Established at the turn of the 20th century, Red Wing Heritage has made it their objective to provide buyers purpose-built footwear. Many of the shoes back then were designed for work, but the brand now also offers fashion-forward pieces. Now having been around for over a hundred years, the brand continues to release countless, top quality shoe models that meet the highest standards for safety, comfort, and durability.
These days, Red Wing shoes are a favorite for those who want excellently crafted work shoes, or for those who want a rugged pair of kicks to spice up their everyday attire. So if you’re looking for a pair of durable kicks for whatever purpose you might need them, Red Wing might just have something in store for you.
Wondering if the brand can cater to your discriminating taste and standards? I’ve put together a review of some of Red Wing Shoes’ most noteworthy designs to date so you can find a good fit for your feet.
Red Wing Shoes for Men
When it was first established in 1905, Red Wing was intended mainly for men. This is because those who worked in the mining, logging, and farming industries were exclusively male. That said, there weren’t any women workers to cater to.
Today, despite having expanded their market reach to include women, modern Red Wing shoes are still mostly designed for men.
Iron Ranger 6-Inch Boot
Possibly one of Red Wing’s most prominent designs to date is the Iron Ranger 6-Inch Boot. The boot was developed with the miners of the Minnesota iron range. It’s durable, comfortable, and robust to say the least, perfect for use in a variety of demanding work environments.
The boot is made from high-quality genuine leather which softens and contours to fit your foot shape over time. The insole also features leather construction and lining. This is designed to last several years of heavy use without absorbing moisture or developing odors. The outsole, made from nitrile cork, is particularly resistant to being punctured and pierced. So for workers who tread dangerous terrain, this can be of great benefit.
The boot offers superior protection, comfort, and support. While the material does scuff up quite easily, it can be brought back to brand new status with nothing more than a few wipes with a soft, clean cloth.
Classic Moc 6-Inch Boot
Another great design from the Red Wing Heritage brand is the Classic Moc 6-Inch Boot. The rugged boot was built for work use. However because of its appealing looks, many leverage the Moc for its stylish appeal.
Measuring 5.5 inches from the heel to the top of the shaft, the Moc offers some reasonable coverage for your lower leg. The semi-polished leather upper comes in a variety of colors and finishes. This gives the boot both durability and style.
A leather insole lines the interior of the boot, which was designed to make it odor-resistant. The synthetic sole measures 1 inch in height, and the whole boot is kept together by triple stitches that guarantee a superb hold against wear and tear.
The only downside with the Moc is comfort. Of course, the leather insole isn’t the best Red Wing Shoes has ever released. They can be tough, stiff, and unresponsive. But that’s something you can fix with cheap insole replacements.
Round 6-Inch Boot
It seems Red Wing has cornered the 6-inch boot market with their current boot line-up. The Round is another 6-inch boot offered by the brand, and features a similar design and build with the Moc.
The main difference is that the Round features a crepe sole which is slightly thicker than the Moc’s. It also features a roomier toe area compared to its Moc counterpart.
All in all, the Round is the Moc’s less stylish cousin, made especially with demanding work environments in mind. The design is ultra-robust, able to take on a beating for many years before any repairs are necessary.
Another thing to consider is that while the Round might not be quite as good looking as the Moc, it does come at a much easier price point. So if you’re looking to get a budget-friendly work boot, the Round can be a good choice.
Postman Oxford Work Shoe
Red Wing caters to all different kinds of workers, and the humble postman is one of them. The Postman Oxford Work Shoe was designed with hardworking postmen in mind, designed to meet postal service requirements.
The shoe features a matte leather material and a crepe sole. Crepe soles are made of textured sheets of coagulated latex, making for a hyper-flexible and comfortable feel. Inside the shoe is a breathable leather lining and a softer leather insole that gives it greater comfort for jobs that require a lot of walking around.
It comes in a classic postman black color, making it a worthy wardrobe addition for style-savvy men who want a robust dress shoe for work or play. The only issue with the Postman Oxford Workshoe is that it does scuff up pretty quickly. That can be easily taken care of though with any basic shoe polish and care kit.
