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Red Wing vs Thorogood: Which Moc Toe Boost is Best for You?






Looking for a tough new pair of work boots? You have likely heard of Moc toes. Although it is not for work, Moc toes could be really useful in a variety of fashion situations. When it comes to Moc toes, the most well-known brands are Thorogood and Red Wing.

This article will contrast Red Wing Moc Toe and Thorogood. While Red Wing outperforms Thorogood when it comes to durability and material, Thorogood is less expensive. Thorogood also has better shock absorption capabilities. Furthermore, they are much easier to put on and take off.

But for now, let’s define Moc Toes and find out where they got their name. Moc is an abbreviation for Moccasin, which is a shoe with no separate heels. These boots have an upper front part that covers the toes, resulting in a Moc. The material is usually leather or another seamless material.

Native Americans were the very first to introduce the style to America. The purpose of developing this type of shoe was to protect the toes. They were also designed to provide more flexibility and room at the front of the feet or the toe box area.

And now, let’s go into the detail of Thorogood boots comparison with Red Wing boots right now.

Thorogood Boots Vs. Red Wing Boots

Here is the overview of these two famous moc toe boot brands. 


Features  Thorogood Moc Toe Red Wing Classic Moc
Upper material  2mm thick Oil Tanned Leather 2.3mm Oil-Tanned SB Foot Tanning Co
Sole material  Poron and Leather Leather and Cork
Outsole material Polyurethane Crepe Rubber Wedge
Welt construction 360-Degree Goodyear Storm Welt 360-degree Goodyear Welt

Introducing Two Rivals


Thorogood Boots via Instagram

Actually, Thorogood has been in business for approximately 125 years. They are work boots, pretty much identical to Red Wing boots. A lot of people used to wear Thorogood boots while working in hazardous conditions. They are lighter in weight than their competitors and are significantly less expensive.

Thereby, getting such high-quality and long-lasting boots at such low prices was a deal that lots of people couldn’t pass up. Furthermore, Thorogood Moc Toes are appropriate for informal settings. As a result, they serve as a dual-purpose pair of boots.

Red Wing

Red Wing moc toe boots
Red Wing moc toe boots

The Red Wing boots were inspired by the styles worn by iron miners in the past. And the first appearance of Red Wing Moc Toes was in the 1950s. Originally, farmers wore Red Wing boots because the outsole design provided better traction and grip. As a result, it was greater for them on the farms because it didn’t pick up as much dust, dirt, and debris.

Afterward, construction workers and other factory workers began to wear these Red Wing Moc Toes work boots. Furthermore, athletes favored these styles due to the flexibility and comfort they provide.

Similarities between Thorogood and Red Wing

Thorogood Boots

When comparing the two moc toe boots, there are many more differences than similarities. Nonetheless, there are a few commonalities worth mentioning here.

The two boots, for instance, are made of leather. This leather is oil-tanned; nevertheless, the tanning method might vary.

Furthermore, both boots have triple stitching, but the color of the stitching varies. Furthermore, both the midsoles and soles are similar in material and style, with slight variations.

For more details about the differences between Thorogood and Red Wing, let’s scroll to the part Moc Toe Work Boots: Thorogood Vs. Red Wing, Which One is Better?

Thorogood Heritage Boots

Thorogood Heritage Boots via Instagram

The two major versions of Thorogood heritage boots include the non-safety and safety ones. Let’s look at some key features of these two models. 

As mentioned above, Thorogood boots are made to last, and here are the Thorogood Heritage Boots. They come with an elegant color and finishing that will draw your attention as well as the attention of people on the street. Their premium full-grain leather allows your feet to breathe freely. These iconic boots are made in the United States. They were made by union workers who understand what it’s like to be in your boots.

Now, let’s go into the details.

Full-grain leather

The leather finishing is greatly plunged, which makes sure a supplier and gentler feel when compared to the Red Wing boots.

