Wolverine Vs Red Wing Reviewed: Which Pair Is Better?

This article will compare Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots and Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots.

Both of these brands have been around for more than 100 years. These boots have helped workers for more than a century.

The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots and Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots are durable and can be trusted in many challenging work conditions – but how do Red Wing Iron Ranger vs. Wolverine 1000 Mile boots line up?


The best option is the Red Wing Iron Ranger vs Wolverine 1000 Mile. The Red Wing Iron Ranger boots are better because they stay true to classic work boots.

Workers who need durable work boots should choose Red Wing Iron Ranger boots for years of use.

Red Wing Iron Ranger boots are good for all types of weather and can stand up to inclement weather.

Iron Ranger will fit in well in a factory, an agricultural setting, or anywhere workers protect their feet by wearing work boots.

Most people recognize the Iron Ranger by the same defining feature: its bulbous toe cap. Even if it’s not dressy or flashy, the toe cap design is functional – which is exactly what the Iron Ranger aims to be.

Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots rank higher in durability, construction, and years of wear. The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots offer more dress boot qualities.

This means 1000 Mile Boots are more versatile for more situations. Wolverine 1000 Mile can be worn other than at work sites.

1000 Mile Boots come in a variety of colors and leather types.

Wolverine boots can fit in anywhere, not just when a worker needs safety toe boots in dangerous conditions. These 1000 Mile Boots do not stand up to all kinds of weather as well as Iron Ranger boots.

Read on to read our full review of Red Wing Iron Ranger boots vs. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots.


Let’s dive into the characteristics of each product and how Wing Iron Ranger vs. Wolverine 1000 differ.


Both manufacturers have signature work boots available that demonstrate their brand identity, and here’s how they differ.


For Red Wing, the Red Wing Iron Ranger is its iconic product, while Wolverine offers the Wolverine 1000 Mile models as its signature boot, both still available after more than 100 years.

Red Wing offers two distinct product lines: work and heritage. The work line is what they are most known for, selling soft and safety toe cap boots for both men and women.

This manufacturer also sells waterproof options and work shoes with a safety toe cap for those who prefer not to wear a boot.

The heritage line from Red Wing offers more versatile Red Wings, departing from a strict workplace setting into boots that would not look out of place when you’re out for drinks or going on a light hike.

Heritage products for both men and women include a low- and high-top moccasin and classic and sophisticated boots with a heel for women.

Red Wing also offers some accessories like wallets and shoe care, but they do not deviate from the core of their established brand.


Wolverine offers a much more extensive array of products with their brand while still focusing on work boots.

Wolverine offers pretty much everything for the person who likes to get dirty and take things outdoors.

Wolverine’s largest departures from the Red Wing product line are their full line of outerwear and even sneaker options for men and women.

This manufacturer is quickly evolving to become workers’ go-to brand for everything, and not just keeping them safe while on the job.

On Wolverine’s website, you will find a dropdown menu with options for hiking and hunting gear, flame-resistant clothing, and even durable pants and shorts for working and playing in inclement weather.

The largest product lines are for men, but there are still many options for women.

If you’re looking for an outfitter to give you all the gear you need in one stop, Wolverine is the clear winner, offering much more variety than Red Wing.

However, Red Wing’s focus on boots may sway those looking for footwear expertise from their heritage brand.


Leather quality can make a big impact on how long your boots last – or even how long they last without needing maintenance – so here’s how Red Wing lines up with Wolverine.


Red Wing work boots feature hides sourced from Nebraska and manipulated in the Red Wing tannery, a procedure that has worked for more than 100 years. This leather is no-nonsense and is produced to do what it is meant to do: be ready to work.

Red Wing Iron Ranger models only come in this one material, high quality, American-sourced, full grain leather.

Every piece of leather is also oil-tanned, which makes the product very water resistant and stain resistant. 

Maintenance on these Red Wing Iron Ranger boots is also less intensive vs Wolverine 1000 Mile, because of the intentional choice of leathers used and its outstanding quality.

These boots work with you while you are hard at work.

This high quality leather also means the boot wearer experiences flexibility and durability in these boots and the boots will mold to the owner’s feet after considerable time is spent working in these boots.

Keep in mind that, while the boots eventually mold to your feet, they take longer to wear in than you’d expect from your average work boots, including the Wolverine 1000 Mile boots.