Weekender Oxford Shoe
Not everyone wears their work shoes all the way to the weekend. Some people like to take those tired things off in favor of something that’s a little more casual and a whole lot more comfortable. That’s how the Red Wing Shoes Weekender line-up came to be.
Their Weekender Oxford Shoe features a much more relaxed appearance. This is particularly evident when compared to the stiff, robust construction of their Heritage line-up. The leather used for the Weekender Oxford is much less resistant to wear. Don’t worry – that’s actually a good thing as they can break-in much easier. This means you can get them to fit your feet much quicker, especially because you’ll only be wearing them on the weekends.
The eyelets are blind, and the edges of the leather don’t have any stitching, giving them a more casual appearance compared to the formal Postman Oxfords. Keep in mind though that the edges and eyelets tend to ‘shred’ a little with excessive friction. Needless to say, the Weekender Oxford comes in a variety of finishes that can appeal to a variety of fashion senses and style tastes.
Red Wing Shoes for Women
While it doesn’t have too many boots and shoes for women, the ones Red Wing does have are expertly crafted and designed. Unlike other brands of work boots however, Red Wing Shoes makes women’s shoes particularly distinct from men’s, using completely different design templates that make them uniquely different from the men’s versions.
Iron Ranger Boot
The perfect example of how Red Wing Shoes switches up its women’s boots is theIron Ranger Boot for women. Differences with its men’s counterpart are evident at just a glance. The boot has a much higher heel and a sleeker, slimmer silhouette. This was done to give women that feminine appeal.
Don’t let the boots’ looks get you though – they’re just as tough as any Red Wing boot. Made from 100% full-grain leather and featuring a tough Vibram sole, the Iron Ranger Boot for women was made to survive even the most demanding work environments. Sure, they can scuff up a little, but other than that, they’re pretty solid.
The only trade-off with the Iron Ranger is the toe width. Being that it is designed to be much sleeker, the manufacturer had to sacrifice some toe space. This can be uncomfortable for users with wider feet. Although the shoes do break-in after some time, they’re not going to give you too much room.
Moc 6-Inch Boot
Another boot design from Red Wing with a female spin-off is the Moc. The main difference between the men and women’s Moc is the shaft, which runs a little shorter to give a more feminine appearance. The sole is also much thicker, giving the user more height.
Of course, the women’s Moc looks just as good as the men’s, featuring just the right design to work well as a casual boot as well. For working women though, the Moc doesn’t play games either. The design is robust, durable, and especially comfortable, giving blue-collar women a worthy pair of boots guaranteed to ease them through the workweek.
Keep in mind that the leather of the Moc tends to bend and fold awkwardly along the back of the shaft. This doesn’t really affect the way it fits, but sometimes causes some aesthetic issues for certain users.
Much like the Weekender line-up, the Clara boot wasn’t designed to be used in work environments. Instead, this is Red Wing’s version of a women’s casual or dress boot. With a 2 inch heel that cuts away from the platform, the all-leather boot comes with a rubber sole that was made to look like wood.
The shaft is narrow, making it cling snugly against the user’s ankles and legs for a feminine appearance. The textured sole gives it much greater traction, which helps a great deal especially because the heel on the boot is much higher compared to other choices.
Again, Red Wing fails to give enough width around the toes, sacrificing some comfort especially for users with wider feet. Sure, the leather does break-in after some use, but it still may not be spacious enough for some users.
The Bottom Line
Red Wing tries to tread the line between fashion-forward pieces that also serve in work environments. In many ways, they do succeed, especially with this line-up of shoes and boots.
While there are some things the brand could improve on – like the insoles and linings for some of their men’s boots – they do produce some pretty high-quality stuff that can last you many years without a fuss.
So are Red Wing Shoes worth buying? I think they definitely deserve a purchase. In terms of prices, they’re cheaper than many other boot brands on the market. And with the quality they offer, they are definitely a good investment.