Moc-Toe Boots have become ever so popular in the denim community. Heck, there is even a day of the week dedicated to wearing and showing off your pair(s) with #moctoemonday! By far the most popular models of moc-toe boots are from Red Wing Shoes, and with good reason! They are made in the USA, the brand has a rich history, the quality is very good, and they always have cool, new limited editions coming out for suckers like me! Check some of them out below:
If you clicked on one of the boots and link took you to a store where the model is "Sold Out", well that's because most of these limited editions fly off the shelves like crazy. If someone really wants a certain pair, they might have to overpay for Factory Seconds on Ebay.
I was lucky (or gullible) enough to get my feet on some 87519s as my first pair of Red Wing Moc-Toe boots. When I saw photos of these bad boys, I was blown away! Originally, I was waiting to get the Oxblood Mesa Moc-Toes that were dropping in stores around the same time as the 87519s. However, I loved the color and patina potential of the Oro-Harness Leather (plus the addition of speed-hooks) that I paid the upcharge for the limited edition model.
So who are these limited edition, Red Wing Boots going against? Who could possibly challenge them? Enter the Natural Nantucket Janesville Moc-Toes (individual write up here) from the 1892 Collection by Thorogood. The 1892 Line is competitive in both price (on sale now though) and design to the Red Wing Heritage Line and the brand has that "heritage" label behind them as well. Here are some of Janesville models from the 1892 Collection:
Before diving in, take a look at the 87519's and the Nantucket's specifications:
The leather of each pair is something I adore about both models. On the 87519s, the oil-tanned leather is a mix of two of Red Wing's signature hides that they combined on accident (or something) and created these one off mocs. The color of the boots is hard to describe. Depending on lighting, they could appear closer to the dark hue of the Amber Harness leather or the lighter tone of the Oro Legacy. Like the Rough & Tough leathers, scuffs change the coloration but they can be quickly rubbed out (if you don't like them that is). I personally love the different variations of color that appear on the boots at any given time and the ongoing patina development with these is one of the main reasons I picked this specific pair up! Additionally, the leather is very waxy and smells great!
Both the 87519 and the Natural Nantucket Janesvilles have very high quality leather. I cannot say that one is better than the other, just that they different and have their own unique qualities. Each pair should age nicely and maintain their own personality.
Insole to Outsole Comparison:
This area of the boots is where Red Wing and Thorogood differ greatly. The 87519s is put together in standard, old boot making fashion: leather insole, cork midsole, and Red Wing's own proprietary Traction Tred sole. Like with most Red Wings, it will take a while for the insole and midsole to form to a person's foot; meaning that the out-of-the-box comfort can be quite minimal. Thankfully, the sole makes the break-in period more bearable compared to boots like the Red Wing Iron Ranger. The rubber of the Traction Tred is solid yet ever so spongy, making the boots have a little "bounce" with each step while adding some solid shock absorption. When the 87519s finish molding to the owner's feet, the comfort will be outstanding. It's thee journey might be a big rough.
In terms of hardware, the Red Wing 87519s come with nickel eyelets and speedhooks. The three sets of speedhooks are unique on a pair of Red Wing moc-toes as they usually just have eyelets. Personally, I love speedhooks but I do know many people who can't stand them so it is all based on preference. On the flip side, the Janesvilles have brass colored hardware with two sets of speedhooks. The speedhooks are smaller and have less of a chance of getting snagged on something and breaking off. However, their size can be a negative when using wider laces as they tend to fall out of place easily.
On Feet Photos:
If you made me chose one pair over the other, it would be tough decision. The Natural Nantucket Janesvilles definitely win in the leather category for being un-dyed, vegetable tanned, and having a more unique look! Plus, Thorogood makes a way more comfortable, out-of-the-box boot than Red Wing. However, I do have a fondness for Red Wings and the "Limited Edition" status of these boots sticks out. It make them special to me even if they aren't all that different from their other moc-toe boots (875, 8138). The fit of the 87519s is also much better (on me) as I like how the boots hug my feet. The old school construction and materials, compared to Thorogoods', in my mind, make the Red Wings a much more hardy pair of boots. Being purely subjective, I lean towards the Red Wing 87519s because I am as close to a Red Wing Fan Boy as you can get and the boots just fit me better. But if you want a great looking boot that stands out among a sea of Red Wing moc-toes, than the Natural Nantucket Janesvilles, and the other 1892 models, are for you.
The Red Wing Limited Edition 87519s can be found at:
The Natural Nantucket Janesvilles by Thorogood can be found at: