Every few years where I work, we have the option to get safety boots. The first time this happened, I made the mistake of getting some brand I wasn’t sure of. I never ended up wearing them because they were uncomfortable and rubbed against my feet in places. I also apparently didn’t get them seized correctly as I later found out. This led me to the Red Wing Irish Setters.
Fast forward a few years and the opportunity comes up again. This time though, my work decided to go exclusively through a local Red Wing dealer. I have had my eyes on some Red Wing brand boots for years but never went through with getting any. Mainly because the prices always scared me off, which was a mistake.
I knew what I was after this time. A comfortable boot that I could wear at work and out of work. Something that did not look like safety toed work boots. It had to hold up year-round in all conditions. It had to be comfortable to drive in. And it had to withstand the abuse of being outdoors on overland trips.
The Red Wing Boot Company has an offshoot brand called Irish Setter. Originally made with the same color leather as their namesake, these boots were designed for people who enjoyed being outdoors.
As their popularity grew, they became one of the go tos for work boots. The model I got, Ashby, has an aluminum safety toe, which makes the boots very lightweight in comparison to regular steel-toed safety boots. While I was at the Red Wing store, I picked up a Heritage version of the same boots and found that it was considerably heavier than what I was getting.
I’ve worn these boots for a full year now. No other shoe than the occasional dress shoe for work reasons. I’ve driven in them, walked distances in them, done yard work in them, and of course had them out on weekend overland trips. I love these boots. They have to be some of the best boots I’ve owned.
They’ve held up exceptionally well to the abuse they’ve gotten. There are some noticeable marks on the leather on the toes, but that’s to be expected. These boots are comfortable to wear all day without your feet and legs getting tired. The lightweight safety toe helps that out also. You probably wouldn’t even know there is a safety toe unless you knock on the shoe and find that it’s hard.
In terms of size, they are not overly large. The pair I have is a 6-inch, and Red Wing does offer an 8-inch if that’s what you want. The sole is large and provides a good amount of grip in dry conditions and snow. Mud, on the other hand, not so much, but it is mud, and not many shoes would provide a good grip on it anyway. I’m talking some pretty deep stuff though and not what you might find in your yard after a rainstorm.
These are also very easy to drive in. I’ve owned some other boots that ended up being difficult because they would jam against the pedals. Granted, I’m driving in a full-size SUV versus let’s say a hatchback so that pedal spacing could be different. But, I have had the chance to drive in our minivan as well as a mid-size SUV with no issues whatsoever. The boots are not overly rigid, especially once broken in and move and bend in the right places to make pedal management easy.
All in all, I like these boots. I haven’t been wearing them through the summer as much because of trying out some Altama OTB Maritimes. And for the price at $155 you can’t beat them for comfort and safety. When I’ve run the course on these, I will be getting another pair.