Red Wing boots started as a work shoe but have become a trendy staple in American footwear. Like most work boot style footwear, Red Wing boot sizing is tricky. Fortunately, since I’ve got a few pairs at home, I have some insight on how to size these babies to fit on the first try.
Thinking about picking yourself up a pair of Red Wing boots but nervous about spending so much on a product that might not fit? I’ve got your back, Jack. Here’s what you need to know about Red Wing boots sizing.
Size Down for a Solid Fit
The first thing you should know about men’s Red Wing boots sizing is that they usually run big. If you wear a men’s size 12 sneaker, for example, your Red Wing size is 11½. Some makes of the Red Wing brand fit true to size or are a narrow fit. We’ll get to those later.
Understanding Heritage Lasts
In the heritage make of Red Wing boot sizing, you’ll notice different styles are based on a unique “last.” The last is a plastic model the leather is shaped over to create the boot. Different lasts make for different fits. Women’s and men’s lasts are different.
Men’s Heritage Lasts
In men’s wear, the following lasts are used:
- No. 8 last: Includes “bump toe” for a wider range of motion and natural fit.
- No. 23 last: Roomy forefront to fit different shaped feet.
- No. 45. last: Deep fit for additional footbeds.
- No. 60 last: Part of the weekender collection. Also made deep for inserts.
- No. 63. last: Based on the no. 23 last, but with a narrower toe.
- No. 210 last: Lightweight with a flexible sole.
- No. 220 last: Based on the no. 210 last, but narrow fit. For thin socks.
- No. 326 last: Created for high arched feet. Has a narrow, snug fit.
Women’s Heritage Lasts
In women’s wear, the lasts are:
- No. 105 last: Designed to model the classic Moc style but made narrow for women.
- No. 106 last: Made to resemble the men’s No. 8 with sleek lines and slim fit.
- No. 107 last: This is a slip-on modeled after men’s No. 522. This shoe fits true to size.
- No. 108 last: This last was designed for women. It has an almond-shaped toe.
- No. 109 last: Updated from the 1920’s Red Wing women’s style.
- No. 110 last: Made for the stacked heel style. Round toe for a natural fit.
- No. 111 last: Styled after the Oxford, No. 111 has a round tapered toe.
- No. 113 last: Designed with a slim almond-shaped toe. Also based on the Oxford.
- No. 114 last: A true to size fit and a pull-on. Made like the No. 107 last.
Stretching Your Red Wing Boots for Better Sizing
I get a lot of questions from friends and colleagues about stretching my boots. I have a wide foot and wide calves. My best advice is to wear them in.
You can stretch your boots using a two-way stretcher device, but I find these things unpredictable. I once overstretched a new pair of Iron Rangers, and they were never the same.
In the case of the high-rise women’s boots, like the Gloria, you may need to stretch them with a stretcher. My advice is to look for a local shoe repair shop. These guys have been in the business a long time, and they know how to work with leather.
Exploring Men’s Red Wing Boots Sizing Style by Style
Now that we’ve talked about lasts, it’s easier to understand how each of the Red Wing boot styles is made. Before we get into specifics, I should mention if you’ve got a wider foot, the No. 8 last is going to be your best friend. Narrow feet? Stick to styles based on the No. 326 or 63 lasts.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are some of the most common Red Wing boot styles and how to gauge your fit.
The Iron Ranger style is made using the No. 8 last with the iconic Red Wing toe bump. When you purchase this boot, it will fit snug but with wiggle room in the toe. The snugness does eventually ease some as you break them in. I recommend buying a half size down.
As a boot, the Iron Ranger style was designed to be worn by iron miners. Work boots were made for safety and comfort in the 1930s. Now, they serve multiple purposes, including style and fashion.
What makes the Iron Ranger so stylish is the signature leather toe cap. It’s made with a Puritan triple-stitching and Goodyear welt for longevity and durability.
The Classic Moc style was released in 1952 and used the No. 23 last. This offers a roomy forefoot, which is great for a wide foot but not too wide on a narrow foot. Again, I recommend buying a half size down.
Mocs are a sporty alternative to the Iron Ranger. They were often worn by hunters and sportsmen but have become a popular boot for fieldwork.
The Classic Moc includes the same Goodyear welt and Puritan triple-stitching as the Iron Ranger but lacks the toe cap. Instead, it includes traction tread on the rubber outsole and the standard U-stitch of a standard Moc-style toe.
The Weekender is a boot designed for leisure. Debuting in the 1990s, The Weekender is a relaxed fit pull-on boot with a stitch-down construction. While this style isn’t made for working the fields, it includes the same durable material and craftsmanship.
If you like a casual leather boot, I highly recommend the Weekender style. This sleek, tailored boot fits snug on top but has a deep footbed. This means you can add any custom insole or gel insert you like with plenty of room for your foot. It is designed using the No. 60 last.
If you’re not adding an insert, you should size down half a size or go with a different style. If you like the look of the Weekender and plan on an insert, you should buy true to size.
Oxford-style Red Wing boots sizing is a bit different than other Red Wing styles. This is because the Oxford is more of an all-day wear kind of shoe. Sleek and stylish, the Oxford style came out in the 1950s and is designed using the No. 210 last.
This is a lightweight shoe with a relaxed fit. The Oxfords also include a cushion crepe wedge outsole, which provides the option of re-soling if the original sole is damaged. Red Wing Oxfords also have a sweat-proof insole for long-lasting comfort (and less foot odor).