Footbed with detachable shock absorption

The insole of this boot is double-layered to keep your feet comfortable even in extreme conditions. Besides, the footbed area includes a shock-absorbing mechanism that keeps your feet safe regardless of what you step on. What’s more, the insoles can be removed. So, after wearing the boot for a long time, you can effortlessly remove it for cleanup or airing.

Comfortable cushioned insoles

Thorogood Heritage Boots also feature a cushioned insole for your feet’s maximum solace. You can walk for hours without feeling the need to remove your boots, which is not the situation with almost all other boots on the market.

Padded collar

The cushioned collar in these boots allows you to wear them even when they are brand new. In other words, it makes it simple to break in the boot after the first wear. As such, you do not have to suffer pain when wearing this boot as it is completely new. It almost immediately fits the size of your feet. So, you must purchase the appropriate size.

Red Wing Moc Toe 875

Red Wing Moc Toe 875 via Youtube

This is also considered one of the best Red Wing Wedge Soles Work Boots not only among the brand but also among other popular footwear brands out there. Here in this part, let’s get into this great work boot. 


Red Wing’s Moc Toe 875 boot is constructed of tough and rough full-grain leather. As you might know, full-grain leather is derived from the upper layer of the animal’s hide and is thus regarded as the best on the market. It improves the aging process and gives the leather a distinctive look.

This type of leather is much more comfortable and durable. It has been incorporated with wax and oils during the manufacturing process, making it pull-up leather.

The Red Wing 875 boots are aged in a distinctive way that makes them look far better even after a long time of wear. Having said that, you must maintain your boots at all times, or they will dry, rot, and then crack.

Break-in period

Red Wing 875 boots are generally made of extremely tough leather, making them more difficult to break in. After about a month of normal wear, you can be able to break in your 875 boot. Yes, the first few wears might be a little bit rough on your feet, particularly around the toe box area. You might be in pain as your feet are squeezing together, but it will be much softer after several wears.

If you want to wear this as your daily work boot, you will be a bit disappointed. Having said that, you can use leather oil to rub the tough areas, which significantly softens the leather and makes it much more comfortable to wear.


The outer sole of the Red Wing Moc Toe 875 is made of Traction Tred rubber. It is essentially natural rubber or coagulated latex. It is generally much softer and more comfortable, and it won’t send you flying into the gutter like the Red Wing Iron Rangers.

The innersoles, on the other hand, tend to be as inexpensive as most Red Wing work boots, with no integrated shank. It does, however, have a cork midsole, and the Goodyear welt construction makes resoling far simpler. 


According to the brand’s website, Red Wing 875 boots are a little bit smaller in size than the typical boot. As a result, when purchasing your Mac Toe in general and the 875 version in particular, you will need to size down a half size or even a full size.

Red Wing Moc Toe 875 comes in two widths for every size: D for feet with a medium width and EE for those with wider feet. Generally speaking, D width fits a little too snug at first, but it will gradually mold to your feet after the break-in period. EE, on the flip side, tends to loosen a little bit after you break the boot in, but wearing a pair of thick socks quickly fixes this.

Other work boots, such as the Iron Rangers, make an impression even after years of use. Moc Toe, on the other hand, transforms into a limb extending.

Thorogood Chelsea Boot

Thorogood Chelsea Boot

With premium-quality Thorogood Chelsea work boots, you can work all day comfortably. The Thoro-Flex Quick Release Series is made of genuine leather, is simple to put on and take off, and is extremely comfortable. The special dual-density Thoro-Flex outsole from Thorogood delivers unrivaled traction and grip. These Thorogood Chelsea boots are designed with a composite safety toe, which is Electrical Hazard rated. What’s more, the outsole is anti-skid. Lastly, they are designed to keep you safe for the duration of your shift.

Besides, the single-density PU shock-absorption insole is sure to provide your underfoot with ultimate support in every step. However, the direct attach construction of these Thorogood Chelsea boots doesn’t seem to be as durable and sturdy as the Goodyear welt constructions as in other popular models from this brand. 

