A scuff proof material prevents the upper from wearing away from the steel toe cap.
Danner A scuff proof material prevents the upper from wearing away from the steel toe cap.
A Gore-Tex liner prevents the boots from leaking. The author stood in this puddle for five minutes and his feet remained dry.
TIM UHLER A Gore-Tex liner prevents the boots from leaking. The author stood in this puddle for five minutes and his feet remained dry.
The boots hold up well; here’s what they look like after being worn through the fall, winter, and spring on framing sites.
TIM UHLER The boots hold up well; here’s what they look like after being worn through the fall, winter, and spring on framing sites.
The lugged soles are pretty grippy.
TIM UHLER The lugged soles are pretty grippy.

Over the years I’ve worn quite a few work boots: Redwing, Thorogood, Keen, Wolverine, Timberland, an assortment of hiking shoes. Now that we’re into our rainy season (I’m in the Pacific Northwest) I’m wearing some Danners I bought last year. I needed waterproof boots and had heard good things about the brand—and I was through paying $200+ for work boots.

I visited the local workwear store and the saleslady told me to try the Danner Radical 452 steel toe boot. She said they sell a lot of them and they have proven to be durable. I’m not a big fan of steel toe boots; I have flat feet and the toe caps on many tend to rub the outsides of my big and little toes. They’re not always comfortable but for safety’s sake I need to wear them.

I bought a pair of Radicals for $160—which seemed pretty reasonable. To make sure they were comfortable I wore them around the house for a few days—so I could take them back if I didn’t like them. That was a year ago, so obviously, I liked them.

The Radical is a steel toed boot with a Gore-Tex liner to make it waterproof. The toe of the boot is protected by a “scuff proof toe-cap”. I’ve had boots without this feature and the material over the cap wore out more quickly than it should have. The boot itself is a mixture of nubuck leather and 1000 Denier nylon. It’s designed to resist scuffs and tears, and to be more breathable than leather alone. The sole is what Danner calls Boulder TF outsole, and is designed to provide traction on a variety of surfaces.

I wore these boots through the fall, winter, and spring and found them to be durable, waterproof, and very comfortable. This is one of the few boots I would wear while not at work. I have worn them on the jobsite, on the roof, hiking, and on a vacation trip to the ocean. If I didn’t already own these boots I would consider buying the non-steel toe version for hiking.

All last winter I commented on how much I like these boots. No matter what I was doing—working on concrete, walking on joists, or standing on ladders for extended periods—my feet never hurt from wearing them. The steel toe is not a problem; the boots are wide enough (in the normal size) for my feet to move a little inside.

After putting these boots on for the first time since last spring (I wear lighter shoes in the summer) I remembered why it was I liked them so much. We were pouring a foundation and it had rained hard overnight. Wearing them, I was able to stand ankle-deep in water without any leaks.

If you are in the market for a new pair of waterproof steel toe boots, it’s worth checking the Radical 452 ST out. You can read reviews on Danner’s website and order them there as well.

Danner Radical 452 ST Specs
Height: 4 1/2 inches
Sizes: 7-15 men’s; D and EE widths
Uppers: nubuck, 1000 denier nylon, scuff-proof toe cover
Steel toe: meets or exceeds ASTM standard F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH
Shank: nylon
Sole: lugged
Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
Weight: 48oz
Country of origin: China
Price (suggested retail): $160