Workers in oil fields and on oil rigs face daily dangers from falling objects. A derrickhand working on a platform high in the air could fall to his death if he gets careless or doesn’t use proper safety equipment. One of the simplest ways for these workers to protect themselves is to wear a good quality rigger boots. The best oilfield work boots are heavy duty oil resistant safety shoes. The best oil rigger boots start with a quality leather or leather and textile upper and then add safety and comfort features that oil riggers need.
Updated October 2022 by Tony Bleak
In a Hurry? Here’s The Top Pick
The Keen Utility Pittsburgh Boot, although all 5 of our favorites have lots of loyal fans
|Red Wing Irish Setter |
|Yes||Composite||Slip-, Oil-, heat- &|
|Thorogood Oil |
|Yes||Composite||8 inch boot|
Slip- & Oil resistant
Made in USA
|KEEN Utility |
|Resistant||Steel||Slip- & Oil resistant|
Contoured heel lock
|Wolverine Drillbit |
|Yes||Steel||Slip- & Oil resistant|
Boa lacing system
|Resistant||Steel||8 inch boot|
Slip- & Oil resistant
The dangers of drilling for oil make it essential for workers to wear quality oil rigger boots designed to protect their feet and prevent slipping.
Danger is inherent in any job where heights, heavy equipment, inclement weather and explosive materials are present. Oil rig workers face all of these dangers on a daily basis. Roughnecks, derrick operators, and motormen work in especially dangerous environments. They all need a pair of boots designed to protect their feet.
Look at the chart, and you’ll notice that all of my 5 best oil rigger boots incorporate some form of safety toe. Oil rigs are loaded with materials, tools and equipment, much of which is large and heavy. Much of the work is done by workers standing on platforms high in the air. Accidents happen, and sometimes it’s impossible to get out of the way fast enough to avoid injury. Boots with safety shields prevent smashed toes.
Oil riggers need boots that resist above mentioned risks prevented by a wide range of other dangers.
Look again at the comparison chart. Notice the number of times the word “resistant’ appears. Oil workers need boots that protect them from everything from electrical shock to abrasions due to working in tight locations. Oil rig workers on land may face the searing heat of a west Texas summer drought or the danger of an open flame.
Workers on ocean rigs at sea must be able to walk on slick surfaces without falling. And, they often work where the oil itself has made all the walking surfaces very slippery. Oil workers need boots with grippy soles that provide good traction.
The best oil rigger boots are comfortable and durable.
Riggers work long hours–sometimes around the clock. There are certain key times in the process when it’s really impossible to stop for a break so that exhausted workers can rest. At those critical times, workers may work very long hours, with only the briefest snatches of time for a rest.
To maintain that pace, oil field workers need work boots that are REALLY comfortable. Their feet need the comfort of shock-absorbing materials in the midsole and the insole must be cushiony, too. They can’t afford to deal with the pain of blistered feet or the frustration of slipping and sliding their way across to their work station.
Their own safety and the safety of others hinges upon being clear-minded and able to move quickly if a situation arises. Boots need to be cleaned and well maintained to ensure no damage.
The 5 best work boots for oilfield and oil rig
Irish Setter Men’s Crosby Composite Toe Work Boot 83936
Manufactured by RedWing Shoes, the Irish Setter Men’s Crosby Composite Toe Work Boot 83936 is a rugged pull-on with patented Stableflex toe/heel technology that provides great flexibility in the ball of the foot with a stable heel platform. Waterproof and slip resistant.
- Stableflex tech
- Heat, oil, and chemical resistant
- Rather expensive
Thorogood Men’s Oil Rigger 8″ Safety Toe Boot
Thorogood’s Men’s Oil Rigger 8” Safety Toe Boot is a classic lace-up boot with a Vibram sole, a comfortable Poron footpad that is removable, and a composite safety toe.
