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Feet Up! The Work Boot Thread

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Robert C, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. Robert C

    Robert C New in Town

    I was able to bag a pair of late 1940's/early 50's Thorogood workboots on Ebay. They were deadstock and are basically brand new. Look very
    much like WWII issue ankle high dress shoes, except these have cork soles. I normally take an 8E or 8 1/2E, this pair is 8D yet they're only slightly firm in width. After a few wearings they should be fine.

    Maybe someone can help me out with some questions. The leather is very stiff, I assume after some wearings it should soften up a little. Any suggestions on speeding this process up???

    The cork soles slip off the gas pedal when I'm driving (usually doing 80-85 MPH in my fire red Mustang!!!). Anything I can do with the cork sole to reduce slipping?

    Definitely cool shoes and I'm happy with them. I'd post a picture but I'm in my office and Ebay is blocked (so is my email and all the good porn sites blocked too).

    One last thing, Thorogood is still in business, was thinking of emailing them a pic of the boots and telling them how much I like 'em....

    Robert C
    Gabe likes this.
  2. Burma Shave

    Burma Shave One of the Regulars

    softening boots

    I can't help you with the cork soles, but I've softened up more than a few pairs of boots, including some Army-issue combat boots that I purchased used. They were form-fit to someone else's feet, and had to be reshaped.
    Essentially, I filled the boots with very hot (not boiling) water and went for a long walk, several miles, until the leather was pretty much dried out. This is an exaggerated speeding-up of the usual sweating-in process, and the leather forms very nicely to your feet. It works for cowboy boots, work boots, etc. You may want to consider whether you want to subject cork soles to this method, but unless they're weakly stitched, it shouldn't present a problem.
    This is my first posting, by the way. I'm a brand-newbie. Love this site!
    --Burma Shave
  3. Burma Shave

    Burma Shave One of the Regulars


    Also, don't use silicon-based leather treatments on the boots. Once you've worn them dry, treat them externally with a lanolin and/or beeswax treatment. Feibings makes a good one.

    --Burma Shave
  4. Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots

    I've had my Red Wing 8111 Iron Rangers for a week, now, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on them. The deep cognac/cherry color looks absolutely fantastic, and penetrates deep into the leather. Normally, salt burns occur practically out of the store in this Michigan weather (thanks to the parking lots being completely caked in it), but I've been able to just wipe off salt with a microfiber cloth, and it leaves no stain at all. This could be from the oil that was put on the boots, since I haven't put any weather-guard on it.

    The boot oil I was given to put on the boots definitely darkens them, but this sort of coloring that the boot has seems to lighten simply with wear. I'm actually considering using the boot oil to preserve the color, depending on how it looks in another week's time.

    The soles appeared on the website and in the store to be too slick to provide enough traction for this icy weather (being smooth-bottomed), but after wearing them out for a few days, they proved their worth by keeping me steady on a long slick of ice that both I and a friend had to walk across; he fell down, and my boots still had enough traction to allow me to help him back up.

    As for sizing (for those who are forced to buy online), these boots run a full size small, so make sure you purchase accordingly. I have typically wide feet, and these fit perfectly, now that they're breaking in. As for service ... well, here's the story. I bought these at a Red Wing store and they had to be ordered in. When they finally came in, I took them for a walk around the store and there was a popping noise in both boots. Both the salesperson and I agreed that a shank slipping in both boots would be very odd, so he immediately called the Red Wing repair shop. They told both him and I that it was quite possibly just the cork sole settling, and to wear it for about a week. After wearing it out of the store, the popping stopped, sure enough. I was promised that if it ever returned, I'd be ordered a new pair of boots immediately, or I could have these repaired (if I had grown that attached to them).

    The hefty price tag was quite a bit for me. However, I bought a pair of Doc Martens maybe 14 months ago, and I've worn completely through the sole, which I cannot have replaced around here. I was also very unhappy with the quality of the leather (I had actually worn a few holes into the sides), and figured I could either spend $270 to buy a pair of boots to last a number of years, or spend $150 every year on new boots. It is worth mentioning, though, that I wear these boots every day, all day. The only time I give my boots a rest is when I vacation somewhere warm and switch to PF Flyers.

    Overall, I believe these will make a fine everyday boot, and they don't look to shabby with my cuffed 501s. Pictures will follow sometime around 5-6pm EST. To anyone looking to purchase these for a classic-styled work boot, I'd give it serious consideration. The free service guarantee on Red Wing's website was the deal-breaker for me.

    PS: I discovered the wonders of Groom 'N Clean, recently. While I'm not particularly pleased with the "woodland" smell, I do appreciate the clean pillow covers. Does anyone know how Layrite compares to Groom 'N Clean? I'm considering making a tub of it one of my Christmas presents to me.
  5. illumin8em

    illumin8em A-List Customer

    Good to hear the boots worked out for you, the Iron Rangers are a great boot. Surprisingly you will the first, and I am going to predict only person to have made the claim that these boots run a "full size small". It is widely accepted that the opposite is the true. The Iron Rangers run a half to full size large. You will find many a pair on various forums, as well as Ebay up for sale because they were bought too big. I have owned two pair since last winter, and have returned the 1st pair, and sold the 2nd. both pair were bought in 10.5, the first buying a half size down, and the second bought the wrong size by accident. The only thing that I could see being a full size too small would be the width, in the arch area of the boots especially if you have a wide foot (which I see you have mentioned). I have seen a few complain about the boot being narrow for their wide foot.

