Irish Setter Vs. Red Wing ; Which One Is Right For You?

A good pair of boots will last several birthdays, events, and adventurous trips. When they are made with good quality and design, you get the perfect blend of comfort and fashion.

Two of such work boots companies that have entirely revolutionized this industry are Irish Setter and Red Wing. They are constantly compared since they are almost equally the same in terms of durability, functionality, and price range. It must also be mentioned that both the companies have the same founders. 

 Red Wing

Even after intricate comparisons, we couldn’t choose a single boot brand. But you can do so by defining your purpose. 

But there’s more to the story, and the following article will help you make an informed decision while you go for a work boot shopping spree. 


  • History of Red Wing 

Red Wing Shoe Company was founded by Mr. Charles H. Beckman in the year 1905. He wanted to provide a reliable footwear option for workers working in fields like farming or mining. 

Apart from that, this company also manufactured shoes for the WWI soldiers in 1917. It was named the “Munson Army Last.”. 

Finally, the first retail shop of the Red Wing Shoe Company was opened in 1952, just two years before the inception of Irish Setter. 


  • History of Irish Setter 

Mr. Charles H. Beckman noticed the opportunity of establishing something big and contemporary when he noticed the demand for work boots. This led to the invention of “Irish Setter” in 1950, which shared the same color with a dog breed with the same name. 

In this way, Irish Setter is a substantial division of the Red Wing Shoe company. 

It featured Oro-Russet leather and was specifically made for hunting. However, due to its comfort and construction, American workers adopted it as their work boot. 

Today, with over 70 years of legacy, Irish Setter boots are being used worldwide.


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Material Quality 

It might come as a surprise to you, but Irish Setter and Red Wing use the same material. It consists of qualitative full-grain leather that stands the test of time. 

Nevertheless, let us understand their material type and quality. 

The first Irish Setters were made with Oro-iginal leather. No, that is not a typing mistake. 

Such a type of leather was supple and rich. These boots were made to be resistant to barnyard acid. 

Presently, Irish Setter uses full-grain, oiled, waxed, and waterproof leather to manufacture its boots. The footbed is made with removable polyurethane. 

While the leather makes the boots more durable, the PU insole ensures high elasticity and soft texture. It also fights against wear and tear, making your boots more long-lasting. Such materials also provide complete shock absorption and bending resistance. 

On the other hand, Red Wing uses waxed and waterproof nubuck for their boots. The footbed is made with Nylon Covered Polyurethane. These types of materials protect your shoes from environmental damage. 

Some Red Wing shoes have leather footbeds as well that mold according to the contours of your feet. 

On that account, even though they have similar material, Red Wing takes the prize in terms of material. 

Winner: Red Wing 


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Construction 

Once the material quality is understood, it is time to shine some light on the construction of the Irish Setter and Red Wing. 

Similar to the material, both the brands use the same construction- Goodyear Welt. 

Such a type of construction involves a welt stitched to the upper. The welt is approximately one cm wide that runs between the upper and outsole of the shoe. 

The welt is affixed to the upper and then stitched to the outsole. The space is filled with cork or foam and the outsole is cemented and stitched to the welt. 

Even with the same construction, there are noticeable differences in terms of construction between the two work boots. 

For starters, Irish Setter has leather paneling infused with the latest technology. The uppers have thinner stitching as well. 

On the other hand, Red Wing has a simple leather paneling that contains durable and thick stitching. 

In terms of the construction, Red Wing features a more traditional construction, while Irish Setter is adorned with modern technology. At the same time, Red Wing’s construction is more reliable. 

Winner: Red Wing 


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Technology 

For every shoe or boot to succeed, it must be manufactured with the right type of technology. Well, that field is well covered by both the companies- Irish Setter and Red Wing. 

Let us quickly go through the technologies used in the manufacturing of Irish Setter boots. 

Irish Setter boots are made with High Rebound energy return technology that makes them more athletic. It allows you to bounce with every step without hurting your feet. 

The UltraDry technology used in Irish Setter shoes makes them long-lasting. At the same time, it also improves the overall performance of the shoes. 

The Tempsens technology keeps your feet dry and cool when you start sweating. Contrarily, if the temperature sinks, the same technology will heat your feet. Your feet also remain insulated with Thermalboost technology. This technology is in-built in the insole, toe-box, and footbed. 

