The 20 Best Shoes for Mechanics

20 Shoe Models Featured

After reviewing 50+ pairs of shoes and boots, Thorogood’s American Heritage 8″ Round Toes (men) and Danner’s Bull Run Moc Toes (women) are the best shoes for mechanics.

We spent 12+ hours testing and researching different work boots. We trawled through mountains of Amazon reviews. We used social media to talk to real, working mechanics. We went out and tried on boots in-store to see how they feel and perform.

We looked at comfort, durability and safety features like heat resistance and toe protection. Our #1 choices – the men’s Thorogood and the women’s Danner – excelled across the board. We liked that both models use thick, durable leather that should last for years.

Of course, different mechanics need different boots. Someone working outdoors needs insulation; someone doing light work may want a soft toe. That’s why we also have categories like “best heavy duty boot” and “best soft-toe boot” on this page. 

Now keep reading to find out which mechanic boot is best for you!

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Table of Contents

The Best Mechanic Boots (Men)

editors pick

98/100

Our Score

editors pick

Thorogood Men's American Heritage

Thorogood Men's American Heritage

Why this product?

A fibreglass shank in the sole helps these work boots keep their shape, making them a durable choice.

98/100

Our Score

The Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 8″ Round Toe is the best overall work boot for mechanics.

The upper on this safety boot is premium leather. It feels pleasant to the touch, but thick and durable. It also provides practical protection against dirt, sparks, corrosive chemicals, and general punishment. It lasts a long time when cared for well. And since you can resole the Thorogoods – more on this later – you can use this boot for many long years.

If you’ve got wide feet or need extra space for shoe inserts, the Thorogood has you covered. Different width options and a removable insole accommodate mechanics with specific needs.

That being said, the cushioned insole that comes with the boots is very comfortable. It features an Ultimate Shock Absorption footbed on a Poron comfort cushion insole. Poron is a breathable and relatively elastic foam. It’s very comfortable underfoot, which is why it’s commonly used in shoe inserts. This is good news for mechanics, who spend long hours working on hard surfaces. Feet may quickly get tired, achey and uncomfortable in regular boots – but not in these Thorogoods.

A fiberglass shank in the sole helps these work boots keep their shape longer. It is both lighter and less heat reactive than the more traditional steel shank. Since mechanics are often around heat, this extends the Thorogoods’ life some.

The steel toe in these mechanic boots meets the American I/75 safety shoe standard. This means the toes retained a half-inch of clearance when tested with an impact of 75 foot-pounds. For perspective, it can absorb the full weight of a steel car bumper and still keep your toes safe.

Thorogood spent two years developing the MAXwedge outsole. They claim it outlasts the competition by up to 30%. It’s made out of a single piece of polyurethane; hence the ‘wedge.’ Polyurethane is highly durable and slip-resistant. Testers found that the boot offered plenty of traction when we tested it in-store. They also noted that the sole is extra thick, adding to its durability. Mechanics report it can withstand contact with corrosive liquids without taking much damage. It offers the kind of support you’d expect in an ergonomic EVA midsole.

This sole also offers electrical hazard resistance. It can withstand an application of 18,000 volts at 60 Hz for 1 minute. Assuming conditions are dry, they will transfer no leakage current.

This is the ULTIMATE mechanic shoe. It’s good against fire, muck, liquids, and plain ol’ abuse. The heavy-duty leather means this shoe can last for decades. Just care for it properly and re-sole it as necessary. Due to its incredible features (such as the high durability level), this shoe is also fit for hiking.

Pros

  • Great shock absorption
  • Slip-resistant
  • Provides protection against dirt, electric hazard, fire, liquids, and corrosive chemicals

Cons

The Best Mechanic Boots (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Danner Women's Bull Run

Why this product?

These boots feature a steel shank and steel toe, making them both durable and safety compliant.

98/100

Our Score

The Danner Women’s Bull Run Moc Toe shares a lot of the same qualities as the Thorogood. Thick, high-quality leather; a steel toe; an extra comfortable footbed and insole.

One thing we really liked about this safety boot was the laces. They’re super tough and feel like they could last for years. The top eyelet is sewn into the ankle collar, which means this work boot fits nice and snug around the ankle. It also gives the foot extra stability around the heel; always good with work boots.

These are tough work boots, by the way. They have a steel safety toe and steel shank; they meet the American safety standard, ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH. You don’t need to understand this whole jumble of letters and numbers. The key points are I/75 and C/75. They mean that the steel toe retains its shape against impact equal to or exceeding 75 pounds. The ‘EH’ at the end stands for electrical hazard.

The Bull Runs have excellent sole cushioning and a thick oil-and-slip resistant outsole. These boots should last for years if taken care of and re-soled as necessary. The OrthoLite footbed tends to wear out before the outsole; you can replace it to extend the life of the shoes.

When it comes to sizing, these run true to size. You can generally order your usual boot size.

Pros

  • Meet impact and electric hazard safety standards
  • Slip-resistant
  • Durable

Cons

  • Footbed may wear out before outsole

Best Value-for-Money Boot (Men)

98/100

Our Score

Timberland PRO

Why this product?

The Timberland PRO 24//7 comfort system supports the arch and reduces foot fatigue making these a great choice for long shifts.

