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Red Wings after 13 Years of Hard Wear

Acmemfg

Contributor
Ambassador
My first pair of Red Wing 1155s lasted 19 years. The example on the right is still in service after 13 years. Many miles left but uncertain exactly how many. Rumor is Red Wing may discontinue this boot. Hope not. But to be safe, I picked up another pair. Still reasonably priced; still made in the USA. Bates, Georgia Boot, Rocky, Carolina, and many others I can't remember over the past 30+ years have not come even close to wearing as well as the Red Wings. Worth looking into if you're in the market for new boots.
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Those are great-looking boots, Tim. The character that they've gained through aging is incredible!

Well, I can attest to the quality and longevity of Red Wing boots. My family has been wearing Red Wings for decades and we've always felt that these are some of the best made shoes and boots on the market.

Here's a pair of steel-toe boots that I bought in 1989 for my first real job (as a logger). My memory is faulty, but I recall that they're Model 2233s. My local Red Wing store custom-ordered them from the factory with a Vibram full-lug outsole instead of the standard SuperSole non-slip outsole.

The soles have been replaced twice, the leather has been restitched and repaired several times, and I've gone through dozens of laces, but the boots function as well as the day I bought them. For maintenance, I apply boot oil throughout the field season and take them back to the store at the end of the year for the free annual inspection and cleaning.

 
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Impressive. Great looking boots guys
whay does the store do at the cleaning?
At my store, they follow a routine that starts with a thorough inspection to check for damage. If the boots are in good shape, then they perform the cleaning. If the boots are damaged, then they notify the owner to see if they want to get them repaired first. If it's just minor stuff like worn out laces or a bent eyelet, they might just replace or repair it on their own.

The cleaning is a three-step process. First, they brush off the dirt, wash the boots with leather cleaner, rinse them with warm water, then let them dry (I think they put them in a warm cabinet filled with dessicant so they dry real slow to prevent cracking). Second, they apply a couple of coats of boot oil, then let the boots dry again. Third, they either apply another coat of boot oil or spray on some kind of non-silicone protectant. I suspect that the protectant is a typical blend of liquefied mink fat, pitch, and beeswax.

The whole routine takes a few days. By the time that I pick up my boots, they look brand new. Then, I go out and mess them up again.:tongue_sm
 
At my store, they follow a routine that starts with a thorough inspection to check for damage. If the boots are in good shape, then they perform the cleaning. If the boots are damaged, then they notify the owner to see if they want to get them repaired first. If it's just minor stuff like worn out laces or a bent eyelet, they might just replace or repair it on their own.

The cleaning is a three-step process. First, they brush off the dirt, wash the boots with leather cleaner, rinse them with warm water, then let them dry (I think they put them in a warm cabinet filled with dessicant so they dry real slow to prevent cracking). Second, they apply a couple of coats of boot oil, then let the boots dry again. Third, they either apply another coat of boot oil or spray on some kind of non-silicone protectant. I suspect that the protectant is a typical blend of liquefied mink fat, pitch, and beeswax.

The whole routine takes a few days. By the time that I pick up my boots, they look brand new. Then, I go out and mess them up again.:tongue_sm
sounds amazing
i just got my second pair of the heritage series.
 

Cannata

Contributor
Nice boots.
Bought my first pair of a Red Wing boots yesterday, a pair of Irish Setter Trailblazers. I wanted a pair of waterproof boots I can wear in rain and snow. I am looking forward to wearing them.
Is there much difference in the quality of the Irish Setter line and the Heritage line?
 
Nice boots.
Bought my first pair of a Red Wing boots yesterday, a pair of Irish Setter Trailblazers. I wanted a pair of waterproof boots I can wear in rain and snow. I am looking forward to wearing them.
Is there much difference in the quality of the Irish Setter line and the Heritage line?
I hadn't heard of irish setter boots but they look cool. Heritage are made in usa possibly hand made. The red wing store near me didn't have the irish setter line .....i have to try these on for fit as the size are way off.
 

