Want to own a pair of traditional moc toe boots but simply can’t seem to make up your mind? You’ve probably turned to Google for help and stumbled upon these two great brands. So, Thorogood vs. Red Wing: which one takes the win?
These two equally amazing brands are constantly pinned up against each other, and you will see why in this article. But long story short, they both share some great qualities and have a lot of things in common. One of them being their American greatness.
Many people actually struggle to differentiate these two, since they do in fact look fairly similar. However, they do differ in certain aspects, which we’ll dive into right away.
So, if you want us to help you decide which classic moc toe boot is the right kind for you and if you want to learn more about these two brands, then read on. Let’s see which boots are your perfect fit!
A short intro to the brands
Before we elaborate on our topic for today, Thorogood vs. Red Wing, we first have to give a brief introduction to these two amazing brands.
Both of them proudly bear the title “Made in the USA” and are of very high quality. So, without further ado, let’s see what more we can find out about them.
Thorogood is an American-based footwear brand best known as a branch of the Wisconsin footwear company, Weinbrenner Shoe Co.
Back in 1892, a man named Albert Weinbrenner took over his father’s cobbler’s shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He opened a small storefront and started selling boots, then several years later bought a local shoe factory with the intention of producing his own line of footwear.
The family’s small business was directed toward making “job-fitted” work shoes for the average American workman.
In the beginning, their business was small, producing only around 60 shoes per day. But as time went on, their business started growing, so they moved to bigger factories and modified many working conditions.
They designed footwear for all kinds of workers – miners, rail workers, oil workers, and even American troops in World War I. The company was an instant success, and it only continued growing and coming out with new models.
Today, Thorogood produces 250 different models of work and safety boots, and they are still a Wisconsin-based brand.
Red Wing is another family-owned business that was founded in 1905 in the eponymous city, Red Wing, in Minnesota.
The brand instigator is Charles Beckman, a businessman and shoe merchant who knew first-hand what kind of ill-fitting and low-quality shoes the workers and farmers of his area wore.
He came out with, at the time, a very revolutionary idea, which was to create specially-designed footwear for each type of profession.
The first profession that Red Wing catered to were farmers, which is only fair because it was this profession and wheat production that made the town famous. Later they branched and started producing shoes for other demanding jobs like mining and logging.
But then came World War I, and Red Wing took it upon itself to produce the well-known Pershing Boot for all the American soldiers abroad. The brand also survived both The Great Depression and World War II and many other challenges that came their way.
Today, they are a renowned brand, famous worldwide for their quality footwear.
Thorogood vs. Red Wing: What are their differences?
Now that we have briefly gone through their backgrounds, it is finally time to get into what we all came for here today: What are the major differences between Thorogood and Red Wing?
Just to be clear, we’ll be comparing moc toe boots of both of these brands – Thorogood’s American Heritage 6″ Tobacco Moc Toe with MAXWear Wedge and Red Wing’s 875 6″ Classic Moc Toe Oro Legacy.
Moc toe is short for moccasin toe, which is any type of boot with a U-shaped seam in the toe box area. This design was inspired by the original moccasins worn by Native Americans. Its intention is to be more flexible and protect the toe box from getting scuffed.
These kinds of boots are usually associated with jobs that include rough working conditions, but they can be worn as everyday boots by daring people who want to add a bit of toughness to their style.
Let’s waste no more time and jump right into it!
When it comes to their appearance and style, these boots are fairly similar, so much so that some people might not even notice any differences at first glance.
Both of these shoes are, of course, moc toe boots. They are made out of oil-tanned leather, are triple stitched, and feature cork midsoles and white wedged outsoles. And again, both are America’s pride and joy. They also both feature a 360-degree Goodyear Welt.
When it comes to the overall aesthetic, however, we have to admit that Red Wing boots have a more subtle and toned-down look.
Even though both of these boots feature triple stitching, Red Wing has a much more muted stitching appearance and is more suitable for people who gravitate toward simpler outfits.
Thorogood boots use bright white stitches, feature the logo on the heel and tongue, and, of course, the American flag. These boots also come with speed hooks and leather pull tabs, so they have a way “louder” look.
As stated, both of these boots are made of oil-tanned leather. Unlike Red Wing which gets its leather from the S.B. Foot Tanning Company, Thorogood’s leather source is unknown. However, it can be attested that it’s sourced and supplied in the USA.
Both of these leathers are tough and do not require much maintenance. But when it comes to thickness, Red Wing takes the win, since their moc toes use 2.4 mm leather, and Thorogood only 2 mm. Sure, the difference is not that significant, but it’s still there.
Seems like the points from the two of the abovementioned features have gone to Red Wing, but when we talk of sole quality, Thorogood takes the win here.
Thorogood boots feature MAXWear Wedge slip-resistant outsoles, meaning they’re extremely resistant and keep you safe on challenging surfaces. They also come with a fiberglass shank, which offers amazing arch support and is perfect for people with flat feet.
Red Wing moc toes, on the other hand, feature traction tred cushion crepe wedge soles. These are also fairly sturdy (unlike other crepe rubber soles), but are more likely to wear down faster.
And as for insoles, Thorogood boots are made out of rubber, fiberboard, and Poron, while Red Wing uses all-natural materials, like leather and cork.
This means that Thorogood boots feel more comfortable in the beginning, but wear down faster as you wear them, whereas Red Wings are stiffer in the beginning, but over time become more comfortable.
Red Wing moc toe boots are slightly heavier than Thorogood. They weigh around 67 oz, while their counterparts weigh around 59.36 oz.
5. Break-in period
Since Red Wing boots are made out of much sturdier leather, they require some break-in period until they feel completely comfortable on your feet. But once that’s done, they completely mold to the shape of your feet and feel like a cloud.
Thorogoods on the other hand, require less break-in period since, as we have said, they feel comfy on the first wear. In other words, these boots can be safely worn right out of the box.
On the price point, Red Wing moc toes are around $100 more expensive than Thorogood.
On their official page, 875 6″ Classic Moc Toe Oro Legacy will set you back $349.95, while American Heritage 6″ Tobacco Moc Toe with MAXWear Wedge costs $224.95.
Both of them are on the pricey side, but definitely worth every penny for the quality.
The bottom line: Which moc toe boots are better?
It’s tough to decide between two great moc toe boots, and I hate to break it to you, but the choice is entirely up to you. It all depends on what your preferences are. And honestly, it has to do a lot with your budget, too.
If you want to invest in a pair of casual work boots that will last you a long time, then Red Wing is the way to go. But if you want something tougher looking, Thorogood is your best option.
Both of these boots make an excellent choice. So whatever you decide on, we guarantee you won’t regret it. Both brands will perform well – and make you feel that American pride while you’re at it!