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Work Boots

Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boots – A Detailed Review

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Rating : 8.6/10
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Performance Breakdown


Bottom Line

With a waterproof construction and steel toe protection, the Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot comes with the strength to effortlessly take on your job’s demands.


  • Moc toe design has more space for toes to move
  • Upper material is more flexible and comfortable
  • Soft and flexible outsole
  • Premium construction – stylish even for casual attire


  • Outsole has limited traction
  • Upper construction may not be that durable


Full-grain leather

Type of Toe

Yes – steel toe


4lb / 1.81kg / 63.85oz



Shaft Size

6 inches


Extra comfort

Boot type

Steel Toe



Safety certifications


Price range

$119.99 to $300.00


One of the first things that stood out with the Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is how tough it looked, but upon closer inspection, I realized that it can be enjoyed just as effortlessly as a casual footwear choice. The boot comes with a ruggedly handsome silhouette that will give you a clear idea of what you can expect in terms of protective features, providing you with the assurance that your foot will enjoy an enhanced level of safety as you concentrate on the assigned tasks in your work area. While it may not be the most comfortable pair of work boots that you’ll encounter, it’s guaranteed to guard against safety hazards that you may be exposed to around your workplace while maintaining a durable structure that you can count on to deliver a host of benefits for long-term use.


The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is equipped with steel toe caps that keep your foot safe from being crushed severely when impact and compression dangers accidentally roll or fall onto your boot. It offers a secondary level of protection against electrocution in case you’re exposed to live electrical sources in dry conditions so you can be safe from this hazard. The waterproof leather upper works in tandem with the exclusive Waterproof PRO construction to stop water and other fluids from seeping into the boot to guarantee your foot’s superior dryness even when you’re in an area exposed to a significant amount of moisture. Reflective piping is fitted into the exterior of the heel area so that the boot can more easily be seen in low-light conditions, making it much safer for you to work as you can easily be seen. The insole is designed to bring a comfortable experience by providing a higher energy return to keep you going through the most challenging parts of your workday. The outsole comes with strong traction and is designed with a 90-degree heel for added stability on problematic surfaces. It should be noted that this boot is slightly difficult to put on and remove because of the way it’s constructed, so it may not be the best option for those who want the boot-wearing process to be as effortless as possible. We’ll go further into detail about the boot’s qualities below to see which ones stand out the most and which can be modified for improved performance.

To keep your foot protected in tough surroundings, this work boot works double-time for your safety while delivering a comfortable experience at the same time.

Ideal For

  • Slippery environments that require boots with strong traction
  • People who prefer rugged work boots that can be used with casual wear
  • Harsh work settings that need waterproof boots with steel toes


Performance Analysis


The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is equipped with features designed to bring superior comfort. However, with the way it’s constructed, the boot only managed to deliver a moderately comfortable experience prior to a lengthy break-in period, even with the exclusive technology used to provide more than ample cushioning. This 4LR technology consists of a four-layer footbed that works to surround the foot with the padding it needs to be able to resist discomfort, especially when the boot has been used for long hours without rest breaks in between a multitude of tasks. I appreciated how this fully cushioned footbed helped me avoid dealing with pressure spots that could have easily turned into blisters. The insole is designed to bring back a high rebound for maximum agility while preventing extreme discomfort from setting in even with my repetitive movements.

I liked the generous padding on the collar that worked to embrace my calf while cushioning this area, so I was spared from the need to deal with painful chafing on this specific part. The padded tongue worked to save the top of my ankle from discomfort but did little to ease the discomfort in the instep portion, which had a rigid structure that repeatedly dug into the top of my foot with most of my movements.

A longer break-in period will be needed to soften this part. Another component that contributed to the discomfort was the inflexible outsole that made some movements much more difficult, but this may be a small sacrifice to make, as the inflexibility may be a plus in terms of the outsole’s durability.



I expected this boot to be quite heavy given the premium construction and rugged silhouette. The boot had a comforting heft that at times made it easier for me to navigate tricky surfaces because the weight made the boot feel more stable as it had a firmer grip on the ground. The steel toe caps probably added a significant amount to the boot’s total weight, which I believe is a small price to pay considering the level of enhanced protection that the safety toes bring against severe foot injuries in case heavy or large objects suddenly fall on the boot from an elevated position.