Cannata

Contributor
I hadn't heard of irish setter boots but they look cool. Heritage are made in usa possibly hand made. The red wing store near me didn't have the irish setter line .....i have to try these on for fit as the size are way off.
I believe the Irish Setter line is made with hunters in mind. My pair was made in Vietnam. My understanding is that the quality of the Heritage series, which I believe are made in the USA, Iis higher . My wife and I went shopping for boots yesterday. We were anticipating cold weather and the possibility of snow here in the North Carolina high country and we didn’t have any boots. We have a boot store here in West Jefferson that is a Red Wing dealer. I wound up buying the Irish Setter Trailblazer boots which are a lot more substantial than my Timberlands.
We have a ten year old Retriever mix that is diabetic and has cataracts. We have walk him because he cannot see well enough to go out the doggie door, down the basement and into a fenced in area of the back yard. I wanted some good boots to walk him in the middle of the night, especially in snow. He seems to get the urge to go out at about 2 in the morning. I am eager to start wearing my new boots. I am now eyeing a pair of Iron Ranger Heritage boots. As if I haven’t gone down enough rabbit holes already.
 
Proof, once again, that buying something (preferably but not necessarily) made locally, made from premium materials and with great craftsmanship, could/will cost more than a similar mass produced item (sometimes much more!), but will last for decades... On the long term horizon, always a better choice to make!
 
I believe the Irish Setter line is made with hunters in mind. My pair was made in Vietnam. My understanding is that the quality of the Heritage series, which I believe are made in the USA, Iis higher . My wife and I went shopping for boots yesterday. We were anticipating cold weather and the possibility of snow here in the North Carolina high country and we didn’t have any boots. We have a boot store here in West Jefferson that is a Red Wing dealer. I wound up buying the Irish Setter Trailblazer boots which are a lot more substantial than my Timberlands.
We have a ten year old Retriever mix that is diabetic and has cataracts. We have walk him because he cannot see well enough to go out the doggie door, down the basement and into a fenced in area of the back yard. I wanted some good boots to walk him in the middle of the night, especially in snow. He seems to get the urge to go out at about 2 in the morning. I am eager to start wearing my new boots. I am now eyeing a pair of Iron Ranger Heritage boots. As if I haven’t gone down enough rabbit holes already.
Sounds like a well thought out plan. Especially for waterproof, muck snow and possible dog poop. There i believe a few threads about iron rangers. More expensive yes. A possible rabbit hole yes. But well worth it. As long as you thoroughly try then on. They run big.

The irish setter boots should be eligible for the yearly cleaning described by @Demolition i would imagine. I think thats a fantastic service but upon reflection i dont need something like that for my iron rangers.
 
The irish setter boots should be eligible for the yearly cleaning described by @Demolition i would imagine. I think thats a fantastic service but upon reflection i dont need something like that for my iron rangers.
Yes, most Red Wing stores will offer free cleaning and conditioning for Irish Setter boots/shoes. In fact, my local store tells people that they can bring in any brand of boots or shoes for a free cleaning. This seems like a generous offer on their part, but I suspect that it's actually a sly way to get you into the store so you have no choice but to browse around! :laugh: They never put on the hard sell, but once you're in there, it's guaranteed that something will catch your eye.

In fact, that's how they hooked my Dad into buying two pairs of Oxfords; one casual Irish Setter and one dressy Red Wing. I was there just to get some free laces and we left with three pairs of shoes!! My Mom bought a pair of Red Wing Oxfords, as well. I can't remember the model names but he loved those shoes. After he passed away, we donated them to the local Big Brothers chapter during one of their clothing drives. If they had fit me, I would have kept them myself.

As for the Iron Rangers... I've been looking for medium-height casual-use boots (the dreaded "urban boot"... :001_rolle) and I've been pondering them, as well as offerings from Dayton such as the Parade Boot. I own another pair of Daytons that are top-notch, so it's a bit of a toss-up since they're both such high-quality brands.
 
The retail store near me seems to have a limited stock. Didn't see any dress type shoes. I actually wear iron rangers as business casual. Easily pulled off with most models except perhaps the rough one.
 

Cannata

Contributor
@Rody
The retail store near me seems to have a limited stock. Didn't see any dress type shoes. I actually wear iron rangers as business casual. Easily pulled off with most models except perhaps the rough one.
The Red Wing Web site has Iron Rangers in black harness leather. It’s a nice looking shoe. Looks like it would work well as an all around casual shoe. I’m not familiar with harness leather, but from what I could tell from a cursory Internet search it seems to be a high quality leather.
 
