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January 28, 2012

Red Wing Irish Setter Boots

I'm sad to say it but I've worn out the only pair of Red Wing Irish Setter boots I ever owned.

Growing up in Mississippi, footwear wasn't a big concern to me. By that, I mean I wore tennis shoes or occasionally boots, but it wasn't something I spent a lot of time worrying about.

When we moved to Colorado, I saw snow for the first time and wasn't sure what I should do about it. The neighbors swore by Sorels, so I bought some Sorels and figured that was that, but I could never keep my feet warm. So, I sort of struggled forward, shoulder to the wheel, and just made the best of it. I did buy a few different pairs of boots over the years, but nothing really was ever anywhere near warm enough for me.

Then, about 5 years ago, in the fall of 2006, I found myself in Idaho Falls, Idaho for the weekend with a plan to drive into Yellowstone. However, I had no clothes outside of my office clothes. So I walked into a store in Idaho Falls and said "set me up", basically. I bought a camo jacket, pants, boots, and I don't recall what else.

So, on this occasion, I told the guy "You know, my toes are always cold...what have you got that's warm so my toes won't freeze?" And he told me this..."you want two things....Gore-Tex and Thinsulate. Gore-Tex is a waterproof/breathable fabric. This will keep water out of your boots, and allow the boots to breathe so your feet won't sweat. If your feet are dry, they'll stay warm. Thinsulate is a think insulator that will keep your feet warmer and drier than duck down. Each boot says how many grams of Thinsulate are used in the boot...The more Thinsulate, the better."

So, based on this, I browsed around and found me a pair of Red Wing Irish Setter boots with Gore-Tex and 800 grams of Thinsulate. They were on sale, of course. I think I paid about $99.00 for them. These were the warmest, most comfortable boots I ever put on my feet. And, when I was at home in Colorado, or riding a motorcycle, I wore them pretty much exclusively.

I loved the boots.

I wore these boots on motorcycle rides in Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, and Alaska. From British Columbia, Canada to Baja California Del Sur, Mexico.

Additionally, I wore these boots as I traveled through Florida, Texas, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Louisiana, Kansas, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. From the rain forests of Peru to the Eiffel Tower. From Dublin to Amsterdam.

Finally my feet were warm, and the boots provide great protection as well. I've hit sticks, trees, etc with these boots, on the bike and off, and never so much as hurt a toe, got a blister.

And now, they're worn out.

The place where they wore out is on my left big toe where I shift my motorcycles. What killed the boots is shifting up. Down doesn't hurt them so much, but after countless thousands of "up-shifts" finally wore the fabric out completely so that I'm left with a large gaping hole in the external fabric of the left boot. You can't see my toes, but it's clearly time to replace the boots.

So, I open up the boots to see what the label says...to see what model my boots are, and of course it's all worn away...the letters all faded away years ago. But I garner as much information about the boots as I can from reading the tags, letters, insignia, and brands sprinkled across the various surfaces of the boots.

Eventually, I determine that the boots are some unknown flavor of Red Wing Irish Setter boot that measures about 9" high with Gore-Tex and 800 grams of Thinsulate.

I googled for the boots, but can't find the exact photo of my particular boot, so I assume my boots are discontinued. Figures.

It looks like the closest thing they make to it today is the Shadow Trek 3859 boot.

Gander Mountain has them online for $104.99.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 28, 2012 at 6:50 PM


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