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In this article we compare Chippewa vs Irish Setter boots. Both Irish Setter and Chippewa are US-based companies that have a long history of making dependable work boots, but these two companies do have differences. In my opinion, the best outdoor boot is made by Chippewa and the best indoor boot is made by Irish Setter.
Chippewa vs Irish Setter Boots
Chippewa’s beginnings date back to 1901, and to a small factory in the lumber town of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Since then, they have grown to become one of the most trusted names in premium work boots (source). Present day, Chippewa boots are part of Justin Brands, a premium brand of western and heavy-duty, functional work boots and other types of footwear. Chippewa is famous for their logger boots.
Irish Setter boots are owned by Red Wing Shoe Company, which has been making premium footwear since 1905. Red wing Shoe Company is based out of Red Wing, Minnesota. The Irish Setter brand was formed in the 1950s and has established itself as a premium boot brand for both outdoor boots and work boots. One of their most popular boots is the Ashby boot which is a great boot for factory workers (source).
If you’re considering Chippewa or Irish Setter boots, the good news is both of these brands are premium work boot brands that have a long history of providing excellent quality and dependability. Both brands have a wide variety of durable work boots for several different types of jobs and environments, both indoor and outdoor.
One important thing to note is that Chippewa does produce some of their boots right here in the USA. Not all Chippewa boots are made in the USA, but several types are. At this time, Irish Setter imports all of their boots.
In this article let’s compare Irish Setter vs Chippewa by taking a closer look at some of their best and most popular boots, and how they might work for you.
Chippewa vs Irish Setter: Boots to Consider
Chippewa Logger Boots
Chippewa is famous for their logger boots. Logger boots are obviously used by loggers, but they’re also a popular boot for lineman, farmers, and ranchers. Some also prefer to use a logger boot as a motorcycle boot due to the raised heel for riding.
Chippewa offers a wide range of logger boots so that you can find one that works best for you. The Chippewa logger boots are some of the absolute best harsh-terrain boots available on the market today.
Logger boots are a special kind of outdoor boot that is built for two purposes. First, it is built to stand up to marshy, mucky, uneven terrain that is full of brush, debris, bugs, and everything else. Second, it is built for climbing (a logger boot is a popular boot for lineman). ***If you want to learn more about a logger boot, visit our article What is a Logger Boot?
The Chippewa Logger boots are offered in three different price tiers so that you can find one that works best for you. The most expensive Chippewa Logger is handcrafted here in the USA. Here’s what you need to know about the 3 tiers of Chippewa loggers:
- Most Affordable – Chippewa’s most affordable tier of loggers uses heavy-duty leather, but they use a non-leather material up around the collar of the boot and in the gusset of the boot, which reduces cost, and allows them to offer this boot at a lower price point. Chippewa strives to offer the best option of logger at every price point. You’d be hard pressed to find a better logger boot at this cost.
- Standard – This middle tier moves to a 100% leather for the entire boot. It also has a rugged Vibram outsole, which is a more premium outsole than the more affordable tier. It also has an additional Robus leather midsole that the lower tier does not (lowest tier has 2 rubber midsoles). So this tier provides more cushioning under the foot.
- Premium – This is Chippewa’s premium, fully-loaded logger tier. They refer to these loggers as “super loggers”. 100% premium leather construction, additional midsole support that the other tiers don’t have. Rugged Vibram outsole. Premum Dri-Lex lining which helps the boot breathe. Goodyear Leather Storm Welt build. And maybe the most important part about this tier, it is handcrafted right here in the USA.
Here is a look at a pair of Chippewa logger boots, and how they have held up over time. As you can see, despite extreme use, these boots are still holding well at the seams:
If you are interested in logger boots, and want a pair of boots that is made right here in America, as we discussed above, the premium tier of Chippewa Logger boots are made here in the USA. To see a full list of USA loggers, visit our article Best Logger Boots Made in the USA.
Irish Setter Ashby Boots
If you are working on a factory floor, and choosing between Irish Setter vs Chippewa, I would recommend the Irish Setter Ashby Boots. These are moc-toe boots that have a wedge sole – the wedge sole makes these great factory boots.
Not every job needs a heavy-duty boot built for harsh outdoor environments. Wedge soles are built more for comfort. They don’t have deep, aggressive lug patterns because these types of soles are intended to be used on smooth surfaces like concrete, plywood, tile, etc.
If you work on a factory floor, these Irish Setter Ashby boots give you something tough and dependable, but the wedge soles provide a bit of comfort to help balance it out. I see people all the time at work that are wearing a traditional, heavy-duty boot on a factory floor that has deep, heavy, aggressive lug patterns. I’m left thinking there is probably a better boot out there for them.
If you stand in place on a factory floor and work at a machine, these boots allow you to wear something that is dependable and tough, but something that won’t feel like a brick on your foot.
These boots are offered in both a plain-toe and an aluminum toe, so you will want to make sure this boot meets the safety requirements needed for your job.
Some people mistakenly think a wedge sole means that the boot will have poor grip. This is actually not the case. These Irish Setter Ashby boots are slip-resistant even though it is a wedge sole.
Yes, wedge sole boots are not built for uneven, rugged terrain, where a traditional lug outsole will be much more appropriate. However, one benefit that a wedge sole has over a traditional outsole is it has a larger contact surface area with the ground.
Traditional lug outsoles have a raised heel that creates a gap (below the arch of the foot) in the outsole of the boot where the boot doesn’t contact the ground. A wedge sole does not have this gap. It is flat across the entire bottom of the boot.
