‘Built to Last’ ‘The Only Outdoor Boot That’ll Live as Long as You Do’ – these are some of the statements you will hear/read when you look up Red Wing boots.
But, marketing gimmicks aside, how long do Red Wing boots last? These heavy-duty boots are built to last for more than 10 years if worn for casual purposes.
However, if you wear them to work every day and expose them to harsh conditions (which Red Wings can definitely handle), this pair of boots may serve you for more than 5 years.
Red Wing Boots are indeed one of the few boots that can withstand wear. Based on its price, this is an investment that will literally see you through all walks of life.
Depending on which purpose you intend to use them for and the level of care you give these boots, this is a shoe that guarantees to withstand the test of time.
It’s also comfortable and stylish. More reasons why people are preferring to part with a couple of hundred dollars for this shoe. Are you considering adding Red Wings to your shoe collection? Interested in knowing how long they will serve you?
Journey with me as we evaluate how long Red Wing boots can serve you, why they are so durable, and most importantly – how you can prolong the life of your Red Wing boots.
Table of Contents
Key Features of Red Wing Boots
Before we get to the specifics, let’s analyze some key features of Red Wings.
Built for Outdoors
Very few shoes can manage outdoor use. The Red Wing has however proven capable of conquering any terrain. If you look at the history of this shoe you will realize that the Red Wing was initially designed for factory and farm workers.
Back then the working conditions were terrible and there arose the need for a hard shoe that would accommodate such an environment.
Guess who was invented to save the day? Red Wing Boots! These shoes boast tough and water-resistant leather. The tread of this shoe is so thick that you can comfortably walk on the slipperiest floor and not fall.
Practicality, Check. What about Style?
For years, functionality and elegance are two things that have never gone hand in hand in the shoe industry. The old Red Wings did look a bit rugged.
But the company realized the importance of style and incorporated features that make aesthetic appealing.
This is the kind of boot that you can go to work with and later on, walk into a fancy restaurant for a date.
Truly Made to Last
Back to where we started, Red Wing boots are made to last. And I am not just talking about a few winters.
Red Wings will witness your kid’s first birthday party and these are the shoes that you will wear when taking him/her hiking when they are teenagers.
The shoe’s leather barely wears out, neither does the sole nor the seams.
Why are Red Wings So Durable?
For a shoe that is estimated to last 10+ years, one is always left wondering how does the company do it? Is it science? Or it could be magic? Well, it’s craftsmanship.
Red Wings are so durable because of how they are made. These aren’t your ordinary boots that are quickly manufactured in a factory so that they can be taken to the market. Red Wings undergo a rigorous creation process that pays attention to every detail.
Every pair of Red Wings is made in one of the 2 Red Wing factories that are based in the US. And this company doesn’t hesitate when choosing quality over quantity.
You should also know that the company uses traditional construction techniques, no wonder their boots are so durable.
How are Red Wing Boots Made?
Step 1: Cutting of Leather
Using a die cutter, leather is carefully cut by experienced and skilled workers at Red Wing factories.
Step 2: Fitting
Did you know a pair of Red Wing boots takes more than 230 hand operations till completion? In the fitting stage, the shoe undergoes 30 steps. The stitching is the hardest part because it requires precise eye-hand coordination.
A lot of sewing takes place both manually and using computers. It is also in this stage where Red Wings signature puritan stitching is made.
If you are not familiar with what this is; puritan stitching is the three-row of stitches found in the front and back of Red Wings. This form of stitching is responsible for the boots’ durability.
Step 3: Lasting
Lasts are defined as the stand-in for your feet. Made from a dense plastic, the lasts resemble the shape of the feet and determine the final look of the boot.
Red Wing alternates between 30 different last styles. It is in this stage where the insole and steel toe is added.
Step 4: Bottoming
The boot is almost complete, so the outsole is attached. Though it may look like a simple process, bottoming at Red Wing can either follow the century-old traditional welt attachment or the direct attach.
The latter entails the use of a chemical to mold the outsole to the boot. The old welt attachment method is more rigorous and involves the application of a filler, cushioning, cork filling, and sewing/cementing of the outsole.
Step 5: Finishing
These are the final touches that involve lacing, pulling of lasts, oiling or polishing, and packaging.
As you can see this is not a simple process. And despite all that. The company continues to process 2 million shoes annually.
Do These Boots Really Hold Up?
They are built to last, which is quite evident from the manufacturing process we have seen above. But, do these boots really hold up? How will they look like 10 years later?
This influential boot brand has been able to maintain its great reputation since it was founded in 1905 by Charles Beckman.
From the numerous reviews that I have come across, Red Wings can really hold up daily use and abuse.
This is the type of shoe that you don’t have to look at what you are stepping on and by tomorrow, it will look as good as new.
The leather is great at deflecting scratches and the triple stitching allows you to be as rough as you can be with the boot.
How to Ensure Red Wing Boots Serve You for Longer?
What I have come to learn about Red Wings is that if you take care of them, they will reward you by lasting for longer. There are people who have worn Red Wings for 15 and even 20 years. Here are some red wing boot care tips;
- Give your new pair some protection. Investing a leather condition can safeguard your shoes from water damage. There are plenty of waterproofing products you can use on your Red Wings.
- Avoid salt during winter. In most places, salt is used to clean up snow on roads. Stepping on a mixture of snow and salt can speed up wear on your boots. So, avoid all that by cleaning your boots daily after leaving work.
- Never leave your boots outside. Always keep them in a warm dry place.
- Be cautious when breaking in a new pair of Red Wings. Yes, they may be uncomfortable when new, but with time, the leather will soften up and be comfier to your feet.
Red Wing Boots – The Boot You will Only Buy Once
If you love something, it is normal to get a replacement once it becomes unusable. Well, this is not the case with Red Wing boots. This is the type of shoe you will only buy once in a lifetime if you really love wearing boots.
For a shoe whose brand has been around for more than a century, you should expect nothing short of quality and durability from Red Wings. Other than guaranteeing 10+ years of use, Red Wings are stylish and comfortable.
You can wear them when going to work or on casual occasions. I love how Red Wings reflect in the sunlight. They will also keep your feet warm and dry when it’s raining or snowing.
With a pair of Red Wings, you can switch from backyards to boardrooms without worrying about looking out of place.
Though they do cost a fortune, you will never spend a single dollar buying another pair. This is not unless you lose them or set them on fire.
Similar to other quality boots, Red Wings do need to be properly broken into. This may take up to 35 miles of walking for you to fully do so.
During the 10+ years that you are going to own this shoe, don’t expect it to start ‘talking’ (when the outsole separates from the upper part), or wake up one day and find holes in it.
The insole can be replaced after every five years. The leather is quite sturdy and if taken proper care of, whenever you polish your red wigs, they will look as good as new.