Red Wing 2948 Roughneck 6″ Boot – $269.99

Today we’ll be taking a look at the 2948 Roughneck Boot from Red Wing. This is the second pair of boots from Red Wing to be featured here on BestLeather. You can read about their iconic Iron Rangers here, if you’d like. The Roughnecks are part of Red Wing’s Heritage footwear line, which relies heavily on boots designed decades ago that have proven their worth in hard working environments. Today, most of the heritage line of boots are worn in casual settings. But, they’re certainly made well enough to withstand the rigors of any type of manual labor you may throw at them…and you’ll be looking darn good while you’re at it!

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About Red Wing

Red Wing has its roots in the early 20th century Midwest, a rugged place dominated by hardworking people in industries like logging, mining, and farming. These tough jobs required tough footwear that would stand the test of these cold, harsh working conditions. A Red Wing, Minnesota shoe merchant by the name of Charles Beckman understood this and developed a line of tough work boots. He and his investors opened a factory in 1905, and Red Wing Shoes was born. From the Red Wing website:

“Over one hundred years has passed since our founding and our commitment to producing only the highest grade footwear remains as unwavering as Beckman’s vision. Our products consistently perform in environments spanning from the Mideast oil fields to the Midwest corn fields. Red Wing boots protect workers in more than one hundred countries across the world, an accomplishment built by years of hard work, endurance and the promise to never compromise on our quality.”

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The spitfire leather with several months of wear on the toe


The Red Wing Roughnecks are made with a waxy, polished leather they refer to as Spitfire Leather. It has a smooth, shiny look to it, enough to look somewhat dressed-up but not overly fancy. It looks very similar to what is commonly called rough out leather. It has a rugged, somewhat pebbled look to it. Right out of the box, it looks like it’s been worn and aged, which definitely is in line with Red Wing’s heritage vibe.

It’s quite an undertaking to create a pair of Red Wing boots. They utilize over 230 steps in their production. The end result is a solid, sturdy, well built boot. The boot is built onto a hefty Vibram lug sole with a Goodyear welt construction. It’s a pretty no-frills boot, with the contrasting welt and stitching being the main features that stick out. The boot has a rounded toe with no embellishments. The Vibram sole, as always, is bulletproof and provides excellent traction.

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I have been surprised at how comfortable these boots are given the minimalistic design. There is no padding in the shoe, which was intimidating at first, but the leather and the welt all break in well to the foot and provide a solid, comfortable, supportive base.

The boots are somewhat challenging to put on since they do not have speed hooks and must be laced through traditional eyelets. The only addition I might make would be a tab or loop on the back of the boot you could use to assist with pulling them on. I’ve found that the boots work well in a wide variety of situations. The black spitfire leather looks best with jeans or chinos – great for getting just a little dressed up. Their style and sole design is a bit too rugged for any type of formal or semi-formal setting. They’re best used in a work or casual environment.

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For a boot that’s under $300, it’s hard to beat the Red Wing 2948 Roughnecks. This is a tried and true, time tested design with lots of solid customer satisfaction behind it. If you’re looking for a boot to serve in multiple roles and looking for one that will last for many years to come, I highly recommend that you consider the Red Wing Roughnecks.

Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots Review – $319.99

The first pair of Red Wing boots I ever encountered were given to me in the summer of 1984. I was actually reluctant to accept them. You see, I considered myself a “certified ranch hand”, even though I was truly only a greenhorn at the time. After quickly wearing out several pairs of decent, traditional cowboy boots on the ranch, my boss gave me a pair of Red Wing work boots (I don’t recall the type). Being a Texas boy, I kind of scoffed at the idea of wearing them for cattle ranching. But, I slipped them on, worked in them for a day…and continued to work in them for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I grew out of them – I certainly didn’t wear them out. They were seriously comfortable and rugged…enduring all of the harsh punishment I dished out at the time. That was my introduction to Red Wing.


