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Irish Setter Vs. Red Wing: Which One Should You Get?

Irish Setter Vs. Red Wing: Which One Should You Get?

Irish Setter Vs. Red Wing

When planning on buying a new pair of work boots, most people’s choices usually come down to either Irish Setter or Red Wing. These are two popular brands that offer comparable styles of boots.

Both models are generally long-lasting, more functional, and moderately cost-effective. Irish Setter focuses more on boots better for work and hunting, while Red Wing shoes more emphasis on heritage models.

Red Wing has always thrived on the buzz, probably due to their consistent production of high-rated heritage boots. Even with the long legacy, the brand has successfully maintained the work of art and traditional boot-production craftsmanship.

Following time and public demand, they have released another line of work boots- Irish Setter Shoes- a slightly modern and more functional model. Presently, both brands are getting into a tooth and nail competition due to their overall prominence.

Nonetheless, we need to dig deeper for a viable verdict.

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The Difference Between Irish Setter and Red Wing

One main difference between Irish Setter vs. Red Wing is that Red Wing actually makes their Heritage line of boots line of boots in America while all Irish Setter boots are manufactured abroad. Following their focus on heritage boot making styles, Red Wing boots will forego cutting edge footwear technology and spotlight on time tested materials and bookmaking techniques.

Some people like the heritage style for its genuine quality, while others appreciate the newer materials and techniques offered in the Irish Setter brand boots, for example, new anti-slip rubbers and flame-safe uppers. Yet, we still need to comprehend the differences between the two brands. So how about we dive further into each of their birthplace stories.

Red Wing shoes are a brand most famous for their excellent American made work boots. The brand is +110 years of age and one of the most seasoned footwear manufacturers in America.

Currently, Red Wing can be classified into two: their heritage line, which is manufactured in America, and their Irish setter, which is made abroad. This comparison will zero in on Red Wing Heritage work boots and what makes them comparable to Irish Setter work boots.

Irish Setter is a brand owned by Red Wing Shoes. It was first launched in 1950 in line with their introduction of American made hunting boots. The brand later extended to offer specialty work boots. Presently, all Irish Setter boots are fabricated overseas. Albeit generally made in China, most Irish Setter boots still utilize U.S. made S.B. Foot Tanning leather in their models.

Irish Setter vs. Red Wing

For a detailed comparison, we found it level-headed to focus on the Irish Setter Ashby vs. Red Wing Classic Moc. Both of these work boots feature comparative highlights. Let’s explore the key differences.


Despite the fact that the Irish setter Ashby comes nearly half the Red Wing Classic price, you may be surprised to realize that there’s some overlap in the materials utilized. Both brands employ S.S. Foot Training leather on their uppers. It is a high-quality full-grain leather that is known for its time-tested durability.

Another notable difference stems from the inside of the shoes. The Irish Setter comes with a removable P.U. footbed. Although they are great for customized comfort, removable footbeds are likely to deteriorate over time and might need replacement after a while.

Red Wing, on the other hand, remains true to its classic features with leather footbed. Leather footbeds are associated with a more extended break-in period, but they mold to your feet after some time and provide fantastic comfort.

Also Read: Best Insoles For Doc Martens 

Boot Construction

Both the Irish Setter and Red Wing employ Goodyear Welt construction in their toe boots. However, there is a notable difference in the leather paneling of the two models. Red Wing features simple leather paneling plus thick, robust stitching-something pretty common with heritage boots.

On the other hand, Irish Setter has more leather paneling and thinner stitching in parts of the uppers. Red Wing focuses on upholding traditional construction techniques while Irish Setter is recognized for using the latest technology. Irish Setter also implements the UltraDry technique, a moisture management technology that keeps your feet cool and dry throughout.

Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Outsole Comparison

Both the Irish Setter Ashby and the Classic Moc Toe boots are made on Christy wedge rubber sole. The outsoles are designed with traction treading with shallow lugs to deter mud and debris easily. Both outsoles are similar to some extent.

The Irish Setter, however, put more emphasis on work conditions. The outsole featured by the Irish Setter offers heat resistance of up to 475 degrees. These boots are slip, oil, and abrasion-resistant too.

The Ashby model, in particular, meets Electric Hazard ASTM F2413-11 safety standards, which is essential for those on worksites. Irish Setter has also included ExoFlex, and ArmTec features to extend the longevity of their boots.

For the Red Wings, the Heritage Classic Moc Toe boot’s outsoles do specifically embrace all the safety features- though it complies with minimum safety standards. That means if you are much concerned about all the safety features, you might want to consider the Red Wing Line of boots.

Irish Setter vs. Red Wing: Comfort and Fit

Most reviews and customer feedback show more extended break-in periods with the Red Wing boots than Irish Setter. This is probably due to the tougher leather uppers and whole-leather footbed.

On the bright side, Red Wing buyers stated that the boots fit comfortably with time, and the leather should mold to mold to your feet like a grove. Speaking of feet, Red Wing recommends that you go one size smaller than your normal shoe size when ordering heritage boots.

Considering the materials and construction, you can expect a relatively shorter break-in period with Irish Setter boots, Ashby at least. The footbed is adequately padded, and the wedge outsole delivers an immediate comfortable experience.

The ideal fit on the Irish Setter boots falls between true-to-size to half-size smaller than your standard shoe size. Another thing worth mentioning is that the Red Wings boots are notably heavier than the Irish Setter models. It weighs in at around 2 lbs 5oz, almost twice as much as the Irish Setter Ashby (which comes in at about 1 lb 9oz). This is an important fact to consider, especially for those who work on their feet.

Irish Setter Vs. Red Wing: Verdict

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After comparing the Irish Setter vs. Red Wing Heritage work boots, it’s worth commenting on the Red Wings boots line up and how it largely compares to Irish Setter.

All things considered, you might want to choose the Red Wing Heritage if you prefer American-made work boots, which are functional and made to last. These particular work boots are recraftable, and there’s an option to repair them using Red Wing’s authorized dealer, where the brand pays dividends on your initial speculations. The basic leather paneling and absence of overall branding will appeal to those looking for simple work boots without extravagant add-ons.

As you now know, the Irish Setter line is made abroad, with most of the production undertaken in China. And even though it bears the Red Wing brand, it does not resemble the craftsmanship employed on the Heritage line. These boots aren’t repairable and are comparable in quality to other brands in the $150-200 price category.

Coming Down to quality and construction, there’s little difference between the Irish Setter and Red Wing. Both brands come with similar style and safety features. In view of this overlap, both work lines cost just about the same, with Red Wing having a slight edge in quality and construction.

On the other hand, Irish Setter is best suited for those interested in good value work boots, which are designed with tough working conditions in mind. All the safety features and optional toe aspects are ideal for those concerned more about safety than fashion.

The only gripe about Irish Setter work boots is that they are not craftable, and you might need to replace them sooner than Red Wing Heritage boots, which will add up more cost in the long run. It’s something worth considering.

Still and all, Irish Setter and Red Wing aren’t the only options, especially when it comes to moc toe boots. Other American-made models such as Thorogood and Danner are designed with similar features and are fairly priced too.