Red Wing's Rough & Tough Iron Rangers Vs. Thursday's Arizona Adobe Rugged Captains Part 1- Initial Impressions
Most people like to compare Red Wing Iron Rangers to the Wolverine 1000 Mile and with good reason; both are well known, made in America Heritage Boots. However, there is a new player in town, Thursday Boots. Thursday is becoming well known for offering quality footwear at lower costs than most of its competitors. Not only that, Thursday Boots have a sleek look that are make more of a fashion statement than some of the older brands that pay homage to the hardworking Americans of days past.
I have had my pair of Thursday Adobe Arizona Captains for a few months now and I feel they are a perfect representation of boots designed now versus boot models that are 100 years old... Such as the iconic Red Wing Iron Rangers.
Since my time with my Iron Rangers has only been a few days, my first "versus" article will focus on straight out of the box impressions of each boot. As my Iron Rangers become a staple in my boot rotation, I will explore more about how each boot is holding up. I will not go much into the overall look of each boot (Thursday is slimmer, Red Wings have that bulky toe) as one is not necessarily better than the other and it comes down to personal preference. Let's look at each boot's specs side by side:
Different Yet Similar...
Some people will turn up their noses at the Thursday Boots, "Made in Mexico," label. In my opinion, it is not about where something is made, it is about who makes it. An example, my Santalum X Pigeon Tree Crafting Collaboration Boots were made in Indonesia. No, it was not made in a large factory by underpaid workers. In fact, Santalum is a company of two cobblers who literally hand make (handmade is such an overused term) each shoe to a person's exact foot measurements.
The Thursday Boots were comfortable right out of the box, and that is to be expected by them. The glove leather lining, overall thinner leather, shock absorbing insoles, cork midsole, and fiberglass shank (more flexible than the more traditional steel shank in the Iron Rangers) all allow the Captains to require no break in period whatsoever.
So yes, out-of-the-box comfort definitely goes to the Thursday Captains. However, where Thursday does not come out on top is quality control with the construction. The stitching is not as clean, with some loose threads on the upper and the goodyear welt stitching, while being 360 degrees on the Captains compared to the Iron Rangers' 270 degree welt, had a broken stitch or two. It is worth noting that the thread on the Iron Rangers is also waxed for durability while the Captain's thread is not.
As for the soles, the Thursday Boots have a studded rubber sole, reminiscent of the infamous Dainite sole, while the Red Wings have started using a Vibram, a very well known company, mini lug rubber sole instead of their standard cork sole. I personally prefer the studded sole as it provides traction while not collecting up dirt and grime. However, the Vibram rubber is thicker and the rubber is harder which leads me to believe the Iron Rangers sole will ultimately last longer. The sole on the Iron Rangers is perfectly stitched to the upper while the Captain's soles have a bit of separation (it does not seem to effect the water resistant properties but it is noticeable none the less).
Thursday Boots get most of their leather from Horween in Chicago or Le Farc in Mexico, both very highly regarded tanneries. On their website, Thursday states that the leather on their Rugged Collection is from Tier 1 USA cattle hides, so very few, if any defects. However, I am not sure which tannery the leather comes from. Regardless, the leather is just as beautiful as the Iron Rangers, albeit, a notably thinner amount was used (which helps increase comfort as there is less leather to break in). The Rugged Collection leather is "custom created to look great with years of hard wear and minimal care." That is a nice description but Thursday never really goes into what makes it so resistant. It has a very similar feel to the Rough & Tough leather and smelled like it was conditioned with Saphir Creme Cuir Gras (which is best used on oily leather), or something like that, when I unboxed my pair. I imagine Thursday's leather for the Arizona Adobe is very similar to Red Wing's. I love both leathers and I do not believe one is "better" than the other.
Of course, only time will tell which leather is of more quality as will which boot is better constructed. I would say out-of-the-box, the clear winner is the Red Wing Iron Ranger. There were just some quality control issues, however minor, with the Thursday Captains. The Iron Ranger is also better constructed and more sturdy, as it should be for being $120 more! But if it's straight out of the box comfort you want, the Captains are the way to go. We will see how each age together!
Part 2 in a few months!