• Head to Feet Safety

Pull On Vs Lace Up Work Boots - Which is best for your job

Updated: Feb 2

Getting the right job is good and staying safe on duty is of great importance.

A great part of your safety and comfort at work comes from your choice of work boots. We have defined work boots, otherwise called safety boots and the reasons for which you should wear a pair in an earlier post.

Work boots vary in design from the sole design, their toe cap material to the way they lock around your legs. There are pull on, slip on nd Lace Up Work Boots.

Being work boots, they all comply with OSHA standards for safety boots. They must provide sufficient protection in the work place.

To get going, let's define the two types of Work Boots.

Lace Up Work Boots – these boots, as their names imply, are equipped with a lace material that helps adjust their fitting and grip on the feet. They are probably what comes to your mind when you think of work boots

Pull On and Slip On Work Boots – these come with no laces. They are easy to wear and mostly recommended for work environments that require regular pull on and off of your work boots example oil rigs.

Read Also: Best Timberland Work Boots

Pull on or Lace up - Which is better?

This question has raised several conversations among working people over the years and continues to be the subject of many discussions on safety footwear.

A summarized answer is, neither of the two is perfectly better than the other in general terms. Both options have their areas of strength and weaknesses. They have their pros and cons. While Pull on Work Boots will offer great convenience wearing and taking them off, Lace Ups generally offer better ankle support. However, this advantage of Lace Up Work Boots over Pull On boots is gradually fading away as regulatory bodies require greater ankle support and companies improve the quality that comes with their Pull on boots.

Let's compare these boots based on the amount of support they provide to the ankles, the ease of wearing and pulling them off, the degree of protection they offer, How well they fit and potential exposure of their wearers to falls.

Pull On VS Lace Up Work Boots - How well do they fit?

Our post on how Work Boots should fit will be a good reference if you are considering getting a new pair work boots. Lace up or pull on, you can always get a good fit for your feet. It is certainly more challenging with pull on work boots since they come with no laces for adjusting their fit. Choosing the wrong pair will lead to discomfort and pain and ultimately impact your productivity at work.

Pull On work boots: work boot manufacturers constantly try to improve the quality of their work boots and to ensure they come out with the best designs that will fit you, However, boots are usually not made for a single individual except if your go for a custom made. With this in mind, it is safe to say that general foot shape rather than a specific foot shape is used in the design of work boots. With no laces, your pull on leaves you with no option where your desired boot design doesn't fit you perfectly.

Where you are able to get the right fit, with the right support and cushion you will enjoy great comfort in your pull on boots. However, things can change significantly as your Work Boots begin to age. They start to loose shape and the only way of maintaining the right grip on your feet and around your ankle will be spending some money on insoles.

Lace Up Work Boots:

The fitting of Lace Up Work Boots can be manipulated easily by adjusting their laces. Tightening gives you more snugness and loosening them lets you more room as you may desire. As the boots begin to wear and loose shape over time, you are still able to maintain your desired snugness by tightening the laces.

You gain a long time fit with your lace up boots. We consider this a significant advantage over Pull on boots but that is not all there is to consider when buying a pair of boots.

Head to head, lace up boots offer better ankle support and retains a better fit on your feet over time.

Discover Pull on Boots with ankle support

Lace Up VS Pull On Work Boots- Which is easier to wear and offers greater convenience?

The nature of your work should affect your choice of work boots. If you work in an environment that requires frequent removal of your Work Boots, you will likely prefer to get something your feet can easily go into and come out of especially if you have some back or waist pain and trying to reduce you bending time.

As mentioned earlier, the Pull On Work Boots have no laces. As a result, they are a lot easier to wear and pull off. You simply slip your feet into the boot and in some cases; a little effort is all you need to pull the boot over your feet. Over time, you may be able to actually just flip them off your feet.

The oil rig is a typical example of one environment you may prefer a pull on work boot over a lace up. As a drilling supervisor walking constantly between the rig floor and your office in, sometimes, oily environments you most likely will need to keep pulling off your boots each time you enter the office. You will find slip on boots very useful in such locations. The reason all Rigger Boots are pull on boots.

In comparison, Lace up boots come short on this. Imagine the time you spent the last time you had to lace up your boot, how much you had to bend or probably sit or kneel to tie up those boots.

The time spent and the inconvenience that comes with loosening and tightening your boots’ laces, especially in such work places as require doing this multiple times are day, is not what you would wish to choose.

On a match up, Pull On Work Boots edge out Lace Up boots in the degree of convenience and easy that comes with putting them on and taking them off.

Pull On Vs Lace Up Work Boots - Which offers better protection ?