That full-grain leather they’re made in only makes Red Wing’s Iron Ranger boots more sturdy, but that same material can also be a little uncomfortable (or even cause blisters) when you start wearing them. 


Wolverine 1000 Mile boots offer a few different kinds of materials for their boots: Horween leather, Horween Chromexcel, and some boots even come in an English suede option. This manufacturer experiments with different kinds of boot material for a diverse line of boots.

Horween leather is commonly found in their signature Wolverine 1000 Mile boot, the most similar option to Red Wing’s. This pull-up leather is durable like Red Wing’s product and will also develop character and mold to the wearer’s foot over time.

The material also makes these Wolverine boots a little easier to wear in – but it also only takes a little wear and tear for your 1000 Mile boots to end up with creases.

Horween leather technology also allows Wolverine 1000 Mile boots to offer a vibrant array of color options for their boots, versus just the standard natural leather look of Red Wing Iron Ranger models. Horween also contributes to a shinier, more modern look for this product.

The suede option has a tight structure to help keep these boots from stretching too much, but suede is very finicky in inclement weather. This characteristic makes the suede option for Wolverine 1000 Mile boots more appropriate for occasions other than an intense work day.

These differences are something to consider, not only for appearance and comfort but also for maintenance purposes.

Durable work boots will need conditioning to keep them soft and comfortable to wear. They will also require cleaning and buffing to remove dirt, grime, and scratches.

Wolverine’s boots are more stylish and come with more appearance options.

However, these require more cleaning and conditioning compared to the sturdy leather used in Red Wing, which resists scratches.

If you are looking for a boot that will make a statement and look at home both at work and at a wedding, Wolverine is the choice.

However, for a pair of boots that are made of sturdy materials you don’t have to pamper, Red Wing Iron Ranger is the clear choice for a straightforward work boot material.

The high-grade, full-grain leather is capable of taking more of a beating than the Wolverine 1000 Mile boots can.


Both Wolverine 1000 Mile boots and Red Wing Iron Ranger boots use the tried-and-true Goodyear Welt construction. 

This construction style is characterized by exposed stitching on the top of the shoe as well as around the outsole.

If you need to resole your boots, this is an easier repair on a boot built this way.


The Red Wing Iron Ranger models maintain their commitment to work boot functionality.

Many of the boot’s construction features speak to this manufacturer’s interest in substance over style, vs Wolverine 1000 Mile boots.

The Red Wing Iron Ranger are not as shiny as smooth as Wolverine 1000 Mile boots, which use different kinds of leathers. 

Boots from Red Wing also do not attempt to dress up the exposed contrast stitching or the laces on these shoes, giving a straightforward work boot look that has not changed in years.


Wolverine 1000 Mile boots, however, are designed for versatility – these boots  can go from work to play seamlessly. 

This versatility is reflected in the shiny material options discussed above. It also shows in their dedication to subtle stitching on the boot, versus the obvious contrast stitching on a Red Wing Iron Ranger.

This boot’s laces are also flatter and more inconspicuous than those of the Red Wing version, which uses standard, rounded-end shoelaces that offer a more traditional look.

These differences point to a habit of incorporating dress boot details into this work boot.

Red Wing easily edges out the 1000 Mile Boot when it comes to boot construction, as Red Wing is clearly laser-focused on delivering a work boot.

While offering creative and elegant styling, Wolverine falls short in offering a no-nonsense work boot when it comes to its construction.


When you’ve got to wear them all day, comfort is always a major consideration for any pair of boots you pick, including between Red Wing and Wolverine. 


Red Wing’s dedication to traditional craftsmanship and looks hurts them slightly in the comfort and sizing category.

Red Wing’s boots are here to work, and they spend less time than Wolverine in making sure these boots are pleasurable to wear and look at.

However, Red Wing still offers comfort in its shoes with a roomy toe box. Consumers with a narrower foot will enjoy the Red Wing, which provides a narrow instep.

This brand does offer additional width sizing, however, so wider feet are not disqualified from Red Wing boots.


The Wolverine takes the width sizing to another level, offering boots up to a triple-wide width.

This option means Wolverine 1000 Mile boots may fit a wider span of feet than Red Wing boots, which may be appealing to some consumers. 

It is recommended to purchase boots at least a half size or full size smaller than the shoe you typically wear.

Work boots are made to be larger, so it is a good idea to try on boots in-person or find an online store that has hassle-free and free returns when boot shopping.

