Thorogood Boots vs Red Wing—Here’s Why Both Brands Are Worth Your Time

The Thorogood boots vs Redwing discussion is a long-running dispute over which brand makes the best boot. These two names are heavyweights within the rugged work-boot genre. Although similar, each brings their own unique features to the table.

Both boots have their following of wearers who swear by them, which makes it difficult for others who haven’t tried either boot yet. This is why we’re here today—we’ll give you a breakdown of both brands to help you choose which is best for you.


About Thorogood

In 1892, Albert H. Weinbrenner and Joseph Peffer founded Thorogood. What started as a small employee-owned business, quickly grew to a work-boot major-leaguer within the US.

From the beginning, they set out to produce quality boots suited for the working man, and they haven’t failed since. Thorogood defines their boots by quality craftsmanship and unmatched comfort. The American Heritage line of footwear is handcrafted and known for its quality and innovative designs.

Here’s a short video of how Thorough produces its boots.


Who Is Red Wing?

At the turn of the 20th century, Charles Beckman from Red Wing Minnesota recognized the need for quality work shoes. During the early years, Redwing produced work boots suited for the demanding jobs of mining, farming and logging.

The founder, Charles Beckman, however, understood that besides durable, the boots must also be comfortable. In 1905, he started the official Redwing company, at that time, Red Wing Shoes.

Now, more than 100 years since the beginning, Redwing is continuing to produce quality footwear. They’re still outstanding work boots, being used in the oil and cornfields from the Mideast to the Midwest.

Here’s a quick video of Redwings’ factory.


Types of Thorogood Boots vs Redwing Boots

Thorogood and Redwing started by producing boots suitable for heavy-duty work. But, both have used their long-standing boot-making experience to manufacture other types of footwear. Here are some examples:

Thorogood Boots and Footwear

Over the years, Thorogood has provided us with a lot of quality footwear. They currently offer six categories of shoes. These are:

  • Public Safety is a selection of uniform boots for working Americans. They’re designed to meet safety standards while providing the utmost comfort. Thorogood utilizes special techniques to minimize the chances of fatigue, shocks and to include moisture and bacteria-resistance.
  • Work is one of Thorogood’s most recent lines, where we’ll find the ever-popular American Heritage Moc Toe boot. This collection offers innovative craftsmanship for outstanding comfort. The Work boots are suitable for both work attire and casual wear.
  • Outdoor is where you’ll find anything from rainboots to hiking shoes. All the options offer waterproof exteriors with the Thorogood comfort on the inside.
  • Thorogood Military is a small selection of army-approved boots. It’s available in neutral beige colors and features a rugged exterior with a comfortable interior. The options are completely waterproof and have a steel safety toe feature.
  • The Fire collection includes a mix of bunker boots and wildland hiking boots. Thorogood is an official distributor of bunker boots to the Lion First Responders, PPE Inc.
  • Overshoes is a small selection of waterproof overshoes that you can take on hikes or to work. The materials will keep the interior safe from mud and moisture.


Redwing Boots and Footwear

Unlike Thorogood, Redwing has two divisions, Redwing Heritage and Irish Setter.

  • Redwing Heritage offers a selection of boots, shoes and accessories for both men and women. The footwear all consists of high-quality leather, and styles available include anything from boots to heels.
  • Redwing introduced Irish Setter back in 1950. The options were crafted with Red Russet leather, which is what inspired the name. Today, the Irish Setter selection includes tough boots made with groundbreaking innovations making them lightweight, durable and waterproof.


Thorogood Boots vs Redwing

Now that we’ve had a quick run-through of each brand and a snippet of what they offer, it’s time for the comparison. We’ve divided it up into a few critical categories. So let’s take a look:



Both Thorogood and Redwing are quite pricey. You can’t get a boot from either brand that’s under $100. It’s not exactly budget-friendly, but you get what you pay for with both brands.

On average, the most expensive is Redwing. Nearly all of their options run between $200 and $400. The only exception is their Irish Setter division, where you can find decent boots for a little over $100. Have a look at the Irish Setter Men’s 6” Work Boot.

Irish Setter, Ashby, Men's, 6', Soft Toe, Work Boot, Brown, 11 D (Medium)
8,689 Reviews
Irish Setter, Ashby, Men's, 6", Soft Toe, Work Boot, Brown, 11 D (Medium)
  • Meets ASTM Safety Standards: This leather soft toe work boot with HRO designed rubber-EVA Traction Tred outsole is heat, slip, and electrical hazard resistant to meet ASTM F2892-18, EH, and ASTM F3445-21, SR safety standards.
  • Soft Toe: Soft toe provides a protective layer of defense from many hazards that may be encountered at a worksite.
  • Comfortable & Durable: Made with oiled full grain leather for long-lasting durability. The removable polyurethane footbed gives your feet long-lasting comfort and all-day performance.
  • Resoleable Platform: The Goodyear Welt sole construction prevents water intrusion and adds strength and durability to the boot making it long lasting. It allows the boot to be resoled to extend the life of the boot.
  • Heat Resistant Sole: HRO designed soles have been designed and tested to perform on high heat surface and are heat resistant to melting at a minimum of 475º Fahrenheit.