Vintage Thorogood Boots

The Thorogood® 1957 Series has the traditional design of a vintage work boot coupled with the durability, comfort, and slip-resistance of a boot created for today. The reworked 1957 Series comes with the moc toe of a classic work boot, rich full-grain leather, and sturdy Goodyear Storm Welt construction for the quality and rigidity as you expect.

Besides, the MAXWear non-slip outsole keeps you steady on slick surfaces, and a waterproof membrane retains your feet dry. Each pair of these vintage work boots comes with a soft inner lining and a sophisticated shock-absorbing insole to keep you comfy all day long.

That’s just about the general features of these vintage Thorogood boots. And now, let’s go into the details.

In particular, the benefit of a wedge outsole is that it distributes your weight more evenly and is much more comfortable than conventional heeled boots. Thorogood employs a standard shallow tread on these work boots. If wedges are not something that you are really interested in, four of the line’s models feature a heeled MaxWear 90 outsole.

What’s more, the moc toe serves a purpose in addition to its appearance. The added seam exposes a layer of leather that provides a little bit more protection for your toes than basic work boots.

More specifically, the Thorogood 1957 Series boots are all waterproof, thanks to X-Stream waterproofing. Furthermore, the full-grain leather is waterproof on its own, and there is also a waterproof membrane liner. As such, your feet will mostly never get wet due to sweat or moisture.

This collection contains eight different designs in total. The wedge styles are available in Briar Pitstop (with dark brown color) and have lightweight outsoles. They come in 6-inch and 8-inch heights and either with or without a safety toe box.

Crazy Horse (with the medium brown color) or BriarPitstop color heels with an additional safety toe and the same 8-inch and 6-inch shaft height choices are available. And lastly, the Briar Pitstop variants are designated as “Flyway” and are the official hunting boots of Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever.

Comparing Other Shoe and Boot Designs from Red Wing and Thorogoods

Even though moc toe work boots are the company’s bread and butter, they also offer a variety of other footwear styles. Actually, I have spent a significant amount of time researching available variants, learning about their specific details, and using my own experience wearing boots from these two brands. So I was able to create a fairly full picture of how the two brands’ styles interact with one another.

Thorogood Boots Are Designed For Hard Workers

Thorogood Boots Are Designed For Hard Workers

In fact, Thorogood produces both safety and non-safety boots and shoes. While the brand’s non-safety options, such as the Moc Toe Boot, are quite strong, supportive, and durable, making them a good choice for any heavy duty work around your house.

Their safety work boots, on the flip side, are a totally different story. Consider the brand’s Heritage 8 Inch Safety Toe Work Boots. This pair of reinforced leather work boots are similar to the Moc Toe, but it is made of far more durable materials, making it an excellent option for a variety of demanding blue collar work settings.

The sole is designed with the same premium Maxwear Outsole design that works well in wet and rough conditions. The boot is also electrically hazard rated. As a result, even in the existence of electrical hazards, your feet will also be adequately protected.

Other excellent Thorogood options include the Composite Safety Toe Gen Flex 6″ Work Boot and the 8 Inch Side Zip Jump Boot Gen-Flex. The top objectives of these styles are durability and safety. As a result, you can use them in the riskiest, most demanding, and most dangerous situations without fear of damage or injury. However, the oil-tanned leather look of many of their other work boots is lost.

Red Wing Boots Were Primarily Designed for Walking

Red Wing outdoor moc toe leather brown boots
Red Wing outdoor moc toe leather brown boots

Despite being frequently marketed as a fully deserving work boot, I don’t really believe that the Red Wing boots can compete with Thorogood’s offerings. True, they are still quite sturdy, and the boots do withstand wear and tear relatively well. However, I believe the shortage of structure, padding, and reinforced soles make these boots far more suitable for housework. Perhaps they would do well in less demanding manufacturing jobs such as painting, home building and repair work, and even pipework.

The Iron Ranger is another boot model worth considering from the Red Wing brand. As you can see, this special design is far superior to their Moc Toe Boot in terms of sole material and construction. Because leather uppers are less gentle of motion, they provide more support at the expense of certain comfort.

