Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith vs. Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger: Everything You Need To Know
There comes a point in nearly every man’s life where he realizes that a pair of heavy-duty boots are an absolutely necessary addition to his closet and life. While many boots may market themselves as being “heavy-duty,” there are few boots that can compare to Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith and Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger boots.
Both the Blacksmith and the Iron Ranger are nearly identical in construction, making it difficult to decide which pair might be better suited for your needs. They’re both made with a Goodyear Welt construction and in addition feature a pristine leather insole and steel shank.
Overall, the quality of both boots is virtually the same. That being said, there are some key differences between the two heavy-duty boots that are worth examining further. If you’re in need of some high-quality and durable waders, check out our comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about the differences between the Blacksmith and the Iron Ranger.
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger
The Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger’s distinctive cap-toe and nickel-plated eyelets allow for it to be noticed from a mile away. This timeless classic manages to nail a perfect mixture of ruggedness and elegance, giving it a range of style for those who wear it.
The Iron Ranger is definitely a thicker boot, however, the slim sole and full-grain leather upper allow for the boot to retain its classic appeal. The Iron Rangers is also made from Amber Harness and Roughout leather, which can be a bit of a hassle to break in. However, after a few months, the leather patinas quite nicely, giving you a perfect surface.
1. Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger
The Iron Ranger is an American icon that is beloved for its standout style and long-lasting construction. With its toe cap, speed hooks, and Vibram® outsole, there’s no mistaking this leather legend.
Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith
Being that the Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith is made in the same factory as the Iron Ranger, it’s no surprise the two boots appear nearly identical. However, one characteristic that is unique to the Blacksmith is its lack of a cap-toe. This means that in addition to having some extra wiggle-room around the toes, Blacksmith’s are a bit sleeker in style.
Another way to recognize a Blacksmith is by the brass hardware, which tends to complement a variety of leather colors more than the nickel. The Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith’s come in a handful of different leather types, none of which are as iconic as the Iron Ranger’s options. However, the most popular leathers for the Blacksmith boots are briar slick, black prairie, and roughout.
2. Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith
The Blacksmith is a boot beloved for its highly wearable, everyday versatility. A sleek, smooth toe leads the way, and solid brass eyelets and Flat Waxed laces are every bit as durable as they are dignified.
Differences Between the Two
As stated before, the Blacksmith model and the Iron Ranger model are virtually the same at first glance. The biggest differences between the two are found in the toes, hardware, and leather paneling of the boots. While the Iron Ranger has a cap toe, cutting off a bit of flexibility at the tips of the feet, the Blacksmith features a round toe.
Also, the Blacksmith can be easily identified through its brass hardware and the Iron Ranger with its nickel hardware. Finally, there is a slight difference in the leather paneling on the uppers of the boots, specifically around the back.
Pros & Cons of Each
Like anything in life, there are a few pros and cons to each option. Though you may be able to decide between the Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith boots and Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger boots based purely on looks, it’s important to know as much as possible before investing in such heavy-duty and purposeful shoes.
In regards to the Blacksmith boots, the first pro is in regards to the round or plain-toe. This aspect of the boot not only looks more modern and polished but also allows for more flexibility and room while wearing them. Another plus of the Blacksmiths is the brass hardware which tends to match the leather options with much more ease.
Lastly, though some prefer the more iconic and classic leathers such as Amber Harness, the funky and new leather options on the Blacksmith are both unique and versatile, giving you some more room for styling. On the other hand, the biggest downfall of the Blacksmith boots is the fact that they are not available in some of the leathers that the Red Wing Heritage brand is most known for.
For the Iron Ranger boots, customers are able to maintain the iconic Red Wing style with nickel eyelets and a round toe box. Also, the in-house tanned leather with 270-degree Goodyear welt makes a huge difference in the look and feel of the boot.
Finally, while the toe-caps do take away some extra wiggle room for the toes, they also give a more masculine look along with extra durability. When it comes to the cons of the Iron Ranger boots, most are based purely on look preferences, with the only true con being that you will most likely need shoe trees in order to keep the vamp from sinking and to prevent the toe-caps from looking too bulgy.
Which Should You Buy?
The best part about both of these Red Wing Heritage boots is the fact that you truly cannot go wrong when picking one. Though the differences definitely make an impact, they’re slight enough to avoid any major regret in choosing either or. When truly weighing both options, it appears that the Blacksmith boots and the Iron Ranger boots remain equal across the board, meaning that your decision will need to come down purely to personal preference.
However, if you’re seeking something more iconic and statement-making, go with Iron Ranger. In turn, if you prefer something more understated and sleek, give the Blacksmith’s a go.
The only real mistake when deciding which boots to purchase would be passing up both altogether. Between the style, quality, and functionality, both the Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith boots and the Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger boots are at the top of their game, making them some of the best heavy-duty boots on the market.
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