Repairing automotive and machinery is a challenging and risky job. To perform their jobs safely, mechanics wear aprons, coveralls, goggles, gloves, kneepads, and other personal protective equipment.
Of course, our choice of mechanic footwear also is just as crucial in preventing accidents, and that’s what this article is about.
Although technicians and mechanics are free to choose between lace-up, pull-on, and sneaker-like shoes, it is worth noting that the best mechanic work boots must have these three safety features:
- Non-slip outsoles: The paint, grease, and other automotive fluids can get into the floor and make it slippery, putting mechanics at greater risk of slipping and falling. These accidents can lead to fractures or even death, but you can prevent them by wearing work boots with ASTM-rated oil-resistant outsoles.
- Electric Hazard Protection: Since mechanics operate plug-in equipment and work near live wires, EH-rated or static-dissipating technician boots are essential. Note that these two types of protection are different.
EH-rated footwear creates a formidable shield against the floor and blocks the current from traveling to your body. Meanwhile, static-dissipating shoes prevent the build-up of electricity.
- Protective toe caps: Work boot brands use steel, alloy, and composite toe caps. Several mechanics still wear traditional alloy and steel-toe boots as they offer the highest level of protection against the impact of falling and rolling objects. Meanwhile others prefer the lightweight composite caps. In any case, it is best to consult your employer, as they may have specific recommendations.
Read on to know about some well-made work boots worn by most mechanics workers. Also, check out the tips for choosing your own good pair.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Work Boots for Mechanics
- Factors to Consider When Buying Mechanic Work Boots
7 Best Work Boots for Mechanics
1. CAT Footwear Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot
Although it is not explicitly advertised as Diesel mechanic boots, the Second Shift offers everything I need to work safely in the repair shop.
For starters, electrical hazard protection can safeguard against 600 volts of open circuits. Not to mention, it has ASTM-rated steel toe caps and slip-resistant outsoles.
I do not doubt that these boots can last long given that they are built using Goodyear welt construction. When the rubber outsoles start to lose their traction due to wearing, I can get them re-soled. Furthermore, the uppers are made of waterproof full-grain leather to keep my feet dry under wet conditions.
Despite looking tough and having steel in them, I’m amazed that these boots are light and comfy. Moreover, their footbeds are soft and shock-absorbent, making them excellent for extended walking and standing on concrete.
Given all these features, I think they are also apt for factory work, as well as construction and utility jobs.
So far, the only drawback is that the size of the boots runs half-size larger, but they fit me better when I put on thicker socks.
2. Skechers 77143 Burgin-Tarlac Boot
Out of all the boots for machinist I reviewed, the Burgin-Tarlac is probably the most affordable. Its price point is perfect for workers on a tight budget or new in the industry.
Like traditional work boots, these feature ASTM-rated steel toe caps and electrical hazard protection. Plus, their outsoles are grippy, enabling me to walk on greasy flooring without slipping.
But their puncture-resistant insole design is what sets them apart from their competitors. Since the workshop can sometimes get messy, I am at ease knowing that my boots can shield my feet against sharp objects.
Another reason why I love these boots is they are comfortable. I only spent a day breaking them in. Moreover, they come with memory foam footbeds that mold to my feet.
Besides that, they fit slightly wider to allow my toes to rest in their natural shape. Even if I work overtime, I can walk, stand, and kneel without discomfort.
Nevertheless, I’ve worn these boots long enough to see some laws. I noticed they lacked waterproofing to keep my feet dry when I walked in the rain.
3. Carhartt CMF6366 Rugged Flex Composite Toe Boot
Aptly named the “Rugged Flex,” these are the most comfortable work boots I have ever had. In particular, I like that they feature shock-absorbing midsoles to help reduce fatigue, especially since I’m always on my feet at work.
Even though the uppers are made of heavy-duty leather, I’m impressed that they can flex effortlessly as I move. Not to mention, the break-in period was fast and easy.
Like most Carhartt boots, this one can prevent sweat build-up thanks to their moisture-wicking lining called the FastDry technology—no more stinky feet! While they are not touted as waterproof boots, I’m surprised they managed to block moisture effectively.
