Roofing Shoes: What are the BEST Shoes to wear on a Roof?

If you have to climb up on your roof safety must come first and with that in mind, you want to ensure you have appropriate footwear to minimise the chance of slipping off your roof.

Volley roofing shoes
Volley classics – ideal roofing shoe commonly used in Australia

What makes a good roofing shoe?

In Australia, the main thing to ensure when considering what shoes to wear on your roof, is that the shoe has the maximum surface area.

What I mean by this is the base of the shoe should be flat and when placed on the roof the whole sole of the shoe should be touching the surface of the roof.

In addition to this, you want to ensure that the sole is made out of rubber rather than synthetic as the rubber provides more grip.

Side and sole of the volley roofing shoe
Above is an example of a flat rubbery sole that will provide maximum grip.

Shoes such as hiking boots are not ideal as the bottom of the shoe has ridges in them, which is great if you’re climbing rocks though not for roofs as this ridge-type profile means there is minimal surface area touching the roof which translates into less grip.

What shoes to avoid

Roofing shoes to avoid

Other types of shoes you should avoid include:

  • golf shoes
  • footy or soccer boots
  • heavy work boots
  • thongs or crocs
  • Ugg boots or slippers

What is the best roofing shoe?

In my opinion, in Australian climates, the best shoe, and the most common shoe I’ve seen whilst working in the trade are Volleys.

Rubber sole and roofing screw
The herringbone rubber sole grips the screw heads well on metal roofs

The large flat rubber sole with its flexible profile provides a much better grip whilst walking on the roof, especially on metal roofs which can be much harder to walk on compared to tiles.

Flat sole of shoe ideal for roofing
Example of the ideal flat sole of a roofing shoe

The Dunlop classic volleys are great though there are also volleys with steel caps built in if required.

Where can you buy Volleys from?

Volley roofing shoes in box

Although I’ve seen volleys at the likes of BigW, these days you can buy them online or alternatively you can pop into your local trade wear shop which usually has a great range of sizes and different types to choose from.

If you’re keen to buy them online then click the link below to be taken to a page that contains a list of different roofing shoes you can buy with direct links to websites you can buy them from.

See also: Shop for Roofing Shoes

How much do volleys or roofing shoes cost?

If you’re buying volleys, these will cost anywhere from $45 – $70, depending on the type you get (e.g. steel caps will cost more than the standard pair)

If you’re looking at other brands of shoes, then the price can vary all the way up to $150-$200 a pair.

How long do volleys last?

I’ve found that from working full-time on a roof in Australia, you’ll get anywhere from 6-9 months.

Do I need the steel cap roofing shoes?

Whether you need steep cap shoes will depend on where you’re working and the OHS requirements of that site, hence if you’re unsure, best to check with your employer or the site supervisor.

What is the best colour shoe to get?

This comes down to personal preference, though believe it or not, I’ve tried both the black and white volleys and have found that in the aussie climate the white volleys don’t attract as much heat as the white volleys especially when you’re working on metal roofs in the sun all day.

What other types or brands are there?

Flat sole for walking on the roof
Vans skate shoe is another good alternative roofing shoe

Based on the principle of what makes a good roofing shoe, that being a flat-shaped sole with maximum surface area, then there are a number of other shoes that fit this criteria.

Puma shoe
Example of the Puma shoe

The most common types are skate shoes or running shoes (aka sneakers). When it comes to skate shoes, the Vans brand is pretty popular along with Nike, Puma and Addidas (although these can get quite expensive).

Consider two pairs

It’s also not uncommon for roof plumbers to have two pairs of shoes, one for wearing around on the building site or on flat roofs with another clean pair that they only wear when they get up on a pitched roof ensuring this pair is free from any dust and dirt and has maximum dust. 

Therefore, if you can afford it and if you’re often working on steep metal roofs this shouldn’t definitely be a consideration.

How about magnetic roofing shoes?

You may have heard of magnetic shoes for working on metal roofs. In theory, these sound great, though from my experience I didn’t rate them due to the fact that the magnets would also pick up metal filings and swarf.

When working on colorbond roofs (which most roofs are in Australia), I found that the metal filings would then scratch the roof or even worse become a slipping hazard.

Some brands provide a magnet you can use to get metal fillings or swarf off your shoes though I found this a hassle more than anything.

What shoes are best for tiled roofs?

Although tiled roofs aren’t considered as slippery as metal roofs (or colourbond roofs) it’s still important that you choose a shoe that provides the maximum grip. With this in mind, I would still be recommending Volleys for tiled roofs too.

What roofing shoes are good for wet roofs?

I’ll be straight up here and say no shoes are good for a wet roof. No matter how well your shoes grip a roof in the rain, that will quickly change when the roof is wet.

Final thoughts

I hope you found this useful, and as always, if you do have to get up on your roof please ensure you take all the necessary safety precautions whilst walking around on your roof.

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