Those are great-looking boots, Tim. The character that they've gained through aging is incredible!

Well, I can attest to the quality and longevity of Red Wing boots. My family has been wearing Red Wings for decades and we've always felt that these are some of the best made shoes and boots on the market.

Here's a pair of steel-toe boots that I bought in 1989 for my first real job (as a logger). My memory is faulty, but I recall that they're Model 2233s. My local Red Wing store custom-ordered them from the factory with a Vibram full-lug outsole instead of the standard SuperSole non-slip outsole.

The soles have been replaced twice, the leather has been restitched and repaired several times, and I've gone through dozens of laces, but the boots function as well as the day I bought them. For maintenance, I apply boot oil throughout the field season and take them back to the store at the end of the year for the free annual inspection and cleaning.


Great looking boots! I bought mine in the Summer of 1991. I've worn mine at least 3 days per week when I'm working out in the shop since '91. Thats 28 years of faithful service. They are sadly in need of some oil which I will get to this weekend. Made in USA. I live in Minnesota and bought these right at the Redwing factory store in Redwing, MN. I often chuckle when I see hipsters wearing Redwings as a fashion statement. To me they have always been a great American made tool. I don't wear them to a bar unless I'm stopping for a beer after work with the boys in the shop. The month / year stamp on the side is still there. The picture makes it look like they were manufactured in 1981 but its actually January 1991. Thanks for starting this thread!

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You have a real classic pair of boots, snowman! They only get better with age, don't they?

I’m not familiar with harness leather, but from what I could tell from a cursory Internet search it seems to be a high quality leather.
"Harness leather" originally got its name from being used for horse tack. It's a very heavy-duty leather, so it makes durable shoes. That's another point in favour of Iron Rangers.

The retail store near me seems to have a limited stock. Didn't see any dress type shoes. I actually wear iron rangers as business casual. Easily pulled off with most models except perhaps the rough one.
You read my mind. I've been thinking that the black or oxblood would be good for even semi-formal use. I'll have to take a better look at them when I take my boots to the store.

I have been I'm leaning towards the aforementioned Dayton Parade Boots, though, because I've also had good experiences with their footwear. Plus, there's the fact that they're only a ten minute drive from my house, so I can get a custom fitting. I know someone who wears the black model with leather sole at his office. Other than being a boot, its materials and construction are similar to a dress shoe. As with a typical parade boot, they can take a high polish. The main thing that's keeping me from pulling the trigger is that they cost twice as much as the Red Wings.

On the other hand, price hasn't stopped me from buying Daytons before. When I started my first job, I was told that a logger needs to spend five day's wages on his boots. We were making $150/day, so that meant $750 boots. Being a typical kid, I felt that the money would be better spent on other things (booze, women, guns, motorcycles, etc.), so I bought the Red Wings pictured above. As I recall, they were going for about $125 with the custom work bringing them to about $175. Everybody thought that I had cheaped out; even my Dad questioned my choice. But, I can truthfully state that they were as good as any boots on the market at the time.

Then, a coworker said he was travelling to town to pick up a pair of new Daytons. I'd heard of Daytons (mostly that they were $$$$$), so I decided to tag along. Well, I kind of got hooked like the way my Dad got hooked when he went with me to the Red Wing store. I custom-ordered a pair of Pierre Paris (*) boots with all of the options. I won't pollute this thread with non-Red Wing boots, so if you're interested, you can see them on this page.

So, I did end up with those $750 boots, after all. :001_rolle


(*) Pierre Paris immigrated to Vancouver, B.C., in 1907 and opened a store that catered to the forestry and mining industries. B.C. was undergoing rapid growth at the time, so it was a sure-fire idea. His custom-made boots were in huge demand. When he retired and his sons took over, they wanted to expand the business into other areas, so they sold the boot-making business to Charlie Wohlford who made custom logging boots under the "Dayton Boots" brand. The boots are still made by hand using the same techniques pioneered by Mr. Paris. When I visited the factory, they were even using the vintage tools from back in the day. After watching the effort that goes into making these boots, I can say that $750 was actually a bargain price.

Sorry for the length... I don't know why I get so wordy when I talk about shoes!
 

martym

Contributor
I took my Red Wings to their local store this morning to have them cleaned and conditioned and to put in new laces.
They are drying now.
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