Red Wing vs Thorogood Moc Toe Boots: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best

The history of Red Wing boots

Red wing boots history

In 1905, Charles Beckman founded The Red Wing Shoe Company in Red Wing, Minnesota. Since then, it has evolved into a globally renowned footwear brand, celebrated for its dedication to craftsmanship and long-lasting quality. Initially crafting work boots for miners, the company later diversified, catering to sectors such as construction and manufacturing.

The history of Thorogood boots

Thorogood boots history

In 1892, Albert Weinbrenner embarked on a mission to serve the American working class by opening a cobblery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was there that the Weinbrenner Shoe Co. and Thorogood® Shoes began their legacy of supporting the very people who were building America.

What is a Moc Toe Boot?

A moc toe boot features a toe design reminiscent of a moccasin, where the toe box is crafted from an individual leather piece and stitched onto the vamp. This creates a U-shaped pattern on the toe, mirroring traditional Native American shoes. Red Wing introduced this style in the 1950s, catering to farmers and hunters seeking a robust yet flexible boot for toe protection. Over time, the moc toe boot has firmly rooted itself in American footwear traditions, with numerous brands and sectors embracing the style. You can check the related post below:

Comparing Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe

Both Red Wing and Thorogood boast a rich tradition of crafting American-made boots tailored to diverse professions and needs. Each offers a range of moc toe boots catering to various preferences. Wondering which one stands out? We’ll delve into four key areas to discern the differences: aesthetics, leather quality, sole, and fit. By the end, we’ll also highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each based on our findings.


Both the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe and Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe boots sport similar aesthetics, with features like oil-tanned leather uppers, white wedge soles, triple stitching, and the hallmark moc toe design. Nonetheless, a few subtle contrasts might guide your choice.

The Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe boasts more pronounced contrast stitching, with three bright white stitches on the side. In contrast, the Red Wing version has just one bright white stitch on this part. Thorogood’s version also has more brand identifiers, including logos on the heel and tongue and an American flag emblem on the side.

Functionality also distinguishes the two. Thorogood’s boot incorporates speed hooks and a leather pull tab at the top, while the Red Wing boot has only eyelets, lacking a pull tab. This design difference makes the Thorogood version quicker and easier to slip on and off.

Despite both being marketed as 6-inch boots, Thorogood’s stands slightly taller and features a padded collar around the ankle, whereas Red Wing’s version offers a more understated leather piping detail.

In sum, the style of the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe is flashier and more practical, while the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe appeals to those favoring a more subtle, timeless appearance.


Both the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe and Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe boots are crafted from oil-tanned leather, known for its water resistance, durability, and breathability. Yet, distinctions in quality, thickness, and appearance create differences between them.

The Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe utilizes leather from the S.B. Foot Tanning Company, a Red Wing-owned entity renowned for producing top-tier leather. At 2.3mm thick, this leather is heftier than the 2mm leather used for the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe, translating to increased robustness and resistance to wear. Furthermore, the Red Wing leather exhibits more depth and personality, displaying greater variations in color and texture.

On the other hand, the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe features leather from the Weinbrenner Shoe Company. Being thinner, this leather is more pliable and offers a softer feel. The appearance is also more consistent and smooth, with fewer variations in color and texture.

In terms of leather attributes, the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe stands out for its superior quality, thickness, and unique character. However, those desiring a more flexible, softer, and uniform leather might find the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe to be their preferred option.


When considering the soles of both the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe boots, it’s apparent that their white wedge soles, made from rubber, offer traction and cushioning. Yet, the distinctions in construction, material, and overall performance set them apart.

The Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe employs a crepe rubber sole, secured to the upper with a 360-degree Goodyear welt. This sole, being softer, offers added comfort compared to the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe’s sole, though at the cost of durability. It’s more susceptible to wear and tear and lacks a shank, providing less support and stability for the arch and heel.

In contrast, the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe features a polyurethane sole, affixed to the upper with a 360-degree Goodyear storm welt. This sole, being harder, ensures more durability but might feel less comfortable and more rigid. A unique aspect of the Thorogood’s sole is the fiberglass shank, enhancing support and stability in the arch and heel region.

Summarizing the comparison of the soles, the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe offers a more traditional, softer, and comfortable experience. In contrast, those valuing a harder, more durable, and supportive sole may lean towards the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe.


Both boots generally run true to size, but the subtleties in width, volume, and comfort create some noticeable differences between the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe.

The Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe is characterized by a narrower width, making it potentially unsuitable for individuals with wide feet. It also features a lower volume, possibly posing challenges for those wearing thick socks or having high arches. Initial stiffness might be felt in the leather footbed with a cork midsole, but over time, it molds to the feet, becoming more customized and comfortable.