Oxford Red Wing boots sizing is true to size as it doesn’t include the deep footwell or toe bump of other styles.
8875 Limited Release
When you shop the Red Wing online collection, you’ll notice they’re currently offering an 8875 Limited Release. These are in the Classic Moc style. Refer to the Moc description above, but basically, you want to size down half a size in the 8875s.
The Blacksmith uses the No. 8 last, like the Iron Ranger fit. This provides plenty of room in the toes with the unique Red Wing toe bump. Like the Iron Ranger, the Blacksmith was also originally a work boot, worn by (you guessed it) blacksmiths.
A new pair of Red Wing blacksmiths will last you. They use the Puritan triple-stitch and Goodyear welt, with Vibram 430 mini lugs on the outsole. Red Wing suggests the Blacksmith is a true-to-fit style. In my personal experience, I recommend you size down about a half size in these bad boys.
Exploring Women’s Red Wing Boots Sizing Style by Style
Women’s Red Wing boots sizing differs from men’s in that most women’s boots are narrow and fitted. Where you should size down a half size for most men’s styles, women’s styles tend to fit true to size (mostly). Here I’ll break down each style and how to determine your fit.
The women’s Classic Moc is designed with the No. 105 last and is based on the original 1952 Moc style. This is a 6-inch boot with soft leather construction and a polyurethane outsole. The high traction tread makes for durable, safe workwear or daily casual wear.
As far as women’s work boots go, this is a good one. It includes the same Puritan triple-stitching and Goodyear welt as the men’s Iron Ranger style. This style also consists of a cork midsole for custom break-in with wear.
Red Wing recommends trying before buying, and I’m keen to agree. In the Classic Moc, it’s hard to gauge size because women’s feet tend to be narrower through the toe. If you have to guess, consider a true-to-size fit as a reference.
The Clara-style Red Wing boot definitely isn’t your Grandpa’s workboot. This baby is made to grab attention and keep it. It is designed after the first women’s boot Red Wing from the 1920s but includes a 2¼ inch heel crafted from stacked leather.
While the Clara style has the durable Goodyear welt and Puritan triple-stitch of her peers, she is reliable. Like the men’s Oxford style, this style can be re-soled for longevity. These boots are designed on the No. 110 to last with a round Moc-style toe and comfortable day-long wear.
This is a roomy design, and a half-size-down is recommended for narrower feet. If you buy your shoes with a regular or wide fit, the Clara style should be fine with a true-to-size comparison. Features a slightly tapered round toe for a comfortable fit and timeless look.
The first women’s boot made by Red Wing came out in 1926 and was called the Gloria. This homage to the original is a versatile boot for indoor or outdoor activities. It’s a 15½ inch boot designed with the No. 109 last.
The Gloria should fit true-to-size in the foot and toe. It includes a stacked leather heel and hooked lacing for preferred calf snugness. This design can be re-soled for long-term use.
One thing to be wary of with the Gloria-style Red Wing boots is that they fit snug in the calf. If you have wide calves, you may need to stretch the boot first for a comfortable fit. And this boot CAN stretch! So, don’t be disheartened if your initial try-on attempts feel too tight.
For a shorter boot with the same No. 109 last fit, leather construction, and hook lace-up, try the Gracie style. These fit the same as the Gloria but don’t sit as far up on the calf.
Like the men’s Iron Ranger boot, this was originally a work boot meant for iron miners. Since its inception in the 1930s, the Iron Ranger has become a staple in Red Wing boots, and the women’s version is much the same as the men’s.
This boot is designed using the No. 106 last, which means a wide, roomy toe and sleek, narrow fit through the foot. I recommend sizing down a half size for this boot, especially if you have narrow feet.
The Silversmith is a good choice if you like the women’s Iron Ranger style boot but want a sleeker, more feminine look. It fits the same as the Iron Ranger because it’s made using the No. 106 last. Again, I’d say size down about half a size.
The Silversmith style sets itself apart with a 7-inch build and the hook lacing of the Gloria and Gracie. However, unlike the aforementioned dressy boots, the Silversmith is a work boot. It’s the best of both worlds.
Red Wings Boots Sizing FAQs
Red Wing boots have been around a long time. Since 1905, to be exact. So, there are plenty of questions floating around about styles and sizing. While I hope I’ve answered most of your questions above, here are some of the most common FAQs about this brand.
My Red Wing boots feel too tight. Should I return them?
This depends on what you mean by “tight.” If your foot can stretch out and your toes aren’t compressed, it could be that you just need to break them in. If your boots are uncomfortable or hurtng your feet, you may need a wider fit, check 10 Best Work Boots for Sore Feet In The Market. Fortunately, many Red Wing styles, including the Iron Rangers, come in a wide fit option.
How do I know which Red Wing boots to size down on?
This is an excellent question because Red Wing constantly adds new styles (especially in women’s wear). I recommend checking on the boot you’re interested in and see if Red Wing has listed the last number. The last tells you a lot about the fit, including whether you should size down.
Does oiling impact my Red Wing boots sizing?
It can. When you oil the leather of your boots (and you should), it makes the leather more supple. Soft workable leather stretches over your feet better as you break the boots in. This will make for a better fit. You should oil your boots about 4 or 5 times a year.
Final Thoughts on Red Wing Boots Sizing
In closing, I recommend looking to the last for sizing guidance. In general, you can expect to size down about half a size in any work-style Red Wing boot. If the last states it is designed for a narrow fit, you are probably better with a true-to-size fit.