Thorogood vs Irish Setter Boots (compared w/ photos)

In this article we compare Thorogood vs Irish Setter boots. Both Irish Setter and Thorogood are American-based companies that have a long-established history of providing dependable work boots. Quickly, here’s what you need to know about some of their most popular boots:

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  • Thorogood American Heritage Boots – These are great factory boots. Made with 100% leather and come with a wedge sole, which is best for a smooth surface. The wedge soles don’t offer the traction of a rugged outsole, but they are more comfortable. If you work on concrete all day, these can help. Made in the USA by union workers. Click here to view these Thorogood boots available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to These fit true to size in my experience. It’s important to note you can also buy these boots with a traditional square sole.
  • Irish Setter Ashby Boots – These are also great factory boots, and a very nice pair of boots to compare to the Thorogood American Heritage boots we just covered. These Irish Setter Ashby boots have the wedge soles that make these very good for those who work on concrete. Click here to view these boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to
  • Thorogood Logger Boots – Logger boots have the raised heel and are used by lineman, loggers, and also by many farmers and ranchers. Not only are they good climbing boots, they also make for good riding boots. Plus, the raised heel helps keep the foot elevated out of mud and muck. Rugged design, built for harsh outdoor terrain. Made in the USA. These boots have a waterproof membrane and a goodyear storm welt build. Click here to view these Thorogood Logger boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to
  • Irish Setter Ely Boots – The Irish Setter Ely boots are modern-style work boots that give you a combination of comfort and toughness. They are a sort of hybrid between a hiking boot and a work boot. These are perfect for those of you who don’t like heavy-duty traditional work boots. Click here to view these Irish Setter Ely boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to

Thorogood boots are made by Weinbrenner Shoe Co., an employee-owned company based in Wisconsin that has deep roots in American culture. Weinbrenner Shoe Co. started manufacturing shoes in the late 1800’s and was a significant contributor of boots for the US Army in both WWI and WWII. That same American pride is carried forward into their modern-day business, and specifically to the Thorogood American Heritage boots, which are made in the USA by union workers (source).

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, and is very similar to the Thorogood American Heritage boots (source).

Thorogood vs Irish Setter: Boots to Consider

Thorogood Logger Boots

Logger boots are a style of heavy-duty boots that are built to survive in the harshest outdoor conditions. These boots are built to stand up to wet, marshy environments, where the terrain may be uneven and unpredictable.

Even though the concept is simple, it is incredibly important to find a boot which is built for your specific work conditions. For example, a lightweight factory boot won’t work in many harsh outdoor conditions.

If you work on uneven terrain, a boot like a logger boot will make sense for you. A logger boot is a type of boot designed for harsh terrain (and for climbing) – to read more about what a logger boot is, visit our article What is a Logger Boot?

Logger boots strive to give you extreme waterproof protection with a lace-up leather design that has a rugged outsole which can provide adequate traction on uneven terrain. The raised heel helps elevate the foot out of mud and muck, but it also helps prevent heel slippage while climbing and riding.

Obviously this style of boot is built for the logging industry which fights consistent wet conditions and uneven terrain with constant bush, debris, and bugs all around. But logger boots also make a lot of sense for other jobs like lineman, farmers, ranchers, fence crews, ditch crews, etc. It is also a popular motorcycle boot since the heel prevents slippage.

The Thorogood Logger boots are designed a bit different than classic work boots. Logger boots run high up past the ankle (9″) and lace snug against the leg to help prevent brush, debris, bugs, and moisture from getting down inside the boot.

Logger boots also use a larger, raised heel than classic work boots do. Many classic boots use a 1″ heel, but logger boots usually push the heel past 2″ to help elevate the foot and boot out of wet, marshy terrain.

As we discussed earlier, the raised heel also helps prevent slippage when riding or climbing. The raised heel allows for a more aggressive lug pattern which can provide traction in harsh outdoor conditions. This Thorogood Logger boot is not a boot built for use in a factory.

The Thorogood Logger boot uses a steel shank (supportive piece between outsole and insole) to help provide toughness and protection to the bottom of the boot. These boots have shock-absorbing removable insoles. They use a Goodyear Storm Welt construction, which helps keep moisture out of the midsole area, and makes the boot re-craftable (source).

The Thorogood Logger boots are available in safety-toe and insulated versions. They use triple-stitched main seams and are considered one of the toughest logger boots on the market today.

