Are you a boot aficionado? If you are, then you know boots fall into many categories from steel toe, composite toe, waterproof, and so on. Some varieties like Red Wing, Thorogood, Caterpillar, Timberland, KEEN, Wolverine, and Irish Setter are considered crème de la crème.
But out of all these work boots, there is a growing interest in American made boots-particularly Thorogood and Red Wing. These boots are incredibly durable and versatile at the same time. Additionally, they all fall under $300(most of the time).
In this Thorogood vs. Redwing article, we are going to compare the features of these heavyweight boot brands in detail so you can know which one fits your style. Along the way, we will review a few boots from each side so you can have some options to consider. We recommend the Thorogood Men’s American Heritage Moc Toe Boot because it is versatile, durable, and safety features.
Enough said. Let’s get cracking.
Brief History of Thorogood and Red Wing
Thorogood is a subsidiary branch of Weinbrenner Shoe Co and has been producing on and off-job shoes since 1892. Since its birth, this company has created over 300 boot styles-most of which are still admired up-to-date.
Weinbrenner started to flourish after 1918 when they decided to design boots that are unique to each profession. At the time, their main clients were rail workers, American troops, oil workers, and miners. In 1943, their inventive efforts led to the creation of the first safety toe boot.
Today, Thorogood is respected for producing some of the unique boots for working in demanding environments. While other companies copy-paste everything, they are busy inventing new boot designs with outsoles meant to tackle different outdoor conditions. Lately, most folks who are looking for hardworking shoes usually turn to Thorogood.
Red Wing was born in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota. That’s over a century of service folks. Ever since, the company has produced countless work and casual boots for men, women, and even kids.
With such a long track record of exceptional performance, Red Wing knows what it takes to build a shoe that people want. That’s how they’ve been able to remain at the top of the game. This company uses its own unique leather that is known to be pliable, comfortable, and durable.
Red Wing has and always targets the hardworking people who build real value with their hands. That includes linemen, construction workers, miners, ironworkers, farmers, gardeners, etc.
Now that you are all caught up on the history of these two iconic boot companies, let’s show you a few of their go-to boots.
1. Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot
Fine men fancy good styling. And when you want to look dapper but still have better protection, then Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot is the option to consider.
This boot offers exceptional performance in a durable package. It boasts of full-grain, oil-tanned leather attached to the sole through the tried and tested Goodyear Welt construction. Throw on top the cotton drill vamp lining, and you have yourself a breathable boot.
And the fun doesn’t end here. Comfort-wise, Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot leaves nothing to chance. It comes with a removable shock-absorbing footbed and Poron comfort insole to take up as much impact as possible.
To the bottom, this trail-ready boot features MAXWear Wedge rubber outsole with superior traction. You can even try to slide on a wet surface without getting anything. Overall, this boot is heavily packed with tech that will make your day fund and productive.
- Top-quality stitching for durability
- Styled to perfection for modern men
- Well-endowed with comfort-enhancing tech
- Multiple protective features
- Affordably priced
- No steel toe protection
Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot has a lot to offer from better quality, protection to good looks. It strikes the right balance of anything you could be looking for. You should check it out.
2. Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex 6″ Composite Toe Work Boot
Are you the kind of guy that everyone goes to for everything? Do you find yourself in places that are a danger to your feet? There is good news; you need a boot like Thorogood Men’s GEN-FLEX 6 inch Lace-toe Work Boot.
With a rugged appeal to it, thick leather, and composite toe protection, you can become a reliable workman. This is a lightweight, slip-resistant boot whose sole offer more than just better traction. The Gen-flex tech and the dual-density EVA added to the outsole makes it practical in many demanding situations.
Thorogood Men’s GEN-FLEX 6 inch Lace-toe Work Boot has your comfort in mind too. The opening sports adequate padding while the interior boasts of superior EVA cushioning. The footbed is removable so you can use something else.
- Put together through quality stitching
- EVA cushioned footbed improves comfortability
- Goodyear storm welt construction makes it long-lasting
- Composite toe safety boot that is lightweight
- Oil and slip-resistant
- Not waterproof
- No steel toe
Thorogood Men’s GEN-FLEX 6 inch Lace-toe Work Boot is rugged enough to handle anything you might go through. It does have a good style that helps you feel good as well. To butter it all up, it is ultra-lightweight, so it doesn’t get in your way of working.
3. Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 8″ Tactical Boot
Tactical mission, like other tough duties, involves a lot of trailblazing. This could mean avoiding a clear path and taking the road not taken. As such, you need an ever-ready boot like Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 8″ Tactical Boot.
This boot prepares itself for the worst through the impenetrable leather lined with nylon and BBP X-stream that make it an excellent waterproof boots. Given the hard work waiting ahead, most of the vital elements bear minimum weight. For instance, it comes with a composite shank instead of steel. The footbed is also of single-density rather than double.
Thorogood pays a lot of attention to outsoles because they play a vital role. This boot features an oil and slip-resistant GEN-flex outsole. The sole is also non-marking to keep it going for as long as possible. There are countless ideal tactical boots that you can buy for your field duties.
- Leather and nylon makes it waterproof boots
- Polyurethane sole to make you comfortable always
- Ultra-lightweight construction
- Slip and oil-resistant soles are the best options for getting a good grip
- Available in various width sizes such that you can find a customized fit
- Affordably priced
- Some claim it squeaks
Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 8″ Tactical Boot bears impressive features that could make a personal tactical grin with satisfaction. It creates an impenetrable fortress for your feet against many perils of the exterior world. Furthermore, you don’t need to go over $200 to get it.
4. Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger 6″ Boot
Standing 6 inches high, Iron Ranger Boot is for a zealous servant, enthusiastic workman, or a dedicated ranger. It’s bigger, better, and bolder, all thanks to the impeccable stitching (A triple stitch of Goodyear Welt.)
This boot boasts of a natural leather covering that doesn’t wear out easily. Add that to a remarkable, non-marking and slip-resistant Nitrile Cork sole, and you have yourself a beast of some sort. Thanks to composite toe and steel shank protection, you can emerge from grueling places without cuts and burns.
While Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger Boot lacks top-tech like EVA, the leather used is soft to guarantee comfort. It’s also designed to follow your contours for the best snug fit. On the flip side, it runs big, so make your order in a half size down.
- Hand Stitched to perfection
- An all-round classic boot for a professional look
- Steel shank for superior protection
- Lightweight construction
- Non-slip outsole
- Slightly expensive
- Not entirely waterproof
Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger Boot is an all-round work boot that can be worn by any person, anywhere, and at any time. This boot is insanely tough and ready for anything. But you need to cough up more than $200 to enjoy its company.
5. Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6″ Boot
Do you know the best way to spend your hard-earned bucks? Well, we do. And the answer is Red Wing 6″ Classic Moc Boot. This pick is arguably an epitome of quality.
Like others, this Moc boot is hardened to take you anywhere in the outdoors and never succumb to anything. On top, it bears full-grain leather linked to the outsole through triple-stitched Goodyear welt construction. This kind of perfection is rarely seen on other boots.
The bottom sports a white Traction Tred outsole with stellar traction and shock absorption. You will never lose your ground while in them. This is a fact. However, the boot is not waterproof and lacks shank protection.
- Outstanding safety features
- Offer advanced comfort and shock absorption
- Flexible outsoles that offer solid traction as well
- Triple-stitched to last as long as you do
- Superior traction
- It’s pricey
- No steel toe
Given the outstanding quality, Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6″ Boot can last for many years (of course) with proper protection. It also packs the finest shoe technology that guarantees both comfort and protection. And that is why its price is a bit higher.
6. Red Wing Heritage Men’s Roughneck Lace Up Boot
Out of the box, Red Wing Heritage Men’s Roughneck Lace-Up Boot is one of the comfiest boots worth getting. This is a rugged boot with full-grain leather with water and stain resisting properties.
The rubber lugs to the bottom make it an aggressive, all-season boot that can accompany you anywhere. After all, its name, “roughneck” is derived from workers who were handling some of the most dangerous oil drilling jobs.
The thick top leather lies on a Vibram sole with a grip so tough that you will never lose your footing. On top of that, the top and bottom are glued to each other via Goodyear welt construction. This ensures the shoe doesn’t rip apart for a very long time.
- Durably constructed
- Can be resoled
- Stain and water-resistant
- Aggressive lugs for better traction
- Roomier toe end
- No steel or composite toe protection
- Not true to size
If you want a boot for casual walks that can also handle a few stressful terrains and work environments, go with Red Wing Heritage Men’s Roughneck Lace-Up Boot. It keeps the weight to a very minimal limit without sacrificing comfort and protection.
