9 Best Breathable Composite Toe Shoes for Hot Weather Work


Recently I tried 14 different low-top composite toe men’s work shoes. From that group, I compiled the list below of my favorite breathable composite toe shoes based on my own experience with these shoes. The Reebok Fusion Flexweave Shoes were noticeably more breathable than other shoes that I tried – when I hold mine up to the light, I can see through them:

reebok-material

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These are my choices for the best breathable composite toe work shoes for hot weather:

  1. Reebok Fusion Flexweave Composite Toe Work Shoes | Weight 1.01 pounds | (click here to view)
  2. Reebok Sublite Cushion Composite Toe Work Shoes | Weight 0.94 pounds | (click here to view)
  3. Reebok Astroride Strike Work Composite Toe Shoes | Weight 0.99 pounds | (click here to view)
  4. KEEN Utility Flint 2 Low Top Composite Toe Shoes | Weight 1.38 pounds | (click here to view)
  5. Danner Men’s Run Time NMT Shoes | Weight 1.15 pounds | (click here to view)
  6. Carhartt Force Nano Composite Toe Work Shoes | Weight 1.28 pounds | (click here to view)
  7. Caterpillar Men’s Streamline Composite Toe Shoes | Weight 1.26 pounds | (click here to view)
  8. *Women’s Indoor* Reebok Fusion Flexweave Comp Toe Work Shoes (click here to view)
  9. *Women’s Outdoor* KEEN Utility Flint 2 Low Top Composite Toe Shoes (click here to view)

As you can see in the list above, I also listed the weight of the shoes. These weights are based off of one size 12 men’s shoe. I have photos of me weighing the shoes later in the article.

One thing you will need to consider when choosing the right breathable composite toe shoe for work is how durable do you need the shoe to be? Most of these shoes are athletic-style shoes that are lightweight and flexible, but best used for light-duty work on smooth, predictable terrain.

Athletic work shoes won’t hold up in a rugged environment the way a leather work boot can. If you need a low-top breathable composite toe work shoe that has a bit more durability, I would recommend the Keen Flint 2 shoes on the list above. Those shoes have a thick rubber overlay that adds abrasion resistance to the shoe.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the best breathable composite toe shoes so you can find an option that fits your needs. I will use photos of the shoes I own and compare and contrast them as best as I can to help you find the best option. **For steel toe options, visit my article about the best breathable steel toe work shoes.

My Favorite Breathable Composite Toe Shoes

Reebok Men’s Fusion Flexweave Composite Toe Work Shoe

When I tried 14 different low-top composite toe shoes to evaluate them on weight, comfort, breathability, and purpose, these Reebok Fusion Flexweave Composite Toe Shoes were clearly the most breathable. Yes, most types of lightweight, athletic-style work shoes have a breathable design, but these shoes were clearly more breathable than the rest.

To give you an idea of how breathable this shoe is, when I hold it up to the light you can actually see through the shoe:

reebok-material

This is the current price of these Reebok breathable composite toe work shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shoes have a slip-resistant rubber outsole.

The lightweight textile uppers have a specially designed “Flexweave” that allows the shoe to be both breathable and lightweight, but still have enough toughness to survive as a work shoe. These shoes had noticeably better airflow than all the other low-top composite toe shoes that I tried.

reebok-fusion-flexweave-comp-toe-weight

This is a lightweight shoe, but I was a little bit surprised that it wasn’t the most lightweight shoe I tried. Not only does this shoe have that breathable upper, it also has a specially designed foam midsole (called “Floatride”) that is lighter-in-weight than traditional foam. Altogether, I was actually expecting this shoe to measure as the most lightweight, but it did not.

This shoe was actually the fourth lightest-weight composite toe shoe that I tried. This shoe weighs 1.01 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s shoe. Here’s how it compared to the other shoes I tried:

Shoe NameWeight (lbs)Photos
Reebok Sublite Cushion0.94view my photos
Rockport Truflex0.94view my photos
Reebok Astroride Strike0.99view my photos
Reebok Fusion Flexweave1.01view my photos
Timberland PRO Drivetrain1.03view my photos
Danner Run Time1.15view my photos
Kodiak Ramble1.25view my photos
Caterpillar Streamline1.26view my photos
Carhartt Force Nano1.28view my photos
New Balance 5891.32view my photos
KEEN Utility Flint 2 Low1.38view my photos
Skechers Greetah1.60view my photos
Caterpillar Argon1.62view my photos
Kodiak Quest Low1.69view my photos

Regardless of the fact that these Reebok Fusion Flexweave shoes weighed a little bit more than a few other options, I felt like these shoes were clearly the most breathable due to that specially-designed, weaved upper that allows air to pass through. And these shoes still feel very lightweight on my feet – they feel just like an athletic shoe. They are very flexible and responsive:

reebok-fusion-flexweave-comp-toe-flexibility
reebok-fusion-flexweave-comp-toe-side

If you are working in a hot environment, and need a breathable composite toe shoe that won’t trap heat around your foot, this Reebok Fusion Flexweave Shoe is the best option that I have found.