    Anyways, Sorry to respond just to contest, but I just felt that it should be noted.

    I have found that Obenaufs LP to be very complimentary to this Red Wing leather.
  6. That is entirely what I meant, and I just simply slipped on the keys. I normally wear a size 13, but bought the 12, which fit perfectly. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Walter likes this.
  7. illumin8em

    illumin8em A-List Customer

    I see, well that explains it. So, where are these following pictures you spoke of? I am certainly interested in how boots look after some wear, as are many others on the forum, although they may not have chimed in and said so.

    post away...
  8. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer One of the Regulars

    Thanks for the write-up. I just bought a pair of Iron Rangers from Papashoe.com myself and they're going to be delivered later this week. I sized down 0.5 size based on advice I've read here and on other forums.
  9. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Sorry, I would've taken pictures of the sole, but I'd forgotten, and they're now on my feet. They're wearing very nicely, I think.
  10. Shiloh John

    Shiloh John New in Town

    RED WINGS 8111 Arrived today

    And they are spectacular! Thanks for this forum topic. I just got them and they are fantastic. Using Bick 4 to soften.
  11. djgo-cat-go

    djgo-cat-go Practically Family

    don't use anything to soften up the leather, they're comfy out of the box and will break-in pretty quickly.. enjoy!
  12. Corky

    Corky A-List Customer

    I think your strategy of how to wear shoes or boots is questionable...

    I think your strategy of how to wear shoes or boots is questionable. Leather is an organic material and should be treated as such.

    I suggest you invest a few bucks in a good pair of shoe trees and an alternate pair of boots or decent shoes. At the end of each day, insert the shoe trees in the pair you have just removed and let them rest. Wear the other pair of boots or shoes on the following day. Repeat this process at the end of each day.

    I have always understood that alternating two pairs of good shoes or boots and the use of shoe trees will cause those two pairs of shoes or boots to last longer than three pairs of shoes or boots worn every day.

    Best of luck...
  13. Vic

    Vic One of the Regulars

    Those are really nice! They remind me of the Red Wing Gentleman Traveler boots.

    I used to live in metro-Detroit as well, and know how tough the dirty, week-old snow can be on shoes and boots.

    Just picked up a pair of Frye Fulton lace-ups the other day, myself. Also great with a pair of cuffed 501s...and so comfortable! :)

    Still, my favorites are Sugarcane's Lone Wolf Carpenter Boots.

    (re: your p.s. I'm assuming that Groom & Clean in similar to Brylcreem...in which case it's nothing like Layrite. Even the regular hold Layrite is much, much, much thicker/heavier than Brylcreem (and it hardens fast...so you can't brush through it all day long like with grooming creams or petroleum-based pomade). I like both...but they're night & day different...I'd get a small Layrite before investing in a tub...make sure you like it.)

    Enjoy the new Red Wings, they are awesome!
  14. Dav

    Dav One Too Many

    Has anyone experianced any colour transfer issues with these boots? I have a pair, every time I wear them my socks and feet get stained.
    Also can anyone explain why they run upto a size large.
  15. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

    I've been wearing my IR's for over a year and they have become a part of me. There is no need to do anything to soften them - wear them a couple of days and they'll be like sneakers. The ONLY thing I put on my is Redwing Boot Oil. Regardless of how beat up they may look before they look almost new after brushing off the lose dirt, washing them off with warm water and then rubbing in a coat of oil.

    Regarding transfer of the dye to your socks - I doubt there is much you can do about that but eventually it will stop. Maybe wear them with darker socks most of the time until the fading stops?

    Interesting thing about these boots; I get compliments about them all the time. It's amazing what people notice. I have had several guys tell me their father had a paid just like them.

  16. I agree you should not wear the same pair everyday. It is not healthy or wise .
  17. number6

    number6 Familiar Face

    boot rotation

    I agree , your shoes /boots need a rest, good to have a second pair if you can run to it .
  18. McFarlaneNYC

    McFarlaneNYC Familiar Face

    Here are my Red Wing Iron Rangers after 4 weeks of farm work. I have only hit them with a coat of olive oil.


    cmoy likes this.
  19. Finishing Touch

    Inspired by this pic in some japanese magazine:


    I decided to take out the trusty 'ol tins of Kiwi and give it a try.
    Here's the result:


    Alex Neves likes this.
  20. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

    IR are WORK boots. They are made as they always have been - to be worn hard and used for their intended purpose. They are not copies of work boots they are the real deal. I doubt Redwing expects many of the customers to own more than one pair at at time and most will wear them every day and wear them hard. Keep em clean, keep em oiled and they'll look better every day and will last a life time.
    DrMacabre likes this.

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