But what makes these boots ideal for auto mechanics is that they have chemical-, oil-, and slip-resistant outsoles, which keeps me surefooted when walking on greasy flooring or climbing ladders. Moreover, they are designed with composite toe caps and electrical hazard safety that meets the ASTM standards.
Overall, these boots are quite durable. It has been a year since I have been wearing them, yet none of the components appear to have worn down. Besides that, they are true to size so I never had issues buying this pair online.
However, the insoles feel flat and lack arch support. Because of this, I had to replace them with my go-to footbeds.
4. ROCKROOSTER Work Boot
What I love about Chelsea boots, in general, is that I can slip my feet on and off easily. Without the shoelaces, I can clean them up a lot faster than with lace-up boots. Aside from that, the style and functionality is quite versatile.
These static-dissipative work boots for mechanics have hard-wearing steel toe caps to protect my feet against falling objects. At the same time, the TPU outsoles help me march safely on slippery floors.
Between the insoles and outsoles, built-in steel shanks retain the footwear’s structure and prevent the soles from bending when I climb ladders.
Regardless of the weather, the CoolMax technology provides insulation during colder days while also keeping my feet cool when it’s hot. But my favorite feature is the Comfort Memo insole since they also have ample arch support.
However, the brand’s size chart is confusing for me. When I checked user reviews, I saw some saying that their pull-on work boots run small while others say they are large. I ended up getting one that is a bit tight. Luckily, the seller was kind enough to replace mine.
5. ORISATCO 907 Steel Toe Boot
Unlike the conventional shoes for automotive technicians, this pair from ORISATCO looks more like athletic shoes. Since they are made of synthetic fabrics, these work boots are significantly lighter and more breathable.
Since it can get extremely hot in garages and repair shops, the manufacturer added a special type of textile lining that enables the footwear to keep my feet cool during summer and warm during winter.
While it may not be obvious from the outside, these work boots have dependable steel toe caps against falling objects. Aside from that, the slip-resistant outsoles give me better control when walking on wet and greasy flooring. Plus, the midsoles can resist punctures, protecting me underfoot as I walk on debris.
Unfortunately, the factory shoelaces are too short to tie a secure knot. I had to buy laces from another brand. Apart from that, the boots do not have static-dissipative or electrical hazard safety ratings. But this is not a big deal. I normally wear them when I don’t use plug-in machinery.
However, they cost half the price of the ones from high-end work boot brands. For the money I spent, I got pretty much all the basic features I need.
6. Redback UBOK Easy Escape Work Boot
Most users often compare Easy Escape with Snap-on Footwear’s slip-on boots because they look similar. But in my view, I like the former better for auto mechanic jobs.
These boots boast TPU outsoles that surpass the OSHA requirement for oil- and slip-resistant footwear. I always maintain my balance when I walk on slick, wet surfaces.
This Australian brand takes pride in creating these out of full-grain leather measuring 2.5 mm to 2.7 mm thick, making them more hardwearing than traditional work boots.
Plus, the oil-tanned animal skin minimizes cracking and hardening. I’ve been wearing them every day yet they have not shown any sign of wearing after nearly five years.
With the combination of air cushion midsoles and anatomic soles, these slip-on mechanic boots provide support and comfort for prolonged periods of walking. Take it from me—I no longer suffer from severe foot fatigue after a long shift.
The absence of steel toe caps makes them lighter. Moreover, I can bend over or kneel without any hard material rubbing or pinching my feet.
It is worth noting that this brand is probably the only one of the few that offers the widest range of shoe sizes. Other shoe companies only make up to size US 14, while Redback has size US 16.
However, I just do not like that I always have pebbles and dirt get stuck in the treads.
7. Danner Vicious Composite Toe Work Boot
With nearly a decade of experience in boot-making, Danner is among the brands I recommend to workers looking for work boots for concrete work, roofing, manufacturing, or other industrial jobs. At the same time, they have a couple of models most consider as good mechanic boots. This includes the Vicious.
Considering that my daily routine involves long periods of standing and walking, I bought these boots to try out their Vibram outsoles.
