There’s no worse feeling than buying a pair of Red Wing shoes only to find out they are fake. All the excitement disappears as you wonder why you didn’t learn how to spot fake Red Wing shoes.
Red Wing is an American footwear brand that dates back over 115 years. It’s famous for its rich tradition of boots craftsmanship. Red Wing manufactured footwear for American soldiers during WW1 and WW2.
Red Wing is an American footwear company based in Red Wing, Minnesota (Credit: Melissamn / Shutterstock)
While Red Wing is famous for its leather boots, this brand has expanded into athletic footwear and specialist shoes designed for outdoor work. It’s a brand that ticks almost every box, from hiking boots to Oxfords and waterproof work shoes.
Whether you’re shopping for heritage styles or workwear, you need to know how to spot fake Red Wing shoes. We’re running you through everything you need to know about Red Wing’s iconic footwear.
Where are Red Wing Shoes Made?
Being an American-founded company is enshrined into Red Wing’s DNA. While you’ll see the ‘made in the USA’ tagline on most of the brand’s marketing, not all their shoes are made domestically.
Most of the shoes made in the United States are part of the Red Wing’s ‘heritage range.’ These shoes are handmade in Red Wing, Minnesota, Danville, Kentucky, and Potosi, Missouri.
Most Red Wing shoes, particularly the Heritage range, are made in the United States, while some styles are made in China, Korea, and Vietnam
While most shoes are made in the United States, it’s worth checking through the product description. It’ll say whether your shoes come from a domestic factory or overseas.
Specific styles, such as the King Toe boots, are made in Cambodia instead. There are also reports that some Red Wing styles are made in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
Red Wing has six sources of manufacture: completely made in the USA, made in the USA with imported materials, assembled in the USA with imported components, made in China, made in Korea, and made in Vietnam (Credit: Red Wing Shoes)
You can tell if your Red Wing shoes are real by checking the manufacturing country in the style’s product listing on the official website. Some listings refer to shoes being made in the USA with imported materials and components.
How Long Are Red Wing Shoes Likely to Last?
Red Wing shoes are designed to stand the test of time. Not all shoes are indestructible, and it will depend on your lifestyle. Sometimes, the shoes aren’t the right choice for you.
This is why Red Wing offers a 30-day unconditional comfort guarantee on its workwear shoes. You can return your Red Wing shoes within the first 30 days if you’re not satisfied with the comfort.
Red Wing shoes are designed to stand the test of time, but it often depends on the wearer’s lifestyle (Credit: Red Wing Shoes)
Red Wing’s work and heritage footwear share the same limited warranty of 12 months. It covers any defect that occurs as a result of normal use. This guarantee is only applicable to the original purchaser of the Red Wing’s shoes.
How to Spot Fake Red Wing Shoes
Red Wing Shoes is one of the most popular footwear brands in the United States and an integral part of American fashion. It’s no surprise that counterfeit Red Wing shoes have ended up on the market.
There are a few ways you can tell if Red Wing shoes are fake. While we live in an era of ‘super fakes’, there are always ways to tell genuine vs. fake Red Wing shoes.
1. Leather quality
The first thing to examine is the quality of the leather. Red Wing is famous for using the highest quality leather that is constructed into shoes by talented artisans. The brand typically uses oil-tanned or nubuck leather.
Red Wing uses high-quality leather, usually oil-tanned or nubuck leather
Red Wing shoes will either be made with full-grain leather or genuine leather. The shoe box and tag will usually specify the leather used. You can tell if the leather is genuine by the smell. Fake leather smells synthetic with a chemical odor.
2. Triple-stitch pattern
The stitching is something specific to Red Wing shoes. Red Wing has a specific stitch that is difficult to recreate on a budget. You can compare the stitching of your Red Wing shoes to the product photos to check that they line up.
Genuine Red Wing shoes should have a triple-stitch pattern
Look out for any errors in the stitching as a red flag. Genuine Red Wing shoes will have a triple-stitch pattern.
3. SKU Numbers
While SKU numbers can be faked, they’re often not done so convincedly. Check that the number on the side liner or tongue of the shoe matches the SKU on the packaging. The numbers should match and be consistent with Red Wing’s numbering.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the packaging. Red Wing’s shoe boxes should feel like a luxury experience. If the packaging feels cheap, it’s another red flag.
The SKU numbers on the shoe should match the numbers on the packaging (Credit: Red Wing Shoes)
The Most Popular Red Wing Styles
When a brand has been around for over 110 years, it’s got classic signature styles that are instantly recognizable.
1. Iron Ranger, $319.95 on Amazon
Iron Ranger is Red Wing’s most popular style and an American icon. It’s been redesigned for women with a rugged silhouette and soft full-grain leather for an easy break-in. These boots were originally designed for Minnesota’s iron miners in the 1930s before evolving into a timeless style.
From the Heritage line, the Iron Ranger boot is built with soft leather, Texon insole, the Puritan triple stitching, and a Vibram 430 Mini-lug outsole
The Classic Moc is fully tailored for women and redesigned with soft leather and Puritan triple stitching. This everyday style will become your signature boot all year round.
A staple of the Heritage line, the Classic Moc features the iconic Moc toe construction and a polyurethane Traction Tred outsole
3. Flexbond, $179.99 at Red Wing
Red Wing’s most popular workwear shoe for women is the Flexbond, a 5-inch waterproof safety toe boot. These shoes offer durability and flexibility with a lightweight silhouette.
The Red Wing Flexbond is equipped with an advanced waterproofing system, rugged, slip-resistant PU outsole, and steel safety toe protection
Red Wing Shoes vs. Irish Setter
Red Wing Shoes and Irish Setter are two brands often confused with each other. They’re both owned by the Red Wing Shoe Company, which has evolved from Red Wing Shoes to include a range of purpose-built footwear brands.
Irish Setter is an extension of Red Wing Shoes with a focus on premium, field-experience footwear for sporting enthusiasts. Other brands in the Red Wing Shoe Company include Vasque, Worx, and S.B. Foot Tanning Co.
Irish Setter is a division of the Red Wing Shoe Company that produces a full line of performance hunting boots and rugged outdoor casual footwear
The ‘Irish Setter’ brand focuses on hunting boots, work footwear, and casual sneakers. Irish Setter was launched in 1950 following Red Wing’s style 854, which inspired hunting footwear.
While Irish Setter is a separate brand, its footwear is manufactured in the same factories as Red Wing Shoes.
Brands Similar to Red Wing Shoes
Are you planning on filling your closet with Red Wing boots? You’ll be right at home with Red Wing Shoes if you’re a fan of other heritage boot brands.
Brands similar to Red Wing Shoes include Doc Martens, Timberland, Irish Setter, and Wolverine. These footwear brands blend classic silhouettes with contemporary features that make them signature styles.