Best Mechanic Work Boots | 5 Fundamental Auto & Diesel Footwear

If you’re a mechanic, you probably know almost as much about oil and grease as you do about engine parts. Your special work conditions demand sturdy work boots that can face oil, grease and chemicals, and still keep you comfortable even if you stand on the concrete floor of a body shop or a hangar all day. The 5 best mechanic work boots are all tough, durable and comfortable.

Updated Feb 2020 by Tony Bleak

best mechanic work boots

In a Hurry? The Top Pick

The Rockrooster work boot is the best of the best, Read on to see why. 


Comparison table

WaterproofSafety ToeFeatures
Ariat Work
Groundbreaker
ResistantSoft
EH safety rated
Slip- & oil resistant
Pull on Boot
90-degree heel
View
Skechers for Work
Synergy Ekron
NoAlloyEH safety rated
Slip resistant
Lightweight
View
ROCKROOSTER
Work Boots
YesComposite
EH safety rated
Slip-, oil &
puncture resistant
Anti fatigue support
View
Dr. Martens Work
Unisex Ironbridge
ResistantSteelEH safety rated
Slip-, oil- &
chemical resistant
Padded tongue
View
RedbacK Boots
Outback
ResistantSteelEH safety rated
Slip-, oil- &
chemical resistant
Arch support
Padded collar
View

Key Features 

Mechanics need a work boot with a slip-resistant sole. 

Engines are oily. And oil has a very low coefficient of friction, which is great for keeping parts moving well inside an engine. However, if oil drips onto a floor, it presents a major slipping hazard.

All 5 of our best mechanic work shoes feature non-slip soles. Some are wedge soles. Others have a defined 90-degree heel, but all will protect you from slipping and falling. 

Mechanics need a shoe that will resist oil.  

Aircraft mechanics, heavy-equipment mechanics, and auto mechanics–they all go together with oil just about as well as peanut butter goes with jelly. Oil’s an integral part of diesel engines and gasoline engines, so you’ll need a work boot that stands up to an onslaught of oil. All of the boots in the chart will do that for you.

Mechanics benefit from the safety provided by a work boot that is EH rated. Your risk of electrical shock isn’t insignificant if you’re a mechanic. Cords and wires are common, and electrical current is usually flowing. 

An EH-rated boot can’t eliminate the danger of electrical shock, but it does reduce the risk you face. EH-rated boots should always be worn in conjunction with other safety gear if your work situation warrants those extra precautions.    

The 5 best mechanic work boots

Ariat Work Groundbreaker Pull on Boot

Ariat’s Work Men’s Groundbreaker Pull on Work Boot is a slip-on boot with classic cowboy styling and a 90-degree heel.

The Duratread sole provides good traction in slippery or oily conditions. A mesh lining and a 4-layer footbed keep your foot comfortable. The footbed is not removable.

PROS

  • Oil resistant 
  • Pull on
  • EH rated

CONS

  • No safety toe
  • Imported
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Skechers for Work Synergy Ekron Alloy Toe

The Skechers Men’s Synergy Ekron Alloy Toe Work Shoe is a low-rise shoe that allows lots of ankle mobility, but still protects your toes via a lightweight alloy toe. 

The result is a very lightweight shoe that is slip-resistant yet sturdy and protective to your feet. The Siblite foam insole provides comfort for long days. This is the least expensive of our preferred work shoes.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Alloy toe
  • Least expensive

CONS

  • The “removable” footbed isn’t easy to remove
  • Imported
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

ROCKROOSTER Work Boots, 6” Waterproof 

The 6” Men’s Work Book by Rochrooster provides lots of features at a mid-range price. The boot is waterproof with a composite safety toe to keep your feet dry and protected.