So what are the drawbacks? Well, like all athletic-style work shoes, these shoes are not going to be able to take a beating like a pair of leather work boots can. These shoes are best used for light-duty work on predictable terrain. They aren’t built for rugged outdoor environments, and they also don’t have a raised heel for climbing ladders.

I’ve personally had good experience with Reebok work shoes, but just like athletic shoes, the lightweight foam midsoles are glued to the upper, which helps reduce weight and improve flexibility, but it does call into question the long-term durability of the shoe.

On a positive note regarding durability, these Reebok Fusion Flexweave shoes do have a front toe overlay that helps protect the front fabric of the shoe to help it hold up longer. Here is a look at the toe overlay on my shoes:

reebok-fusion-flexweave-comp-toe-overlay

The main takeaway is these are a great option for those of you doing light-duty work on predictable terrain in the heat. I have not found another low-top composite toe work shoe that is as breathable as these shoes. They also have a moisture-wicking lining that pulls sweat away from your foot.

Click here to buy these Reebok Sublite Cushion breathable composite toe work shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes. This shoe is also available in a women’s version – click here to view the women’s version (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

Other Breathable Composite Toe Shoes to Consider

Reebok Sublite Cushion Composite Toe Work Shoes

Out of the 14 low-top composite toe shoes that I tried, these Reebok Sublite shoes were my favorite composite toe work shoes. Now, to be clear, the Reebok Fusion Flexweave shoes we discussed first were the best breathable composite toe shoes that I tried, but overall I liked these shoes better because they weighed less, have very comfortable memory foam insoles, and were also very breathable.

The memory foam insoles also have groove pods that help relieve stress off the bottom of my foot while I work. In the video below I tried to capture just how comfortable the insoles are:

These shoes weighed in at 0.94 pounds per shoe for a size 12 M, which made them the lightest comp toe shoes (tied) out of all the shoes I weighed. These shoes use microfiber and mesh uppers in combination with foam midsoles to achieve this lightweight design. They also have flex grooves in the outsole to help reduce weight.

The outsole is made of rubber and is slip-resistant. This shoe is best for light-duty work, but it does have a toe overlay for extra abrasion resistance. Compared to the Reebok Fusion Flexweave, I felt like these Reebok Sublite shoes were more comfortable, but the Reebok Fusion Flexweave was more breathable. Both have an athletic, easy-to-wear design.

Click here to buy these Reebok Sublite Cushion breathable composite toe work shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes. This shoe is also available in a women’s version – click here to view the women’s version (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

Reebok Astroride Strike Composite Toe Work Shoes

Noticing a trend? This is yet another Reebok composite toe work shoe. Reebok, in my opinion, makes the best athletic-style work shoes on the market today. When I tested both composite toe and steel toe, they were consistently at the top of both groups regarding weight and comfort for all of their options.

This Reebok Astroride Strike Work Shoe is actually a new and improved version of their original Astroride shoe. This shoe is designed, among other things, to offer more breathability than the original. This shoe is made using a lightweight, breathable mesh upper with a responsive, flexible foam midsole. It is best used for light-duty work.

These Reebok Astroride Strike Shoes use comfortable memory foam insoles, and I think they are slightly more comfortable than the Reebok Fusion Flexweave Shoes we discussed at the top of the article (but the Reebok Fusion Flexweave is more breathable). In the video below I tried to capture just how soft these MemoryTech memory foam insoles are:

Out of the 14 low-top composite toe shoes that I tried, these Reebok Astroride shoes were the third lightest in weight (0.99 pounds per size 12 men’s shoe). Overall, even though I’d recommend the Reebok Fusion Flexweave as the best breathable composite toe shoe, and also like the Reebok Sublite shoes more than this Reebok Astroride Strike Shoe, all of these shoes are very similar and very breathable. This is another great option if you like athletic work shoes.

Click here to buy these Reebok Astroride Strike breathable composite toe work shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes.

KEEN Utility Flint 2 Low Top Composite Toe Work Shoes

Keen is well-known for making hiking-style work shoes that combine a durable build with a comfortable, flexible style. The problem with athletic-style work shoes is they can’t handle rugged work.

And I don’t want to misrepresent these shoes. No, these still won’t be as durable as work boots. But these shoes have a more durable design than an athletic-style low-top work shoe, and might be a nice option for those of you who need a little more toughness out of your work shoe.

Yes, they’re made with breathable mesh on the upper that also has some water-resistant leather mixed in at certain spots to help improve durability. An internal mesh lining wicks away sweat to keep your feet dry.

The toes have double abrasion resistance with a rubber overlay sitting on top of a leather overlay (the heel also has abrasion resistance). Attached eyelets and a gusseted tongue help prevent debris from slipping through the laces. These shoes weigh 1.38 pounds per shoe for a size 12 regular, so with this extra durability does come extra weight.

Overall, if you need a more rugged-style work shoe, these were the most breathable option I could find. They have some toughness, but the mesh on the upper allows heat to escape and provides some relief in the heat.

Click here to buy these Keen breathable composite toe shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes.

