Irish Setter vs Danner Boots (comparison w/ photos)

In this article we compare Irish Setter vs Danner boots. Both Irish Setter and Danner are American-based companies that have a long-established history of providing dependable work 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 (source).

Danner boots is based out of Portland, Oregon. Danner was started when founder Charles Danner ventured to the Pacific Northwest to build premium work boots for loggers in 1932. Danner’s most popular boot is their Quarry boot, which we will discuss later. It is a heavy-duty work boot offered in several different versions including plain-toe, alloy-toe, and insulated (source).


Irish Setter vs Danner Boots

If you’re considering Irish Setter or Danner 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.

In this article let’s compare Irish Setter vs Danner by taking a closer look at some of their best and most popular boots, and how they might work for you.

Irish Setter vs Danner: Boots to Consider

Danner Quarry Boots

The Danner Quarry boots are heavy-duty boots that have a classic stitchdown style and build. These boots are built for power and durability, and can stand up to some of the toughest work environments. These boots are made in the USA.

Here’s a look at my Danner Quarry boots (about 3-4 years old):


If you are looking for something that is more like a sneaker (sneakerboot), then this boot won’t be for you. These Danner Quarry boots are heavy-duty boots that prioritize toughness and quality, and have a classic, traditional work-boot build.

When you buy boots, you are presented with a choice: do you want comfort over toughness, or toughness over comfort? Ultimately, we all want both, but usually to gain on one you have to give a little on the other.


Although the Danner Quarry boots are quite comfortable to wear in comparison to other heavy-duty work boots, this boot first and foremost prioritizes toughness and durability. This boot will hold up on jobs where a more modern, lightweight boot will not.

This is not a flimsy boot, and sometimes if you have a job that demands the toughest boots on the market, you will have to sacrifice a few things, like weight and flexibility, to ensure the boot can hold up and protect your feet.

If you work in an environment that demands toughness from boots, the Danner Quarry delivers. It has a classic lace-to-toe design, where the laces drive down far near the toe of the boot.


In recent decades, the laces on boots have gotten higher and higher up the foot as boot and shoe companies try to save money.

The problem is, the less lace coverage a boot has, the less control that is passed to the foot. The Danner Quarry boot does it the right way, and maximizes the laces to transfer the needed control to your foot.

This is a perfect example of prioritizing quality over weight. Danner could have reduced the weight (and cost) of these boots by reducing the laces, which would also reduce the amount of leather needed for the laces, but they didn’t want to sacrifice the premium durability and build of this boot.


Yes, expect the Danner Quarry boots to be comfortable, but not like a sneaker. These are not sneakers. These are heavy-duty work boots built to last.

One way Danner does help increase the flexibility of these boots is to use a fiberglass shank instead of a steel shank (a shank is a supportive piece between the outsole and insole of the boot).

Although steel shanks provide extreme support, they can also make a boot stiff. Fiberglass shanks are a balance between support and flexibility.


The Danner Quarry boot is offered in two different types of outsoles: a wedge outsole and a more traditional 90-degree heel heavy-duty outsole. The wedge sole version uses a Vibram wedge sole.

If you work on smooth surfaces (like indoor at a factory or construction on plywood etc), the wedge outsole would be a good choice because it is more comfortable (but doesn’t have the lug pattern to stand up to harsh terrain). If you work in uneven terrain, you will want to stick with the traditional outsole.

It is also important to note that Danner has proven it is willing to listen to feedback from its customers, and to consistently test their own products to make necessary changes.


Let’s take this Quarry boot for example. During field testing of the Quarry boot, they noticed that the back heel stitch was a high wear area (due to workers kicking their boots off after work). So Danner implemented a small redesign by simply moving the back stitch to the outside of the heel to avoid future issues (source).

This Quarry boot uses what is called a “610 last”. A last is a foot-shaped mold that helps determine the shape and fit of a boot. The 610 Last used for this boot is Danner’s most universal last and can be worn by many different types and shapes of feet.

According to Danner, this 610 last type is industry standard made true-to-size and has a relatively broad and deep toe box area, which provides more volume in the forefoot and toe. This design has a full length removable footbed (source).


These Danner Quarry boots come in plain-toe, safety-toe, and insulated versions. They have a 100% waterproof GORE-TEX lining to help keep your feet dry in wet conditions. These boots use a Goodyear Welt construction that is re-craftable.

The Danner Quarry is a general heavy-duty outdoor boot (although the wedge sole would also work for indoor jobs that need a heavy-duty boot). This is a boot that can be worn for a wide variety of jobs and trades. It has a traditional build and classic functionality.

Here are some pictures of a used Danner Quarry boot. Although the boot has taken on some wear and tear from heavy use, mine have held up well over the long term.

Irish Setter Ashby Boots

If you are working on a factory floor, and choosing between Irish Setter vs Danner, 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. 

Here’s a look at mine:


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.

Overall, my boots have held up well despite heavy use. The wedge soles (as we have discussed) are not made for rugged terrain.

Danner Vicious Boots

Both Danner and Irish Setter have several types of boots that can make sense for construction workers, or other trades looking for a flexible, more modern-style work boot. The Danner Vicious boots are a sort of hybrid between a hiking boot and a work boot.

The Danner Vicious boots are those work boots that really try to find a perfect balance between comfort and toughness. They have a 90-degree heel, but do so with a low-profile outsole that keeps this boot from being bulky like other traditional work boots. They come in composite-toe versions as well.

Here’s a look at mine:


These boots are offered in both 4.5″ and 8″ styles. Obviously the 8-inch work boots will offer additional ankle support, but also weigh a bit more.

When you are choosing a work boot, one thing you have to consider is if you want more of a traditional work boot that has a bulky, stitchdown style, or if you want more of a modern boot that is a sort of hybrid between a hiking boot and a work boot.


In general, traditional boots tend to be built more for power while the modern boots try to add in a bit of comfort and flexibility, even if it means sacrificing a little bit of the power of the boot.

Obviously only you know what your specific job requires, but the Danner Vicious boots offer a blend of toughness and comfort, and are more flexible than traditional work boots.

The Danner Vicious boots use a nylon shank. A shank is a supportive piece between the outsole and insole of a boot. Many types of traditional work boots use a steel shank.


The steel shanks are the most durable shanks, but they also can make a boot stiff. These Danner Vicious boots use a nylon shank that helps make the boot more flexible than a traditional work boot.

The Danner Vicious boots have a true-to-size fit. These boots are built with a DLE-01 last type mold. A last mold helps determine the shape and fit of a boot.


According to Danner (source), the DLE-01 last type mold is “designed to be an extension of the foot to allow the user to feel the surface underneath them.” The DLE-01 provides plenty of space in the toe-box area.

Ordering your normal sizing should work just fine for the Danner Vicious boot. To read more about Danner sizing, visit our article How Do Danner Boots Fit?

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 work 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.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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