Hit or Miss

Reviewed by The American from Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I own many pairs of Red Wings. The leather insole over cork filler conforms to the contours of your foot over time, creating a supportive custom fit that's really hard to beat. It also wicks away moisture, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Adding insoles defeats the purpose. It'll take between 40-60 hours of wear before they're comfortable enough for all day service. Take it easy and take a break from them as needed. You don't want to rip up your feet in the process as this will only extend the break in process. In other words, take a break from them for a day or so and let your feet heal, preferably before you get a blister.

You'll want to size down between 1/2 to 1-1/2 from your normal size. I have slender feet that are on the wide end of normal (D) width and measure almost 10.5 on the Brannock scale. I take an 8.5 or 9 in these boots. An 8.5 takes me a bit more time to break in, but I wind up with a more nimble boot. For me, a size 9 accommodates thicker socks during winter use. Furthermore, there is some slight sizing variation, whereby two pairs of the same size will fit differently, and this true for both factory 2nds and 1st quality boots.

Flaws can range from an extra stitch here and there to cracking of the grain over the toe box during the lasting process. Another relatively common flaw on an otherwise perfect boot happens during the clicking process when they stamp out the different parts of the upper. The inside quarter of the boot is usually taken from a lesser part of the hide with longer, less densely woven fibers, and on many of the 2nds, the leather of one or both inside panels lacks the structural integrity of the rest of the boot. This shouldn't affect the function of the boot, but the leather will show exaggerated break. Maybe half the time, you get lucky and wind up with a nearly flawless boot.

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