Wolverine 1000 Mile boots may edge out Red Wing slightly here, with expanded sizing that directly confronts Red Wing’s narrow fit that is standard on their boots.

However, there are still additional widths available from Red Wing, which makes this category a tie.


Making sure you understand the difference between outsoles is important because this is what will keep you operating with utmost safety on a worksite.

The outsole is the hard part at the bottom of the boot that connects to the ground.

Both boots offer standard outsoles and enhanced outsoles. What you need will depend mainly on the climate in which you live.

Making sure you are wearing the proper boots for weather and tread conditions is essential to reduce slips and falls on the job.


Red Wing shoes come with a standard nitrile cork outsole  – the outsole that manufacturers have traditionally used in work boots.

These are water and oil resistant and lightweight, making them a great option for most situations, including rainy days and spills. 

The other outsole option for Red Wing boots is the Vibram Mini lug outsole.  A Vibram heel is known for its strong yet flexible and lightweight material that improves comfort in every shoe where it is integrated. 

This outsole can tackle ice, snow, and slippery conditions, making it the natural choice for users who must compete with winter weather.


Wolverine also offers different outsole options, maintaining the trend for its shoes of prioritizing style while also offering function.

The original outsole for Wolverine 1000 Mile boots is a traditional leather sole that’s treated with butyl. While it may be classy-looking, the sole does not offer much when it comes to traction. 

This leather sole can deteriorate, however. It does not do well with repeated exposure to rain, snow, slush, and other inclement weather factors.

But the Vibram heel on Wolverine’s boot does a better job at absorbing shock than the traditional cork sole on Red Wing boots does. 

If you’re looking for a Wolverine boot that can stand up to more elements, look for their durable butyl-treated leather outsole with a Vibram rubber sole. 

This design maintains a sophisticated leather look and a low profile design while improving its durability in wet or slippery conditions with the addition of a Vibram heel.

When it comes to outsoles, Red Wing easily outperforms the Wolverine boot.

While the elegant styling of Wolverine boots makes it versatile in many situations, when the boot rubber hits the road, a Wolverine will be more prone to slipping and eventually deteriorating.

As far as durability goes, the makeup of the Iron Ranger’s cork sole may not absorb shock as well, but you can expect it to hold up longer than most Wolverine soles will. 


Customizations to the color and style of your boot may not affect function, but it can still impact how aesthetically-pleasing your boots are.


Red Wing offers a simpler approach to shopping for work boots in that they have a limited range of colors, leathers, and styles to choose from.

Red Wing Iron Rangers offer a traditional work boot option that has not changed in appearance much in its century of use.


As you may expect, Wolverine offers a wide variety of ways to customize the colors and styles of your work boots.

Believe it or not, you can purchase Wolverine 1000 Mile boots in blue or red as well as different leathers as described above.

Another customization for Wolverine 1000 Mile boots is the range of available toe styles.

These boots can come in a classic plain toe silhouette as well as special editions like a moc toe or formal-adjacent wing tip style.

In fact, Wolverine 1000 Mile boots are so endlessly customizable you can build your own boot from scratch on their website.

Make your pair your own by choosing unique upper materials, stitching, and outsoles.

If you’re not yet ready to jump into shoe design, use the Boot Finder option on the Wolverine website.

The Boot Finder will take you through a series of prompts to understand your unique Wolverine boots needs and direct you to various boot styles to help you decide.

Based on color and customization options alone, Wolverine clearly wins this round in Ranger vs. Wolverine 1000.

Depending on your unique work boot needs, like how dirty your work gets and if you need your boots to keep you warm, the options at Wolverine may be what you are looking for.


When it comes to Red Wing Iron Ranger vs. Wolverine and Red Wing vs Wolverine, the overall winner is the Red Wing Iron Ranger boot for greater stability in a worksite.

If you are looking for durability, Red Wing Iron Ranger boots are best. Red Wing Iron Ranger boots will protect your feet in all types of weather.

Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots are focused on craftsmanship and are the best choice for work boots.

Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots are for boot shoppers who value style more. The 1000 Mile Boots come in many different kinds of materials, colors, and even different toe styles.

These Wolverine boots are customizable, while Red Wing Iron Ranger boots do not offer any customization.

Purchase Red Wing Iron Ranger boots for the best work boots on the market that can stand up to the elements and will keep your feet protected.