- Slip resistant
- Oil resistant
- Made in USA
- Limited sizes
KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot
The Men’s Utility Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot by Keen is a midweight, short leather lace-up boot with a moisture-wicking lining, a removable EVA footbed, and reflective webbing for increased visibility.
- EH rated
- Steel toe
- Water resistant, but not waterproof
Wolverine Men’s W10308 Drillbit Boot
Wolverine’s Drillbit Men’s W10308 Boot is a lightweight pull-on boot with a special Boa fastening system that provides the snugness of a lace-up boot. The lugged rubber sole provides good traction. The Drillbit boot is also waterproof.
- Moisture wicking lining
- Boa lacing system
- Weak insole
Timberland PRO Men’s 95567 Endurance Pr 8″ Workboot
The Timberland PRO Men’s (5567 Endurance Work boot is a black water-resistant, lace-up boot with a steel toe. The Endurance boot is water resistant,heat resistant and abrasion resistant.
- Oil resistant
- Removable insole
These boots fit well.
There are, of course, some exceptions where the customer apparently received a returned or defective boot. However, most customers really like how these boots fit. For many, the boots fit great right out of the box, and required virtually no break-in period. Others loved how the boots hugged their ankles and gave them extra stability in slippery situations.
The pros and cons for each boot
Irish Setter Crosby — This boot fits very well. It had the highest ratings for “fit as expected” of the 5 favorite boots. Several customers said it was their favorite boot ever. On the negative side, though, this boot received complaints about the insoles being less than stellar. Customers mentioned replacing them quickly with a Timberland insert.
Thorogood Oil Rigger— Price is the Thorogood Oil Rigger boot’s biggest weakness. People who loved the boot felt that it was worth the price. The Oil Rigger boot has been on the market for only a little over a year, There were fewer reviews, but no reviewer left a rating of fewer than 3 stars.
Keen Pittsburgh Steel Toe–The Keen Pittsburgh boot was the least expensive of the 5 top boots, and was deemed a good value overall. It also got very high marks for fit. Almost 20 reviewers who loved the boot mentioned working in the oil industry. Customers generally thought the insole left something to be desired. And, since it’s a short boot, the Pittsburgh boot won’t work for you if you need shin or calf protection.
The Wolverine Men’s Drill Bit Boot gets very high customer marks for being lightweight. Customers also love the Boa lacing system, which works well and comes with a lifetime warranty. Conversely, several people noted that the Drill Bit Boot is not made for people with wide feet. The Boa lacing system restricts the size of the boot opening and makes the boot hard to pull on.
Timberland’s Endurance boot earns very high marks for being truly waterproof and very comfortable. However, it is a heavy boot, and fits small. Reviewers suggested that other purchasers order a ½ size larger than normal.
Men who purchase these boots wear them on oil rigs, and in a variety of other rugged or dangerous occupations.
Oil riggers on offshore and onshore rigs wear these boots. So do railroad workers and tow truck drivers. Across the board, these boots had fans in the construction industry. The Keen boot, with over 1300 reviews, worked well for men in all lines of work, including garage mechanics, truck drivers, electricians, farmers, ranchers, and warehouse workers.
Although these are men’s boots, a couple of ladies ordered the Irish Setter boot two sizes smaller than their normal women’s size and loved them.
All of these boots are good oil rigs boots. They generally are viewed as being comfortable and worth the purchase price If you don’t need tall work boots, the Keen is a great boot, and my choice as the best of the best oilfield work boots. If you need a taller, more traditional boot, and can afford the expense, the Thorogood Oil Rigger would provide safety, protection, and comfort.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What are Oakley oil riggers?
A: Oakley oil riggers are sunglasses designed specifically with the needs of oil rig workers in mind. Oil rig sunglasses feature Oakley’s lightweight, clear and comfortable Plutonite lenses.
Plutonite lenses protect an oil rigger’s vision by effectively filtering 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC light, as well as harmful blue light up to 400mm. High Definition Optics (HDO), Oakley’s patented system, produces lenses able to provide crystal-clear focus, both for distance and up-close vision. The oil rigger has a single shield-style lens that hugs the face and gives extra protection to the eyes.