98/100

Our Score

Timberlands are an icon of pop culture. You’d be forgiven for forgetting they make actual work boots… But that’s what the “Pro” series is.

This top-quality waterproof shoe comes in black, as well as the classic yellow nubuck leather. A lot of people think nubuck leather is vulnerable to water damage, like suede. This is a misconception. If you take care of your shoes, a little water won’t stain or damage them.

These are very comfortable boots. They use the Timberland PRO 24/7 comfort system to support the arch and reduce foot fatigue. We’re not 100% sure whether the system is in the midsole or the insole, but you can feel the arch support with the boot on. The working mechanics we spoke to say 5-8 hour shifts are no problem in these.

We liked that the mid-shoe and toe sections are a single piece of leather. This improves durability and provides a snug, comfortable fit. The heel feels connected to the mid-shoe and the toe section. Our tester felt like this was one of the more stable shoes she tried. It’s nice and snug on the foot. In fact, due to its comfiness, this shoe could easily be one of the best choices for warehouse workers.

The leather allows for some air circulation; the mesh lining wicks away moisture. This is still leather, to be sure, but it’s well-ventilated inside. The inside of the shoe uses a microbacterial application, so they shouldn’t smell.

Unlike some of the other boots on our list, these mechanic boots can handle the cold. 200 grams of Thermolite insulation will keep your feet warm at temperatures as low as -25°F/-32°C . The Timberlands also waterproof, using seam-sealed waterproof construction.

This is a little old fashioned. Most companies switched over to ‘bootie’ membranes when the Gore-tex patent expired. Still, seam-sealed waterproofing still provides excellent protection. Essentially, all the thread holes are sealed with a layer of latex. The sole is attached while still in liquid form as an added seal. This method of construction is waterproof. Still, it does cost the Timberlands points. The drawback to this method is that these boots can’t be re-soled, which puts a limit on their lifespan. When these Timbs wear out, they’re done forever.

The outsole is non-marking, oil-and-abrasion resistant Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU). It uses the patented SR Max MaxTrax slip-resistant tread design. This not only gives excellent traction but has a surprising self-cleaning effect. Basically, the way the tread is arranged allows liquids to wash away dirt as you walk and stand. Having less dirt attached to the sole of your shoe is not just about how it looks. A clean sole makes complete contact with the ground, keeping you upright with plenty traction.

The Timberlands have a steel toe. They also have a rubber sole that meets electrical hazard safety standards. All around, we have to say that the Timberlands are an excellent shoe. They’re not quite as good as the $250+ options we’re reviewing but excellent at this price point. And stylish to boot (no pun intended).

Pros

  • Suitable for long wear and cold weather conditions
  • Odor resistant
  • Meet electric hazard safety standards
  • Affordable 

Cons

  • Can’t be re-soled

Best Value-for-Money Boot (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Timberland PRO Women's

Why this product?

The Dynamic Anti-Fatigue Technology on the footbed means these boots remain comfortable for long wear.

98/100

Our Score

The Timberland PRO Women’s Hightower 6″ Industrial & Construction Shoe is inexpensive at about $115. Despite the modest price point, it’s packed full of quality features.

First, these boots are built using a woman’s last: a kind of wooden mold, but for shoes. Women’s bodies, including their feet, are not the same as men’s. By using a woman’s last, Timberland has accommodated these differences with this shoe.

To compare, many boot manufacturers use men’s lasts. Their shoes will never sit on a woman’s foot naturally, no matter how well-made. Meanwhile, these Timberlands are made in the mold of a woman’s foot, offering greater comfort.

The boots feature premium waterproof full grain leather and a waterproof ‘booty’ style membrane. This is a newer waterproofing technology than in the men’s Timberland’s reviewed above. Here, a membrane between the boot’s leather and lining creates an insulated “sock”.

It’s the same idea as putting a plastic bag over your foot and then putting your foot in the boot. You’re completely insulated, only unlike a plastic bag, the membrane is porous. It has tiny holes that are too small for water to get in but big enough to let air and perspiration(in the form of steam) out. This keeps your feet dry no matter the weather.

The shaft measures approximately 6″ from the arch, and they run true to size. Like the men’s Timberlands, the mid-foot and toe sections are cut from a single piece of leather. This makes the boot more durable and give it a snug, foot-hugging fit.

The Timberlands have an alloy toe and electrical hazard protection. They meet US and Canadian safety standards and will keep your foot safe with most mechanic work.

Timberland make a big deal about their Dynamic Anti-Fatigue Technology footbed. It’s comfortable and well-cushioned. Hard work is tiring no matter what – but a little less so with the Timberland PRO Hightower model. All in all, this is a superb work shoe that’d be a bargain at twice the price.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Built specifically for the female foot
  • Well insulated for cold weather but still waterproof
  • Meets US and Canadian safety standards

Cons

Best Mechanic Sneaker (Men)

98/100

Our Score

PUMA Men's Safety

Why this product?

Combining the practicality of a boot with the style of a sneaker, this shoe features BreathActive functional lining and moisture-regulating evercushion making it breathable throughout.

98/100

Our Score

At first glance, there’s something incongruous about seeing this shoe. It has the elements of a work boot and a running shoe, all in one product. Having tested the PUMA Safety Men’s 7″ Conquests, though, we had to include them on this list. The upper is soft, tumbled leather. It looks fantastic; you can feel the material’s quality picking the shoe up for the first time. We also liked some nice, practical details built into the boots upper.