The fact that the wedge sole has a larger contact surface area means it does actually provide quality grip and traction, as long as the surface it is being used on is a smooth surface like concrete, plywood, tile, etc.
Obviously, because the outsole does not have deep, aggressive lugs, it is not going to be able to provide you reliable traction on uneven outdoor terrain.
But on a smooth indoor surface, or even some smooth outdoor surfaces, the wedge sole makes perfect sense. You just don’t want to be using a wedge sole on harsh terrain.
If you work on uneven ground, or if you are climbing consistently (for example, a lineman), you will want a raised heel to provide adequate traction for those jobs – the wedge sole wouldn’t be right for those jobs.
Again, if you are working on a factory floor, the wedge sole provides more comfort than a traditional lug outsole. The traditional outsoles that have aggressive lugs, raised heels, and a gap under the arch of the foot, make for a clumsy contact with the ground as you walk. Your heel hits, then a gap in the shoe, then the toe area hits.
This inconsistent contact with the ground can make traditional lug outsoles a little harder on your feet. With a wedge sole, your foot takes on less shock as it walks across the floor because the bottom of the boot is smooth and contacts the ground without a gap.
I’ve worn a wedge boot for several years, and in my opinion, it is definitely a more comfortable wear than a traditional boot. One thing that I notice is when I stand in place, I feel much less stress on my heel. The raised heel of traditional boots consolidates stress to the heel, and I can tell when I stand on wedge soles the stress is distributed evenly across the bottom of my foot, and leads to less irritation.
These Irish Setter Ashby Boots are good construction boots as long as you don’t need a boot to climb or work on harsh terrain. If you spend most of your time on plywood or concrete, then these boots will work. The outsole are also heat-resistant, which can help.
This is an ‘HRO’ ousole. Soles identified as HRO are heat resistant to melting at a minimum of 475º Fahrenheit. Again, this boot is offered in both a plain toe and an aluminum toe. This is full-grain, waterproof leather made from US-raised steers.
Here is a look at a pair of used Ashby boots. Overall, these boots have held up well despite heavy use. The wedge soles (as we have discussed) are not made for rugged terrain.
Where to Buy the Irish Setter Ashby?
Click here to buy the Irish Setter Ashby boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect the Irish Setter Ashby boots to fit true-to-size. Wide sizing is available.
Irish Setter Marshall Pull-on Boots
If you prefer a pull-on work boot over a lace-up work boot, then my recommendation is to go with the Irish Setter Marshall boots. The Irish Setter Marshall boots are 11″ pull-on boots that come in both a plain-toe and steel-toe version.
Irish Setter boots are owned by Red Wing Shoe Company, which has been making premium footwear since 1905. Red wing Shoe Company is based out of Red Wing, Minnesota. The Irish Setter brand was formed in the 1950s and has established itself as a premium boot brand for both outdoor boots and work boots.
These are the pull on waterproof boots that I use the most. Here’s what mine look like:
- Safety – These boots come in both a steel toe and a soft toe version. I personally use the steel toe boots that also have a steel shank (a shank is a supportive piece between the outsole and insole of the boot that provide underfoot protection).
- Design – These are 11-inch boots that will fit up near your calf. They are made with full-grain leather uppers and heat-resistant outsoles. They have removable footbeds making it easy to clean and/or swap them when needed. These are square-toe boots.
- Waterproof – Yes, these are waterproof boots. They are made using Irish Setter’s “UltraDry” Waterproofing system, which includes a breathable waterproof membrane. I have found these boots to be effective at keeping my feet dry while working in a wet environment. Here’s a look at the lining in my boots:
- Weight – Sometimes pull on steel toe work boots can be too heavy. A cool thing that Irish Setter has done with these boots is to use a composite material (known as Rubber RPM) for the outsole of the boot. This composite material helps reduce the weight of the boot. This material for the outsole is engineered to provide the durability and strength of traditional materials, without the extra weight.
Overall, I love the design of these boots. They are durable and dependable, and the waterproof construction helps keep my feet dry in wet environments. Again, I wear the steel toe version, but you can buy these boots in a plain toe.
Chippewa 6″ Service Boots
Not everyone needs a heavy-duty boot. And if you are debating Chippewa vs Irish Setter, perhaps you are looking for more of a general utility boot that you can wear both in your workshop and out on the town.
The Chippewa Service Boots are a somewhat fashion-focused boot that looks good both on and off the clock, but provides your foot with a full-grain leather that can stand up to what you might throw at it from your backyard workshop.
Again, not everyone is looking for that rugged, heavy-duty work boot. You might be looking for more of a stylish, versatile boot that you wear indoors when you go to the office, and then in your workshop on the weekends. This boot has a low-profile V-Bar outsole that does provide good grip, but it doesn’t have the large, aggressive lugs needed for outdoor, harsh terrain.
If you are working mostly indoors, or just using these boots as a casual work boot, you don’t need that aggressive lug pattern anyway. These boots are made with full-grain leather, and have a classic cork midsole. They are made in the USA with imported parts.
These boots don’t have an inner lining. They are not insulated boots. They do not have a steel-toe. These are just stylish boots that work as general utility boots to wear in your backyard shop and to wear with a pair of jeans when you run errands.
Where to Buy the Chippewa Service Boots?
Click here to buy the Chippewa Service Boots boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect these boots to run about a half-size big. Wide sizing is available. To read more about Chippewa Boot Sizing, visit our article How Do Chippewa Boots Fit?