This comparison is a long time coming. I meant to do this last fall when it was boot season but I’ve been busy. I figured this would be a beneficial comparison for people since these are three commonly mentioned and recommended boots on MFA. They’re all different in a few ways but all share a common characteristic; they are all quality boots. They’re all good options and depending on your style, each one could serve a different purpose. You may notice that I have a size 13 in the Beckman and 12 in the other sizes. The reason is because I picked up both pair of Red Wings at their yearly tent sale and they didn't have any size 12s in the Beckman. I opted on wearing a slightly larger size since they were only $60 and had always wanted a pair. I probably wouldn't recommend doing it. Anyway… on with the review!
|Company||Red Wing||Red Wing||Wolverine|
|Shoe||Iron Ranger||Beckman 9016||Addison 1000 Mile|
|Style||6” Double Layer Cap Toe||6” Classic||Wingtip|
|Fit||Size Down ½ – 1 Full Size||Size Down ½ – 1 Full Size||Size Down ½ – 1 Full Size|
Red Wing Iron Ranger
The Iron Rangers get a lot of love and for good reason too. These boots are meant to take a good beating. Being from Minnesota, I put some Obenaufs LP on these at the beginning of the winter season and they’ve held up very well. These are the type of boots that can take a good beating and look better the more they experience. I love the look of the double cap toe which lends to its unique look. I frequently receive compliments on these boots whether I’m wearing them with jeans or chinos. I think these look best with jeans as it fits into the “rugged American-workwear” style that is currently popular.
The leather on these boots feels solid and substantial. The leather is stiff for the first few weeks but they break in nicely and without too much pain. They only took a few wears to really break in for me and I was usually wearing wool socks so it wasn’t a big deal. It’s funny when you start to compare low quality boots vs. a well constructed boot. I own an old pair of Timberland Earthkeeps and the different between any of these boots is night and day.
Although I wore them in Minnesota winters, I did so very cautiously. The cork sole is NOT the best when the ground is even remotely wet, let alone attempting to venture out in snow. Some people might think that the toe box on the Iron Rangers is a little bulbous. I think that the pictures make it look more drastic than it actually is. If you see someone wearing them, it is hardly noticeable unlike a lot of the side view pictures that you may see of the toe box. I haven’t had great experience with the default laces they provide staying tied, even with double knots. Perhaps I just suck at tying shoes, which is entirely possible.
Red Wing Beckman
Much like all work boots, these are meant to take a good beating. The soles on these are great for Minnesota winters or wet weather. If I ever need to wear a boot to work and didn’t feel like throwing on my bean boots, I’d rely on the Beckman (over the Iron Ranger or Addison). Since the sole has the great grip yet still maintains the classic look, it was a great option for traversing snow or rain.
Just like the Iron Rangers, the leather on these is incredibly tough. I’ve received a few gashes in the toe of my Beckmans and you can just see how solid the leather is — they are meant to take a beating.
Once again, a similar complaint is that the toe box looks fairly bulbous. I would agree in this case. I know there are methods to lessen that make it less bulbous, but I figured I would just leave them as is. It isn’t that noticeable unless you’re looking at them from the side. In my opinion, the Beckman is a weird spot. They’re kind of dressy and kind of work-bootish too. I don’t know if this would be considered a con or a pro since I suppose depending on how you dress, they could go either way. Personally, I would rather have it reside in one clear category which I think would be “work boot”. The only other thing I would mention is that the leather on these is pretty “shiny” when you first get them. I hesitate to put this as a con because that shine begins to diminish the more you wear them (which I liked).
Wolverine Addison 1000 Mile
I know it may be an unpopular opinion, but I think the Addisons look great. I didn’t get the regular 1000 Mile boot because I already had a pair of the Beckman and Iron Ranger. Little did I know that the Addison would surpass both the others in the hierarchy of my “favorite pair of boots”. Since I wear business casual to work a majority of the time, the Addisons fit perfectly into most of my outfits. They work well with chinos, wool pants, or jeans. The wingtip accents and leather sole give it a dressed up enough look that they can get by with my current style. Another point that I think was mentioned a few days ago was that the 1000 Mile boots are significantly lighter than the Iron Rangers and the Beckmans. This makes them much more comfortable for wearing for an entire day walking around the city. I think I get many more compliments on my Addisons than my Iron Ranger or Beckmans combined. The leather is incredibly soft and really has that genuine feel. The leather on the IR and Beckman are obviously a little more rough while the Addison feels less treated and more natural.
I really like the waxed laces on these but they’re either not too durable or I’m too rough when tightening my shoes. The laces have started to fray which isn’t that big of a deal. I’ve heard they’ll send you new laces for free too if you email them. Since the leather is soft, there is less support. I’m not going to be taking them hiking anytime soon but I figured it should be mentioned.
Sorry for the poor lighting on some of the photos. I suppose I should have edited them.
If you have any questions or would like to see any other pictures I didn’t include, let me know!