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Learning How to Care for the Three Types of Red Wing Leather With Three Simple Tips

Red Wing Shoes are built to last a lifetime with the combination of sturdy soles, premium leathers, triple Puritan stitching, and the Goodyear welted construction. In this guide we walk you through the different care steps for each of Red Wing Shoes’ three leather groups.

On average, it takes more than 230 steps to handcraft each pair, but it only takes three steps to keep them probably conditioned and prolong their lifetime expectancy.

However, not all the S.B. Foot Tannery leathers that Red Wing uses are the same, they are basically divided into three groups and, for optimal Red Wing care, you need different care products and approaches for each one.

Red Wing oiled leather care

Oil Tanned Leathers

The first group is the oil tanned leathers, which are found on popular models such as the Amber Harness 8111 Iron Ranger and the Oro-iginal 877 Irish Setter. The oil tanned leathers are water, stain and perspiration resistant and they provide exceptional durability and performance.

Still, you need to clean, condition and protect your boots on a regular basis to prevent deterioration of the leather.

Clean With Warm Water

Before you start cleaning remove the laces. It’s recommended that you regularly clean off excess dirt from your footwear to prevent wear and drying. For general cleaning, use warm water, a clean cloth and soft bristle brush.

For more difficult areas, use Red Wing Shoes’ Leather Cleaner with a clean cloth and brush. Remove the Leather Cleaner with a damp cloth and allow the leather to dry.

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Conditioning Depends on the Leather

Proper conditioning helps preserve the finish and life of your footwear. For the oil tanned leather your choice of care product is completely dependent on the leather of the boot.

For Harness, Oil Slick, Oro-iginal, and Worksmith leathers use Boot Oil; for Blackstar, Boomer, Chrome, Mustang, and Portage leathers use leather conditioner; and for Mesa and Rough & Tough leathers use Mink Oil. You can apply the conditioner with your fingers, a soft cloth or a sponge.

Protect The Oil Tanned Leather

For extra protection, add Red Wing Leather Protector which provides an invisible shield from water, dirt, oil and mud.

Red Wing roughout leather care

Roughout Leathers

The second group of leathers is the reverse suede leathers, also known as ”roughouts,” which includes Abilene, Mohave and Muleskinner. It’s a common misperception that roughouts are less durable than the full grain oil tanned leathers.

Leather is composed of three parts: the skin surface (top grain), the middle (corium), and the bottom of the hide (flesh side).

Most tanneries employ a process of splitting and thinning hides to create the rough surface, which gives a less durable upper leather.

For Red Wing roughouts the top grain leather remains intact as it’s simply inverted, placing the top grain surface on the inside of the boot. Since the top grain of the leather is not removed, the durability, quality, and water resistance are maintained throughout the tanning process.

In fact, Mohave and Muleskinner roughouts are water resistant.

Click through for more and to view the essential Red Wing Amsterdam bootcare video.

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  • Daniel Chan

    Hi, I’d like to know what product should be used to clean and protect 9111?

  • jm

    timpsons wrecked my chukka boots

  • Paracosm

    This website is super helpful though I’m still having a difficult time finding out how to care for my boots, specifically. I have the Red Wings 414 8″ men’s work boot with gambler leather. The Red Wings website says I’ll just need the leather protector and naturseal but neither of those condition or oil. I’m a farmer and my boots get dirty and dry as all get out. Thoughts?

  • steve k

    I have the same pair and have been cleaning mine real well and then using Naturseal on them about twice a year. My boots still look and feel great. I was reading online about naturseal and it says it waterproofs AND conditions so i gave it a try and am very impressed so far. Hope this helped!

  • Joe

    The new Redwing shop in covent garden is doing proper redwing resoling now via Amsterdam.

  • Joe

    The new Redwing shop in covent garden is doing proper redwing resoling now via Amsterdam.

  • stephen f

    my heritage moc toe are wearing differently on the upper leather,coluor and texture.anybody have same problem and or any ideas how to solve. have used red wing products since purchase

  • Mike Renz

    I stumbled across this site looking for information on redwings. I am a 59 year old geologist and I have to say, I laughed my ass off at the comments and articles. WTF? Is this for real? People try to look “blue collar and pay idiotic sums of money for work clothes – and men obsessing about fashion?….LOL! holy shit!
    This is the most hilarious crap I have seen on the net. Let me tell you… you will get your ass beat to a bloody pulp and tossed off the drilling site for this kind of sissy shit. My god this is funny and pathetic at the same time. Thanks for the laugh!

  • Tim Powell

    The compulsion to perform violence on someone for caring about how they dress is probably not the truest expression of masculinity either.

  • Mike Renz

    LOL! Well Tim, let me clarify, I am not suggesting such crimes be committed. What I am sharing is the reality of life on drill rigs, where regular men do actual work. Tim, have you ever worked with drillers? I kinda doubt it. One thing thats not tolerated is pretentious bullshit. From. what I read on this site, this is pretentious bullshit – ie. posers of no substance. Enjoy your “shoe shopping”

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