Additional protection comes from the puncture resistant sole. Like our other favorites, the Rockrooster  is slip resistant and oil resistant. The insole wicks moisture and provides an anti-fatigue arch support.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Moisture-wicking insole
  • Oil resistant

CONS

  • Imported
  • Average price over $100 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Dr. Martens Work Unisex Ironbridge Tec-Tuff Boot

The Unisex Ironbridge Tec-Tuff Work Boot by Dr. Martens is a rugged work boot with a lugged sole and a steel toe.  A unique feature is that it is designed to fit men’s and women’s feet equally well.

The outer boot is slip resistant, oil-resistant and chemical resistant. The cushioned, moisture-wicking, antibacterial insole keeps your feet dry, comfortable and odor-free. This is the 2nd-most expensive of our 5 choices. 

PROS

  • Unisex design 
  • Moisture-wicking insole
  • Oil and chemical resistant

CONS

  • Imported
  • Expensive 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

RedbacK Boots USA Outback Lace Up

Redback Boots hearken from the Australian Outback and are designed to be tough. The Outback Lace-up Steel Toe boot features a roomier toe box to provide extra space when you kneel.

The anatomical arch support system makes long work days easy on your feet. The boot is slip-resistant, oil-resistant and chemical resistant to protect you from workplace hazards and falls. The Redback is the most expensive of our 5 favorites. 

PROS

  • Anatomical arch support
  • Slip resistant
  • Oil resistant

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Imported
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Customer Impression

All of these boots get very good reviews, overall. Here’s what customers say about each of our 5 favorite work boots.

Ariat Groundbreaker

–Nearly 75% of purchasers say this boot fits as expected.  They run true to size, and most people find them easy to break in. Some rate them as the best ever. Customers with complaints had 2 major problem areas. First, the boots didn’t last as expected. Second, the boots they received looked already worn or like they were seconds. 

Skechers Synergy

–This boot gets very good reviews for fit.  It fits like people expect it will, and it fits comfortably.  It also gets very high marks for comfort. Most people loved the cushion and snugness of the shoe. Customers who gave the Synergy low marks were displeased with the durability of the shoe or with the low quality of the insole.

Rockrooster Waterproof Work Boots

–This Rockrooster boot is surprisingly durable and very, very comfortable.  It is a newer model from Rockrooster, and has only a few dozen reviews as I write this. However, no one has been dissatisfied enough to give a one-star rating. The few medium ratings mention fit. One says the boot runs small. Another says it runs very wide.

Dr. Martens Ironbridge

–Reviewers of this boot find lots to praise and very little to grouse about.  This boot is counted as a very comfortable and stylish boot that is a good value because it provides so many great features. The boot offers good support, The unisex sizing appears to work well, too. Complaints were concentrated in one area–the lack of durability of the soles.  In 2-6 months, some of these soles separated. 

Redback Outback

-Redback customers expect high quality given the high price of these boots. They are not disappointed. Several customers said they keep coming back to Redback because they combine comfort and fit in a boot that really lasts. About the only negative was a comment that the boot runs a bit small. 

Conclusion

It was hard to choose the best mechanic work boots among these options.  They all offer great features that mechanics need, and they satisfy the large majority of the customers who purchase them. Because of its price and the puncture-resistant sole, the Rockrooster Work Boot is my #1 choice.

If you’d like to splurge and treat your feet to some “down-under” comfort, the Redback is a great choice.

Can you suggest some good diesel mechanic work boots?

If you’re a diesel mechanic who services WV cars or other diesel auto engines, you’ll find five good options on our chart above. In some settings, the work shoe by Skechers may not provide quite enough durability, but the 4 boots would.

If you are working on very large diesel engines found in aircraft, earth moving machines or other industrial equipment, you may need heavy duty diesel mechanic work boots with maximum protection and extra comfort features. We recommend these boots for their high customer satisfaction ratings and their great features, including slip resistant soles and EH ratings.

Carolina Metguard Work Boot CA5586

–This Carolina boot is loaded with safety features, including a composite safety toe and a metatarsal guard. The CA5586 boot has a slip-resistant lugged rubber outsole and is also oil resistant. A removable foam footbed and a mesh lining provide comfort.

