Home / Brands / Thorogood Boots vs Red Wing: How to Pick The Top American Work Boots Brand for YOUR Feet
Thorogood Boots vs Red Wing: How to Pick The Top American Work Boots Brand for YOUR Feet
When looking for boots, many people want an American-made pair.
American-made boots are premium products, but there are choices even in this department.
Today I’m covering two brands worth looking into: Thorogood and Red Wing.
Both have areas in which they shine, others where they’re lacking.
After reading, researching, and a good amount of writing, I’ve got some takeaways about how they match up.
When brands distribute information about the superiority of their product, they lean into the things that suit them.
My job here is to cut through the noise, and tell you the real ins and outs.
Let’s proceed and see what those all are!
Know the Top Brand For Your Work: When Should I Buy Thorogood or Red Wing?
The quick answer: if it’s only about work and never fashion, you’re better served by Thorogood.
If you want your boots to offer multi-functionality or non-work functions, turn to Red Wing.
If you have an occupation that poses particular challenges, Thorogood (in my opinion) does a better job of offering specific products.
Red Wing provides products of excellent quality but chooses to advertise them more broadly for a number of professions and uses.
Thorogood has remained true to its original 1917 mission to provide specific products for “jobbers.” Their catalogue is extremely detailed and allows you to quickly find products catered to military, fire, and even public safety jobs.
Red Wing made a choice in the 1980’s to focus on more casual uses in their product. This has resulted in a greater selection of leisure footwear.
There are no hard and fast rules, it’s all about what your needs are.
Key Similarities between Thorogood Work Boots and Red Wings
The Moc Toe Boot
As you’d expect from a major safety footwear brand, both firms offer the most common safety features and styles.
As an example, both companies have a Moc Toe style work boot.
For Red Wing the ‘Classic Moc’ comes from their ‘Heritage’ range that was first introduced in the 1950’s. If you know your work boots then you’ll instantly recognise the look of these.
You’ll also find a range of Thorogood Moc Toe boots in their ‘American Heritage’ and ‘1957 Series’ ranges.
Whilst we won’t go into which brand of shoe one is better or worse here, there is plenty of debate online.
Similarly, you’ll find a large portion of Thorogood Boots also incorporate Goodyear Welt construction.
Safety Toe Protection Features
As you’d expect, both brands have an abundance of safety toe features.
If you’re searching for Steel toe or composite toe then both Thorogood and Red Wing have quite a large selection.
From Red Wing some of the models that include a steel toe include;
From Thorogood some of their steel toe models include;
American Heritage Midnight Series
American Union Series
USA Logger Series
Soft Streets Series
Having scanned through a number of these styles, I did notice that the ones I searched adhered to the ASTM F2413 standard.
Please make sure you double check the individual boot you are interested in.
Electrical Hazard (EH) Support
Both brands have plenty of options for those looking for electrical hazard protection safety footwear.
There’s even a Hiking Boot Style for you
I was also quite excited to see that both brands offered a hiking boot and had a model dedicated to them.
From Thorogood you have the Cross Trex style.
From Red Wing, the Truhiker model should suffice.
Comfort and Fit
One key feature that I believe we should all get as a default is, a comfortable work boot.
For many of the Thorogood range, shock absorption is included with the removable insoles. I’m not aware of a particular technology unlike some other brands.
Red Wing seems to be similar in that they have a Polyurethane footbed but nothing that I’m aware of in terms of actual comfort technology.
This doesn’t in any way say that the boots are not comfortable. Some brands just like to create their own comfort technology and market it. A classic example of this is Timberland Pro with their Anti Fatigue technology.
Know Your Thorogood and Red Wings Sizing Tendencies to Experience the Most Comfortable Fit
Both Red Wing and Thorogood offer such a variety of styles, so there’s no “tendency” for their sizing to run large or small.
Both manufactures suggest that you go to a store to be fit for the exact boot you want.
This runs contrary to current trends of online shopping, but will result in the finest fit.
This is in direct contrast to a specific style of footwear like bunny boots.
I did an entire article discussing how to fit them because it’s only one boot, not hundreds of different styles and products.
Regret to tell you this, but I don’t think the internet is gonna’ help with this one. You need an actual person to help in this department.
Modern Boot Technology and Features: Does Thorogood or Red Wing Take the Top Spot?
Both Red Wing and Thorogood offer products with the most modern tech available on the market.
Neither Brand has a competitive edge in the sense of their technology.
If there’s a certain feature you’re looking for, I can almost promise you’ll find it in either company catalog (see below for similarities).
Again, Thorogood focuses more on work-usages while Red Wing focuses on leisure footwear.
Don’t get it twisted though, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of the products they provide.
If you work “in the trades” and aren’t more specific than that, you’re fine with either brand.
Made In USA: How to Know if You’re Buying American or Getting Duped
Brands promote the good facts and bury the less favorable one.
If it’s American-made, you’ll definitely see that promoted loudly.
If you don’t see a “MADE IN USA” tag somewhere on the product or webpage, I guarantee it’s foreign made.
I advise you always look each pair to find where it’s manufactured.
When I started writing this article I believed all Thorogood products were American made.
After looking at a number of products on their website, I finally found an imported pair.
I am in no way saying that non-American made footwear is inherently of lesser quality.
I just know that the further you get from the owners, the more likely it is that a blind eye will be turned to any shortcomings in the production process.
Thorogood: Wisconsin Boots for All American Workers
Thorogood reigns supreme when it comes to manufacturing quality, as they have managed to keep more of their production American.
Wordy, unclear, a thoroughly obnoxious read, everything on that page tells me they’re only refunding product failures in the most heinous of situations. Not a good look, Thorogood!
Affordable or Just Adorable? A Quick Comparison of Thorogood and Red Wing Boots
The costs are relatively even between Thorogood and Red Wing boots, with Red Wing capping out a little higher. There isn’t an extremely notable difference in this department, however.
The truth is that neither company makes discount boots. If you’re interested in either brand, prepare to drop at least $150, and as much as $400 for models jam-packed with features.
Thorogood and Red Wing Ownership Situations: Know Who Pulls the Strings Behind the Curtains
A notable fact about Thorogood is that they’ve been employee-owned since the 2000’s.
This is a huge factor that differentiates Thorogood from the competition.
Red Wing is owned by the Sweasy family, but much less information is available on this.
While most manufacturing workers have a limited level of personal involvement in the company, each Thorogood worker has the greatest incentive to continue producing a boot that consumers will recommend to friends.
Don’t Panic! Happy Feet in Either Thorogood or Red Wing Boots
Whether you grab Thorogoods or Red Wings, your feet and body will be well served.
Both brands are appropriately considered premium products and do more to ensure quality in every pair they produce than the vast majority of footwear available.
Be patient, diligent, and ask the right questions.