The historic Iron Ranger and the Moc Toe styles are two of the most recognisable boots around and here we are going to tell you everything there is to know about these iconic and timeless styles. We will discuss how the models came about and why they are so awesome.
After opening your social media of choice, it won't take long for a pair of these boots to pop up on your feed.
As one of the most popular Red Wing styles to have ever walked this earth, the Iron Ranger is the definition of the term 'classic'. Their very distinct design with the toe and heel reinforcement on the outside of the boots makes them easily recognisable. But while they definitely stand out, this is not what makes them so unique. The Iron Ranger is so special because the boots are arguably some of the most functional boots on the market. They are extremely durable, easy to wear and versatile. Why? Well... it has everything to do with the people whom they were originally designed for.
In the early 1900's, the Mesabi Range in Northern Minnesota, was an important mining region where miners explored the earth's surface for hematite, a mineral from which iron can be derived. These miners worked long days under extreme conditions. The Red Wing Shoe Company noted that they were not wearing the right boots to help them get the job done and so it introduced the - now iconic - Iron Ranger. These boots were different from other boots, not just because of their oil-resistant sole, speed hooks and extremely tough leather, but also because of their double layered toe and heel cap. This made the boots very protective and ideal to be worn in the mines.
The Iron Ranger soon became a symbol for quality and durability. It became the go-to style for workers of all sorts, all across the world. But it also became a boot for artists - from musicians to photographers -, for entrepreneurs and for explorers. The beautiful thing about the Iron Ranger is that anyone, anywhere, can wear this style.
The Classic Moc Toe is arguably just as iconic as the Iron Ranger. How did the Classic Moc Toe come about and why it has been so immensely popular!
If we would have to name one Red Wing style that we could not live without, it would be the Classic Moc Toe. As ubiquitous as they are iconic, this style has become more than just a boot. It has come to represent some sort of a philosophy, one in which practicality and style are in perfect harmony. Their most striking features are the white soles and the 'mocassin' design, which, as a matter of fact, originated from early Native American footwear. Ever since its introduction, it has been the go-to boot for the workers they were originally designed for. But the Classic Moc Toe has also found its way into pop culture. From Young Money-rapper Drake to actor Ryan Gosling and athlete David Beckham, some of music, film and sport's biggest stars are known to wear these boots. We can definitely understand why!
It was during the early 1950's that Red Wing first introduced the 877 and the 875 6-inch Classic Moc Toe (known as the Irish Setter). The style was initially developed for farmers and hunters. These people spent most of their days outside, under strenuous, wet and often cold conditions. The newly introduced boots were quite different from other boots on the market. They featured unique rubber soles, now called Traction Tred soles, that kept most of the dirt from sticking to the boots. The high shafts did not only make the boots weather resistant but they also made them better equipped against snake bites. Just like any other Red Wing boot, they featured the impeccable Goodyear Welt for which Red Wing is so well known.
To this day, the Classic Moc Toe has remained virtually unchanged. The Red Wing collection has grown, however, and many different versions of the style have been produced over the past 70+ years. We currently offer the Oro leather which may be the most classic and well-known and the rustic Briar Oil Slick which has been around for quite some time as well.