When steam engines were the height of tech, men were employed to feed the new-fangled machines loads of coal to keep them running. To combat the obvious fiery hazards associated with the job, the engineer boot was invented. The workwear design joined the tall pull-on style of horse riding boots with the supportive arch and sole of a work boot and would move from feeding coal to shifting gears on motorcycles. The likes of Marlon Brando would help popularize the pull-on in biker circles and is how most people associate the boots today. Search 'biker boot' and it's likely to pull up droves of engineer boots. Though there are other pull-on style boots like the Chelsea and side-zip boots, the buckled ankle strap gives the engineer boot its distinct looks.
Whether you're in the market for some fire-protective footwear, a pair of boots to match your hog, or a pair of boots to match your 1930s repro denim, these are the best engineer boots to buy.
Red Wing Engineer Boots
Just Get This
It’s hard to avoid including Red Wing multiple times in any best-of boot list, especially with the brand’s signature Engineer Boot. It features premium Goodyear welt construction, a cork-filled insole for comfort and a price that’s hard to beat.
Frye Engineer 12R Boots
Crafted in the USA, Frye's Engineer 12R Boots are another more affordable option on this list. They feature a smooth grain leather upper with nickel hardware a stacked leather heel. The oil-resistant rubber soles will keep you from slipping and the Goodyear-welt construction means these will have several lives in them.
White’s Nomad Boots
The burly Nomad Boot from White’s is built as tough as they come with a water-resistant leather upper, full-leather midsole and shank, mini Vibram sole and hardy stitchdown construction.
Viberg Engineer Boots
Viberg’s entry into the engineer boot category is notable for its natural Chromexcel leather that ages quickly and is easier to break in. It pairs well with the brass hardware and, of course, is backed by Viberg’s penchant for quality construction.
The Flat Head Goodyear Welted Engineer Boots
Straight from Japan, these boots from The Flat Head are some of the rarest on the market. Made in small batches, the boots feature natural Chromexcel pull-up leather, storm welt construction, steel shanks and custom-made brass hardware.
John Lofgren Engineer Boots
If there is a foremost expert on the subject of engineer boots, it's John Lofgren. So it's no surprise that a pair of the designer's coveted boots are on this list. The 1950s-style last is custom-made for a sleek profile, which pairs seamlessly with the rest of the top-notch components. Horween chromexcel leather, Japanese steel hardware, Vibram soles and heels — it all comes together with Goodyear storm welt construction and Japanese craftsmanship.
Visvim T.W.O. Folk Boot
There aren't many brands that have as dedicated a following as Hiroshi Nakamura's Visvim. The brand's unbelievable level of detail is evident with every garment, and its T.W.O. Boot is no exception. Inspired by "The Wild One", these boots feature luscious suede uppers with patinated brass hardware, a cork footbed, hand-welted Goodyear construction, double leather midsoles and a non-slip Dainite sole.
Role Club Engineer Boots
Built by one single craftsman, Role Club's Engineer Boots are legendary for its unparalleled quality. Each boot is made-to-order and handmade, featuring a range of top-tier leathers including Horween chromexcel horsehide. They come with Goodyear welted construction and solid brass hardware atop leather midsoles, custom-rubber outsoles, and a '40s-style woodsman heel.