Wesco Mr. Lou Review: Are These the Best Engineer Boots?

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

The Wesco Mr. Lou isn’t cheap. With engineer boots becoming more and more popular, it makes you wonder if there are better deals elsewhere.

In this Wesco Mr. Lou review, I give my detailed thoughts on my experience with this high-end engineer boot after three months of wearing them.

Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Wesco Boots

Wesco Mr. Lou

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Bottom line: The Wesco Mr. Lou almost immediately has become my favorite boot. The brown Horween Chromexcel leather is smooth, rich, and really high quality. The boots are rugged but still very comfortable. And I love that the shaft has a more narrow circumference than the Wesco Boss and most other engineer boots---it means the Mr. Lou pairs better with my more tapered jeans.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • The material and construction quality is outstanding
  • The shaft of the boot has a more narrow circumference that fits well with tapered jeans
  • They’re extremely comfortable, even though they’re built with all leather

Cons:

  • I originally wanted the Natural Chromexcel leather, but Wesco didn’t have any available---I still love the Brown Chromexcel, but would’ve loved to see the patina on an undyed leather

Over the years, I’ve reviewed 100+ boots. 

Eventually, I knew it was time to get an engineer boot. 

So I decided to pick up the mack-daddy: the Wesco Mr. Lou.

I’ve been wearing them for three months, and I have to say—they’re my favorite boots right now. 

Yes, after reviewing 100+ pairs, the Wesco Mr. Lou is my favorite (at least right now…it always changes). 

I’m going to go into detail on this boot, discuss what I like, what I don’t like, and ultimately whether or not they’re right for you. 

Wesco Engineer Boots Overview

Wesco Mr Lou brown chromexcel leather

Wesco offers two engineer boots: the Boss and the Mr. Lou. What’s the difference between them? 

The Boss is the original Wesco engineer. Compared to the Mr. Lou, they have a more rounded toe and a wider, slightly taller shaft. 

Overall, you could say that the Wesco Boss is a beefier boot that’s designed more for work or motorcycle riding. 

The Mr. Lou isn’t a dainty boot by comparison, but it has a sleeker and lower toe box. The biggest difference is the more narrow circumference of the shaft. The Mr. Lou fits well under a pair of tapered jeans, which isn’t the case for the Boss. 

The two boots are quite similar—you could easily miss the differences between them if you were just glancing at them. 

But I’d say that the Boss is a better boot if you wear relaxed fit jeans or if you’re planning on getting engineers for work or riding. In my case, I’m wearing my engineer boots primarily for style, so the Mr. Lou was the better choice for me. 

Wesco Mr. Lou Boots

Wesco's Mr. Lou engineer boots are slimmer and more style-driven than the Wesco Boss. Sewn up with vintage details including a narrow shaft, triple-needle stitching throughout, a half-sole, and that coveted V-stitch on the backstay.

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Things to Consider Before Buying the Wesco Mr. Lou

model wearing Wesco Mr Lou boots

Wesco has a bit of a wait time and ordering through their site is pretty archaic. It seems like they haven’t updated their site since the early 2000’s.

That said, even though their site user interface is pretty poor, they reach out to you via email and actually have a discussion with you on your boots. And they’ll get their whole team together on it. 

I’m used to buying everything online, so I was a bit confused at first, but it was great to be able to go back and forth with them and get exactly what I wanted. 

model walking in Wesco Mr Lou brown chromexcel leather

Originally I ordered the Natural Chromexcel Mr. Lou, and they emailed me pretty much right away to let me know that I could be waiting 9-12 months for that color due to backorders and limited material supply. 

Since I wanted to do a video review of the boot, I wanted mine faster. So Chris from Wesco sent me some pictures of boots they had available to sell right away, and he told me he could also get the Brown Chromexcel Mr. Lou together in about three months. So that’s what we went with. 

Long story short: their customer service is super responsive and extremely personable and helpful. 

You should also expect to wait at least three months to get your boots. 

Wesco Mr. Lou Review

First Impression

Wesco Mr Lou boots on model

I thought that my new Wesco engineer boots would be bulky, but the Mr. Lou is surprisingly trim and sleek. 

The shaft opening isn’t much wider than my leg, so it actually allows me to wear these boots with my straight cut and tapered jeans. 