Thanks to Goodyear Welt and Puritan triple stitch construction, this bad boy can last forever. There are many fantastic Red Wing boots out there for every work-related duties.
Thorogood Boots vs Red Wing
Thorogood vs. Red Wing work boots, which is better? Curious to know the answer? Then keep reading.
If you visit Reddit, YouTube, and other sites that review boots, you’ll come across threads and pieces pitting these two titan boot brands against each other. Since shoes are bought based on preference, we will discuss the core features of each so you can decide for yourself. That sounds good, doesn’t it?
Comparing Moc Toe
Both Thorogood and Red Wing feature mostly composite moc toes. This seems to be their way of ensuring you have sufficient toe protection that doesn’t add much weight on the boot.
Their moc toes are usually tough and inflexible during the first days. But as you break-in, the material becomes fairly soft. However, judging by most Thorogood moc toe reviews, this brand has a longer break-in period.
Comparing construction and comfort
Now, this is where things get pretty interesting. If you go back to the reviews above and analyze the features, it would become evident that Thorogood boots have an advanced tech.
Take Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6’’ Moc Toe Boot for instance. This shoe doesn’t cross the 300 bucks line, yet it sports proprietary tech such as MAXwear Wedge, Ultimate Shock Absorption, Goodyear Storm Welt construction, and Cotton Drill lining.
That’s quite amazing at such a lower price point, don’t you think? No wonder the boot has thousands of positive reviews.
Now, let’s jump to Red Wing’s side. The brand’s two top options that range between $250 and $350 are Red Wing Shoes Men’s 6’’ Classic Moc Toe and the Iron Ranger 6’’ Boot.
RedWing Shoes Men’s 6’’ Classic Moc Toe features Traction Tred and Goodyear as the top tech. Iron Ranger 6’’ Boot(one of the loved Red Wing boots), on the other hand, comes with Nitrile Cork, and Goodyear Welt construction as the only proprietary technologies.
When it comes to comfort, both companies do put in almost the same amount of effort. Nevertheless, leather boots’ comfort can be improved by the user in many ways.
This could be subjective, and we get that. However, if you look closely at any Thorogood boots review and Red Wing boots review, it would be apparent that the former has many stylish kicks.
Sure, there are a few collections from Red Wing that are so smashing. So beautiful that you would feel like skiving work and go for a walk with your better half and then perhaps get complimented on how classic your look. Nevertheless, Thorogood still wins.
Need proof? Then check out Thorogood American Heritage 6’’ MAXWear Wedge Boot, American Heritage 8’’ Moc Toe Boot, Thorogood Men’s Gen-Flex 6-Inch Composite Toe Work Boot and the list is endless.
Also, if we judge pricing based on the six products reviewed in this Thorogood vs Red Wing boots review, the latter is cheaper.
However, we understand some of you have your own preferences and possibly grew up using either of the two brands. If this is the case, then it’s better to stick with the brand you like. After all, you’ll never go wrong with sizing as you know how to go about it.
So which one is better?
Obviously, each boot has something unique to add to the table. Where the other flourishes in design, the other takes the crown in producing affordable models. All in all, Thorogood is a few bits better than Red Wing.
Factors That Define The Best Work Boots (Things You Should Consider)
No one should ever buy anything blindly-including boots. With a myriad of options on shelves, it pays to know the important factors to consider. Do you know what matters the most when buying the best work boots? Don’t fret if you don’t know. We are going to enlighten you.
Before we get to the juicy stuff, make sure you have your profession and the nature of your workplace in mind. Now, here’s everything you need to consider before buying work boots:
There is leather, suede, nylon, and rubber work boots. Leather is inarguably the top choice for most users due to its durability. Once broken in, leather provides a snug fit all through. Drawbacks? Yes, leather kicks can be heavy and less breathable.
Because of those two flaws, some people prefer boots that feature both leather and soft fabrics. These are very comfortable and extremely breathable. With some treatment or better seam lining, they can be waterproof.
If you are always wading into water sports and mud, leather won’t offer better protection. You need a plain rubber or PVC boots. These ones are usually lightweight and forever impermeable to water (suppose they don’t get pierced).
If you ask which is better between plain leather and mixed varieties, then the answer is none. The choice you go with will obviously compromise on something. So always pick something that appeals to the demands of your profession.
There are two OSHA-approved toe styles; composite and steel toe. Both of them can cushion you from electrical hazards and impact. Steel toe is highly valued because it’s affordable, puncture-proof, and shatterproof.