Danner Quarry Boot

–If you need a boot that is waterproof and rugged, the Quarry by Danner is a great option. The Quarry has a wedge sole that resists oil.  The boot’s steel shank provides good support and the Ortholite footbed makes for easy walking and standing. Even with the addition of a composite safety toe, the Quarry boot is fairly lightweight; a pair weighs just over 6 pounds.

Justin Original Work Boots J-Max Boot

–Like the other boots, the J-Max incorporates a safety toe to protect your feet from falling objects. The J-Max also features a removable orthotic insole for comfort, as well as a padded polyurethane outsole.

What are the best work boots for auto mechanics?

Obviously, the best boots for auto mechanics (or iron workers, loggers or welding contractors) are boots that protect your foot and keep you comfortable. If you’re an auto mechanic, 3 things are critical. The best work boots for auto mechanics need to–

  • Allow you some flexibility. You’ll be kneeling and squatting as well as standing. You may need to reach down into the innards of an engine or stretch up to work on a car that’s been hoisted up. You need to be able to move freely and comfortably.
  • Protect your feet. Automobiles, and many of the tools that mechanics use to work on them, are heavy. You don’t want to risk serious foot injury by wearing a flimsy shoe that doesn’t protect you if you accidentally drop a wrench on your toe or roll a toolbox over your foot. 
  • Provide you with good traction. Auto repair shops are inherently greasy places. Oil and other mechanical fluids regularly drip or ooze onto the floors. Things can get slick in a hurry. Even if you’re careful to watch where you walk, you risk serious head or body injury unless your work boot grips the floor well. 

Mechanic shoes vs. Mechanic boots: What are the similarities and differences?

There are, indeed, some similarities and differences between the two groups. Here’s the synopsis.

Differences–

The obvious difference is the height. Shoes are short. Mechanic boots are taller than mechanic shoes, although only by an average of just a few inches. The majority of the best-rated mechanic boots are low-to mid-rise.

Surprisingly, most of the companies that produce the best mechanic boots are not the same companies that make great mechanic work shoes.

Search Amazon or Google for a list of the best work shoes for mechanics, and you will see several industrial, construction shoes by Reebok, Skechers and Dr. Sholl’s. Some look like work shoes, some are designed like a sneaker, but with a heavy-duty sole and features such as safety toes.

Do the same search, substituting the word “boot” for shoe, and you get significantly different results. Popular boot brands like Red Wing, Danner, Thorogood, Caterpillar, Redback, Carhartt, Irish Setter, and Wolverine provide several of the best-rated and best-selling work boots.

Timberland is the notable exception. It has well-rated shoes and boots for mechanics. A few speciality brands like Chinook and the very expensive work boots by White’s also manufacture boots for mechanics. 

Price is another area of marked difference. Mechanics’ work shoes–as a category–aren’t cheap, but they cost less than mechanics’ work boots do. This is sensible since there is less material in the shoes. 

You’d wear different type of socks with shoes vs boots

Finally, the construction materials differ significantly between mechanic’s shoes and boots. Many of the best work shoes feature mesh or synthetic uppers and synthetic soles.

A few are leather, but most are not. Work boots for mechanics usually have an upper made of leather, which is often paired with a rubber sole. Several good boots are insulated with a layer of Thinsulate or similar material, and are suitable for winter weather. 

Similarities–

Work shoes and work boots for mechanics have many of the same features. If you need a waterproof shoe, or one with a steel toe, or one that is waterproof AND has a steel toe, you’ll have several good options. You’ll find shoes with defined heels and some with wedge soles.

There are several choices advertised as breathable or as non slip. Most are lace up shoes, but pull on shoes are available. The same is true if you’re a mechanic searching for a work boot.

A few features–like a puncture resistant sole and a met guard–are difficult to find in quality work shoes, but most others are readily available.

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