In addition to the oil- and slip-resistant lugs, they also have low-profile 90-degree heels. This enables me to maintain my balance when I plod on slippery flooring and move up and down the ladder. I also like that the toe cap’s composite materials are why the shoes are pretty lightweight.
These boots are comfortable from the get-go even though they are constructed from tough full-grain leather. They can reduce the impact on my feet and prevent fatigue thanks to the shock-absorbing EVA midsole and cushioned insoles. Plus, they have ample room for my toes to spread naturally.
Their GORETEX waterproof lining is also impressive since they effectively block out moisture.
That said, let me point out that my feet tend to get warm, especially during hot summer. I think they are more appropriate for winter.
Factors to Consider When Buying Mechanic Work Boots
Auto-mechanics and elevator technicians would crouch and crawl while performing specific tasks. If you are one of them, you will need work boots with uppers and soles to move your feet. Redback and ORISATCO are good examples of these.
2. Protective features
As you work with machines, trucks, vehicles and more, it’s critical that you pick a pair of shoes with good toe protection.
First fo all, steel toes protect your feet from falling objects and tools, one of the risks of a job in a garage. The only downside is that they are heavier. On the other hand, composite-toe boots are significantly lighter. Also, composite toes to avoid falling when climbing on ladders.And they are just as safe to use in the service shops.
Furthermore, pay attention to the ASTM rating in terms of electric hazard protection. If you often deal with electricity, make sure you are safe from shocks with proper toe caps.
The important features that your mechanic’s shoes should have are oil- and slip-resistant lugs and outsoles. Those are the work boots function required for walking on slippery grounds of garages without foot fatigue.
As you go back and forth and deal with heavy-duty tasks everyday, it’s important that you feel comfortable in the work shoes. Therefore, look for an EVA midsole with well-cushioned insoles. If you walk around a lot, it’s best to go for lightweight boots.
Leather shoes are highly durable, as it is quality materials for work shoes. With good care, they can last years. But remember that it is just one of the many factors contributing to the work boots’ longevity.
The construction method can also influence their life span. The most common techniques include the Goodyear welt, direct attach, and cementing.
Essentially, Goodyear welt construction is a process that attaches a leather strip (welt) to the bottom edges of the shoe first. After that, it will be stitched to the outsole. This method allows the user to get the boots re-soled when the rubber soles flatten out.
On the other hand, direct attach utilizes a mold that is affixed to the upper, which would then be injected with molten rubber to create the sole.
Meanwhile, cement construction involves attaching the uppers to the soles with adhesive. Knowing how your boots are made is important as this gives you more or less an idea about whether they can last long.
5. Size and fitting
When it comes to size charts, no two brands are the same. Apart from that, how a pair of work boots would fit you will vary depending on its design and materials.
For instance, slip-on boots are more loose-fitting than lace-up boots because they allow your feet to get in and out of the footwear.
Another consideration is the safety toe caps. Ideally, your feet should not cram or wiggle too much inside steel-toed boots.
Besides that, you should also factor in the thickness of your socks. Remember, these toe caps are tough and will not expand like canvas sneakers. If you are in-between sizes, you would need to size up.
Slip-on work boots offer convenience because you only need to slide your feet in to wear them. However, they are not suitable for walking on uneven terrains since the shafts are not supportive.
For ankle support, lace-up work boots are the way to go. Perhaps the only drawback is that they are normally made of full-grain leather. Of course, some brands are now coming up with sneaker-like steel-toe footwear and use synthetic fabrics. Unfortunately, they may not be as waterproof as leather.
Although each style has its pros and cons, note that each design is targeted to address specific needs. Think about what your job requires you and decide from there.
7. Moisture management
Unless you plan to wear the boots to work on other jobs, waterproofing features are nice to have but not necessary. That said, working as a technician or mechanic exposes you to heat. Hence, the best boots for such environments are the ones that are made with breathable and moisture-wicking linings to keep your feet cool and sweat-free.
There’s no one specific design that makes for the best mechanic work boots. Just the same, repair shops come in different shapes and sizes. Besides that, the word “mechanic” is a catch-all term that refers to workers who maintain and repair various kinds of machinery. If you’re looking for a good pair of shoes to wear to work, start by assessing your needs.
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.