Other technologies used in the Irish Setter boots are Abrasion-resistant technology, scent-control technology, Realtree Xtra®, etc. Such a mixture of various types of technologies makes Irish Setter a reliable shoe option for hard workers. 

Let us talk about some of the technologies used in the making of Red Wing shoes. 

First and foremost, the King Toe technology provides 44% more toe room, as compared to the 40% toe room provided in Irish Setter. With more toe room, you get to wiggle your toes to avoid blisters and discomfort. 

The Red Wing Waterproofing technology ensures breathability and moisture-wicking abilities. The BOA closure system provides a snug fit to your shoes. This technology is best for wearers who want a quick and reliable lace-up system without compromising on the fit. 

Lastly, the FlexForce Outsole technology provides high-quality and extra-supportive outsoles for more durability. 

If you have to consider the technology factor solely, Irish Setter has the edge over Red Wing. 

Winner: Irish Setter 


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Fitting and Comfort 

The varying designs of Irish Setter and Red Wing can effectively help you determine the comfort and fitting. 

Even though both are comfortable due to their exceptional material, the fitting differs. 

For example, Irish Setter boots are true to size, except for the logger boots. The steel-toe boots run small as compared to the normal boots. 

It must be noted that Irish Setters are padded with a wedge outsole. This significantly reduces the break-in period. 

When it comes to the Red Wing boots, some models might run big like Iron Ranges and Moc Toes. Sizing half a size down is recommended in such models. Other than that, the Red Wing chukkas are true to size. 

Red Wing boots will mold according to the wearer’s feet. 

Another factor that might alter the fitting is the heaviness. 

Generally, Irish Setters weigh 3 pounds, and Red Wing boots weigh 3.6 pounds. The heaviness of the Red Wing boots might be a drawback for people who have to walk constantly for work. 

It must be noted that Red Wing boots provide little to no heat resistance. 

On the other hand, Irish Setter provides heat resistance up to 475 degrees. 

Winner: Irish Setter


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Price Range 

Red Wing Shoes will certainly drill a huge hole in your pocket with their prices. They start from $140 and can go up to $350. 

Au contraire, Irish Setter boots can be considered economical. They start at $120. Even their costliest model, MESABI Men’s 9-inch waterproof leather safety toe boot, only costs $250. 

Now, the choice is yours. If you have money to spend, Red Wing boots will not disappoint. But if you are on a budget, Irish Setter boots will absolutely go a long way. 

Winner: Irish Setter 


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Purpose 

Now that we have defined the qualities, it is relatively easy to determine the individual purposes that the boots serve. 

Choose Irish Setter boots if you want something robust and safe. These boots are made to sustain harsh conditions like hiking, hunting, trekking, etc. 

Choose Red Wing boots if you prefer fashion, style, and durability. These boots will compliment your outfits in all kinds of outfits and bring the limelight to your shoes. 


  • Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Quick Comparison 

Are you still confused? Well, the following comparison chart will solve your doubts. 


Points of Difference  Irish Setter Red Wing 
Material  Full-grain weather  Waxed nubuck 
Made in  Overseas  U.S.A.
Sizing  True to Size with exceptions  True to Size with exceptions 
Break-in period  No Yes 
Purpose  Best for trekking  Best for day-t-day activities 
Price  Inexpensive  Expensive 
Heat Resistance  Up to 475 degrees  No 
Weight  3 pounds  3.6 pounds 



Can you wear Red Wing boots in the rain?

Red Wing boots have waterproof options that can provide complete protection against water and moisture. This allows you to wear them when it is raining. 


Are Irish Setter boots comfortable?

Irish Setter boots are extremely comfortable in terms of the insole, outsole, and overall construction. If you are looking for everyday boots, Irish Setter is the ultimate option. 


Does Red Wing own Irish Setter? 

Irish Setter is a division of Red Wing, along with Vasque. The Red Wing Casuals have Carhartt footwear as a division. 


Final Answer 

As you can see, it is challenging to pick between Irish Setter and Red Wing boots. It is almost like choosing between the best and the best. Thus, it all comes down to your purpose and why you’d want work boots in the first place. 

Once you crack that answer, you’ll be able to choose the best one for yourself. 

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