First, a zip running down the side makes these easy to get on and off. The zip is made by Japanese company YKK, who produce about half the zips in the world. It feels robust, durable and easy to open and close. Nobody wants a $160 pair of boots rendered useless because of a broken zipper – so this is important. Behind the zipper is a dust cover. This small piece of material keeps out dirt and puts a bit of padding between you and the zipper. This stops the zipper from ripping up your socks and keeps your socks from tangling up the zipper.

The second thing we liked was the scuff cap over the toe. This protects the leather from small scuffs and scratches. Too many work boots don’t have this feature; the leather around the toes takes the most damage. Not the case here. The leather is well-protected. As a mechanic, you can spend hours kneeling while working; the shoe upper will be untouched.

For waterproofing, Puma used a COA.TEX® waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. This is the same membrane used by boot companies like Gator and Albatross. It functions as a sock that’s simultaneously breathable and waterproof. The boot’s upper also features BreathActive functional lining and a moisture-regulating evercushion® BA+ footbed. The combination of these technologies makes the shoe breathable all over, even under your feet. One set of technology wicks moisture away, the other keeps your foot dry inside the shoe.

The footbed features two layers for added cushioning. Both are polyurethane, but of different densities. This makes for a very comfortable, supportive pair of shoes. The mid-cut design and traditional lace-up system provide good ankle fit and stability. The high-ankle fit provides protection. So do the fiberglass toe cap and electrical hazard protection features. These mechanic boots meets the safety standards for most employers in the US.

These boots are durable, comfortable, and stylish. They’re both breathable and lightweight. They’re also inexpensive given all the tech inside them.

Pros

  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Affordable

Cons

Best Mechanic Sneaker (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Skechers Synergy Sandlot

Why this product?

With its shock-absorbing and supportive midsole, these sneakers are a comfortable and stylish choice.

98/100

Our Score

The Skechers Synergy Sandlot work sneaker looks more like a walking shoe than a mechanic work boot. Don’t be fooled, though. This low-cut shoe has an alloy toe and a tough leather-and-synthetic upper. It also has a thick, rugged outsole with a lug pattern that provides plenty grip. This shoe isn’t a boot – it has limited ankle support and no thick leather – but it’s excellent for light mechanical work.

Where these boots shine is comfort. Sketchers are known for being comfortable, and these work shoes are no exception.They have a shock-absorbing, supportive mid-sole, which makes them comfortable all day long. The sole is flexible thanks to a series of grooves. The insole is memory foam. Our testers’ feet felt both supported and cushioned in these. The memory foam molds to your foot over time, meaning the shoe gets more comfortable with age.

The breathable, lightweight upper gently hugs your foot for a snug, natural fit. The nubuck is tough and feels like it can resist some scuffing. The overlays are double-stitched on, meaning they help keep the shoe together through months of intense use. The shoe has a very low price point given the quality of materials and construction.

A good choice for lighter mechanical work. One thing we disliked were the laces. They feel like standard sneaker laces, maybe a little more durable. If you get this pair, we recommend buying tough, waxed laces that will last.

Pros

  • Comfortable and fatigue-reducing
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited ankle support
  • Better suited to light mechanical work
  • Standard sneaker laces

Best Mechanic Sneaker Boot (Men)

98/100

Our Score

WOLVERINE Men's Overpass

Why this product?

This boot features an OrthoLite-cushioned footbed, making it comfortable and lightweight.

98/100

Our Score

This is one of the more recommended boots on our list. What makes the WOLVERINE Men’s Overpass Work Boot different? Two words; weight and flexibility.

The sole is highly mobile, allowing the boot to bend at key points. They’re not minimalist shoes by any stretch, but we could tell the flexibility allows for a more natural stride during testing. This makes walking and standing easier, reducing foot fatigue. It also helps maintain your foot health for the long term.

Another comfort feature is the OrthoLite-cushioned footbed. Unlike in most boots, this footbed is removable. You can use your own inserts when the original ones wear out, or to suit your preference. You never have to walk over a worn-out insole that no longer supports or cushions.

The nylon shank is lighter and more heat-resistant than any steel shank could be. It helps the boot maintain its shape and footprint, even when exposed to some heat. It’s a cool feature to have in a shoe at this price point. It’s something you usually find in premium models.

The rest of the sole is pretty standard; PU mid-sole and rugged dual-compound rubber outsole. The mid-sole protects the outsole and the upper from damage, e.g. from heat exposure or corrosive liquids. It also has a nice, ergonomic feel to it. The heel sits firmly in the heel cup; the medial arch is nicely supported.

The toe-cap is made of carbon. Despite being lighter and thinner than steel, it’s very tough. It felt robust and hard when we probed it with our fingers. It also has ASTM approval. For extra protection, there’s a synthetic layer covering the midfoot and toe. This gives the mid-shoe and toe areas extra protection against scuffs and scratches.

This shoe has a membrane that’s both breathable and waterproof. Some reviewers say it’s more water-resistant than 100% waterproof. Still – unless your workspace is flooded, your feet will stay dry. One thing our testers said is that the boot feels like it could get hot. This is natural for a waterproof boot; they tend to have limited breathability.

