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Red Wing Vs Danner
In case you haven’t heard about these two brands before, don’t worry; we’ll introduce you.
Red Wing is an old, famous American company that has been around for quite so long (actually more than a century) and seems to have no intentions of going anywhere. Their Heritage line-up is proof of this, considering that it’s the only model that has been in existence from the start.
The company makes various types of footwear and under several brand names. In fact, Red Wing is the parent company of Vasque shoes as well as the popular Irish Setter shoes.
Danner, meanwhile, is a US-based company that got its name by manufacturing and selling logging boots. The company was established in 1932, and since then, they have been designing and developing boots for the working crowd.
The company made massive achievements during WW II, where they started manufacturing shoes for workers in the shipyards. Consequently, their range has expanded over the years.
Today, Danner sells many different footwear types, including boots- though their main focus is still the protection of workers. The company actually manufactures boots for USA law enforcement. Indeed, that’s one of the most impressive traits in regard to quality and reliability.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the models from the Red Wing work boots collection as well as from Danner.
Red Wing vs Danner: First Glance Comparison
Both Red Wing and Danner boots are six inches high, made from oil-tanned leather, and feature a relatively soft wedge sole. The overall designs are similar, though there are lots of differences if you look closer.
Apart from the Danner’s little American flag on the Top and orange-y laces, stitching is probably the biggest difference at a glance. Red Wing boots are generally triple-stitched, which suggest maximum durability and longevity. What’s better, only the midsole stitch is white, meaning the treads don’t stand out too much against the black leather.
Danner boots, on the other hand, uses two stitches along the vamp and counter. When viewed from the side, both of the upsides are white, giving the boot a cleaner look. But when looking at the front of the boots, both layers of bright white stitching along the moc toe and the outsole are more striking than the single thread stitching you will find with the Red Wings.
That said, Red Wings do have a cleaner look even when they’re new due to the fewer bright white threads.
Another notable difference is the Danner’s stitch down construction, in stark comparison with the Goodyear welt employed by the Red Wing. Here, we’re referring to the way the upper is attached to the sole.
We’ll get into more detail hereinafter, but Danner’s stitch-down construction simply means that the boot is hard to resole. However, on the bright side, there’s a pronounced shelf running along the perimeter of the boot that’s not present in the cleaner but heavier Red Wing boots.
Overall, Red Wings, with their more subtle stitching, tighter welt, plain laces and absence of the American flag, makes it a cleaner looking boot. Danner seems to stand out more, though that might be a pro or a con, subject to your purposes. In any case, both models are relatively plain. Let’s talk about leather.
To start with Red Wing, the leather is thicker, smoother, and more outdoorsy in comparison to the Danner’s. Red Wings leather comes from the brand’s own tannery, SB Foot tanning Co, which grants them effective control over quality.
Mostly, the leather used in Red Wing boots, especially in their Heritage line, is oil tanned. This type of leather doesn’t usually have the same kind of texture as dressier leathers, but it’s tough and doesn’t necessitate too much conditioning.
The popular “Rough and Tough” leather is slightly different from Red Wing’s oil-tanned leathers in that it’s saturated with more waxes and oils, giving it a more “pull up” feel plus a more water-resistant overall.
This tough leather is slightly sanded, meaning it’s very smooth. So even if it doesn’t have quite as much of a Wild West cowboy aesthetic as some of Red Wing leathers, it comes in handy for extra durability.
Speaking of Danner, the leather is thinner and more velvety to touch compared to Red Wings. It doesn’t feel as rough and tough at all. Danner also uses oil-tanned leather in the making of their boots, just with a few differences. At a glance, it’s considerably thinner: Red Wings measures 2-2.2 millimetres thick while Danner’s come in at around 1.5 millimetres thick.
Another interesting feature of Danner’s leather is that it’s more velvety to touch. In fact, you can run your finger over the leather, and it will lighten or darken. One more thing to note about Danner is that the leather doesn’t all come from the United States like a competitor.
Red Wing boots are designed with wedge outsoles made from crepe- a type of rubber made by running coagulated latex through rollers. You might be surprised to hear this because probably the most popular crepe-soled boot is the unbelievably flimsy (though well priced) Clarks desert boot.
This crepe falls apart easily, but Red Wings are very sturdy. Everything is attached to the upper with a Goodyear Welt construction. That means there’s an extra layer between the outsole and the upper that both are stitched to, which make the boot very easy to resole and good water-resistant.
Coming down to Danner, the outsoles are slightly softer, spongier and thicker in comparison to the Red Wings. The brand rightfully called this a very bare-bones boot, where instead of traditional cork and leather midsole/insole, they feature a super-thin rubber cushion midsole and a footbed derived from Ortholite.
Ortholite, in particular, is a type of open-cell polyurethane that helps control heat and enhance air circulation. This makes Danner boots more suitable n some work environment.
Lastly, Danner’s feature a stitch down construction, as opposed to the Goodyear Welt construction used in Red Wings. That means the uppers are right into the sole, and although it’s a lighter boot, getting a cobbler to help resole the boot can be a little harder.
Sizing and Fitting
While the company sites state their boots run true to size, you might want to order a half size down for the Red Wing. Breaking-in Red Wing boots are not fun. One would even say Red Wing won their reputation through brutal break-ins, as for the first week, you might be losing a chunk of your heel every day.
Afterwards, though, the trusty cork-and leather combination will mould to the shape of your feet. You will eventually feel like they were designed for your own feet.
Speaking of Danner, you will not experience the said break-in period, maybe some abrasion around the top of the shaft. And that’s all. Most people seem to have an easy break-in with Danner’s, but then again, we can’t universalize anything when it comes to wearability.
Danner boots are designed to feel a lot more like sneakers as opposed to Red Wing. The outsole softer and less sturdy, but there’s nothing wrong with wearing softer soles sometimes. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Overall, Danner is an all-round accommodative shoe that offers better arch support from the shank. And according to previous buyers, you can order true to size and have a good fit. That said, it would work much better for someone with a D width foot as well as an E width.
Red Wing Vs Danner Boots: Pros and Cons Summary
Red Wings Pros
- Easy to resole
- More subtle aesthetic
- Thicker, tougher leather
- It fits relatively better on the foot
- Relatively heavier
- More expensive
- A bit hard to break-in
Danner Boots: Pros
- More work-friendly
- Better arch support
- Pocket friendly
- Hard to resole
- Less stable
- Thinner leather
Red Wing VS Danner: Who Wins?
Well, we’ve been stating the winners in every section, so you probably already have a pretty good suggestion. The pros and cons listed above should make it easy to figure out which model is suitable for you.
It was a really close comparison, but all things considered (and borrowing inspiration from numerous reviews), Red Wing takes the crown with their overall quality and value for money. Also, the boots are tougher, sturdier, and simpler.
Some of the Red Wing models, such as the SuperSole, are the definite winner. They are the ultimate consideration, especially if you spend most of your time on your feet. And with a number of added features geared towards protection (such as the fiberglass shank, electrical hazard technology, and resolable outsole), Red Wings are truly an excellent choice for the working man.
Still and all, we’ve got nothing against someone looking to save a hundred bucks on a pair of boots and opting for the Danner’s. In fact, they are more lightweight and feel more like sneakers.