It has taken the lion’s share of my career as a deck builder and remodeling contractor to land on a boot style—and price point—that works for me. The combination of features I like is simple: full-grain-leather uppers, rugged sole, 8-inch height, and an unreinforced toe box. (I get the importance of the reinforcement, but a toe that doesn’t flex creates as many problems for me as it solves.)

Because I am equally likely to be using a finish nailer as I am a shovel, chain saw, or tractor, I need boots that can go everywhere and support my skeleton along the way. After months of wearing Georgia Boot’s Carbo-Tec LT waterproof lacer farm and ranch boots, I can say they are super-comfortable. Unlike the soles on some other leather boots, these have a give to them without being lame. Tough thread binds the outsoles to the uppers, and as much as I like a knobby tire tread, this tread is more two-dimensional and doesn’t hold mud like other boots.

Georgia Boot’s Carbo-Tec LT soft-toe, 8-inch work boots are waterproof with full-grain-leather uppers, dual-density, slip-resistant outsoles, and removable polyurethane foam insoles.

I found these boots to be fully supportive—something I can feel (and appreciate) during and at the end of the day. As an amateur doctor, I lay the blame for lots of aches and pains not on age (yet) but on boots that have outstayed their welcome; boots don’t need to be torn up to be used up. And the manufacturer’s waterproof/breathable claim is legit. I plod through a lot of puddles and wet grass, and my feet stay dry, the boots don’t smell, and my feet aren’t wrinkled at the end of the day.

After a few months of hard wear, the author discovered that the rubber heel counter was starting to separate from the leather upper on one of the boots.

The Carbo-Tec has a hard rubber heel, part of the boot’s heel-stabilizing feature. After a hundred miles or more of work, this intersection of materials is where my boots are beginning to show signs of failure. That said, all boots wear out, whether developing holes or becoming less supportive (while leather boots don’t delaminate like hikers, they do stretch over time and the foot can slosh around a little in there; a problem for the way my body works, possibly not for others). Even so, I’m happy to give Georgia Boot Carbo-Tecs a high grade. They come in medium and wide versions and in pull-on and steel-toe variations too. They have done all the things I need my boots to do, at a price point ($190) that is pretty awesome for the amount of boot you get.

Photos by Mark Clement