Oakley’s oil rigger plastic frames are made from injection-molded thermoplastic that is designed to resist stress and still be both strong and comfortable. They feature dual cam hinges for added flexibility. Each frame is etched with a serial number so that the sunglasses can be identified if they are lost or stolen.
Like virtually all Oakley sunglasses, oil rig sunglasses have the distinctive “O” trademark on the stem and come with a drawstring pouch for storage. Thy are also made so that the lenses can be easily popped out of the frame so that you can change lenses without having to replace the whole pair of sunglasses.
All 3 of my sons have worn oakley oil riggers sunglasses for years. They are convinced that Oakley sunglasses are worth the money because they provide the best available combination of style, fit, durability, and comfort. Oakley’s are strong and durable enough for extreme sports or stressful work settings, yet comfortable enough to wear all day. And, they’re made in the USA, which is important to our family.
Q: What is the difference between the best oil resistant work boots and the best slip resistant work boots?
A: The main difference between oil resistant work boots and slip resistant boots is determined by what part of the work shoe is doing the “resisting.” Oil resistant means that the boot’s upper resists being damaged by oil.
If you’re working in a plant that manufactures motor oils, a commercial cafeteria where lots of food is fried, or on an oil and gas rig, you’ll want a boot that resists being stained or damaged by oil spills or spatters.
Slip-resistant boots help you stay on your feet by having a grippy outsole that maintains traction even in situations that can be slippery. The deck of a floating oil rig could be very slippery because of wet conditions or oily conditions. You’d be less apt to slip and fall if you were wearing a good pair of slip-resistant boots.
Shoes that get very good reviews as oil resistant work boots are:
- Wolverine 10″ Durashocks 200G Boots–waterproof leather pull on made via attach construction, a dry lining and 200g Thinsulate™ Insulation for protection in winter weather.
- Carhartt 6″ Moc Toe Wedge Waterproof Boots–short lace-up boot with a non-slip rubber wedge outsole, a cushioned poly insole and a breathable, waterproof membrane
- Ariat 11″ Intrepid VentTek Composite Toe Boots–11” tall slip-on composite safety toe cowboy boot with a square toe box, a shock-absorbing insole, and a Duratread oil-resistant and slip-resistant outsole. And I love the look of these.
Q: What do I look for in the best heavy duty work boots?
A: The best heavy-duty work boots have features designed to protect your feet from rugged work conditions. Loggers and construction workers who traverse rough ground, or work around falling objects or heavy equipment need safety boots with a steel toe, a puncture-resistant upper, and/or a met guard to protect the metatarsals along the top of the foot.
Ironworkers and welding professionals need a boot that is heat resistant. Fishermen and workers on offshore drilling rigs rely on a waterproof boot that keeps their feet dry and provides a non-slip sole that grips surfaces and keeps them from falling.
The best heavy duty work boots also need to be comfortable. Whether you work long days in a factory, on a dairy farm, as a commercial electrician, or on the platform of an onshore drilling rig, you’ll stress your feet every day. Some comfort features you’ll want to consider focus on the midsole and insole of the boot.
Midsoles and insoles that can absorb shock reduce foot stress. Insoles that can also be removed are a plus, since they can be easily replaced when worn out. Moisture-wicking insoles funnel foot wetness away from the foot so that it can dissipate.
Finally, the best heavy-duty work boots provide the style options that fit your specific needs. These include, but are not limited to
- The shape of the toe box –Do you prefer a moc toe, square toe, or pointy toe
- The fabric of the upper–Do you prefer an upper made of leather or man-made materials?
- The height of the boot–Do you need a tall boot that reaches your knee, or a short boot that maximizes your range of movement?
- The weight of the boot–Can you find a lightweight boot that provides heavy-duty protection and superb comfort?