Both brands are famous for producing quality leather boots. In saying this, Redwing continues its tradition of manufacturing its footwear from its own premium leather, which gives it a slight advantage.


Construction and Comfort

When it comes to comfort, we often look to the soles and insoles for which is best.

For the soles, Redwing utilizes synthetics with flexible rubber outsoles, providing some shock absorption. Thorogood, however, includes thick inserts and rubber soles in most of its options, which is more durable and grips better to the surface.

Thorogood uses a standard Goodyear welt construction, which features shock-absorbent inserts and dual-density. These are effective in cushioning your feet against impact as you walk, making them very comfortable.

The outsoles are Vibram rubber, which brings durability as well as flexibility—two necessary traits of a good work boot. The rubber is slip-resistant on wet and oily surfaces. This superior traction the outsoles provide is a requirement for a safe work boot—it also contributes to the overall style.

Redwing also has its set of comfort features. For instance, a lot of customers report that their interior is very soft, and the boot’s break-in period is very short. From the get-go, they feel smooth and flexible.

Unlike Thorogood, Redwing doesn’t include an insole footbed—fortunately, you may not even notice it. The interior is breathable, allowing you to wear it all day without needing to remove it for a breather.

Redwing’s rubber soles, although flexible and durable, aren’t as sturdy as Thorogood’s. With that said, they still uphold a high standard, making them fantastic work boots.


Styles Available

Even though both companies started out focusing on work boots, both now have a wide selection of different styles.

Thorogood, however, concentrates more on rugged outdoor footwear. As we talked about earlier, it has steady selections of everything from hiking shoes, rain boots to military boots.

Redwing offers more diversity in its collections. Although it has a substantial selection of rugged work boots, its lines span to heeled boots and vintage-styled heels. Most of the options consist of Redwing’s signature high-quality leather in a variety of colors, including red, black and olive.


Moc Toe Boots

Moc Toe defines a shoe with a single piece of material that covers the top of the vamp, extending to the end of the toe. This construction creates a “Moc” area. These shoes are often made from leather or a simple seam.

The most popular boot from both brands are the Moc Toe style, so let’s compare the two.

Red Wing Men's Heritage 8146-6" Moc Lug
  • Leather ankle boot featuring lace-up vamp and contrast-stitched moccasin toe.Traction Tred Cushion Crepe Wedge Outsole
  • Most customers buy Red Wing Heritage footwear 1/2 size smaller than their normal size
  • 80-inch Chestnut Leather Lace
  • Outsole: Tractor Tred

The Moc Toe boot from Redwing is an outstanding example and a winner in many ways.

Redwing made it from high-grade leather with a synthetic sole. It features the manufacturer’s Traction Tred rubber outsole, with triple stitching and Goodyear welt construction. Also included is a leather insole, which is perspiration-resistant.

The leather exterior is stain-resistant and will stay fresh-looking for longer. It’s an excellent boot for working as well as casual attire. It’s not too heavy and sits well on the feet. However, Redwing recommends that you buy one size smaller than your regular fit.

Thorogood American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boots for Men - Soft Toe, Premium Full-Grain Leather with Slip-Resistant Wedge Outsole and Comfort Insole; EH Rated, Tobacco - 10 D US
  • AMERICAN MADE with USA and globally sourced components by the skilled craftsmen and women at Thorogood’s US plants
  • DURABLE OIL-TANNED FULL-GRAIN LEATHER boots in Thorogood’s moc toe, non-safety toe design are comfortable and hold up to punishing jobs. Available in tobacco brown (814-4200), Trail Crazyhorse brown (814-4203), black with ivory sole (814-6201), and black with black sole (814-6206)
  • MAXWEAR WEDGE TRACTION OUTSOLE flexes better than other work boot outsoles, absorbing impacts and protecting your feet and ankles while working on difficult surfaces, keeping you on your feet even on loose gravel and wet and oily surfaces. Meets ASTM F3445-21 slip-resistance standards.
  • EH RESISTANCE - these MAXWear Wedge work boots meet ASTM F2892-18 electrical hazard resistance safety standards
  • REMOVABLE ULTIMATE SHOCK ABSORPTION FOOTBED uses dual-density polyurethane concentrated under heel and ball strike zones to absorb impacts and wick away moisture for the most comfortable men’s work boots out there

The American Heritage Moc Toe boot from Thorogood is also fantastic in many ways, and it’s come a long way.

The boot consists of 100 percent leather and is produced in the US. It comes with all the outstanding features, providing the utmost comfort, including the MAXwear Wedge sole. Designed to resist slipping, it can help you feel more secure as you walk, even if there are oil spills.

On the inside, there’s a cotton drill vamp lining, which makes it a dream for even tired feet. It’s suitable for any type of wearer, whether you’re working or simply want a reliable leather boot.


In Conclusion

While both brands produce a fantastic Moc Toe boot, Thorogood takes the edge. Their boot, in general, feels tougher, which is ideal for full protection.