The Wolverines are a good choice if you want a boot that looks, and almost feels, like a sneaker. It’s excellent for mechanics who move around a lot or don’t like the feel of a boot on their foot all day.

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Promotes a natural gait
  • Fatigue-reducing
  • Removable footbed

Cons

  • Not 100% waterproof

Best Mechanic Sneaker Boot (Women)

KEEN Utility Women's Santa Fe

Why this product?

The alloy toe cap on this boot is 30-50% lighter than steel ones while providing the same safety benefits.

98/100

Our Score

The KEEN Utility Women’s Santa FE Industrial & Construction Shoe is very similar to the Wolverines reviewed above. There are, however, some key differences. Firstly, the breathable leather upper. It’s authentic waterproof leather that’s soft and pleasant to the touch. We were surprised to see it in a boot of this price level.

Next, there’s the sole. Offering plenty of traction and a deep tread pattern, it performs well indoors and outdoors. Since this is a rubber sole, it also offers a little more cushioning and bounce than synthetic alternatives. Another pleasant surprise given the shoe’s relatively low price point.

Third is the fact this shoe is made with women in mind. It’s not just a men’s shoe adapted to the other sex. It matches a woman’s footprint, so it fits better than other alternatives you see on the market. Keen is known for ergonomic footwear, and they clearly used that to their advantage here. Very comfy on-foot.

But it’s the toe caps that really stand out on these work boots. Alloy toe caps are 30-50% lighter than steel ones. This can make a difference over a long day. It’s especially good for women, whose legs and feet can get tired in heavy boots.

We also noticed the toe box design, which is roomier than most steel toes and sleeker-looking than composite toe caps. The toe caps inside are asymmetrical. They follow the natural shape of a woman’s foot, leaving more space for the big toe and less for the pinky. This maximizes wiggle room while reducing overall toe cap space. Even though the toe caps don’t look bigger than usual, your toes have more room to move around inside the shoe.

These sneaker boots rock. Lightweight, breathable, stylish enough to be worn off the clock. Highly recommended.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Good traction that performs well both indoors and outdoors
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

Cons

Best Mechanic Ankle Boot (Men)

98/100

Our Score

Danner Men's Steel Yard

Why this product?

The Danner Dry System ensures that these boots remain 100% waterproof.

98/100

Our Score

The Danner Men’s Steel Yard 6″ Construction Boot is our pick for the ankle boot category.

These boots have a durable, lightweight leather upper. The leather is smooth to the touch, easy-to-clean and pleasantly soft. It’s 100% water proof thanks to the Danner Dry system. It features double stitching for durability, three hooks for a tight fit, and a padded collar for comfort. The toe box is a little roomier than usual, which is good for mechanics and anyone who kneels often.

The rugged outsole provides traction and stability. The insole has good cushioning, and we found these boots pretty comfortable right out of the box. Some people say these need to be broken in to get really comfortable – so do keep that in mind.

This is a steel toe boot with electrical hazard protection. They meet or exceed ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH. They also feature a nice, thick sole that protects your feet (and the shoe) from corrosive liquids of all sorts.

Pros

  • Lightweight 
  • Stabilizing
  • Meets electrical hazard safety standards
  • Protects against corrosive liquids

Cons

  • May require a breaking-in period

Best Mechanic Ankle Boot (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Dr. Martens

Why this product?

The original Dr Martens air-cushioned sole keeps the foot fresh and rested even on long working days.

98/100

Our Score

The Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal 8-Eye Leather Boot have that classic Doc Martens look. Yellow stitching, grooved sides, and, of course, that little yellow heel tag. They come in a range of colors, although at least half of them are just different shades of black.

The upper is 100% leather, making these tough and breathable. The leather is supple and soft-looking, but surprisingly durable. One mechanic we spoke to said her last pair held up 3 years. Testers report feeling like they could last longer if well-cared for.

The 1460s use the brand’s original air-cushioned sole. This sole was a major selling point status amongst German housewives in the 40s and 50s. It’s still comfortable today, keeping your feet fresh and rested through long days of work.

The shaft measures approximately 6.75″ from the arch. Not as high as other Doc Martens, but offering plenty of ankle support and protection. The outsole is resistant to oil and fat. It has good overall slip-resistance. It is attached to a Goodyear welt that offers excellent waterproofing, albeit not as good as a storm welt. The big advantage of the Goodyear welt, of course, is that the boots can be re-soled easily. This, coupled with the high-quality leather upper, means that these boots should last for years.

You’ll see Doc Martens refer to the z-welt on these shoes. This is nothing special in terms of the shoe’s quality; it just means that the welt has colorful stitching.

Note: these do not have steel toe caps. If your work requires safety footwear with a reinforced toe, look elsewhere. We recommend checking out the slip-on Doc Martens reviewed.

Pros

  • Available in multiple colorways
  • Slip-resistant
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Toe cap not reinforced

Best Mechanic Slip-On Boots (Men)

RedbacK Men's Safety Bobcat

Why this product?

The thick leather on these boots makes them 20% stronger than regular working boots. It is also more resistant to hardening and cracking.

98/100

Our Score

Many of the mechanics we spoke to recommend Redbacks. After seeing it in person, it’s easy to see why. The leather on this Aussie-made work boot is 2.5 to 2.7mm thick. In real terms, they’re 20% stronger than regular work boots. The leather is also more resistant to hardening and cracking, owing to the full chrome, oiled tannage. Testers say it lasts a while and can take a real beating.