Thorogood vs Irish Setter Moc Toe Wedge Boots

The Thorogood American Heritage boots and the Irish Setter Ashby boots are two of the most popular work boots on the market. Both of these boots come in a moc-toe wedge version (although other versions exist). These boots are often compared to each other due to how similar they are.

Wedge sole boots fill a specific need for many workers who want a boot that is both comfortable and tough, and suitable for a factory floor (or other types of smooth surfaces like concrete, wood, or packed dirt). When you compare the Thorogood American Heritage vs the Irish Setter Ashby boots, there are a lot of similarities.

Here’s my Thorogood American Heritage Boots:


Here’s my Irish Setter Ashby Boots:


If you work on a factory floor, or even on some construction sites, you need something that is tough, but also appropriate for that environment. For example, you absolutely don’t need to wear a logger boot if you work in a factory.

Logger boots, and other types of heavy-duty outdoor boots, use aggressive lug patterns to provide traction in harsh outdoor conditions. If you are working inside, you don’t need that. In fact, those types of boots might actually hinder your performance indoors.

If you work indoors, you might be looking for a boot that can provide proper support and toughness, but with a build and style that is more appropriate and comfortable for an indoor environment. Many factory jobs are great opportunities to turn to a more comfortable wedge sole boot.

Wedge soles are comfortable, but don’t have the aggressive lug patterns that outdoor boots use. But again, it’s about matching your specific needs with a boot. If you need a rugged boot, then you won’t want a wedge sole.

Some outdoor construction jobs also can use a wedge sole as long as you work primarily on smooth surfaces like concrete, wood, or even packed dirt.

If you will be climbing ladders or forms consistently, you probably want a traditional outsole with a raised heel to help prevent slipping (the Thorogood American Heritage boots are also offered in a raised-heel traditional outsole version – view here at Amazon).

But the most popular versions of both of these boots are the wedge sole versions, which again make for comfortable factory boots. Wedge soles are more comfortable than traditional outsoles, and might help take some stress off your feet.

Both of these boots are nice work boots. In general, expect the Thorogood American Heritage boots to be a bit more expensive, but also have a bit more quality than the Irish Setter Ashby boots.

This comes down to whether or not you want to pay a bit more for the Thorogood boots, or save a bit of money and get the Irish Setter Ashby boots. It’s nice to have two boots that fill basically the same need, because then you can just match your needs with the price point that makes more sense for you.

Again, just because the Irish Setter boots lack a bit of quality in comparison to the Thorogood boots, this does not mean the Irish Setter boots are cheap boots. They are not. The Irish setter boots are very nice work boots, and a very popular option for many workers. But do expect the Thorogood boots to have a few extra details. For example:

  • Made in USA – Although the Thorogood boots use imported parts, they are handcrafted and finished here in the USA by union workers. This causes them to be a bit more expensive than the Irish Setter boots, which are imported.
  • Eyelets – The Thorogood boots have 7 eyelets on each side, while the Irish Setter boots only have 5 on each side. This adds some cost to the Thorogood boots, but also helps pass more control to your foot.
  • Shank – The Thorogood boots use a fiberglass shank (a shank is a supportive piece between the outsole and insole). The Ashby boots do not have a shank. This adds support to the Thorogood boots, but can allow the Ashby boots more flexibility.

One positive for the Irish Setter Ashby boots is their outsole has a heat-resistant rating, and the Thorogood boots do not. The Irish Setter Ashby boots have a heat-resistant outsole (HRO) which is heat resistant to melting at a minimum of 475º Fahrenheit. This makes these boots great boots for asphalt workers.

Both of these boots are offered in both a safety toe and a plain toe. Also, remember that the Thorogood boots are offered in both a moc-toe and a round-toe version. To read more about the Thorogood boots, visit our Thorogood American Heritage Boot Review.

Below is a look at a used pair of Thorogood American Heritage boots. As you can see, the seams have held up well and the boot itself still holds its shape.

The toes are showing wear and tear, but the seams have not separated and the boot is still going strong. The wedge sole is beginning to show wear, which is to be expected with this much use.

And below is a look at a pair of used Irish Setter Ashby boots. Overall, these boots have had heavier use than the Thorogood boots pictured above.

This is not meant to be a scientific comparison – these boots were not tested or exposed to the same conditions. This is just to give you a basic idea of how these boots might hold up over time and use.

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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