Our Favorite Workwear and Gear That Actually Holds Up
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Most regular clothing and gear can’t stand up to the abuse of the jobsite. If the DIYer in your life has all the tools he or she needs, think about giving the gift of some new workwear or safety equipment. Check out these suggestions from our editors!
Designed to be as comfortable as their iconic hiking boots, this pair of work shoes from Keen Utility doesn’t sacrifice comfort and style for safety. With asymmetrical steel toes, slip-resistant rubber outsoles and a footbed made for support and comfort, you’ll never want to take these boots off—even when you’re done working! See more work boots we love here.
Lined with 6-ounce polyester insulation that is completely machine washable, this pair of Tough Duck overalls are perfect for anyone that likes to work outside—no matter how cold it is. This workwear also features a seam-sealed waterproof seat, waterproof double knees and double front legs for the ultimate in durability and warmth.
The Ergodyne Pro-Flex Work Glove has a unique feature: a waterproof membrane insert designed to block moisture and cold. The fingertips are reinforced with suede and the gloves have an extended neoprene cuff to fit beneath your jacket sleeves. The workwear cuff can be tightened with the hook-and-loop closure for an extra-secure fit.
These 9-inch boots from Georgia Boot have 1,000 grams of Thinsulate insulation in every boot, including a pile of non-compressed insulation at the toe area. They are “Goodyear Welt constructed,” which means an extra piece of leather is stitched around the base of the shoe and is cemented to the insole. Long story short: these boots are warm and very hard to destroy.
This flannel from Duluth Trading will instantly become your favorite work shirt. It features hidden underarm gussets and a bi-swing back, which means you can twist and stretch without feeling restricted or ripping the seams. Best of all this flannel is soft and super-comfortable.
Stay warm and keep the sun out of your eyes with Carhartt’s new knit hat with visor. USA-made of acrylic rib knit, this one will stay on your head no matter the conditions and looks pretty fly, too.
You’ll be more likely to use eye and ear protectors if they’re readily accessible, so why not keep them together—better yet, why not buy a pair of safety glasses that has built-in earplugs? These ReadyMax SoundShield safety glasses are equipped with a pair of earplugs that tuck into the ends of the earpieces/temples. Pull the plugs out of the earpieces when your work gets loud, and yank them back in with the retractable string when it quiets down a bit. These are perfect for construction, hunting or just cutting up wood in the garage. There are various styles to choose from—some glasses are tinted, some clear—and replacement earplugs are available.
Instead of bulking up with many layers, stay warm with this battery-operated heated jacket by Milwaukee. It warms you up with heat zones in the front and back and uses the smaller 12-volt battery in Milwaukee’s line so you’re not hauling around a big battery. Get the kit for the cost of a nice winter jacket ($185) on Amazon.
Make sure you’re ready for the cold with this Winter checklist: 15 things every homeowner should do before winter.
These mittens are great, not only do they fit somewhat like a glove, but they are comfortable, tough, water resistant and, best yet, warm. The inside of the mittens pairs up the index and middle finger and gives the ring and pinkie their own compartment. You can pick up lumber and actually carry bigger tools to the job site with some dexterity. You’re not going to be picking up dimes or nickels off the sidewalk, but that’s not a job for mittens anyway. They’re so good that they usually sell out before the season ends, so order early.
These gloves for auto repair will help protect you from working with hazardous materials.
Ropes work great to secure tarps, but tying secure knots with the right tension can be tricky. The CamJams from Nite Ize have come to the rescue. Now all you have to do is anchor one end of the cord, run the other end through the CamJam; clip the CamJam to a grommet, and pull the cord—nothing could be easier! Next, check out our expert tips for hauling stuff here.
Work at a place that requires steel-toe boots? Then listen up. Wolverine just introduced a new boot that’s much more comfortable but still offers solid impact protection.
CarbonMAX boots have a protective cap composed of millions of tiny carbon nanotubes that are combined in a honeycomb pattern. The result is steel-like impact protection with much less weight and thickness. A lighter and thinner cap translates to a more comfortable boot. Next, check out more work wear for DIYers here.