Your safety should occupy a priority position when you think about work boots. Lace up or pull on, your safety should not be compromised in anyway.

The safety component of your Work Boot has more to do with the materials used in making the work boot than it has to do with the manufacturers choice of either a pull on or lace up design. To ensure you get the right protection, pay attention to the material components after making a decision on which of pull on or lace up best suits your work conditions.

Note that some Work boots are designed for specific environments and work conditions. A steel toe boot is recommended in places with high exposure to heavy equipment and falling objects, a water resistant boot will do you great good in the winter and swampy locations, excellent traction from your out-soles will be a great advantage in slippery locations etc.

Neither of lace Up nor Pull On boot designs have a monopoly over these properties. They boot have options that are water resistant, oil resistant, steel toe, composite toe etc. You just need to define your work conditions and potential hazard exposures and pay attention to getting the right Work Boots in your chosen design category that offers perfect protection while you work.

It is true that some particles might get into your pull on work boots from the top side that is usually loose around your legs but we believe your coverall does a good enough job in keeping these particles from doing your harm. It could be considered a little draw back but definitely does not affect the ability of pull on boots to protect you in any significant way.

Head to head, lace Up and Pull on work Boots offer great protection so long as you make the right choice for your work conditions. If it is slippery, choose boots with good traction from either category and you will be fine. Rainy or wet grounds? Choose a water resistant pair from either option and you will be ok.

Lace Up vs Pull On Work Boots - Trips and falls

Both options come with good traction to prevent you from slipping on duty, keep you from tripping and protect you from falling. However, a loose portion of your boot lace becomes a potential trip and fall hazard if not properly tucked into your boot. If your lace is dragging on on the floor as you walk, you may be caught in an extended potion of your working equipment, in the moving part of a machine and more often you may step one foot over the lace of the second member of your pair and consequently loose your balance. While this is a rare occurrence, it is worthy of mention that you do not have to worry about this in your pull on boots.

Choosing the right length of replacement laces for your boots easily takes care of this hazard. Note however that the pull on loop of your boot can also be entangled in extended portions of some equipment

Head to head, your lace up boots can expose you to trips and falls if the lace of either pair of your boots is too long for the boot. Pull on boots eliminate this hazard.

Pull on, Slip On and Rigger Work Boots - Any differences?

The name slip on and pull on are used as synonyms to describe work boots that have no laces.

Rigger boots are a special class of pull on boots designed originally for oil and gas industry workers. The name "Rigger Boots'' actually comes from their popularity with rig workers in the North Sea. They have gained popularity among worker across other industries because of how easy it is to put them on and take them off.

Any risks wearing a rigger boot?

The common complain about rigger boots is that earlier designs of did not offer ankle support. In addition, their out-soles offered poor puncture protection.

As workers in industries other than oil and gas began to embrace them, complains of ankle injury and piercings from sharp objects, such as nails, increased and drew attention and condemnation, with some work sites banning the use of Rigger Boots.

In the present, there are rigger boot options that offer good ankle support and protect you against ankle injury.

Recommended Reading: The Best Rigger Boots with Ankle Support


in conclusion, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of lace up and pull on work boots.

Lace Up work boots


1. Offer better ankle support,

2. Retain a good fit on your feet for a longer period. When they begin to loose shape due to aging, you can easily adjust their fit by tightening or loosening their laces

3. More widely accepted in the construction industry for their ankle support and puncture resistance


1. Tightening and loosening their laces is a significant inconvenience in work environments that require multiple putting on and off of your work boots

2. Laces can be a trip and fall hazard when they are too long. They get loose in the process of work and stepping on the lace of one with the other boot can affect you balance

3. They do not provide room for sufficient ventilation of your feet and as such, you get sweaty on your feet and your boots get smelly with time

Pull On Work Boots


1. They come with more convenience. You can literally slide you foot in and slide the boot off your foot

2. Less stitching and zero lace openings improve their water resistance

3. Offer better ventilation for your feet and reduce the chance of boot smells

4. Presents no lace associated trip and fall hazard

4. Boot of choice for oil industry rig workers.


1. As they loose their fit and snugness with age, your only remedy option is paying for insoles. In lace ups a simple adjustment of your Boots’ laces serves the purpose

2. Most designs offer little to zero ankle support. However, a good attention to detail will help you select pull on Work Boots with great ankle support

3. Most do not provide sufficient protection against puncture

Final Words

If you have owned lace up and slip on boots like us, share your challenges and the good sides of either options from your experience. Why did you move from one design to the other what do you regret about the decision? The comments section is also open for questions that have not be attended to in this post.

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