This was welcome news for me because those types of pants are all I really have. They fit into my wardrobe naturally and I love the style. 

Wesco Mr Lou boots

Engineer boots are a bit unusual—you don’t see many people wearing them out and about. 

But when I’m wearing them under my jeans, I don’t think they look wild or out of place—they almost have a bit of a toned-down western-boot look to them.

Of course, you have the solid brass buckle peaking out at the bottom of the pant leg, which gives these boots a distinctive style. 

Wesco Mr. Lou Boots

Wesco's Mr. Lou engineer boots are slimmer and more style-driven than the Wesco Boss. Sewn up with vintage details including a narrow shaft, triple-needle stitching throughout, a half-sole, and that coveted V-stitch on the backstay.

Check Best Price
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Leather Quality and Care

Wesco Mr Lou boots with brown chromexcel leather and brass buckle

I picked my Mr. Lou’s up in Horween’s Brown Chromexcel. I really love this color—it has some red undertones to it and the leather has a lot of richness and depth. 

It’s a pull up leather, so it really doesn’t require too much care. I haven’t oiled or treated the leather yet in the first three months of wearing them, and I doubt I’ll touch these boots with anything until a year or so.

I’ve been noticing that some of the areas that are getting worn in more are turning a bit lighter, especially around the toe and heel. What I love about Horween Chromexcel is that I could easily restore that color back to original if I wanted. 

Wesco Mr Lou boots leather detail close up

I personally like the dynamic color and the variation, so I’m leaving it, but if you wanted to keep your leather looking as good as new, you could probably just rub the area with your thumb and restore the leather that way. Or if that didn’t work, a little Venetian leather balm would freshen it up. 

Venetian Imperial Leather Balm

After testing 10 of the most popular leather conditioners, Venetian came out as my top pick because it nourishes leather, doesn't change the color, and actually adds a decent amount of weather resistance as well.

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I’ve had plenty of Chromexcel boots in the past, but there’s something special about the hide that Wesco has selected. The boot is unlined, and I like feeling the reverse roughout side of the grain.

Overall, in the first three months of wearing these boots, I’m liking how the leather is creasing, rolling, and aging. They look even better than when I first tried them on.  

Sole

Wesco Mr Lou dr sole detail

Wesco uses a Dr. Sole rubber half sole and heel, and this is my first experience with that brand of sole. 

The heel is stacked leather and the toplift (heel cap) is an inch thick, which is incredible. Only my Nicks and Whites approach that level of rubber in the heel. 

I must walk strangely, because I always tend to wear down the outside of the heel first. 

But having an inch of rubber there means it’ll take several years—probably four or five years given how often I wear these—before I need to get the heel replaced. 

Dr. Sole is a boot lover’s sole. The founder of Dr. Sole was inspired by the Cat’s Paw brand, which is an infamous defunct brand that’s beloved in the boot community. I haven’t personally tried a Cat’s Paw outsole, but I’ve heard that it’s great quality, but not necessarily better than what you can find with Vibram or other popular outsole brands. 

But Dr. Sole has more intricate and unique sole designs that are crafted specifically to tailor to high-end boots like Wesco, Viberg, and Nicks. 

I mainly love that the heel is so thick, and it feels great when impacting the ground. 

The insole is thick oak tanned leather, and so is the heel stack, so it’s quite durable and should continue to compress for several more months and get even more comfortable. That said, these boots were comfortable right away. 

The Mr. Lou is built with a double row stitchdown construction. Compared to my Nicks and Whites, the flange of the leather is a lot less prominent, which I like from a style perspective. 

Wesco Mr. Lou Boots

Wesco's Mr. Lou engineer boots are slimmer and more style-driven than the Wesco Boss. Sewn up with vintage details including a narrow shaft, triple-needle stitching throughout, a half-sole, and that coveted V-stitch on the backstay.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Fit and Sizing

Wesco Mr Lou chromexcel creasing

I ordered a size 10D in these boots, which is a half-size smaller than my Brannock reading, and they fit perfectly

I have the same size in my Red Wing Iron Rangers, Grant Stone, Truman, Nicks, Whites, and just about every other boot in my collection (with the exception of those brands that are more true to the Brannock device). 