On the other hand, the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe caters to a wider foot, making it more accommodating for those with broad feet. Its higher volume also allows for thick socks or high arches. The comfort factor is enhanced by a Poron footbed with a rubber midsole that offers cushioning and shock absorption, making it comfortable right from the start. However, it might not conform to your feet as uniquely as the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe.

In summarizing the fit, the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe offers a more tailored, narrow, and lower fit that evolves with time, while the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe provides a broader, higher, and instantly cushioned fit. Preference between these options will vary based on individual needs and comfort desires.

The comparison between the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe and boots doesn’t yield a clear winner, as the best choice varies depending on personal tastes and requirements. Here’s a summarized assessment by category:

Red wing vs Thorogood comparison chart
  • Style: Thorogood scores higher, making it a more attractive choice for those seeking a fashionable design and added functionality.
  • Leather: Red Wing takes the lead with superior leather quality, thickness, and visual appeal.
  • Sole: Thorogood comes out ahead for those valuing a tougher, longer-lasting sole.
  • Fit: Both boots perform equally well but offer distinct features that might resonate differently with various wearers.

If style and a robust sole are at the top of your list, Thorogood might be your perfect fit. Conversely, if you place a premium on high-quality leather and a more cushioned sole, Red Wing could be your go-to choice.

In the end, both boots present distinct advantages, and the “right” boot hinges on individual preferences and unique needs. Your ideal pair awaits among these two strong contenders, based on what you value most in your footwear.

Pros and Cons of Each Boot

Below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and the Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe, providing an overview to help you make an informed choice between the two.

Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe


  • Boasts a more understated and timeless look.
  • Employs higher-quality leather with appealing variations.
  • Sole is softer, delivering comfort in a traditional style.
  • Features a leather footbed that conforms to your feet over time.
  • The thicker leather enhances durability, resisting wear and tear.
  • Exhibits superior stitching quality.


  • Minimal contrast stitching and fewer branding details.
  • Lacking speed hooks or pull tab, making them harder to put on and take off.
  • Slightly shorter with no padded collar for additional protection.
  • The thickness of the leather can make it stiff and harder to break in initially.
  • The softer outsole may wear out more quickly.
  • Absence of a shank might limit arch and heel support.
  • Designed with a narrower width and lower volume, possibly unsuitable for wide feet or thick socks.
  • Initial stiffness and discomfort in the leather footbed.
  • Generally commands a higher price than Thorogood.

Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe


  • Distinctive contrast stitching and additional branding elements.
  • Incorporates speed hooks and a pull tab, facilitating easy wear and removal.
  • Features a slightly taller profile and padded collar, ensuring extra protection.
  • Made from thinner, more flexible, and softer leather.
  • Comes with a harder, more resilient sole, providing greater support.
  • Designed with a fiberglass shank for enhanced arch and heel support.
  • Offers a wider width and higher volume, ideal for wide feet or those wearing thick socks.
  • Includes a Poron footbed for superior cushioning and shock absorption.
  • Generally priced lower than the Red Wing counterpart.


  • Lacks the subtlety and classic elegance in design.
  • Utilizes leather of a slightly lower quality and less visual depth.
  • Sole can feel more rigid and less comfortable.
  • Contains a synthetic insole that may not endure as long as leather.
  • Stitching quality might be inferior.

By weighing these factors, you can select the boot that aligns best with your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Whether you prioritize style, comfort, durability, or price, both of these options present their unique strengths and weaknesses.


The Red Wing 6″ Moc Toe and Thorogood 6″ Moc Toe boots stand as remarkable examples of quality, durability, and comfort, all wrapped in the timeless moc toe design. Yet, the subtle differences between them might sway your preference toward one over the other.

Your choice could hinge on factors such as your specific preferences, budget constraints, or the demands of your work environment. Both options present unique strengths, and selecting between them involves aligning those with your individual needs and expectations.

We trust that this comparison has shed light on the distinct features of these two boots, guiding you to the one that best suits you. Should you have any queries or thoughts to share, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your insights and feedback are always welcome.

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Stan is an adventure enthusiast with a love for the outdoors and American heritage brands like Red Wing and Filson. With a background in environmental science, Stan combines his outdoor experiences with a commitment to sustainability. His reviews go beyond functionality, exploring the brand ethos and craftsmanship. Stan inspires readers to choose gear that's durable, environmentally responsible, and true to American craftsmanship, making his advice indispensable for outdoor aficionados.

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