Like Timberlands, the soles on Redback boots are attached via cement construction. This means the rubber outsole is effectively glued on while still semi-liquid. This lowers the overall cost of production, but it also means the boots cannot be re-soled. We quite regret this because it means the leather only really lasts as long as the sole does. To be fair, the sole is very thick and durable… But still.

The sole profile is designed with human anatomy in mind. Its shape and flexibility reduce foot, leg, and back fatigue. Our testers confirm that the shoe was easy on the feet when standing and walking. It also has strong traction thanks to a non-slip outsole. This combination of flexibility and traction is rare, making this a good walking shoe for mechanics. Testers say the sole lasts for up to 3-4 years of regular use. This is rare, and it makes up for the cement construction somewhat.

The boots have a steel toe, making them appropriate for machinery work. Many real-life mechanics stepped forward to recommend these – and we do, too. The only thing we dislike is that you can’t resole the shoe… But given their price point, that’s alright. Still good value-for-money.

SIZING NOTE: The sizing in these is Australian/UK, so be mindful of that when buying.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Fatigue-reducing
  • Good traction

Cons

  • Cannot be re-soled

Best Mechanic Slip-On Boots (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Dr. Martens

Why this product?

This Chelsea-style work boot meets numerous safety standards while offering a stylish edge.

98/100

Our Score

This Chelsea work boot is stylish, practical and easy to put on. Despite being a slip-on, it meets numerous US safety standards: ASTM F2413-11 FI/75 C/75 EH. It offers protection against compression, impact, and electrical hazard. It also features a steel toe cap that makes it suitable for machinery work. The stereotype is that slip-ons are less safe, but this isn’t the case with the Chelsea.

The leather upper is soft and pliable to the touch but tough and durable. It’s industrial-grade, meaning it can absorb some serious damage. It feels snug around the foot and ankle, protecting you from trauma; heat; corrosive materials.

The Chelseas have a SoftWair memory foam sockliner (insole). It offers good arch support and is constructed in such a way as to promote airflow underfoot. Our testers found the shoe comfortable, well-cushioned and ventilated. It’s a leather boot that feels more like a sneaker.

Your feet are unlikely to get sweaty or uncomfortable in this shoe. The wide ankle collar and the breathable stretch panels allow for plenty of aeration. The outsole is welted on and heat-sealed. This offers good waterproofing as well as the option to re-sole if needed. Given the leather quality, these should give at least 2-3 years of service if cared for properly. Some consumers report having theirs for 6-8 years; regular care and replacing worn-out soles helps.

Pros

  • Comfortable with good arch support
  • Waterproof
  • Meets compression, impact, and electrical hazard safety standards
  • Protects from trauma, heat, and corrosive materials

Cons

Best Premium Boot (Men)

98/100

Our Score

Red Wing Heritage Men's

Why this product?

The outsole is made with Vibrum, an industry leader in cushioned outsoles that are both rugged and  comfortable.

98/100

Our Score

This is the boot mechanics told us they’d get if money was no object. We can see why. The upper is 100% full grain leather. The footboard is a softer leather, the midsole – cork. The sole and upper are attached using Goodyear welt construction, meaning they can be resoled. The natural materials mold to you over time, creating a perfect fit between the shoe and your feet. They’re put together using triple-stitching.

The result is a uniquely tough, durable shoe that’s also comfortable. Nobody else’s boots are on the same level of quality. One mechanic even reported having his pair 47 years (!!!). While we can’t confirm that number, one thing’s for sure. This shoe is well-made and extremely tough.

The outsole is both rugged and comfortable. It’s made by Vibram: an industry leader in cushioned outsoles. It features several different patterns, which combine to offer plenty of traction and grip. Since they’re Vibram, they can be replaced with identical units bought separately. This way, you too can keep wearing your Iron Rangers for years or even decades.

The eyelets and hooks are nickel. The toe features a wider-than-usual toe box. This is always a good thing, but especially useful for mechanics who kneel a lot. Kneeling tends to push your toes towards the front of a shoe or boot. This can cause discomfort and, over time, toe and foot pain.

Two small downsides to these shoes. First, they fit small. We suggest you try them, preferably in your regular work socks, before buying. Given their price point, you don’t want to get the wrong-size pair.

Second, there is a breaking-in period. A new pair will feel a little tight and rigid on your foot. Over time, the leather will stretch, giving you a truly comfortable shoe. One way to break in a new pair of shoes is to simply wear them around the house. That way, if you experience foot pain, you can just take them off.

All in all, this is the best shoe in the whole lineup. It’s expensive, but it’s also an investment given the shoe’s extreme toughness.

Pros

  • Molds to the shape of your foot for extra comfort
  • Good traction

Cons

  • Sizing runs small
  • Requires a breaking-in period

Best Premium Boot (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Red Wing Womens

Why this product?

Featuring Traction Tread Cushion technology, this boot absorbs impact and reduces fatigue.

