Since 1905, Red Wing has remained consistent in producing high-quality boots and shoes. The American footwear manufacturer is one of the most popular in the industry today. And if you’re looking for a 6-inch boot, you’re bound to be impressed by the Red Wing Blacksmith or Red Wing Beckman- they are among the company’s best-selling welted boots and arguably the most versatile boots on the market.
As a round toe style boot, the Beckman has been designed from Red Wing’s exclusive Cigar Featherstone dress leather, which sports a polished surface that radiates striking elegance and quality.
The Blacksmith, meanwhile, has been made with the blacksmith in mind. It has a Vibram 430 mini-lug sole that will outlive any regular boot you own. It looks rugged and reliable, ready to withstand a harsh beating, and still looks great.
So which one is the best buy?
Both boots are quite similar but have several differences that make each one special in its own right. We will explore the similarities and differences between Red Wing Blacksmith and Beckman so that you can choose the boot that best suits your needs.
Red Wing Blacksmith Vs Beckman: The Differences
Blacksmith vs. Beckman: Leather Comparison
The most notable difference between the Red Wing Blacksmith and Beckman is leather utilized in the uppers. While the Beckman features Cigar Featherstone Smooth Finished leather, the Blacksmith uses Copper Rough and Tough Oil-tanned leather.
The oil-tanned leather on Red Wing Blacksmith is water, stain, and perspiration resistant. The upper is incredibly durable and has a more natural appearance because it has not been subjected to too much processing.
Another pro of oil-tanned leather is that it develops a nice patina over time. That means your boots will develop an agreeable “worn in” look that’s usually found on high-quality leather. While other leather/fabric loses their charm the more, you wear them. This leather gets much better. You just need to take good care of it. So if you want a boot that can withstand a beating and still look good, the Blacksmith booth can make a great choice.
One downside, however, is that oil-tanned leather on the Red Wing Blacksmith cannot be shined or polished. That means the Blacksmith isn’t really the best if you’re looking for a dress boot.
The Beckman, meanwhile, seems to be the bran’s answer to a cleaner, dressier boot. The leather employed in the boots’ uppers is an S.B Foot Tanning Co. A smooth-finished leather. Contrary to blacksmith’s rugged oil-tanned leather, smooth-finished leather has a glossier appearance that looks best when cleaned and polished.
The smooth finished leather is also less likely to discolor and more likely to soften over time, which is not the case with Blacksmith’s patina. However, this leaves more room for scuffs and wrinkles with wear. But on the bright side, Red Wing Beckman boots make an excellent choice for dress boots. The smooth finished leather on the uppers delivers beauty and elegance. And you just need some polish to maintain their striking classic look.
Another significant difference between Red Wing Blacksmith and Beckman is the outsoles attached to the heel and forepart. The Red Wing Blacksmith comes with a Vibram 430 Mini-Lug outsole, which is the same sole offered in the popular Iron Ranger model. The outsole is perfect for the Blacksmith in that it complements the boot’s rugged work-wear aesthetics.
This Vibram mini-lug is made of nitrile cork and is equipped with shallow lugs in the middle to enhance traction. The outsole is anti-slip and works very well when walking in the rain and in other wet conditions.
Meanwhile, the Red Wing Beckman comes with a leather sole with rubber Vibram Roccia outsoles attached to the forepart and the heel. It’s a popular outsole design whose variants are used in many outdoor boots, such as Timberland 6-inch boots and Merell Wilderness. It has deep lugs for traction and excellent shock absorbency for comfort.
Overall, if you’re comparing Blacksmith vs. Beckman for winter wear, then it’s safe to say that the Beckman sole has the advantage.
Blacksmith vs. Beckman: Construction
Coming down to construction, this is where Red Wing Blacksmith and Beckman have the most similarities. Both models feature a Goodyear welt construction that enables them to be resoled and repaired over time. In fact, one of the most impressive things about Red Wings boots is that they can be recrafted, allowing owners to stretch the lifetime of the boot.
It’s good to state that the big difference between the Blacksmith and Beckman stems in their leather finish outsoles. Both models are even developed on the same Red Wing number 8 last, meaning you can expect the same fit in both styles after they’re broken in.
The Bottom Line
We are convinced that this Red Wing Blacksmith vs. Beckman comparison has answered the various dominant questions.
Although both boot styles have a lot in common, the most notable highlight between Blacksmith and Beckman is overall style. The Blacksmith stays true to its work boot roots with tough leather and non-slip soles. The Beckman comes with a more refined look as enhanced by the polishable leather and beefier soles, which are better suited for urban commutes.
Thus far, the best choice depends on which style best suits your needs and lifestyle.
You might want to pick the Red Wing Blacksmith if you want a classic boot that sticks to its workwear heritage. Their oil-tanned leather only looks better over time as it develops its unique patina.
You might want to choose the Red Wing Beckman if you prefer a polishable boot that can be dressed up or down. The smooth finish of the leather is perfect for those looking for a versatile boot that can be worn just about anywhere. Plus, the Beckman’s Roccia outsoles are also great for year-round wear.