The boot’s outsole is oil- and slip-resistant so you can be sure it will help you maintain your steady stance as you’re walking on wet or uneven floors or ground conditions. It offers strong traction that made it so much easier for me to walk quickly on various surfaces without losing my stability, even when the floors looked too slippery for me to be able to go over them confidently while avoiding a slipping accident. The outsole often felt too rigid, so some movements were difficult to make because the outsole didn’t flex enough to accommodate my foot’s actions, and as a result caused discomfort as well. However, the inflexibility of the outsole may turn out to be an advantage when it comes to durability, as it’s more likely to resist structural damage when used frequently in demanding settings.


Fit and Sizing

This boot is true to size and comes with a snug fit that can be reassuring for those who feel increased security with snug-fitting boots.

However, this fit can be uncomfortable for people who have wide feet, and for those used to wearing relaxed fit boots that come with extra space for the foot to be able to wiggle when needed.

The lace-up design allows you to change the way the boot fits so you can enjoy enhanced foot comfort and stability to be able to work on the most important tasks without worrying about a wobbly or too-tight pair of boots.



This boot is built with a waterproof full-grain leather upper that won’t allow water and other liquids from getting into the boot. The exclusive Waterproof PRO construction enhances the leather upper’s water protection so you can be sure that your feet won’t be bothered by extreme moisture when you need to work or walk on wet or waterlogged areas for extended periods. This boot’s reliable waterproof power made it possible for me to work continuously in wet conditions without worrying too much that my feet would be soaked through at the end of my shift.



The interior of the boot is augmented with a mesh lining that allows air to move unhampered within so that heat and moisture accumulation can quickly be dispersed before having the chance to build up to extreme warmth for your foot. Even when I wore the boot for the entire day without too many rest periods in between tasks, my foot stayed comfortable and dry and I didn’t need to suffer from uncomfortably sweaty feet all day long.


Quality and Durability

The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is equipped with steel toe caps that act as protective barriers against compression and impact dangers that may otherwise cause severe injuries.

The waterproof leather upper and waterproof construction ensure you’ll be able to maintain a comfortably dry foot environment even when your tasks require you to stay in wet areas for long periods. A reflective material is placed on the heel area to make it easier for the boot – and you – to be seen in low-light conditions for increased safety when you’re working at night or in other settings where visibility can be compromised.

This boot comes in a classic lace-up design that allows you to easily modify the fit to the one that feels most secure and comfortable. The metal eyelets and speed hooks are designed to help you do the fit adjustments without too much effort, allowing you to quickly finish the task so you can start the activities that matter the most. These metal components are built to last so you won’t need to worry about these parts breaking easily even with heavy or frequent boot use with constant fit alterations. The breathable mesh lining wards sweat away from your skin and helps disperse built-up heat so the boot’s interior can maintain its cool and fresh environment even when you’re working in extremely warm surroundings for extended periods. The lightweight shank adds support underfoot to help you sustain your stability while walking on challenging surfaces so you can move with more confidence without compromising your safety. The heavy-duty outsole is slip-resistant and provides powerful traction to prevent accidental slipping on slippery and uneven ground conditions. However, this outsole comes with an inflexible structure so it can cause some movement difficulties and discomfort, especially when the boot is used for long hours at a time. The 90-degree heel helped me maintain my steady footing when navigating uneven surfaces and when going up and down ladders, so I was able to move more safely in these tricky settings.


Other Versions

The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot has a previous version – the Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot – that comes with almost exactly the same features. The previous version just had more synthetic canvas portions on the upper – compared to the Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot that only had that canvas part on top of the collar and came with the reflective piping (that was not present with the first version). Both versions are available in dark brown.


The Challengers

Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot

The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is a good alternative if you’re looking for a durable waterproof safety toe work boot with a little more flexibility on the ankle area. This earlier version comes with a larger area made with durable synthetic nylon – which is wrapped around the ankle area. This material results in the ankle portion becoming more flexible, allowing more natural mobility to be enjoyed in this portion without a rigid material hampering movements. The earlier version similarly comes with the waterproof construction to keep your feet dry and comfortable in challenging environments, as well as the steel toe protection for maximum protection against compression and impact threats. However, this previous version of the Groundbreaker II doesn’t have the reflective piping along the heel area, so it doesn’t offer the increased visibility of the first boot we reviewed.

