7 Carolina Welding Boots That Can Take the Heat

Carolina welding boots have earned a reputation for all-day comfort and serious durability. While the lifetime of lesser boots gets measured in months, you can expect years of wear from the Carolina line, even in brutal industries like pipeline, foundry and welding work. 

Welding demands safe footwear that can shed sparks and hot spatter, and offer protection from electrical shock and impacts from heavy objects. As essential personal protection equipment (PPE), welding boots must prove durable in harsh conditions and comfortable for welders working long days on hard surfaces.

Carolina gives welders an excellent choice of work boots suitable for welding applications, and we’ll review seven lace-up and pull-on styles.

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Carolina Lace-Up Welding Boots

The ability to loosen or tighten laces as needed to get the fit just right is the reason I go with lace-up boots for full days on my feet. I like being able to adjust for different thicknesses of socks depending on the weather, or to just be more comfortable as conditions (and foot size) change throughout the day.

The problem with laces is that they snag on sharp metal edges, and collect hot sparks and spatter that leads to damaged and eventually broken laces. Because of this, this article includes only lace-up boots with an external metatarsal guard that doubles as a lace protector.

Carolina 8-inch lace-up INT welding boot.
Carolina INT HI No. 505 welding boot

INT HI/LO STEEL TOE Domestic Broad Steel Toe MetGuard

Popular in heavy industrial workplaces, Carolina’s INT Domestic Broad Steel Toe line is the flagship of their industrial work boot line, and is the ideal Carolina boot for welding. Made in the USA at Carolina’s Pennsylvania facility by Union workers, the lace-up version features thick dark brown, smooth leather with just a bit of shine. Carolina calls this leather treatment Briar Pitstop.

Safety

Loaded with safety features, the 8-inch Model 505 and 6-inch Model 508 styles protect welders, as well as workers in steel mills, oil rigs and construction.

Keeping Sparks from destroying your laces, while protecting the fragile bones of your foot from impact and crushing blows is a foam-lined and leather-wrapped metatarsal guard. They designed this metguard right into the boot. Because it’s not slapped on as an afterthought, there’s no hinge to fall apart and the steel toe gets added protection from wear.

A steel toe boot is susceptible to premature wear around the cap. An extra layer of leather along with the rounded toe design contributes to longevity.

They fit a steel shank for durable support that provides extra protection against sharp objects piercing the sole.

So that you’re protected from electrical hazards Carolina uses an independent lab test to ensure these boots can withstand 18,000 volts at 60hz for a full minute without leakage,

Carolina 505's Vibram Alpha heat resisting outsole
Vibram® Alpha Heat Resisting Outsole

Carolina gives this one the premium Vibram® Alpha Heat Resisting Outsole. Vibram’s TC4 formulation creates a soft tread for comfort and excellent traction on hard wet surfaces, but it’s still durable for long wear. Carolina chose a less aggressive tread design that doesn’t track mud and is ideal for the shop floor.

The soles are oil- and slip-resistant, and this compound even resists damage from contact with hot surfaces and welding debris like rod stubs. 

They even use Kevlar thread to attach the soles so that sparks and hot weld spatter doesn’t destroy the stitching.

Thanks to this welted construction, when these soles finally wear out you can replace them and give new life to your boots. 

To get long life out of the leather uppers, Carolina uses double, triple, and even quadruple stitching in stressed areas. 

Carolina’s speed lacing hooks can be hard on leather laces, often causing breakage. Kevlar laces make an easy fix if this becomes an issue for you. 

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Ultimate Comfort 

Often, the more safety features footwear has the more uncomfortable it is to wear. Especially for long periods of time. Carolina made sure these were comfortable enough to wear right out of the box.

The genuine leather uppers are not stiff like so many less expensive boots. It’s thick and supple with some give to it. 

The toe box is roomy so you don’t feel the toe cap, which is always important for a steel toe boot. 

But what you’ll really notice when you first slide these on is the pillow cushion insole. This layer of memory foam supports your feet in comfort all day long. The insoles are durable but are not made to replace easily. A layer of Radiantex® insulating material under the foam further protects your feet while on hot or cold surfaces.  

Carolina INT LO welding boot
Carolina INT LO No. 508 welding boot

While the top-shelf materials and steel protection adds to its weight—going about 5-1/2 pounds for the 8-inch model and 5-1/4 pounds for the 6-inch—they aren’t uncomfortably heavy. 