98/100

Our Score

This is another pair of Red Wings. We LOVE these for many of the same reasons as the pair above. Red Wings use the best leather of any boot we’ve tested. It’s high-quality, durable and soft. The footbed is leather too. Like the Iron Rangers, these shoes will mold to the shape of your foot over time. You may have to break them in a little – but once you do, they’ll be a perfect fit. Our male testers were definitely a little jealous when reading the write-up for these.

Something else that stands out with these boots is the attention to detail. The contrast stitching is rare for boots, and adds a bit of style. The wedge gives this the appearance of a fashion boot, meaning you can wear it on and off work. It features Traction Tred Cushion tech, absorbing impact and staving off fatigue.

There’s a bump toe at the front, making these boots roomier than most others. The mechanics we spoke to appreciate this a lot, especially when they need to kneel. There’s always some wiggle room here.

The oil-tanned leather is resistant to water, staining, and perspiration. It’s still breathable thanks to the cut of the leather and the textile lining used. It’s not a lightweight mesh sneaker – but it’s very breathable for a boot. The vamp and mid-shoe are stitched together in the forefoot area, where boots tend to crease. This stops the shoe from creasing, and allows for freedom of movement.

These boots are made with Goodyear welt construction, so you know they’ll last. They can also be resoled as often as you’d like, extending their lifespan into the years and decades.

Like the Redwings we reviewed above, these boots do not have a steel toe.

Pros

  • Molds to the shape of your foot for extra comfort
  • Impact-absorbing and fatigue-reducing
  • Stylish

Cons

  • May take time to break in
  • No steal toe

Best Soft-toe Boot (Men)

98/100

Our Score

Danner Men's Crafter

Why this product?

The Danner Dry Liner makes this shoe waterproof on the outside and moisture-wicking on the inside.

98/100

Our Score

The Danner Crafter is a durable leather boot for mechanics who don’t need a steel-toe shoe. The leather is durable, waterproof and oiled. It can handle intense use, spilled liquids and even a little heat.

At the same time, the shoe is breathable thanks to the Waterproof Danner Dry liner that pulls moisture away from the foot. The leather may be tough and thick – but your foot will stay dry and comfortable on the inside.

Something that stood out is the quality of the cushioning. Walking in these shoes feels like walking on a mattress. They have the single best sole we’ve tried and a few cool technologies. The dual-density footbed provides cushioning and underfoot ventilation. The Danner Comfort System and fiberglass shank offer light foot support. If you want to save your feet from fatigue and discomfort, this should be your go-to shoe.

The laces go all the way up for heat and liquid protection. Although they do not have a safety toe, these Doc Martens do have electrical hazard protection. The outsole is thick and rugged, with a pronounced lug pattern. It offers excellent grip and appears to be highly durable.

Our only gripe with this shoe is that it can’t be resoled. We’d prefer to pay.

Pros

  • Offer protection from both heat and liquid
  • Good cushioning and ventilation
  • Electrical hazard protection

Cons

  • Can’t be resoled

Best Soft-toe Boot (Women)

Dr. Martens Work Boot

Why this product?

This boot features the patented Dr Martens air-cushioned sole which has been re-engineered for enhanced grip and slip-resistance.

98/100

Our Score

These boots aren’t dissimilar to the other Doc martens reviewed above. They meet ASTM F2892-11 EH for safety, and ASTM F1677-2005 for slip resistance. They’re rugged, featuring soft but durable leather. The leather is easy to wipe clean thanks to a smooth finish, and water-resistant. In short, they have everything a soft-toe working boot needs.

Where they really stand out is comfort. Similar to the Danner Crafter, walking in these feels like walking on a cloud or a mattress. First is the patented Dr Martens air-cushioned sole, re-engineered for enhanced grip and slip resistance. Second is the flexible soul, which maximizes your foot’s natural range of motion for extra comfort. Last is the flat sole, which – unlike elevated-heel boots – helps your body find its natural posture. All in all, it’s hard to keep the 1460s for comfort.

One big advantage these boots have is the laces, which go all the way up. You can use these to give yourself a nice, snug fit that stabilizes the ankle joint. This minimizes your odds of, say, rolling an ankle on the job. It also reduces the amount of work your foot and ankle have to do, minimizing foot fatigue.

These are a little less durable than some of the other models reviewed on this page. The leather is tough, but there are no protective technologies or overlays. Despite that, an excellent boot for light work, standing and walking.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Fatigue-reducing
  • Meets slip resistance safety standards

Cons

  • Lacks protective technologies or overlays
  • Less durable than other models

Best Moc-toe Boot (Men)

Thorogood Men's American Heritage

Why this product?

With an Ultimate Shock Absorption footbed on a Poron comfort cushion sole, this boot is both comfortable and fatigue-reducing.

98/100

Our Score

These boots have all the benefits of the Thorogoods we reviewed earlier. They feature extra-thick, extra-durable leather. They use premium stitching (triple-stitched in important areas). They can take all kinds of punishment: sparks, chemicals, dirt, and general mistreatment. And they come in extra-wide sizes in case you need them. The only difference is that this model happens to have a mocassin toe!

These shoes are comfortable and supportive, whether you’re standing or sitting or kneeling. They feature an Ultimate Shock Absorption footbed on a Poron comfort cushion insole. The footbed is removable. Anytime it wears out, replace it with a new one. The Poron cushion is soft, but still supportive enough to prevent foot fatigue. It’s also breathable, meaning your feet stay dry and comfortable as you work.