The one issue I’ve noticed is that I still get some heel slippage when I wear thinner socks. I think this has to do with the insole breaking in still, as it’s gotten less noticeable over time. 

So the heel is a bit wider than on other brands, but not so much to where I think you’d need a different size than usual. 

Wesco offers D widths and E widths, and I’m sure you could email them to see if they’d be able to do something wider like a EEE. 

Break-in Period

Wesco Mr Lou style

It’s been three months since I’ve had the Mr. Lou, and I think I’m still breaking them in. That said, these boots have been comfortable since I first put them on. 

The Horween Chromexcel leather is very supple and forgiving, and it quickly expanded in the areas where it was fitting snug (I’m talking about within the first wear). 

As I said, I do still have a little heel slip, and that’s going away more slowly because of the thick leather insole. But as I continue to break the insole in, the heel slip is diminishing. 

I’d say that the break in period for the Wesco Mr. Lou isn’t a challenge—while it is taking longer for the boots to feel like a custom fit, it’s really easy to wear them all day long and walk as much as I need to in a given day. 

Wesco Mr. Lou Alternatives

Nicks Renegade

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The one alternative I’d suggest to the Wesco Mr. Lou is the Nicks Renegade. And the reason I might choose Nicks over another pair of Wesco engineers in the future is because of the level of customization you can get with Nicks.

If you know a thing or two about boots and want to build your very own engineer, the Renegade is a great option for you.

Choose from over 30 different leather options, heel height, shaft height, outsole type, heel profile, and more. The level of customization you can get is incredible. On the downside, it’ll probably take the better part of a year before your boots actually arrive at your door. 

Nicks Renegade Boots

If you know a thing or two about boots and want to build your very own engineer, the Renegade is a great option for you. Choose from over 30 different leather options, heel height, shaft height, outsole type, heel profile, and more.

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My Thoughts Overall On the Wesco Mr. Lou

What I Like

  • These are some of the best materials I’ve experienced with outstanding construction quality. 

  • The shaft of the boot has a more narrow circumference that fits well with tapered jeans.

  • Despite how heavy-duty the materials are, this boot is immediately comfortable and easy to break in. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I wish Wesco offered a greater variety of leather options for the Mr. Lou.

Who is the Wesco Mr. Lou for?

The Wesco Mr. Lou is a fantastic engineer boot for you if you primarily want your boot for style purposes. If you’re looking for a motorcycle boot, then the Wesco Boss is a better choice.

The Verdict

I wasn’t sure if I’d like engineer boots. And that’s why the Wesco Mr. Lou is perfect for me. 

The shaft is more narrow and the toe box is slim, low profile, and relatively sleek, so it’s not like I’m wearing this huge oversized boot. They fit perfectly with my more trim, tapered style. 

The materials and construction are phenomenal, which is something I expect for a boot that costs around $700. Still, I feel like a million bucks when these are on my feet. 

I love the thick toplift—these boots can easily go five years before I need to replace that heel or do anything to them. 

I’ve had plenty of Horween Chromexcel boots in the past, but I have a new appreciation for that leather after wearing the Wesco Mr. Lou. It’s soft, resilient, and easy to care for. Plus it ages and patinas really nicely. 

Overall, after 100+ boot reviews, I have to say that the Wesco Mr. Lou is sitting at the top of my list right now.

Wesco Mr. Lou Boots

Wesco's Mr. Lou engineer boots are slimmer and more style-driven than the Wesco Boss. Sewn up with vintage details including a narrow shaft, triple-needle stitching throughout, a half-sole, and that coveted V-stitch on the backstay.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Are Wesco boots made in the USA?

Yes, Wesco boots are made in Oregon, making them part of the legendary American Pacific Northwest boot making tradition.

What kind of leather does Wesco use?

Wesco has been known to use leathers from several different tanneries—all of them very high quality. Their standard options for the Mr. Lou are Horween Chromexcel, though I’ve seen limited edition versions with leather from Maryam, Seidl, and other popular tanneries.

Do Wesco boots have arch support?

Yes, Wesco boots offer a lot of arch support. I wouldn’t put them on the level of Nicks and Whites, but they still offer more arch support than your average boot (which also already offer a decent amount of arch support too).

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