While not waterproof, it is quite water resistant thanks to its Goodyear welt construction, quality stitching and excellent materials. It performs even better after waterproofing treatment. It’s more breathable than a fully waterproof boot and the moisture-wicking lining helps to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

It’s so comfortable that most buyers report needing little to no break-in time. 

Availability of sizes and widths can vary, but is generally very extensive, and the fit is true-to-size. Expect to find sizes 4 all the way to 16 in up to four widths including narrow and extra wide. This allows most men and women to find the best fit for a comfortable welding boot that will protect them for years.

Features and Specifications

  • Thick Leather Upper
  • Steel Safety Toe Cap (ASTM F2413-18)
  • Leather-wrapped Foam Lined External MetGuard
  • DRi-LEX® Lining to wick moisture away from foot
  • Memory foam insole (pillow cushion)
  • Radiantex® Insole Board
  • Kevlar® Welt Stitching
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Steel Shank
  • Welt Construction
  • Vibram® Heat Resisting Outsole
  • Union Made in USA
  • Regular (D) Width Boot Weight: 5.56lbs per pair
  • Sizes 4 – 16 in 4 widths
Side view of Carolina INT HI style CA5502 steel toe boot
Carolina INT HI No. CA5502 steel toe boot

INT Hi/Lo Steel Toe Waterproof Broad Toe MetGuard

This is the one for welders struggling to keep their feet dry. With a few differences, the Carolina CA5501 (6-inch) and the CA5502 (8-inch) are waterproof versions of the famous 505/508 styles above. 

You get the same safety and comfort features including: steel toe, metguard, steel shank, EH rating, Kevlar stitching, memory foam insoles, etc. 

But this one gets the ScubaLiner treatment. It’s a seriously waterproof liner that completely blocks outside moisture from getting to your feet. It really works and makes this boot ideal for wet and cold weather, but the liner doesn’t breathe well so it can cause your feet to become overly warm in summer weather.

Beyond the waterproof liner, there are other changes. 

Bottom view of Carolina INT HI style CA5502 outsole
CA5501/CA5502 outsole

First, they do not manufacture this style in the USA. While it’s imported, the workmanship remains high. Plus, you can save $20 to $30. 

Second, the leather is a lighter, medium brown color with a matte finish. They call it Cork Harness leather, and this treatment is a little stiffer than the Briar Pitstop used in the 505/508 styles. However, it breaks in nicely and is very resistant to wear from welding debris. Welders used to replacing cheaper boots twice a year have been thrilled to get years of use from such a comfortable boot.

Next, besides making it warmer to wear, the waterproof liner increases the weight by around 13 ounces per pair. 

Last, the choice of sizes is more limited with this style, especially for small and narrow feet.

Front view of toe of Carolina INT LO style CA5501 boot
Carolina INT LO No. CA5501

Features and Specifications

  • High and low versions
  • Cork Harness Leather Upper in medium brown
  • Steel Safety Toe Cap
  • Heavy Plastic-Dense Foam-Lined External MetGuard
  • Waterproof SCUBALINER™
  • Mesh Lining
  • Pillow Cushion™ Footbed
  • Radiantex® Insole Board
  • Kevlar® Welt Stitching
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Steel Shank
  • Welt Construction
  • Vibram® oil & Heat Resisting Outsole
  • Regular (D) Width Boot Weight: 6.37lbs per pair
  • Imported
Side view of the Carolina METPRO HI No. 579 steel toe boot
Carolina METPRO HI No. 579

MetPro Broad Steel Toe MetGuard Hi/Lo

The MetPro may be the best value for welders in Carolina’s work boot lineup.

For around $80 less than the top-of-the-line INT style (and not much more than far inferior boots), you get excellent protection from welding hazards with a steel toe and shank, a padded metguard, and electrical hazard (EH) rating.

The dark brown Crazy Horse leather is sturdy, with double and triple stitching designed to last in a harsh metalworking environment. They attach the uppers via a welted sole to a nice Vibram heat-resisting work tread, although this one doesn’t get Kevlar stitching. 

Again, the leather is not as pliable as Carolina’s top-shelf Briar Pitstop uppers, so expect more break in time to overcome the initial stiffness. 

While a replaceable polyurethane (PU) footbed provides good support, it’s not as comfortable as the pillow cushion insoles found in Carolina’s premium welding boots.

The Carolina MetPro steel toe work boot comes in heights of 8-inch (Style 579) and 6-inch (Style 599) in sizes from 7 to 14, including two widths.