The outsole is a polyurethane MAXwear Wedge sole. The upper and sole are put together using Goodyear storm welt construction, meaning the shoe is resoleable. So long as you take good care of the leather and re-sole these regularly, they will last you years. In this sense, this Thorogood is similar to the Redwing models we reviewed earlier. The leather lasts.

This isn’t a steel toe shoe, but it’s still safe in other ways. The soles are non-slip, making you less likely to fall. The leather is thick, meaning you can protect your feet when working with heat and chemicals. If you’re not concerned about falling objects and moving parts, these offer plenty of protection.

Pros

  • Supportive
  • Fatigue-reducing
  • Resistant to slipping, sparks, chemicals, heat, and dirt

Cons

  • No steel toe

Best Moc-toe Boot (Women)

DANNER Women's Bull Run Moc Toe

Why this product?

This boot features a Danner Wedge which is non-marking, oil and slip-resistant.

98/100

Our Score

These Danner work boots are made in the USA with imported components. The upper is made from oiled full-grain leather. The stitchdown construction isn’t as robust as a welt, but they’re still pretty durable. The mid-shoe, heel and ankle collar all feature double stitching.

We could only test the leather so much for this article, but it held up well. It certainly feels like the upper can outlive the sole. Fortunately, these construction shoes can be re-soled to extend the life of the shoe.

The outsole is a non-marking, oil and slip-resistant Danner wedge. It feels good underfoot, very stable with good traction. It also feels comfortable and cushioned. It’s both oil and slip-resistant, meaning you can safely wear it around spilled oil and water. It also has a 0.5 inch platform with electrical hazard protection. It is supportive with a little spring to it.

These Danners come as a soft-toe and steel toe work boot. Whichever option you choose, the moc-toe has two important benefits. First, plenty of space for your toes. Second, extra stability when you’re kneeling. Perfect for tasks like welding.

The one con to these shoes is that they aren’t waterproof. This is a recurring theme with the moc-toes we tested, but still a little disappointing.

Pros

  • Oil and slip-resistant
  • Stabilizing
  • Good cushioning
  • Protects against electric hazards

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Best Heavy-Duty Mechanic Shoe (Men)

Timberland PRO Men's Boondock

Why this product?

The outsole of this boot is made from thermoplastic urethane (TPU), which is harder wearing and more flexible than rubber.

98/100

Our Score

I don’t know what it is, but this composite toe boot just looks mean. Maybe it’s the heel. If you squint, it kind of looks like the teeth on some apex predator. Whatever the reason, these Timbs are exactly what they look like – tough.

This starts with a thick, waterproof leather upper. Even if some water gets past that, they have a waterproof membrane keeping your feet dry. The leather itself feels like it could take a real beating. It has little in common with regular, “civilian” Timb leather and is significantly thicker.

The outsole is made of thermoplastic urethane (TPU). TPU offers several advantages over a rubber outsole. For one thing, TPU is harder-wearing than rubber, so your work boots will last longer. Second, it’s more flexible, which makes for a more comfortable boot. Your range of motion isn’t limited by thick rubber – so you move easier and tire less.

These boots are slip-resistant in oil, and the deep lugs will keep you upright in mud or snow if you’re working outdoors. The dual-density polyurethane footbed employs anti-fatigue technology, so you can stay on your feet all day. The molded toe protector defends against scuffs and scratches. Underneath that, there is a composite toe cap. These were designed as a tough-as-nails shoe that you can take straight out of the box, put on, and go to work.

If you’re working outside or in heavy industry and need a work boot you can rely on, go for these.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Fatigue-reducing
  • Oil and slip-resistant
  • Good traction even in severe weather conditions

Cons

Best Heavy-Duty Mechanic Shoe (Women)

98/100

Our Score

Caterpillar Echo

Why this product?

Perfect for intense mechanical work, Caterpillar shoes are known for their superb traction.

98/100

Our Score

This 8″ steel toe work boot will keep your feet warm, dry, and safe in the most challenging conditions. They have a waterproof membrane to let air in and keep liquids out. The 100% leather outer is soft but thick and double-stitched for strength. The shaft is a whole 8 inches, meaning your foot and ankle are completely protected. They’re electrical hazard rated and have a solid steel safety toe.

These boots are perfect for intense mechanical work. They feature slip-resistant outsoles with a deep tread that handles snow and mud well. Caterpillar is forever associated with the word ‘traction’ – and this boot is no exception. We could feel that the sole grip was a cut above other brands’ when testing these.

These boots aren’t just tough, though. They’re also surprisingly comfortable. They have ankle collar cushioning that’s nice and soft on the leg. The thick mesh lining takes a little breaking in, but molds to your foot over time. There is space enough for a custom orthotic footbed if you want to use one. This makes this a good shoe for people with elevated arches, flat feet, and similar conditions.

All-in-all, these are excellent heavy-duty shoes. They’re made with attention to detail and quality components. 

The con with these is that they can run hot indoors, especially in a hot room. This is to be expected from a high waterproof boot but still worth mentioning.

Pros

  • Slip-resistant
  • Durable
  • Protects against electric hazards
  • Traction suitable for snowy and muddy conditions

Cons

  • May make the foot uncomfortably warm

Buyer's Guide for Mechanic Boots

There are several things to consider when choosing a Mechanic Boots. Here are the top 7 qualities to look for.

