water for six months. 

And like a work boot, it has superior ventilation thanks to its high-performance mesh lining, which is great if you’re climbing all day long.

What I Like

  • They have a warranty-covered waterproof full-grain SPR leather construction. 

  • The outsole is an abrasion-resistant Georgia Logger rubber with effective traction.

  • The one inch heel is pronounced enough for climbing, but low enough to wear on the ground.

What I Don’t Like

  • The lip is higher than the rest of the boot collar, and can be uncomfortable without the right pair of socks

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers celebrate the Georgia Boot Work Shoes’ long-lasting durability. They range from loggers to linemen, and firemen to construction workers, which really cinches the versatility of the shoe. 

There are two common grievances. First, long-time Georgia Boot fans lament that many of their boots are no longer American-made. Second, a few reviewers claim that the break-in period is particularly bad on their ankle joint. Breaking the shoes in will take anywhere from one to three weeks, depending on usage.

A few reviewers  praise the waterproofing when it comes to stepping on puddles and shallow streams, but they don’t recommend full water immersion.

The Verdict

Thanks to their combination of traditional work boot qualities and logger boot features, the Georgia Boot Work Shoe is the best of both worlds. 

This is a good climbing shoe for those who are going to spend as much time on and off the ground, and for those who prefer a lower heel without sacrificing climbability.

Best Work Boots for Tree Climbing
Georgia Boot Work Shoe

Thanks to their combination of traditional work boot qualities and logger boot features, the Georgia Boot Work Shoe is the best of both worlds. 

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Best Waterproof: Chippewa Lace-To-Toe Waterproof Logger

5.
Chippewa Lace-To-Toe Waterproof Logger

Thanks to their combination of traditional work boot qualities and logger boot features, the Georgia Boot Work Shoe is the best of both worlds. 

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The Chippewa Lace-To-Toe Waterproof Loggers are souped up with impressive weather proofing systems inside and out.

The lining is made of a special material called Dri-Lex, a composite of layers separated by air which also add to its softness and comfort. Some layers are weather-resistant for immediate protection against water, and some layers aren’t, which allows air to circulate in the shoe, providing breathability and moisture wickage. 

Additionally, Chippewa’s Chip-A-Tex system features a water-impervious membrane on top of the already waterproofed leather upper. 

The leather itself is Bay Apache, a plush material that’s been heavily waxed and oiled during the tanning process to produce a rich brown color. Climbing aside, you can definitely take these bad boys to lunch.

Another cool feature is the steel toe, which can sometimes add too much tightness for climbers. However, the toe box is exceedingly roomy, which you can tell from how high the toe looks even on the upper.

What I Like

  • The boots are fortified with multiple moisture-wicking and waterproofing systems for reliable protection.

  • The robust Vibram logger outsole adds a lot of traction, perfect for climbing as well as varied on-the-ground terrain.

  • The Bay Apache leather is posh but still rugged.

  • Chippewa has dependable and swift customer service, quickly replacing defective shoes or wrong sizes.

What I Don’t Like

  • For a premium-built and premium-priced shoe, the laces provided are underwhelming and won’t last more than two months—if you’re lucky

What Other Reviewers Say

The Waterproof Lace-to-Toe Loggers are one of Chippewa’s best-selling and best-loved boots. Reviewers praise the superior waterproofing system, claiming they stay dry in the muddiest situations. 

Reviewers absolutely love the rich Bay Apache leather. One even mentions that he wore these boots with his tuxedo to his wedding.

Many shout out Chippewa’s customer service, complimenting their dependability, and how they’re quick to answer questions, replace wrong sizes, and defective pairs.

The only consistent complaint out there is about the quality of laces. They seem to last three months at most, and one to two on average. One reviewer even complains that his laces were out of commission after only three weeks.

The Verdict

If not for the ultra-premium price, the Chippewa Waterproof Lace-to-Toe Logger could have won best overall. If you don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks, this stylish everything-proof boot is an excellent investment.

Best Waterproof
Chippewa Lace-To-Toe Waterproof Logger

Thanks to their combination of traditional work boot qualities and logger boot features, the Georgia Boot Work Shoe is the best of both worlds. 