If you are looking for traction and grip, the brand’s Beckman Round 6 Inch Boot is one of the brand’s greater options. In particular, the aggressive tread patterns provide much better traction, making the boots appropriate for both wet and wonky ground.

Besides, I would like to discuss how the Red Wing brand provides a little more on the visual side of the range than Thorogood. For example, the brand has its own Weekender line of boots and shoes designed for casual wear rather than workwear. So, if you are looking for a good casual boot, the Heritage Men’s Weekender Chukka is a perfect instance of what they have to offer. For those who are fashion conscious, the elegance of the oil-tanned leather appearance does make you more outstanding. 

But in the end, these are just my own opinions about these two famous moc toe brands. The final decision is up to you. And these are just the 2 product examples of Red Wing and Thorogood. Now, let’s discover the general review of Red Wing and Thorogood moc toe work boots to see which one is better.

Moc Toe Work Boots: Thorogood Vs. Red Wing, Which One is Better?

Red Wing Men shoes

The comparison is based on different elements, such as style, materials, construction, etc. Now let’s see how these features create a similar or unique look for them.

Leather Upper

Red Wing employs their own oil-tanned leather from the S.B. Foot Tanning Service. I own a pair of Red Wing Classic Moc Toe work boots that are made of Red Wing’s new Slate Muleskinner leather, growing beautifully and can withstand a lot of abuse.

Even though there is no official information on where Thorogood gets their leather, I would say from experience that the most common form of the brand’s Moc Toe, the Tobacco leather color, is also rigid and low-maintenance.

Red Wing wins in the end after evaluating both leather thicknesses. The brand’s Classic Moc is made of 2.4mm leather, whereas Thorogood’s is only 2mm flat.

Although there is no discernible grain on the Slate Muleskinner leather, if you make a comparison between the Red Wing Oro Legacy and the Thorogood Tobacco Leather, you will notice that the grain on the Red Wings is far stiffer.

Both models from the brand are designed with full-grain oil-tanned leather, so there is not much of a difference based on the specifications on every website. A closer look reveals that Red Wings leather is better compared in almost every way.

As a result, if you are looking for a more casual boot that you can wear for years, I would recommend the Red Wing Classic Moc. Because of the tougher grain, it will age more delicately and develop a lovely vintage look.


A 360-degree Goodyear Welt construction is featured on both the Red Wing Classic Moc work boots and the Thorogood Moc Toe work boots. However, the Thorogood is designed with a storm welt attached, which provides a little bit more weather resistance. Having said that, I don’t really think you will recognize much of a distinction except if you frequently work in adverse weather.

The uppers are triple-stitched on both boots from these two brands. Particularly, Red Wing utilizes their symbolic Puritan stitching with one white thread and two dark threads.

In general, the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe work boots are a little more shaped and slimmer than the Thorogood counterparts.

In terms of style, the Thorogood Moc Toe is a little bit bulky and unpolished. That is not, however, entirely a bad thing, as many men prefer the rugged workwear look.

The Red Wing Classic Moc Toe Work Boots are also around an inch shorter than Thorogood Moc Toe Work Boots, despite the fact that both are marketed as 6-inch work boots. Besides, while the Red Wing only has leather piping, the Thorogood is equipped with a padded collar all around the ankle and a pull-on tab.

Style is, of course, personal, but I believe the Red Wing is a more fashionable boot due to its shaped design.

On the other hand, if you adore the United States and get chills just thinking about your work boot having a small American flag on it, you could perhaps prefer the Thorogood Moc Toe design.

Sole Construction

Even as Red Wing wins on leather quality, the sole construction is a completely different story.

In particular, Thorogood is made with a storm welt construction, which helps to add even far more weather resistance to the recraftability of the Red Wing.

In addition, the Thorogood has an internal fiberglass shank. The Red Wing, on the other hand, contains no shank. Thorogood is thus the clear winner in terms of arch support.

The Red Wings are constructed with a crepe rubber sole, and while I’m not usually a fan of crepe rubber, this sole design must be of the greatest crepe quality as it is far more durable than other crepe sole constructions I have ever tried.

