Guys who have spent time in workshops have known for eons that aprons aren’t just for 1950’s housewives or Food Network chefs. You don’t have to be a professional craftsman to invest in a good shop apron—if you don’t want to ruin your clothes when you’re getting down and dirty on a project, a solid work apron is a must-have.
Plus—the good aprons protect you not only from oil and dirt but also scratches, and have tons of deep pockets so you can keep tools handy without having to look like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor walking around with a jaunty tool belt around your waist. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites—they’ll help you get the job done, whether you’re working on a weekend project or finally living your dream and making artisanal leather wallets professionally. Check out our picks for the 12 best shop aprons.
Hand-Eye Supply Summer Work Apron
Based in Portland, Oregon, Hand-Eye Supply makes and carries products that provide utility without sacrificing design. This light-weight chambray Summer Work Apron is perfect for those outdoor projects you have when it’s hot as hell and a thick duck canvas apron will make you feel like you’re suffocating.
Best Made Co. Heavy Duck Canvas Apron
In less than 10 years in existence, Best Made Co. has made a name for itself creating thoughtful, high-quality outdoor lifestyle gear. And while they’re mostly known for their axes, this Heavy Duck Canvas Apron is one of their best offerings. Made of 100% duck canvas, it’s sturdy without being too heavy—which means you could use it as a workshop apron as easily as you could transition it to the apron you wear in front of the grill during the next BBQ you host.
Winter Session Standard Work Apron
Made from raw denim, Chicago-based Winter Session’s Standard Work Apron will fit in anywhere—whether it’s the kitchen or the workshop. It’s extra-long to provide, well, extra coverage, and the top chest pocket will hold pencils or small tools, while the waist features 4 divided pockets for everything else you need within arm’s reach while you’re working.
Iron & Resin Shop Apron
There’s no color more classic for workshop aprons than deep brown, and with this brown durable waxed canvas apron from California-based Iron & Resin, you’ll look like you belong in a workshop, even if you don’t know the difference between a Phillips and a Flathead.
Filson Utility Apron
If you’re looking for a badass work apron, look no further than Filson’s Utility Apron. It’s abrasion-resistant, and has multiple oil-finished pockets that are water-resistant, plus a zipped pocket to keep valuables safe. All things considered, though, the apron’s most unique feature is the quick-release buckles around the waist and around the legs—those buckles guarantee that this sucker will stay put, regardless of how much you move around.
Hand-Eye Supply & Vanport Outfitters’ American Craftsman Apron
Hand-Eye Supply teamed up with canvas bag maker Vanport Outfitters to create the ultimate American Craftsman apron. The olive-colored apron is extra-long, so you’ll have full-coverage past your knees, and the variety of sturdy, deep-set pockets will store all of your tools.
Rewilder Prep Apron
If a thick, sturdy apron is a bit too extreme for you, the Rewilder Prep Apron might be more your speed. Handcrafted in Los Angeles from upcycled beer filter cloths and climbing ropes, the apron is lightweight but durable. And because the fabric is made from recycled materials, each apron will have its own unique coloring and characteristics.
TRVR Gentleman’s Apron
The Gentleman’s Apron—from TRVR, a small South Korean soft good producer—will make a handsome addition to your workshop. Made from durable waxed canvas with thick leather accents (namely, the pockets), it looks fancier than other work aprons, so it’ll class up your basement (and trust us, it needs it).
Knife & Flag Split Leg Apron
Knife & Flag was founded by a tattoo artist looking for a suitable work apron to wear while installing sleeves and tribal symbols on peoples’ skin, and this all-black Split Leg Apron is sure to inject a little tattooist’s rock ‘n’ roll into your workshop.
Stanley & Sons Leather Lap Apron
In 2008, Chris Grodzki took over his grandfather’s old small goods company and created Stanley & Sons (his grandfather’s name was Stanley). The Leather Lap Apron is one of their best offerings, made from sturdy denim and featuring a hand-dyed leather lap pocket and riveted leather straps.
Sturdy Brothers Charles Apron
The Sturdy Brothers are real—and brothers Ben and Spencer Young are trying to bring craftsmanship back to America, one sturdy canvas and leather good at a time. The Charles Apron is made of nutmeg-waxed canvas, which means it will stand up to years of wear and tear and possibly smell like a bakery? With multiple pockets and leather waist and neck straps, it’s a piece you’ll want to keep on, even after you’ve finished a hard day’s work.
Hard Mill Rugged Apron
You might think over $200 is a lot to shell out for something you’re going to beat to hell in your backyard and garage, but when you invest, you get quality. Crafted in Seattle, this handsome apron is made of army duck waxed canvas with orange leather accents and straps. It has a snap hook for easy fastening, and a utility ring on the front for a hand towel to wipe the sweat off your brow after a day of strenuous work being manly and shit.