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How to Choose the Best Tree Climbing Boots

A lot of guys will tell you that the number one thing to consider when buying tree climbing boots is safety.

That’s 100% true, but I’d definitely put comfort up there as equally important. After all, it doesn’t matter how safe your shoes are keeping you if they’re distracting you ten feet up.

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Here are a few things to consider to ensure that your tree climbing boots are safe and comfortable:

  • Sole construction: Like all of the entries on this list, a climber’s boot should have a sturdy rubber sole. This provides stability which gives you the balance you need to steadily climb trees.
  • Lugs: Lug soles are those with indentations, treads, and grooves, designed to provide you with grip. The deeper the indentations, the more slip-resistant it is. The softer the tread, the better its performance will be in thick mud situations. However, it will wear out quicker than hard treads. It’s important you strike the right balance for your needs. Treads also make it easier to shake off dirt and mud from your outsole.
  • Heel height: All logger boots feature a heel because it helps with grip. The higher the heel the easier it is to hook onto protrusions on the side of the tree. It’s also helpful on the ground to ensure you can step into wet marshes without immersing in them completely. However, the higher the heel, the more difficult it is to walk on land.
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  • Steel, composite, or soft toe: Regular and composite toes are the lightest option when it comes to protection. Obviously, the lighter the shoe, the easier it is to move up vertically. Depending on your job, you may be required to wear a safety toe. If you want to add the extra precaution (and weight) of a full-on steel toe, find a boot that balances it out with an overall lighter construction.
  • Ankle support: Ankle support comes in many forms. A high shaft helps keep the boot attached to your ankles and often features padding for comfort and backing. A high rubber heel keeps your ankle steady when walking around uneven terrain and when you’re going uphill. Like the Carhartt boots, a reinforced steel shank and heel stabilizer help support the rubber sole to secure your ankles.
  • Goodyear Welt construction: A Goodyear Welt construction is one of the most durable ways to build boots, which ensures your safety during a climb. The welt is a strip of leather, plastic, or rubber that’s attached along the edge of the outsole.
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  • Insulation: How insulated your boot needs to be depends on the weather. Like our Danners on this list, many boots are built with special regulation technology that manages breathability and insulation. 
  • Water resistance: All logger boots are water resistant since they’re made for the outdoors. If you opt for a work boot instead of a logger, just make sure that there’s some water resistance, or that you’ve checked the weather before your tree-climbing excursion.
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Climb High, Stay Safe, Look Stylish

For the lightest and most well-balanced boots, you can’t go wrong with the Danner Loggers, whether you opt for the safety toe or plain toe.

Best Overall
Danner Loggers 400g

The perfect climbing boots provide lasting comfort and protection, and Danner Loggers do just that. This is thanks to their creative approach to the interior construction and use of soft nubuck. If you’re looking for climbers to use on long days, these are your guys.

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Need an affordable pair of climbing boots fast? The AdTec Loggers punch above their price point with their Goodyear Welt construction and immediate comfort. 

If you’re looking for extra protection though, the Carhartts have that composite toe and shank combo, while the Chippewas are waterproofed at every layer of construction. Of course you can also go the work boot route with the Georgias since their heel and water-resistance are more than sufficient.

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FAQs

What is the best type of footwear that should be worn if you are doing arborist work?

Arborists should wear boots that are made for walking and climbing. The heel should be high enough to securely mount, ascend, and descend trees, but still comfortable enough to walk on varying flat terrain for long periods of time.

What are the best tree climbing spikes?

The best tree climbing spikes are comfortable, strong, sharp, and feature an adjustable system. Pole gaffs work best on hardwood trees with thin bark, like maple. Tree gaffs work best on hardwoods with thick bark and softwoods. Some trusted brands include Klein, Evoke, and Buckingham.

Does climbing a tree with spikes hurt the tree?

Tree spikes won’t kill the tree, but they can damage it by creating unnecessary holes in them. These holes encourage the growth of unwanted watersprouts and they can harm vital tissues in the tree. When using tree spikes, you should only climb dead trees or those that are going to be taken down.

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Georgia Boot Work Shoe
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