Wolverine Tarmac Work Boot

The Wolverine Tarmac Work Boot is an impressive choice that will address your needs for a work boot that can provide increased visibility in low-light conditions. This boot comes with a reflective wrap fitted for high visibility that can increase your safety when working in dark settings, such as on tarmacs or on the roads at night. An ultra-light EVA midsole works to provide nonstop support and acts as a reliable shock absorber to prevent foot fatigue while maintaining a low-profile structure that doesn’t add much to the total boot weight. The cushioned footbed is designed to conform to the shape of your foot for customized comfort that you can enjoy for the entire day. The waterproof full-grain leather works along with the waterproof construction to stop water from entering the boot to ensure long-lasting foot dryness even in the most challenging surroundings.

Wolverine Floorhand Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot

The Wolverine Floorhand Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot comes in a traditional work boot silhouette that looks at home in various work environments but can blend in just as nicely with clothing options for more relaxed settings. It has a waterproof leather upper that exudes a quiet elegance that can discreetly jazz up your outfit while providing superior protection against water so it won’t be able to seep into the boot’s interior, ensuring you can enjoy comfortable foot dryness until the end of the workday. The fully cushioned footbed is designed to mold to the contours of the foot for remarkable comfort that also eases pressure spots to prevent blisters from forming, especially when the boot is used for extended periods. The rugged rubber outsole comes with deep treads that offer strong traction to protect you against slipping accidents when walking on wet or uneven ground conditions indoors and outdoors.

Magnum Stealth Force 6.0 Leather Safety Boot

The Magnum Stealth Force 6.0 Leather Safety Boot offers exceptional comfort while ensuring that your foot will also enjoy superior protection at the same time. It comes with composite toe caps that will keep the toes and the top part of the foot protected from grave injuries when heavy objects such as tools or machinery accidentally roll or fall from a great height onto your boot. A composite puncture-resistant plate protects your foot from being pierced by sharp objects that you may accidentally step on. These composite components are much lighter compared to their metal counterparts so you can enjoy maximum protection without the heaviness and bulk that you can expect from steel toe caps or puncture plates. The boot’s insole is made with slow recovery foam that molds to your foot’s contours for supreme comfort you’ll enjoy for the better part of the day.

Caterpillar Excavator LT 6-Inch Waterproof Work Boot

The Caterpillar Excavator LT 6-Inch Waterproof Work Boot combines the toughness of heavy-duty work boots with the comfort that you can expect from sneakers. It’s a waterproof boot that can keep your foot dry and comfortable even with exposure to water and other liquid substances in the work area. The contoured last surrounds the foot with outstanding cushioning while making the toe box more spacious so you can enjoy remarkable foot comfort for long hours at a time. The footbed provides generous cushioning while keeping the foot fully supported to prevent foot fatigue from interfering with your mobility. The pronounced rubber toe bumper protects this area from abrasion while reinforcements on both the heel and toe areas increase the boot’s resistance against hazards in the environment that can lead to premature damage. The robust outsole comes with powerful traction to keep you steady on your feet as you navigate tricky surfaces around the workplace.

Conclusion & Verdict

The Ariat Groundbreaker 6-Inch II Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot is a superb choice for those who are after durable and waterproof work boots with steel toe protection. The premium materials and construction ensure that the boot can be used for a long time while resisting premature damage. The outsole provides strong traction to prevent slipping on tough surfaces but can be inflexible due to the heavy-duty construction, so this component can make movements more difficult to manage. These boots are also quite challenging to put on and remove because of the way they’re constructed, so they may not be the best choice if you prefer complete convenience when it comes to the boot-wearing experience. However, they can be maximized not only with workwear but also with casual wear and few would notice that you’re wearing rugged work boots.


Luke Davis

Luke is the lead author on He has a vast experience in construction engineering and project management in California and Texas, where he had the chance to put to test a wide range of safety boots and PPE. Outside work, Luke is an avid hiker and not surprisingly a DIY fanatic!