However, one issue that customers are reporting with both brands is that their Moc Toes can feel a bit stiff. They both require a thorough break-in period, but the Redwing takes just a little bit longer, making it the less desirable choice.

In contrast, Thorogood utilizes top-notch materials that are much smoother than what you’ll experience with Redwing. Still, both will age gracefully, leaving you with a boot that you can trust for years.



Sizing of Thorogood and Redwing boots is relatively straightforward. Both offer a broad choice of sizes, with each also including some “wide” options.

However, some reviewers are saying that they had to buy one size smaller than their regular fit. This perhaps depends more on the type of shoe you’re choosing, because, in general, feedback on sizes seem very uniform.

If you want to find your perfect size, we have two in-depth articles for Redwing here and Thorogood here.


Boot Recommendations

Before we leave you today, we wanted to present two of the best Thorogood and Redwing boots. Hopefully, this can help you make a decision.

Thorogood Crosstrex 6 Waterproof Side-Zip Tactical Hiking Boots for Men - Lightweight Premium Leather and Breathable Nylon with BBP Membrane and Traction Outsole, Black/Grey - 10 W US
  • BREATHABLE WATERPROOF BOOTS for men with BBP membrane to keep liquid at bay on dirty jobs. Meets ASTM F1671-13 BBP Test Standards
  • ELECTRICAL HAZARD RESISTANCE - these non-metallic work shoes keep your feet protected and meet ASTM F2892-18 EH Resistance Test Standards
  • REMOVABLE SINGLE-DENSITY COMFORT INSOLE made with strategic concentrations of polyurethane under heel and ball strike zones; absorbs impacts and wicks away moisture
  • COMPOSITE SHANK CONSTRUCTION gives these men’s boots the flex and strength to maintain their shape under heavy duress
  • THOROGOOD “JOB-FITTED” DESIGN means Crosstrex tactical hiking boots (834-6295) are ideal for police and law enforcement, security personnel, EMS/EMT, firefighters, electricians - and of course they make terrific weekend hikers

Thorogood’s Crosstrex series is a selection of hiking boots. The 6-inch BBP boot is an amazing example of Thorogood’s quality footwear—it’s durable and heavy-duty with the comfort of an athletic shoe.

It’s an extremely lightweight boot with waterproof materials, protecting your feet. The exterior consists of a blend of mesh and leather. To the front and back, there’s an abrasion-resistant toe and heel.

For additional comfort, there’s an EVA midsole, which cushions your feet as you tread the trails. This shoe is an exemplary illustration of Thorogood’s outstanding craftsmanship and quality.

Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger 6" Boot,Amber Harness,12 D(M) US
  • The product is natural leather and its easy for scuffs to happen but they rub out.This can be removed by a soft dry cloth and lightly buffed out the scuffs.
  • Fit Recommendation - Many customers size down ½ to 1 full size.
  • Features a bump toe for more room up-front. Double layer leather toe cap and leather heel pocket
  • Leather : Amber Harness Leather , Outsole : Vibram 430 Mini-lug , Hardware : Nickel Eyelets and Hooks , Construction : Goodyear Welt , Shank : Steel , Laces : 48-inch Black / Brown Taslan Lace
  • Care instructions -Use warm water and a soft bristle brush to remove stuck-on dirt and then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any remaining excess dirt

The Iron Ranger is one of Redwing’s most popular styles. It’s named after the hardworking miners from Minnesota’s northern iron range.

Like the Thorogood, the Iron Ranger is handcrafted within the US and is finished with a sturdy stitch-down welt construction. The quality of the craftsmanship will preserve the look and feel of the boot for years.

The robust exterior sits on an oil-resistant sole that’s handsomely detailed with lighter stitching for a contrasting look. At the front, there’s a cap toe with high polished hooks and eyelets.

Redwing states that if scuffs occur on the exterior, you should be able to rub them out easily. You can use a soft dry cloth and gently buff the scuff. They also recommend buying half a size smaller than what you’d usually wear in boots.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Thorogood Boots Good?

No. They’re fantastic! They’ve done an excellent job on the construction and most are made within the US. The style is another huge pro—they’re smart work boots that will also work well in a casual setting.

The only issue you may experience is the lack of proper traction—it’s not the same as what you’d experience with Redwing. Because of this, be mindful if you’re walking in rain or snow.


Are Redwing Work Boots Good?

Redwing work boots are Incredible. The brand’s diversified options ensure a boot for every need. Its work boot line, Heritage, are all produced within the US and capable of lasting through seasons of wear.

If you want a long-lasting work boot that also looks amazing, it’s worth the extra cost.


Our Final Thoughts

Thorogood boots vs Redwing is a comparison of two brands that have been around for centuries. Each brings outstanding materials and craftsmanship to the table, but also with a hefty price tag.

The two brands have made their own versions of the popular Moc Toe boot and each excels. When it comes to which is better, the answer really depends on what your needs are. Redwing offers more diversity in its range of designs, whereas Thorogood promises outstanding comfort.

Which boot is your favorite? We look forward to reading your answers below.


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