Bottom view of Carolina METPRO Vibram boot outsole
Carolina METPRO Vibram outsole

Features and Specifications

  • Dark Brown Crazy Horse Leather Upper
  • Steel Safety Toe Cap
  • Heavy Plastic-Dense Foam Lined External MetGuard
  • Moisture-Wicking Taibrelle Lined
  • Removable AG7™ Polyurethane Footbed
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Steel Shank
  • Welt Construction
  • Vibram® Heat-Resisting Outsole
  • Regular (D) Width Boot Weight: 5.67lbs per pair
  • Imported

Related Reading: Best Welding Boots for Comfort and Safety

Side view of
Carolina Foreman No. CA3630 steel toe boot

Foreman Steel Toe 6” External MetGuard 

Here’s a super-comfortable 6-inch steel toe work boot with a foam lined metguard at a price that any welder will appreciate. Carolina’s Foreman is an ideal budget choice for hobbyists or someone on the job site that does more walking than welding, like an inspector or supervisor.

Essentially, this is a foot-protecting work boot built on top of an oil- and slip-resistant athletic shoe with a steel shank. The cemented outsole construction is much more flexible than welted styles. The result is comfortable safety footwear that needs very little break in, but can’t be resoled. 

An ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) footbed is a shock-absorbing rubber-like plastic known for high heat and cold resistance and durability.

Modern cemented outsole technology is excellent, but you shouldn’t expect this construction method to last as long as full-welt styles with heavy use in harsh welding conditions.

The Carolina Foreman No. CA3630 work boot is EH rated and available in sizes 8 to 14 in regular and wide widths.

Bottom view of outsole tread for Carolina CA3630 welding boot
Carolina No. CA3630 outsole

Features and Specifications

  • Copper Crazy Horse Leather Upper
  • Steel Safety Toe Cap
  • Heavy Plastic-Dense Foam Lined External MetGuard
  • Mesh Lining
  • Removable EVA Footbed
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Steel Shank
  • Cement Construction
  • Oil & Slip Resisting Rubber Outsole
  • Imported

Carolina Pull-On Welding Boots

Nothing sheds sparks and spatter better than a clean wellington-style boot made of thick leather for long-lasting protection. 

Welding Terms and Definitions Free Download

I love the easy on and off convenience of these boots and think they’re great for shorter periods of work, say 6 to 8 hours at most. But I’ve never had a pair of pull-on boots that could support my feet for a full 10 to 12 hours as well as a lace-up.

Side view of Carolina No. CA520 INT Wellington steel toe boot
Carolina No. CA520 INT Wellington

INT 10-inch Wellington Steel Toe Metguard

Carolina’s makes its top-of-the-line CA520 Wellington style boot in the USA by union workers in Pennsylvania. They use premium materials including thick and pliable Briar Pitstop leather with a rich, dark brown color. 

Strong loops make donning the boots easy, The pillow cushion memory foam insoles and a split grain pig leather lining cradles your foot in comfort. 

But there’s no sacrificing safety for comfort with these pull-on work boots. Carolina builds in all the protection features a welder could ask for. This boot meets ASTM standards for electrical hazard, compression, and impact. 

Besides the steel toe cap, the style CA520 gets Carolina’s winged D30 internal metguard. Using proprietary technology, Carolina developed this metguard to protect your foot while remaining soft and flexible. This means you can kneel or squat to get in position for a weld without the guard digging into your foot or ankle.

Carolina describes this new metguard as low profile, and in some other styles I would agree. But because of its roomy toe box and steel toe cap, this boot has a tall profile which some may not like. 

Bottom tread of Carolina No. CA520 boot
Carolina No. CA520 outsole

The Vibram 1318 ALPHA+ outsole design channels liquids away to enhance traction on wet flooring. The rubber compound balances softness to absorb shocks and provide grip without giving up on longevity. Thanks to welted construction, you can replace worn out soles to extend the life of your footwear investment.

Carolina even goes to the trouble of securing the treads with heat-resistant Kevlar thread. So sparks or spatter won’t destroy the stitching and cause your soles to fall apart before their time. 

The CA520 is not waterproof, but thanks to upscale materials and workmanship, it is very water resistant. Give them regular treatment with a waterproofing product and they’ll hold up in all but the wettest conditions. 

The fit is true to size. As with any pull-on, they should fit a little snug when new, even to the point of having to struggle to get them on. They will relax a bit as they break in and mold to your foot. If they become too loose, your feet will tire easily from a lack of support.