It also has far more slip resistance than the Thorogood sole construction because of its softness.

The Thorogood has a polyurethane wedge sole that is more durable than crepe rubber. I believe the Red Wing sole might wear out much faster than the other. The Thorogood, on the other hand, does not have relative slip resistance properties.

Another significant difference that may make all the distinctions for you is the insole design.

The Red Wing insole is specially made entirely of natural materials, including cork and leather. This indicates that the insole will gradually become much more comfortable, after several months, you will have a kick that feels specially made for your foot.

The insole of the Thorogood is made of Poron, fiberboard, and rubber. And this combination is far more comfortable the first time you wear it, but it might not last as long as the counterpart from the Red Wing.

Thorogood, nevertheless, is not facing the death penalty. I know a lot of guys whose jobs make it almost impossible for them to keep a pair of boots for more than a year, no matter if they are working with Thorogood, Red Wing, or anything even at a higher level such as Whites or Nicks.

If you work in factory or construction environments, you might prefer the softer, more shock-absorbing feel of the Thorogoods’ synthetic insole. It is possible that you will not draw a picture where the synthetic materials decrease and deform, so it won’t make much difference.

Sizing and Fitting

Actually, both Thorogood and Red Wing fit correspondingly. I generally wear a size 9.5 in shoes and bought both boots in size 9. They fit nicely, and I haven’t experienced any kind of blister or rubbing issues with either brand.

Thorogood does offer a few 8-inch variants of their Moc Toe work boots, as well as composite safety toe and steel safety toe options.

The most prevalent leather choices from Red Wing are available in sizes from 6 to 15 and widths including D, E, and EEE.

Thorogood also has some wide-width sizes (and even several narrow-width sizes). However, they don’t have as many as Red Wing.

Nonetheless, if you could find the right size, they are both equally comfy just after several weeks of wear.

Break-in Period

Other leather choices for the Red Wing Classic Moc work boots, such as the Briar Oil Slick and Oro Legacy, have been reported to take some time to completely break-in.

Since Red Wings are using a thick leather insole, there would be some break-in time because leather is not always the most comfortable material to stand on right away. However, just after several months, it will mold to your foot and become much more comfortable.

The Thorogood Moc Toe in Tobacco leather does require a little bit of break-in time, and the synthetic insole is just comfy right out of the box.

While neither shoe was especially difficult to break in (or there are always different and easy ways to break in new shoes), the Poron insole gives the Thorogood a smaller advantage here.

Other Outstanding Features

Red Wing Classic Moc

Although there are no speed hooks or detachable footbeds on the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe work boots, it does have several tricks up its sleeve.

The Red Wing’s use of leather all through the vamp and insole is the most noticeable difference between it and the Thorogood.

Thorogood, on the other hand, utilizes a cotton fabric lining all around the toe, which purely will not last as long as Red Wing’s durable leather lining in the vamp.

In addition, the Red Wing insole is constructed from a single thick layer of leather.

Even though it is not as instantly comfortable, this insole will last for years and would even feel specially designed for your feet because they effortlessly break in the leather. So, if you have pretty typical arches and don’t have a lot of knee pain, the Red Wing Classic MocToe work boots will become far more comfortable over time. It will also last longer.

Thorogood Moc Toe

The fiberglass shank and speed hooks are two of the most noticeable distinctions between the Red Wing Classic Moc boots and Thorogood Moc Toe boots.

Many guys (including myself) tend to favor speed hooks. The Thorogood Moc Toe features three speed hooks close to the top, but the top bootlace is an eyelet that I have never seen on some other boots.

Thorogood, on the other hand, is far easier to wear. So, if you have a bad back, you will definitely appreciate spending less time bent over tying your work boots.

The Poron insole and fiberglass shank might also provide relief for men suffering from joint and back pain. What’s more, the Thorogoods provide a lot of support for the arch and superior shock absorption.

Last but not least, the footbed is detachable, so you can easily add a custom insert, making them a better option if you have flat feet and just want a specially made orthotic in your work boots. Tread Lab’s footbeds are recommended if you don’t have a personalized orthotic but still want more personalized foot support.