Danner Men’s Run Time NMT Shoes

Danner is well-known for making both work boots and hiking shoes, so it is no surprise that they offer athletic style safety-toe shoes. These are NMT shoes (non-metallic toe) that can also function as trail-running shoes. Yes, they have a lightweight design made with textile uppers.

Like the Reebok breathable composite toe shoes we discussed earlier in the article, these Danner shoes are best used for indoor work and other types of light-duty work. This shoe does have a strong toe overlay for abrasion resistance (also has a heel overlay).

The weight of 1.15 pounds does put it behind some of the other shoes on this list as far as weight, but overall I found this shoe to be lighter in weight than the average composite toe shoe that I tried. This is a comfortable shoe that has a breathable design made by a company with a solid reputation for work footwear.

Click here to buy these Danner Run Time Shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes.

Carhartt Force Nano Comp Toe Men’s Work Shoes

Like most other indoor shoes, these shoes are made with breathable textile uppers and a foam midsole to help control weight. They have abrasion resistance on the toe and heel and a gusseted tongue to hold out debris.

The outsole has an athletic style with no raised heel. I like these shoes, but the drawback is they just weigh more than the other indoor shoes on this list (1.28 pounds per size 12 men’s shoe). Even though I love Carhartt and wear a lot of their gear, I struggled to find reasons why I’d buy this shoe over the Reebok shoes on this list.

One thing I think stands out about these shoes in a positive way is the bootie-style collar that allows the shoe to sit very comfortably against the ankle. These shoes also have a moisture wicking lining to help keep your feet dry and have a flexible design that is easy to move around in.

Click here to view these Carhartt breathable composite toe shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes.

Caterpillar Men’s Streamline Comp Toe Work Shoe

I really like these shoes. One huge problem with lightweight composite toe shoes is the large majority of options don’t have a raised heel. Instead, they go for an athletic design to maximize comfort and minimize weight.

For many jobs, that might be fine, but for those of you who spend all day going up and down a ladder, the raised heel can be an added layer of protection against slipping. That’s why I like these Caterpillar Streamline Shoes.

Yes, they still have a lightweight design that can be used indoors, but these shoes have a couple extra features (including a raised heel) that many other breathable composite toe shoes don’t. This allows these Caterpillar Streamline work shoes to fit a wider variety of jobs.

To be clear, this is still a low-profile raised heel – we aren’t talking about an inch heel like you would find on many work boots. So, no, this shoe won’t provide as much slip protection on a ladder that a work boot might, but for some jobs, a squared heel helps, and these Caterpillar Streamline Shoes provide you a raised-heel option that you don’t find in many work shoes.

Click here to view these Carhartt breathable composite toe shoes available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shoes fit true to size. Wide sizing is available for these shoes.

4 Things to Consider When Buying Breathable Composite Toe Shoes

Abrasion Resistance

For many jobs, it is important to have shoes that have extra abrasion resistance on the toe and heel to not only provide a little extra protection to your foot, but also to help the material of the shoe hold up over time. Most (but not all) of the breathable composite toe work shoes on this list have abrasion resistance on the toe.

But it’s important to understand that these breathable composite toe shoes tend to have a weaker overlay, meaning they aren’t as durable. For example, pictured below is the toe overlay on one of my Reebok work shoes. Yes, it helps protect the material, but it isn’t a thick overlay that can take a beating in a rugged environment.

reebok-toe-overlay

That’s why I also included the Keen composite toe shoes on this list that have a more rugged toe overlay:

keen-flint-2-comp-shoe-toe

Tongue Gusset

A gusseted tongue is a tongue that is attached to the shoe not only at the base of the tongue, but also on the side of the tongue. This helps prevent debris and water from slipping through the laces down into the work shoe.

Obviously this is a bit more important for outdoor work, but even most of the indoor work shoes on this list have a gusseted tongue.

Raised Heel

I discussed this earlier, but one issue with wearing low-top breathable composite toe shoes is many styles are built with flat outsoles that don’t have a raised heel. Although flat outsoles can be more comfortable, for some jobs the raised heel can provide extra slip resistance.

caterpillar-streamline-composite-toe-raised-heel

No, you can’t find work shoes that have large, inch-sized heels like work boots, but there are some shoes (like the Caterpillar Streamline shoes on our list) that have a low-profile raised heel that offers some slip protection.

Durability

Lightweight, breathable composite toe shoes may be appealing because they have a comfortable design that allows heat to escape, but these types of shoes lack durability. Textile uppers reduce weight, but they won’t hold up long term like leather composite toe work boot will.

The upper on these types of shoes is attached to the outsole using a glue or cementing material. This also helps reduce weight, but don’t expect glue to hold up forever. Lightweight foam midsoles also reduce weight, but won’t offer long term comfort like a leather or rubber midsole you’d find in a premium work boot.

I say all of that to just remind you that there are pros and cons to using these types of breathable composite toe work shoes, and just make sure they make sense for your job. If you work in a rugged environment, these types of textile shoes are not always a great option.

Most breathable composite toe shoes are best used for light-duty work. If you work in a rugged environment and need a comp toe, perhaps a composite toe hiker work boot might make more sense.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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