A good brand stays on for years. The customers remain loyal, and the quality stays indispensable. When it comes to work boots, two of the most prominent brands include Wolverine and Red Wing. They have been around the industry for decades, leaving their positive imprint in the footwear industry.
Wolverine and Red Wing have their signature shoes, 1000 Mile and Iron Ranger, respectively. Both the shoes are known for their versatility and appearance. But if you have to compare, which one will outshine the other? Will it be Wolverine with its robust build or Red Wing with its safety features? Let us find out.
History of Wolverine Boots
Wolverine boots owe their credibility to G.A. Krause and Fredrick Hirth. They founded the company in the year 1883, kickstarting their incredible journey by opening up a minuscule leather shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
After some initial success, they opened up a plant in 1991 in Rockford, Michigan. In order to procure electricity, they went on to purchase the Rogue River Electric Light and Power Company. The plant started functioning at its full potential in the year 1903.
The duo wanted to process their raw materials and manufacture their own shoes. To do so, they opened up a tannery in 1908. At this point, Hirth-Krause Company was the name that it was known as. This changed to Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation in 1921.
The company bought an enormous amount of sales, and hundreds of shoes were manufactured on a daily basis.
When WWII began, the U.S. Navy required pigskin gloves. This contract was given to the Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Company.
The bells of their success were heard worldwide, and their signature shoes, Wolverine, were being appreciated by all. This pushed the founders to change the name to Wolverine World Wide, Inc in 1964. It was even being traded as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 2005, sales amounting to one billion dollars were recorded for the very first time!
Over the years, WWW has acquired several different companies like Merrell, Sebago, Chaco, Top-Sider, Sperry, Stride Rite, Saucony, etc.
History of Red Wing Boots
Charles Beckman founded the Red Wing Boots company in 1905 along with fourteen other investors. The initial boots had a “pegged and nailed” construction.
In 1909, they started manufacturing shoes in “stitched-sole” construction, also known as welting. This allows the manufacturers to build a stronger bond between the sole and upper.
During WWI, shoes were made for the soldiers by the Red Wing company with their “Munson Army Last.”
In 1921, the company introduced several lines of footwear and shoes for hunting.
To handle the growing business, an official business office was set up in Dallas, Texas, in 1923.
In 1927, women’s footwear was introduced, and they quickly climbed the ladder in terms of sales.
Soon after, in 1928, safety footwear was introduced to the public. They were specifically made for people working in unconventional and hazardous workplaces. This gave Red Wing the name it needed in the field of safety footwear.
They introduced steel-toe shoes in 1934 for industrial workers. Later, sweat-proof insoles were added as a crucial feature to absorb the moisture. This made the shoes more comfortable.
The first-ever retail store of Red Wing boots was established in 1953 in Salt Lake City. Gradually, as the shoes were a big hit amongst the oil field workers in Libya, it gave the company global recognition.
In 1965, Red Wing started selling protective gear ranging from head-to-toe.
Red Wing introduced several other technological advancements like Super Sole, ComfortForce, etc., to elevate user experience with time.
In 2016, they introduced a footbed made of algae biomass to be more environmentally conscious.
Work Boots: Wolverine and Red Wing
Clearly, both the shoe brands have made their names over years of struggle and hardships. They have different structures, thereby bringing varying user experiences to the table. The following is an in-depth analysis of both footwears.
The work boots by Wolverine are made to last in the toughest and the most gruesome situations. These shoes are used by people working in industries, factories, construction areas, etc.
As they are made explicitly for safety and security, they are constructed according to the ASTM standards. The following are some of the essential features of Wolverine’s most famous work boots:
Wolverine shoes are made of durable leather. Most of its shoes have a Horween Chromexcel leather construction.
Such leather keeps the shoes long-lasting as well as easy to clean. Not only is this leather durable, but it also gives the shoes a distinctive appearance.
GORE-TEX fabric is used to make some of the Wolverine shoes. As this material is breathable, your feet are not left sweating. The moisture is absorbed, and you can wear the shoes for a long period without feeling uncomfortable.
Some of the Wolverine’s shoes have a steel-toe cap area that protects the toes from any falling objects. This is a handy feature, especially for people working in hazardous work conditions like industries or factories.