If you have struggled with back and knee pain in the past, you can effortlessly insert any Tread Labs insole into your Thorogood Moc Toe work boots and get plenty of relief.

So, Which Moc Toe Should You Wear?

If you want to invest in a heritage work boot that would last for years of normal wear, the Red Wing Classic Moc is a good choice.

It comes with a more curved shape, and the premium natural materials used in the insole, as well as the higher quality details (such as stitching durability and density), ensure that the Red Wing will last much longer with normal wear.

Although both types of leather are full grain oil tanned, it seems that Red Wing’s grain is generally tighter, implying the boot would then age more delicately, which is another thing in their favor for durability.

However, there are a few trades where, regardless of the quality of the moc toe work boot, the circumstances would then break down any work boot in around 6 to 12 months.

However, if you are looking for a sturdy USA-made boot for plumping, electrical, or construction work, the addition of the fiberglass shank, more enduring outsole, and shock-absorbing Poron insole will be ideal.

You will also save, well, almost $100 each time you need to purchase a brand new pair of boots.

So, which boots appear to be a better fit for you? Let me know in the comment box.

Are Thorogood Boots Worth The Money?

Thorogood boots are high-quality boots that will definitely do the job. They are really comfortable and long-lasting, and your level of satisfaction will vary depending on the version you choose. It is entirely up to you, the wearer, no matter if they are really worth the money. Do you value your Thorogood work boots at the price they are asking? The boots themselves, in fact, are really great; the question is if you really want to invest additional money in them or not.

Are Red Wing Boots Worth The Money?

Red Wings is a luxury brand that would generally charge 25 percent on all of its items. They are high-quality shoes that serve their purpose well. It is absolutely up to you, the wearer, to decide if they are worth the extra money, and more specifically, the price premium. They are a great pick if you value appearance and are willing to pay a little bit of extra money to make your moc toe boots appear excellent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before going to the end of this article, let’s have a look at the several commonly asked questions about the Red Wing and Thorogood boots.

Is Red Wing the owner of Thorogood?

No, Red Wing does not own Thorogood, but it does own a few other brands, including Irish Setter and Vasque, whereas the Weinbrenner Shoe Company in Wisconsin owns Thorogood.

What is the appeal of moc toe boots?

In general, moc toe boots are well-known for their toughness, weather resistance, toe protection, and slip resistance. They are an inclusive, safe, and comfy walking boot, and a lot of men adore the style.

Is moc toe synonymous with steel toe?

Absolutely no. The word “moc toe” relates to how the toe is sewn to the vamp. Several moc toes have composite or steel toes, but not all. The “U” molded stitching all along the toe distinguishes a moc toe.

Which boot is better, Red Wing or Thorogood?

Almost all hard-core work boot fans will tell you that Thorogood beats Red Wings. Both have exquisite oil-tanned leather and an appealing aesthetic appearance, but Thorogood outperforms Red Wing in terms of comfort. Several might argue that the Red Wings appear better, and they might be correct. Thorogood, on the other hand, is all about comfort. 


Red Wing is a strict Moc Toe for working conditions. You could, however, wear these boots for non-work-related occasions. They appear to be a little bit duller than Thorogood, but this could be what you are looking for.

Thorogood, on the other hand, is more lightweight in weight and has excellent shock absorption. You might also feel as if you are wearing shoes rather than Moc Toes. Having said that, because of the added weight, several people prefer Moc Toes. Thorogood is thus not the best pick at this point.

The main point is that if you really need something to wear in the construction industry, get Thorogood work boots. They will definitely serve their purpose admirably due to their unrivaled price and shock absorption characteristic. Red Wing, on the other hand, is the winner if you need modern and fashionable Moc Toes that will last at least a year.

Steven Ta
Steven Ta
I am a professional photographer and shoe-lover. With a deep-rooted passion for all things footwear and years of hands-on experience, I am your go-to guide in the awesome world of shoes
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