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Rick’s got another one for us: “I was in the market for some new shoes, and decided I wanted to give a try to some US-made Redwing Boots.  They’re a Christmas present, so I’ve yet to try them, although the dealer really made sure that they fit correctly and that they were comfortable for me.  I’ll let you know after Christmas.  I liked them because they were Steel toe, but they didn’t look like serious work boots. The sole isn’t as deep as regular workboots so you won’t track snow and all kinds of crap into the office.  I work in a corporate casual environment so I can pull these off with a pair of Khakis.  I think of these as a Gentleman’s work boot.

“On a side note.. what’s up with all of these tool manufacturers [branding] work boots?  Here are some pictures I took of some Craftsman, Dewalt, DieHard?, CAT, and Dickies foot wear.  Dickies I can kind of see, but the rest? What’s a battery brand doing on a boot?”

Nice find, Rick.  I think you could totally pull those off as “business casual,” and you’re certainly not alone; a lot of engineers working in factories need steel-toe shoes for when they’re “on the floor,” but spend a good bit of their time in the office.  (One of my friends does this, by the way, and he wears this type of shoe.)

Of course, they’re never gonna look the same once you’ve put the steel toe to good use.  Here’s what mine look like:


Most of the nastiness on the toes came from when I was moving equipment and dropped an approximately 1,500 LB lathe and table on my foot.  It didn’t fall far, so it didn’t even deform the steel toe, but it definitely freaked me out a bit.  The damage on the right shoe (left in this pic) came from the lathe.  The damage on the other shoe came from me frantically kicking the crap out of the lathe trying to get it off my other foot.

You know, we should bring back Doh! of the Week.

6″ Work Boots, Steel Toe [Redwing Shoes]
Rick’s Shoe Photos [Flickr]

Note: My boots in the picture are “Mack” branded — yeah, like the trucks — so I guess I can’t gripe too much about the weirdo brands.  My selection criteria: they were cheap, they looked pretty sturdy, and they were there when I needed ’em.


15 Responses to Reader Find: Redwing Boots

  1. Rick says:

    Interesting that you mention dropping a 1500lb mass on your foot. When i mentioned to my brother-in-law that I got those boots, he said he didn’t like Steel Toes (He’s a contractor mind you) because he had “heard” that if you drop a large enough weight on your foot, the steel toe can bend in and chop off your toes..

    I can see the visual, but I’m not convinced.. I tried searching Snopes to see if there were any Urban Legends on that but came up empty..

  2. Chuck Cage says:

    Rick: Have you seen the Mythbusters episode? They did quite extensive testing — much of which ended up on camera — and showed that anything heavy enough to chop your toe off by bending in the steel toe is plenty heavy to chop it off anyway.

    There’s no such thing as “total protection.” If you drop something heavy enough on your toe, you’re hosed. The steel cap does help — as I can attest — in terms of giving you a second chance in some situations.

  3. Larry Coleman says:

    Rick-I have the same boots and wear them for the same purpose, with Khakis and a sport shirt. I alternate these with another pair of Red Wings, style no. 2263, which does the same job as far as comfort but looks even less like work boots and more like something to wear casually. They’re great for travel. Maybe there’s a trend here. Larry C.

  4. Chuck Cage says:

    Larry: Do they give you any trouble for the steel toes at the airport?

  5. Larry Coleman says:

    Chuck-No, because you have to take ANY boots or shoes off completely to go through security. That’s the only downside I know of to wearing boots…they take longer. L.

  6. Rick says:

    I hadn’t seen that episode of Mythbusters.. I’ll have to check out bittorrent…

  7. John Shea says:

    Redback boots have a slip on version (REDBACK USBBK $140
    ‘The Easy EscapeTM – Slip-On Black Leather Boots (STEELTOE)’). Not cheap but very comfortable. I leave mine at work and put them on when I’m “on the floor”. They have other steel toe shoes but I prefer the slip-on’s

  8. Myself says:

    I have a pair of the “Mack” boots, picked up last winter for their insulation, and worn all summer for their comfort. I should get a second pair before they change the style. For being $60 cheapie “it’s too snowy for my low-tops” boots, I’m quite impressed with the quality.

    I guess that’s what happens when you pay Chinese workers an extra nickel, or something.


  9. Roscoe says:

    For my money, a pair of Redwings is worth five pair of any other boot. The dealers I’ve worked with are all great and want to build a relationship with their customers like you would with a real estate agent or a really good equipment salesman. I wear the same style (1132) and constantly rotate them through from casual, to work, to trash. If I trash a pair today, the dealer will overnight me a pair for tomorrow. If something fails on the boots that shouldn’t have, they’ll replace them. In an age of throw-away junk, it’s great to find a product with real support and quality workmanship.

  10. Rick says:

    Roscoe, That’s good to know.. I’ve always worn Timberlands and after my last few pair didn’t last worth a damn, I decided to listen to the hype surrounding Redwings.
    The dealer where I bought them, called “The Rubbed Boot Co.” was great. The measured both feet, and added some padding under the insole, and even under the tongue on the right foot to ensure a perfect fit. They were great.

    While I was there, an old timer, a member of the Engineer’s Union (Caterpillar and other havy machinery operators, etc.) came in. He basically had a year old pair of their big ass heavy duty Redwings, and the sales guy greated him by name, and asked “The usual?” Went in back, got him a pair of the same ones he had on, had him try them on, did some adjustments, and sent him on his way. The guy just comes in once a year and buys them.

    The Rugged Boot also has every customer on file by phone number – so they know what I’ve bought, and what size, so if I need anything they can send it to me without coming in all the time.

    So I’m really psyched to wear these and get at least a few good years out of them..

    Now, for my rant on Timberlands…
    I was shocked at some of the prices and the lack of quality on some of the Timberland boots out there. I was at Macy’s and they had a huge selection of them. They come in all kinds of colors, including red and blue (WTF?) and the little Tree logo comes in chrome and gold plate, with other gold plated accents. Seriously.. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot… Timberland has apparently stopped making work boots and started making poseur boots for the urban market.. I mean, I’m a fan – I wear baggy pants, etc. But I still like my footwear to be functional.. I don’t need bling on my boots.

  11. Roscoe says:


    You must be in Central Ohio- the Rugged Boot is the dealer I was referring to. Hope you like your boots.

  12. Bryan says:

    If you get your Redwings at the Redwing Store, they will even go so far as to split up pairs they have in stock to get you the best fit. Last time I was there, they sold me an 11 for my left foot and an 11.5 for my right. That’s service.

  13. DEX says:

    I stopped wearing Timberlands about 10 years ago when
    I noticed that the quality had really gone down.

    Bought some Red Wings not too long ago (steel toe),
    and they’re great.

    The Red Wing store has excellent people fitting you for boots.

    If you wear and work in your boots all day long, RW’s are a hell
    of an investment.

    My foreman had his foot run over by a forklift. But he was wearing steel toes
    and didn’t have nary a problem!

  14. Red says:

    Anyone know where i can score a pair of these Red Wings? What model # are they?

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