Given that many people prefer them, virtually every boot on the market has a steel toe. This kind of toe protection is ideal for construction sites and other industries that deal with heavy stuff that can crush your toe.
Before you belittle composite toe, note that it is special in its own way. This is a recent invention that integrates the front of a boot with rubber, plastic, and carbon fiber. As such, it offers lightweight toe protection.
Besides protection, the benefits of work boots with composite toe include temperature regulation, better electrical resistance, and improved toe safety (poorly installed steel toes can cause cuts and burns). Soft toe is ideal in cold climates and for walking.
How long a boot will survive depends on how it’s put together. Just read some reviews on Amazon. You’ll see people complain about a boot ripping apart after a week of use. That’s because they never paid attention to the type of stitching used.
There are three common types of stitching; Stitch down, cement, and direct attach (molded). Stitch down boots have their top attached to the outsole through a very strong stitch material-preferably Goodyear Welt or something similar. This construction is good in that it allows you to resolve your shoe.
Cement construction entails gluing together the top and sole. This makes for affordable boots, but they hardly last long. Direct-attach involves bonding together the sole and top via a flexible adhesive. Such boots are comfortable, lightweight, and follow the contours of your feet.
Slips and falls have sent people to hospitals. Some had to retire because they were deemed unfit for work. And these are just minor cases. If you take a look at most work boots, you’ll realize they have exceptional treads. This design helps to keep the feet stable even in wet and slippery surfaces and make it an ideal pair of anti-slip boot.
Besides better traction, most outsoles are designed to be heat resistant and impenetrable against sharp objects. Not to forget, the kind of sole a shoe has can contribute to its weight. Therefore, it pays to invest in some of the excellent lightweight work boots.
Size and fit
This is another factor you cannot afford to ignore. Buying a boot that fits well improves comfort, and that makes you a better workman. Additionally, you can save time and money involved in returning the item to the store.
Gone are the days when protection meant lack of comfort. Currently, even substandard boots feature comfort-enhancing elements such as thick padding and premium quality insoles.
The presence of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) or TPU (thermo-polyurethane) provides both unmatched comfort and durability. However, boots with a massive amount of these materials can command a bigger price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In this section, we will try to highlight some of the hardest questions baffling Red Wing and Thorogood boots users. There will also be answers to those questions so you can leave this blog informed:
Q. What is MAXWear technology?
A. This is the sole material that lasts long without sacrificing both comfort and flexibility. As researched material, it’s 100% manmade and registered under Thorogood. MAXWear lasts 20-30% longer than ordinary soles.
Q. Which is better between composite and steel toe?
A. This answer depends on the nature of your job and feet conditions. Composite toes have become too common because they offer sufficient lightweight protection. Furthermore, they take a bulbous shape that gives toes a bigger breathing room.
Steel toes, on the other hand, are still a go-to solution for those who work in demanding environments. When a heavy item falls, your toes will be intact. Steel toes are cheap as well. However, they add some weight to the boot. Check out alloy toe vs steel toe vs composite toe to know how they differ from each other.
Q. How long should reliable boots last?
A. A good quality boot that is worn on a daily basis should last about a year. This includes proper use and frequent care. However, if you don’t wear them every day and care for them adequately, they can last beyond 2 years. Anything cheap or of substandard quality can only last half a year before the parts start coming off.
Q. Why do boot sizes vary from brand to brand?
A. First, no two boots are exactly the same. Given the purchase orders companies have, they need to get material from different tanning industries. Now each hide will come with different smoothness, wrinkles, oil absorption, amongst other things.
So, there is no way boots cut from different materials will behave the same. Additionally, different machines and procedures are used to mold them, and as such, variations are bound to exist from one brand to another.
Red Wing and Thorogood are some of the best shoe brands that cater to hard-working people. Therefore, you’ll find each brand going the extra mile in their research to meet the ever-changing demands of their customers.
While Red Wing puts up a good fight and their products are worth their salt, it lags behind Thorogood. As you saw from the comparison section, the latter has a tendency to throw a generous amount of tech in their shoes.
If you are a beginner, you’ll find Thorogood’s moderated prices to be a relief. However, if you’ve been a boot fanatic for a while, you can appreciate the unique nuance Red Wing boots have and their stellar field performance. To cut to the chase, you really can’t go wrong with any of the two brands. After all, they are among the titans of the footwear world.