Front view from toe of Carolina No. CA520
Carolina No. CA520
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Features and Specifications

  • Made in USA
  • Dark Brown
  • Briar Pitstop Leather Upper
  • Steel Safety Toe Cap
  • Winged D3O® Internal MetGuard
  • Pig Split Grain Leather Lining
  • Pillow Cushion™ Insole
  • Radiantex® Insole Board
  • Kevlar® Welt Stitching
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Steel Shank
  • Welt Construction
Side view of Carolina Actuator Comp Toe No. CA8537
Carolina Actuator Comp Toe No. CA8537

ACTUATOR Comp Toe Metguard

For the Actuator No. CA8537, Carolina used a less-bulky carbon composite toe combined with its low profile D30 internal metguard, to create a sleek non-metallic work boot.

While this 11-inch tall boot can handle duty in the welding shop, it has enough style for casual wear.

With Crazy Horse leather uppers, a wide square toe, and Western stitching, this is a great-looking boot. It’s a bit stiffer than the premium Briar Pitstop leather, but overall it’s a very nice treatment that takes just a little longer to break in.

I’m not a fan of the orange tread showing on the edges of the slip-resistant outsole, but a black Sharpie marker quickly resolves this if it’s objectionable to you. Also, be aware the corners of squared-off toes wear faster than a round shape, especially if you do any crawling around on your knees.

This boot incorporates the scubaliner for all-weather protection, although the tread design is better suited for hard surfaces than muddy conditions. While fully waterproof boots can make your feet hot, open-topped wellingtons don’t trap as much heat as lace-ups.

Because this style is constructed with a full welt, new soles can be fitted to extend the footwear’s useful life.

Bottom view of the Carolina Actuator No. CA8537 shows the outsole
Carolina Actuator No. CA8537 outsole

Features and Specifications

  • Brown Crazy Horse Leather Upper
  • Carbon Composite Safety Toe Cap
  • Winged D3O® Internal MetGuard
  • Wide Square Toe
  • Waterproof SCUBALINER™
  • Mesh Lining
  • EVA Midsole
  • Removable Double Tuff Polyurethane Footbed
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Non-Metallic Shank
  • Welt Construction
  • Slip Resistant Rubber Outsole
  • size 8-14, D, 2e
  • Imported
Side view of the Line Builder INT No. CA8533 welding boot from Carolina Shoe.
Line Builder INT No. CA8533

LINE BUILDER INT Aluminum Toe Metguard Wellington

Here’s a fully waterproof alternative to the INT CA520 above that can save you $75-80.

The 12-inch tall Line Builder style CA8533 features heavy dark brown leather and a long-wearing Goodyear outdoor tread, which is securely attached by welted construction.

The clean design doesn’t trap sparks, and this boot meets the ASTM standards important for welding: electrical hazard, impact and compression. 

The aluminum toe cap is lighter than steel, although the polyurethane (PU) metguard is bulkier than Carolina’s more advanced D30 guard.

Since this boot runs slightly narrow, some found a better fit by going with a half size larger.

Bottom view showing the Carolina CA8533 tread pattern
Carolina CA8533 tread

Features and Specifications

  • Dark Brown Crazy Horse Leather Upper
  • Aluminum Safety Toe Cap
  • Polyurethane Internal MetGuard
  • Waterproof SCUBALINER™
  • Mesh Lining
  • Removable AG7™ Polyurethane Footbed
  • Electrical Hazard Rated
  • Triple Rib Steel Shank
  • Welt Construction
  • Goodyear Heavy Duty 150+ Abrasion Outsole
  • Sizes 8-14 in two widths

More About Carolina Welding Boots

Who makes Carolina work boots?

Carolina Shoe, a brand of the H.H. Brown Shoe Company, with roots back to the Double-H Boots brand makes Carolina work boots. In 1991, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. acquired the H.H. Brown Shoe Company, Inc.

Are Carolina work boots any good?

Yes, Carolina uses premium materials and expert construction to offer comfort, safety and durability in all their work boots.

Are Carolina boots resoleable?

Yes, Carolina designs many work boots with welted construction which means worn-out soles can be replaced with new in a process called resoling.

Are Carolina work boots made in the USA?

Yes, many are made in the USA. Union workers, in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, manufacture 28 styles of Carolina work boots in their domestic line.

Dave Jones
 

Dave began welding to repair equipment used in his small business. Now as a hobby, he enjoys researching, testing and writing on welding topics. Other interests include photography, RVing and just about anything to do with dogs—especially retrievers. Reach him at dave@welditu.com.