on September 4, 2013
First let me say that I wear my hiking boots everywhere, store, walking through town, taking kids to bus stop, hiking, dog park, everywhere. I am not a steel worker, lumberjack, carpenter, survivalist, or any other "rugged" type worker. What I am is a military vet, dad, and regular guy who is tired of needing new boots every year. I was doing my yearly boot shopping, looking for a nice pair of hiking, walking, daily use boots. I was replacing a pair of Columbias. I seem to have to replace my boots every year or so, and this year is no different! While shopping, I realized that when I was in still in the Army, I would wear one pair of boots, the old quality leather Cocoran II, not these new canvas boots, and my leather jump boots lasted me years! I would beat those boots up badly, and they would keep going. Now as a civilian, I am much easier on a pair of boots, but I seem to need to replace them yearly. I would laugh at spending too much on a pair of Columbia, or Teva hiking boots, and I would look like I was heading to the trails no matter what i was doing. So I decided to splurge on a pair of red Wings!
I normally wear a size 10.5 regular width boots. After doing some research, I found that most people recommend ordering a size down when it comes to Red Wing. I ended up ordering a 10D knowing that if they did not fit, Amazon had a good return policy. the 10D boots fit like a glove! Perfect fit. I got the Briar oil slick ones, they are a nice brown color. I was a little dismayed at the look of the brown leather and the tan foam sole. After wearing them around for a few minutes, I grew to kinda like the contrast in colors, they still have that brand new boot look, but over time, the bright sole will fade and the contrast of colors will be less.
First thing I did after making sure the boots fit was to heat my oven to 150 degrees. I applied a coat of Obenauf's LP (I ordered a 4oz tub with my boot order), turned the oven off once it hit 150, and them put my new Obenauf's coated boots in the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 min I took the boots out, put them on immediately, laced them up on my feet, and wore them around the house for the rest of the night, about 5 hours. The leather was extremely soft and pliable when they first came out of the oven and for the first 15 minutes or so, they felt too big on my feet. As the leather cooled, it became less pliable, and they felt tighter on my feet. After a few hours, they were totally cooled, the leather was the same flexibility as when the boots were in the box, but they fit my feet perfectly. The next day i walked my kids to the bus stop and there was no rubbing, no movement in the heel, the boots just fit well. The Obenauf's LP is great. the LP didn't change the shade of the boot, but it did make the color look deeper, if that makes any sense.
Now I am on day 4 of wearing these boots. I am in love. They are extremely comfortable, fit well, and they look so much better than hiking boots when I go out. I know red Wings are the "in" style in some places right now, but that's not why I bought them. Sure, it's nice to have stylish boots, but I live overseas, and these boots are most certainly NOT the style where i live. I got them because of the Red Wing reputation for quality, the fact that these boots CAN be resoled, and they look good in jeans, khakis, cargos, whatever.
Probably the 2 nicest things about these boots are: First, these boots seem and feel like they will outlast me. Second, is that great MADE IN THE USA tag sewed on the leather upper! As you can tell from my review, I LOVE THESE BOOTS! I would without hesitation recommend these boots to anyone.