What’s the worst part about working outside on a hot day? We think it’s the sweaty clothes that stick to your body, and the dirt and filth that stick to your sweaty clothes.
Dickies has introduced a shirt that can help. It’s called the Next Generation Work Shirt, and it’s made from a newly engineered fabric that wicks moisture away from your body. It also stretches more and has soil-releasing properties. Maybe best of all, it’s still durable like other Dickies work shirts. Next, take a look at some of the other stuff we’re buying on Amazon this month.
If you’ve never loved wearing a tool belt, check out Blaklader work pants. They have pouches and loops for tools, screws or whatever. And, the pockets over the knees hold foam pads. Blaklader, a Swedish company, has been making work wear for 50 years and is just now starting to catch on here in North America.
It makes pants from tough to nearly indestructible, as well as shirts, hats, vests, jackets and even a work kilt! The clothing is available online and at some stores. Get these pants on Amazon now.
When you’re trailering heavy equipment such as a Bobcat skid steer, you need to secure it with long, heavy-duty straps. Often you I have to pull 20 ft. worth of strap out of the ratchet, thread it through the tie-down loop and then pull most of the strap back through the ratchet. It’s irritating. That’s why Gear Armour’s Side Loading Ratchets are so great.
Instead of pulling the entire length of strap in and out of the ratchet, the side of the ratchet housing swings away so you can load the strap into the ratchet at any point along the length of the strap. Pick up Gear Armour Ratcheting Straps at home centers and online in various lengths and load capabilities.
If you’ve ever been inside a hospital, you’ve seen booties like these. They’re handy at home, too, especially if you’re a DIYer. Use them if you’re coming inside and your boots are muddy. Keep them around when you’re painting to be sure you won’t track paint into another room. Have a few at the door to your shop to prevent sawdust footprints in the house. You get the picture. You can pick some up at any home center, usually in the paint department, for less than a dollar a pair. Next, check out our best tips for working in the cold.
Wool is great as a base layer because it wicks away moisture to keep you dry, and it’s odor resistant so you can wear it a few times without sending it through the wash. For about $75, you can get this LAPASA base layer top and bottom set. It comes in Men’s or Women’s c
Don’t forget about these tasks to prepare for a cold winter: 12 things homeowners neglect every winter.
Reinforced knees on your bib overalls make them last longer, but why are there holes at the bottoms of the reinforcement? Turns out there are two good reasons for it.
One, when the top layer of fabric gets a hole in it, debris collects inside, and the opening lets you clean it out. And two, you can slide knee pads, like these Soft Knees from Working Concepts Inc., into that space. So, as long as you’re wearing my bibs, you don’t have to mess with my uncomfortable strap-on knee pads. The foam pads are easy to install, and if you don’t wash your overalls in hot water, you don’t have to remove the pads until it’s time for a new pair of bibs.
You have to wear hearing protection much of the time in the shop. Why not make it entertaining by listening to music instead of the drone of power tools in the background? Especially when you’re sanding or planing wood for an hour or two. It even makes other tedious tasks like mowing or leaf blowing less painful. Learn everything you need to know about hearing protection here.
If you spend a lot of time working and playing outdoors in the winter, good gloves are a must. These Kinco insulated work gloves really stand up to the test. Even sled-dog mushers swear by them. The pigskin palms are very tough and don’t get stiff after they’ve been wet. The insulated lining works surprisingly well, and the cloth back lets your hands breathe. They’re available with safety cuffs (easier to slide on) or elastic cuffs (keeps snow out better). Next, see five more pieces of work wear that will keep you warm in winter.
There are lots of stinky, hazardous stuff in the shop that you shouldn’t be inhaling. Contact cement, polyurethane, lacquer, etc. Dust masks will do absolutely nothing to keep that stuff from your lungs. A charcoal filter respirator will. In fact you won’t even detect these odors when you’re wearing one. Here’s another tip. If you have pet messes to clean up, you can skip the “gag” factor by wearing your respirator!