1. Tall, Non-slip Outsole

Mechanics work around liquids often. Indoors, this may be some spilled water or grease. Outdoors, it could be rainwater or snow. Either way, you’re spending a lot of time standing, walking or kneeling over wet surfaces.

This requires a non-slip outsole. We’re looking for grip strength, deep lug patterns and proprietary technologies. We’re also looking for oil-resistant outsoles that won’t slip when in contact with grease. This is particularly important for mechanics who work with vehicles.

Ideally, a mechanic shoe should have a tall tread. First, this means deeper sole patterns and more stability. Second, it means that the sole will last longer. Third, it protects the shoe from corrosive chemicals that can melt through it, extending its lifespan.

2. A Safety Toe Box

Mechanics are often around heavy parts and heavy machinery. If this applies to you, you need a steel toe work boot – or an alloy equivalent. For moderate protection, e.g. from heavy objects, a composite toe – made from materials like kevlar – is enough.

A quality safety toe can make a big difference. One mechanic we spoke to said they “crushed a steel toe cap” and tore their boot apart in a forklift accident. This, in a nutshell, is why toe protection is important.

Of course, mechanics who only do light work may not need reinforced toe boxes. If that’s your situation, any boot on our list will do. Just make sure your employer is okay with soft-toe shoes and boots; many aren’t.

3. Shoe and Boot Height

Mechanics spend a lot of time walking and standing. Since workshop floors can get wet and slippery, this can mean slipping; falling; rolling an ankle. This is where high-tops come in. They stabilize and support the ankle, making it secure inside the shoe. As an added benefit, the foot and ankle don’t have to work as hard – which reduces foot fatigue.

High-tops also protect your skin from injury. Mechanics spend time around falling objects, chemicals and machinery. Some also work with heat and sharp metal parts. A high-top shoe provides foot protection from some or all of these elements. Durable materials like thick leather offer the most protection.

4. A Cushioned Insole

Being on your feet all day is hard, especially if your day is longer than most peoples’. It’s not unusual for mechanics to work 12-hour shifts – and then have to commute. It’s also not unusual for them to kneel or squat while working, placing additional strain on the feet.

A cushioned insole can take the strain off by reducing foot fatigue and discomfort. Over time, it can also prevent conditions like plantar fasciitis or shin splints.

Now, most mechanic boots are rugged, sturdy footwear. They’re made from rigid materials, which aren’t always the comfiest. That’s why we chose models with cushioned insoles and footbeds; soft, pliable materials; proprietary comfort technologies. You may want to keep an eye on the same when shopping.

5. Heat Resistance

Mechanics are often exposed to heat. We’re talking welding torches, open fires, hot machine parts. You don’t want these touching your foot or ankle at any point. This requires protective footwear that can handle a little heat, retaining its form and protecting your foot.

The most obvious heat-resistant material is leather. Provided it’s thick enough, it will insulate and protect you. It’ll also retain its shape and form when exposed to low and moderate heat levels. Non-leather materials – fabrics, synthetics – are worse, since they burn and melt easily.

Something else to look for is a reinforced heel shank. These are usually steel or fiberglass, and they help a shoe retain its shape. Fiberglass is better for mechanics, since it’s heat-resistant. Steel holds up through regular wear-and-tear, but can bend and warp when exposed to high heat.

Be mindful that different mechanic work requires different heat resistance levels

6. A Waterproof Upper

Mechanics work with liquids most days. This includes chemicals, grease and industrial run-off; stuff you don’t want touching your skin. Mechanics also sometimes have to work outside. This can mean being exposed to liquids as well, especially if it’s raining or snowing.

To keep your feet safe and warm, you want a waterproof upper that keeps liquids outside; not inside. Look for waterproof leather, seamless stitching, and waterproof sock lining materials.

7. Durability

Mechanics’ shoes are often exposed to heat, chemicals, and blunt trauma. Your shoes need to be pretty tough to withstand the strains put on them by a work site or shop. 

Something mechanics reported over and again is, “paying extra is worth it”. More expensive mechanics’ shoes tend to feature better materials and last longer. They also tend to be easier to resole, extending their lifespan even further.

This means that an expensive boot may actually come out cheaper, per month of usage, than a budget one.

In Closing...

Thorogood’s American Heritage 8″ Round Toes (men) and Danner’s Bull Run Moc Toes (women) are the best shoes for mechanics. Both have thick leather, strong safety features and excellent all-around comfort. You can find and buy the models by clicking the links in this paragraph – or elsewhere on this page.

Don’t forget that proper shoe care can extend the life of a work boot several times over. Simply cleaning and polishing the leather regularly helps a lot. So does replacing insoles and footbeds once they wear out.

To buy any of the shoes on this page, consider using the links above. When you do, we make a small no commission at no cost to you. Thank you for reading!

Writer:

Ronan Cannon

Co-writer:

George P.H.

Last Updated:

May 4, 2022

Ronan Cannon

Ronan is originally from Ireland, but has spent years teaching in China. As a health and fitness enthusiast, he combines our testers’ data and technical research to review products. 

George P.H.

George is the founder of Shoethority. He started testing and studying shoes after a series of sports injuries. He now shares his knowledge with Shoethority readers as a writer, tester and editor.