For those who know what it’s like to work in heavy and less than desirable conditions, nothing short of a great work boot will suffice. Add to this, some of those extensively long hours to go along with it all, and the meaning of ‘great’ transforms into requirements which must yield sturdiness, toughness, and comfort. Thankfully, with the history of the Iron Ranger rooted to meet the substantial burdens of mining iron, these are boots which transition to tough environments rather well. For miners, long hours at work are always part of the formula for healthy production. As such, comfort sits high on the list of attractive attributes found within the Iron Ranger. Moreover, with these proven to gain approval from some of the toughest employees out there, this is a pair which is usable in varying areas of environmental differences, such as construction, light trails, and general use.
The materials are, mainly, full grain leather. Toss in some steel and rubber, and we have a product ready to withstand the vigorous changes in environmental differences we can sometimes face. The laces are 48-inch Taslan, which is woven polyester having the design to remain strong. Moreover, Taslan is ideal for everyday wear, as it is durable, as well. The quick-lace design adds to the already impressive list this product bears, and the nickel eyelets and hooks work in unison to achieve this. Goodyear welt construction accompanies the Amber Harness leather. Oil-tanned, these are made to last and remain durable. Double layering of the toe box adds safety
for those unforeseen moments. Also, the triple-stitch design is a testimony to the high quality these truly are. With the upper made with full grain leather, there is an extensive amount of time with the break-in period. Some report as much as three weeks of time before these are properly broke in and ready for a full day of work. At the end of the day, however, this is a pair which can last years under heavy duress.
With these being Red Wings, the typical half-size- to- one-size down from your normal sizing still applies. These run large, and as with all Red Wings, it is highly advisable to visit a Red Wing dealer prior to purchasing online. This ensures a better fit. Also, the fit should remain tight with enough room in the toe box to wiggle the toes freely. After the fit is correct, then there will be a certain amount of time with breaking these in. These are heavy-duty and made to last. So, we recommend wearing them around the house for a few hours at a time until they are ready for a full day’s work. In doing so, both the product and your feet will be much happier with the end result.
These are made of thick leather; so, flexibility is not something which is going to be high on the list. The break-in time is high, and even after which, these are not something you are going to be wearing on a run anytime soon. Not that you would, but that the option is just not a viable solution. However, as a lot of us are aware, over time, leather does stretch
and become more comfortable as the years continue to progress. In other words, this is a product which will be flexible, per se, more so on year two than the first year. As such, flexibility falls short, in terms of immediate gratification and should be thought of in a long-term setting.
We love the longevity factor with these! This product excels in this area and does so under strenuous circumstances (i.e. mining environments). In fact, these seem to get better with each subsequent month, in terms of comfort and overall feel. Furthermore, the thick, full-grain leather is highly durable
and meant to withstand punishment. All in all, this is an item which takes into account years of worth and not just a season. As such, the longevity factor runs easily into the three-year+ mark under heavy duress of the work week. This means that any investment is well rewarded in the long-run and that these seem to get better with each passing moment, due to the quality of the leather and its overall construction.
A cork midsole completes the design and brings a decent amount of shock-absorption to the forefront; especially, when considering the rubber outsole along with it. Moreover, the cork midsoles do conform to an individual’s foot over time, thereby personalizing the footwear. This takes comfort to the next level in which we seek after, with potential smiles alongside it. After all, there is nothing like the experience of feeling like a pair is built just for us. At the end of the day, the conforming properties of the cork make this midsole to be more than appealing, even if just for the individuality of it all. On the other hand, a customized fit is always ideal.
These deploy the Vibram® 430 mini-lug system, which works well in light terrain that can sometimes switch to its heavier counterparts. In addition, the lugs work well in releasing dirt, which aids in providing a safer and less tiresome experience, as the day wears on. Moreover, the rubber styling helps to complete these into a tough and long-lasting choice. It should be noted, however, that the traction design is not ideal for thick and muddy situations. These are better suited for dryer conditions having occasional bouts with muddy terrain. Although we do not recommend these as actual hiking footwear
for the serious hiker, we do believe these will suffice in random visits to the lighter trails. In other words, these are handy in those spur-of-the-moment times involving a camping trip or nature trail. That is, the versatility rate remains high with this pair, as this applies to the traction.
With the sheer amount of features available and the overall design as a whole, these have a high functionality associated with them. They perform superbly in the area in which they are initially created for (mining environments) and are applicable in other areas, as well. This product is usable in light terrain areas of trail hiking, camping areas, the backyard, or for working. The laces are sturdy, and with the eyelets and hooks, the quick-lace system provides for easier on and off; not to mention, a more secure tying when applied correctly. And even though the overall design is quite impressive, these are not rated for places which require a protective toe. This design utilizes a dual-layer system of leather and not an actual protective toe which can be found in other work boots.
The leather insole brings toughness and longevity to the table; as well as, the ability to absorb moisture when things may get a little hot on the feet and they begin to sweat. Additionally, the shank is made of steel. In conjunction, the two work as one to provide comfort while, also, adding safety from the hazards below. This brings peace of mind during the day when things can sometimes become overwhelming, to say the least. With that being stated, an added insert may be needed
for those in need of specific orthotics. The insole does a decent job at cooling the feet by absorbing moisture. Because of this, it is recommended to let air dry as much as possible for those who struggle with sweaty feet, as this can become a problematic area in the concern of harboring moisture and, thereby, bacteria. But because the insole is minimal at best, this feature does fall a little short.
Terrain types for this product include flat areas where dirt, small rocks, and minimal mud may be present. These do not have the build to withstand the rigorous attributes of heavier trails or mountain climbing, but then again, these were never designed with those activities in mind. Furthermore, it is advisable to remain clear of heavily mudded areas which are known to remain so, as the tread utilizes the mini-lugs, which are not rated for the denser situations that can be found in such places. With that being stated, these do handle the expected terrain with ease; releasing dirt and grime as needed to achieve maximum grip for the situation. At the end of the day, wearing this product in which it is designed for, yields comfort and low fatigue rates. And as we all know, these are rather important attributes to consider.
With these utilizing a double-layering leather system for the toe area, this item is not nearly as heavy as some of its protective toe counterparts (i.e. steel and composite toe). Also, the outsole is thinner than some of the other construction boots found on the market. As such, these are lighter to wear when we compare within these areas of concern. With that being stated, however, these do utilize full grain leather and a thick version of it, as well. This means, although these are lighter than some of its counterparts, this item does have some weight associated with it. After it is all said and done, this is a pair which is lighter than others of this same type. As a result, this weight is ideal for reducing fatigue levels
in the long run.
With the demands of iron mining in mind, nothing less than the best for the field is acceptable. Red Wing knocks this out of the ballpark with the Iron Ranger. These utilize a dual-layer leather upper (toe box area), rubber outsole with the Vibram® 430 mini-lug system, and a quick-lace system. They are practical, durable, and have wonderful longevity, as well. In addition, triple stitching staples an impressive ingenuity in the genre and the aesthetic design is not bad, either. As for the practical usability, these are applicable to multiple situations, such as working environments, casual wear, or for just hanging out with friends and family. Furthermore, the sheer structuring of this product is well thought out and executed. In a sense, this is one of those few times when an item sets the bar in its respective area of expertise. Because of this, the pricing is a bit higher than others we may find in this same grouping. At the end of the day, however, the price well reflects the value; that is, when one year turns into two and on into three, then the usability far outweighs the initial investment.