It prevents any penetration by any sharp object. In other words, a steel-toe cap acts as a protective layer over your toe for ultimate safety.
As you may know, leather is not water-resistant. But Wolverine shoes have waterproofing properties to an extent. This makes them useful in all kinds of weather conditions.
However, the sole might turn slippery in extreme rain.
Electrical Hazard Construction
People working in electrical fields like electricians can use Wolverine work boots as they have a special EH (electrical hazard) construction that makes them resistant to electrical shocks.
Moreover, these boots have static dissipating (SD) construction in the outsoles that prevents any static build-up on uninsulated platforms.
Wolverine shoes have comfortable and durable insoles that support the arches and ankles. As the insoles are made of a rugged material, the possibility of getting puncture wounds to the bottom of your feet is negligible.
Wolverine shoes’ outsoles are made of VIBRAM material that allows you to put your best foot forwards by providing comfort and support. They might turn slippery in weather conditions but can establish a firm grip in cold weather.
If you live in a cold region, you might feel the need to keep your feet warm at all times. This can be fulfilled by Wolverine work boots that have insulating technologies.
These shoes do no tick off any electronic or metal security detectors.
Red Wing Boots
Red Wing boots are known for their ruggedness and robust build. But several other features and qualities make them worth it.
Red Wing boots are made of oil-tanned leather that enhances the overall appearance and looks.
Other than oil-tanned leather, Red Wing shoes are also made of roughout leather and smooth-finished leather.
These are durable and shiny leather that makes the shoes waterproof, dry, and fresh.
These shoes have a rubber outsole that makes them durable for the long run. Moreover, it allows the wearer to maintain a strong grip over uneven platforms. The outsole could also be made of a combination of rubber and leather.
Red Wing shoes have a Goodyear welt construction that keeps the leather weather-resistant. Moreover, you can also re-sole them a number of times without any hassle.
The midsoles are more rigid, which makes them more durable.
As workboots need a durable cap toe, Red Wing boots have an additional layer of leather on the toe area. This allows you to stay protected from any falling objects.
The Red Wing workboots have eight different lasts that give a proper and long-lasting shape.
Women’s Boots: Wolverine and Red Wing
There are certain similarities as well as strikingly varying features in men’s and women’s shoes. The following are the feature of Wolverine’s women’s boots:
- They are constructed with waterproof grain-free leather upper.
- The boots have a radiant and lustrous appearance.
- The rubber outsole allows you to grip any platform, even if it is uneven.
- Comfort is guaranteed due to its well-cushioned footbed.
- The midsoles are made of rubber.
- Durability and ruggedness are provided by the nylon shanks.
The following are the features of Red Wing’s women’s boots:
- The women’s shoes are made of Polyurethane traction tred outsole.
- They have Goodyear welt last for durability.
- The overall construction is full-grain leather.
- Shanks are absent.
- They have light nickel eyelets.
Which one is Better?
After much deliberation and considering all the possible factors, it can be deduced that even though both the shoes are pioneers in the field of footwear, Wolverine takes the trophy home.
Wolverine shoes stand true to its promises in terms of price, quality, reliability, and durability.
But this shouldn’t make you believe or assume that Red Wing boots have any flaws. They are equally rugged, robust, and strongly-built. But the credibility that comes with Wolverine makes it the ideal brand for safety footwear.
The bottom line
Wolverine is a clear-cut winner when compared with Red Wing boots. As safety boots are manufactured for a concrete reason, you must consider all the factors while choosing one. We hope that the factors mentioned above were able to help you differentiate between the two brands. Do make a thorough decision and get the best safety gear for your feet.
William has hands-on experiences with construction sites, and the hazards employees face while working. He has been a dedicated worker since 1995 and is currently looked up to by many of his subordinates for the work he has done throughout his tenure. He has passed several certifications regarding safety at the workplace, including OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Silica in Construction Certificate, and the National Association of Safety Professionals Certification.
He has ample experience in woodwork and welding and understands the importance of a tough work boot in dangerous occupational environments. His achievements, experience, and knowledge allow him to be an expert in the field of work boots. He selects and tries all the products that he reviews and presents to his readers. As per him, the safety of the boot is beyond the beauty of it. He carefully scrutinizes each aspect of work boots, including flex, laces, length, breathability, strength, and more.