About Red Wing

From their website: “Around the turn of the 20th century a Red Wing, MN shoe merchant named Charles Beckman saw a local necessity for shoes specifically designed for the demanding work of industries such as mining, logging and farming. The rigors of these jobs required footwear, which was tough enough to outlast harsh working conditions, but Beckman envisioned a shoe that was also comfortable enough for the hardworking people who wore them. Beckman set out to develop work boots to fill this need and in 1905 he and fourteen investors opened a company that would change the market. Beckman named his company Red Wing Shoes, and thus a new standard for excellence was born.

Over one hundred years has passed since our founding and our commitment to producing only the highest grade footwear remains as unwavering as Beckman’s vision. Our products consistently perform in environments spanning from the Mideast oil fields to the Midwest corn fields. Red Wing boots protect workers in more than one hundred countries across the world, an accomplishment built by years of hard work, endurance and the promise to never compromise on our quality.”

The Iron Ranger Boots that I have the privilege of reviewing are part of Red Wing’s Heritage Collection. Again, according to their website, “our Heritage collection, which is made up of footwear that represents the American ideals of prosperous work and excellence. All the styles in the Heritage collection are designed and built just as they were fifty, sixty and even over eighty years ago and are all made using premium Red Wing Shoe Company leather from our very own S.B. Foot Tannery. They are handcrafted to the specifications, which made each style timeless when they were first introduced.”



The Iron Ranger Boots are made using premium black harness leather from their own S.B. Foot Tannery. This is oil-tanned leather, which is used in many of Red Wing’s boots and shoes. Oil-tanned leather is extremely durable, which is a feature easily seen and proven with Red Wing’s 100+ year history. The boots are made using Goodyear Welt construction, the hardware for the eyelets and speed hooks is nickel, and the laces are long lasting taslan. The nitrile cork soles initially appear like they would be slippery – however, they are not at all. Cork soles are extremely durable and provide excellent traction on almost all surfaces. This particular style also features an eye-catching double layer toe cap and double stitching. Interestingly, the boots feature two different colors of stitching – the toe cap and seams around the laces and top of the boot all feature black thread while the rest of the boot has white stitching.



While anticipating the arrival of my Iron Rangers, I read comments from many different long time Red Wing wearers and was initially nervous about the break-in period. Perhaps I’m just not that ‘in-tune’ with my feet, but the break in period on my Iron Rangers was virtually nil. They were comfortable initially…but, they’re really comfortable now. I’ve worn these boots consistently and in a variety of situations. All day comfort is definitely an one of the Iron Ranger’s attributes.


In spite of their 8” height, I do not have issues slipping these on without a finger loop or pull loop on the back. Perhaps it’s because of the angled top of the boot? I’m not sure. However, unlike some other boots of this size that also lack a pull tab on the back of them, these slip on easily and effortlessly.



This style’s original purpose was to serve Iron miners in northern Minnesota. All I have to say about that is, dang…those were some stylin’ miners! This boot has some serious aesthetic appeal. They’re rugged – but with that toe cap, you can dress ‘em up too. Personally, I think it’s a great style and for those of you who are budget minded when it comes to footwear, consider this boot as two pairs: your dress boot and your casual boot.


I enjoy the black version of the Iron Rangers that I have now. These boots also come in Amber, Copper, and Hawthorne leathers too – all of which look fantastic. I would not hesitate to hit the “Add to Cart” button on any of those versions.

To keep my boots in tiptop shape, I also received Red Wing’s Basic Care Product Kit, which contains their All Natural Leather Conditioner, Mink Oil, Boot Cream, Brush, and Cloth. This is a must have kit if you plan to keep the leather on your Red Wing’s conditioned and protected. At $39.95, it’s a great kit and will service your boots well.



You can’t go wrong in purchasing a pair of Red Wing Iron Rangers. The construction, fit, finish, and heritage behind the brand is all fantastic. In the realm of quality footwear, their price of $319.99 is a great value. You will receive a pair of boots that will be enjoyed for years, will continue to perform well, and will become a daily companion on all of life’s adventures. The Iron Rangers are definitely a great buy. So, which pair will you be ordering?