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Red Wing Beckman Review: Work Boots You Can Wear Everyday

Red Wing Beckman Review

The Red Wing Beckman has had my attention for nearly a decade. I'd casually scope them out online from time to time, but for some reason, I never put them into my cart.

It wasn't until I saw them in person that I truly came under their spell and went home with these beauties in a box.

If you share my love of work boots but want something a little more refined for daily wear, the Red Wing Beckman has you covered.

These boots are as tough as any others you'll find, but they also look great a bit dressed up.

The Red Wing Beckman's smooth leather uppers and streamlined profile help balance the sturdy construction, allowing them to transition seamlessly from the job site to the classroom or casual office.

They are truly versatile and, after holding them in my hands, I knew they were the perfect addition to my boot rotation.

Red Wing Beckman Review

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I'm a boot aficionado, through and through.

I love wearing my Red Wing 877s through the mud and snow, but they're a little too casual in some situations.

I also can't get enough of my Allen Edmonds Dalton, but they're unmistakably dressy in all regards, so I tend to baby them.

That's where the Red Wing Beckman comes in to bridge the gap between rugged and refined.

Their clean design means these boots can be worn with your business casual clothes, but they're also rugged enough (in both looks and construction) to stand up to denim and outdoor environments.

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Why choose Red Wing Boots

  • Proudly made in Red Wing, Minnesota USA
  • Red Wing has been making work boots since 1905
  • Leather comes from a Red Wing owned tannery one mile from the factory
  • Goodyear welt construction means easy resoling

Red Wing Beckman Style

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Here's a quick breakdown of the different rugged and refined elements that blend together to make the Red Wing Beckman such a versatile boot.

Red Wing Beckman Rugged Elements

  • Triple stitching
  • Thick leather uppers
  • Lugged commando sole
  • Waxed flat laces

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Red Wing Beckman Refined Elements

  • Smooth black Featherstone leather
  • Plain toe
  • Minimal detailing
  • Low profile lugged sole (not highly visible from the top and sides)

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Today, these boots proudly bear the name of the founder of Red Wing Shoes, Charles Beckman.

While I think it's appropriate to name a boot after its creator, these boots were called the Gentleman Traveler at their re-introduction in 2005.

To me, the name Gentleman Traveler does a better job of personifying the boot and is part of what has had me considering this purchase for so long.

The name Gentleman Traveler, paired with the story of Charles Beckman himself needing a boot rugged enough for the muddy, unpaved streets but refined enough to be dressed up for business dealings, instantly spoke to me.

These boots have the same rugged nature as the rest of the Red Wing line, but also an aesthetic that helps them blend effortlessly into the rest of your wardrobe.

Red Wing Beckman Quality

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The fit and finish on these boots is great as you can see from the photos. Notice how the rubber outsole, leather midsole, and welt come together seamlessly.

The stitches are even and straight. The leather is smooth and free of major defects (some irregularity is indicative of high quality leather).

I haven't owned these boots very long, so I can't comment on their longevity yet.

But my experience with my Red Wing 877s (which I've been beating the shit out of since 2009 and are still holding strong) leads me to believe that I'll have them for a couple decades, at a minimum.

The fit and finish is a result of Red Wing employing highly trained craftsman to select and cut each piece of leather based on density, grain, and thickness of the hide so that the boots are a mirror image of one another.

This is important to make sure that the dense, stiff, and smooth pieces are used for the toe and heel caps, which need to be the most durable.

They then select the less dense, softer areas to use in places like the tongue, where flexibility is more important than durability.

Are there any downsides to the Red Wing Beckman?

I wouldn't say that there are any downsides, but there are some trade-offs you should know about.

The break-in process can be a little lengthy and uncomfortable if you're used to softer leather or synthetic shoes and boots.

But this is the nature of the beast. If you want a boot tough enough to last a lifetime, they won't be as soft and cushy as a sneaker right out of the box.

Good quality leather products take time to break in.

And the price isn't exactly pocket change. But once again, this is a trade-off and you get a much tougher boot than if you were to only spend $150.

If you consider the lifespan of a pair of Red Wing boots to the frequent replacement of “fashion boots,” you'll see that going with Red Wing from the start will pay for itself in just a couple years.

And that's about it regarding any drawbacks. Red Wing Beckman boots are stiff and expensive up front compared to cheap mall brand footwear, but they last much, much longer.

Red Wing Beckman Buying Advise

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When you're building your wardrobe and throwing down cash on investment pieces, it's important to get the right product the first time.

Here are the things you should consider before ordering your boots.

Red Wing Beckman Sizing

On a Brannock Device, I measure a size 12D. The Red Wing Beckman in a 12D gives me a generously roomy, but still secure, fit.

So I'd have to say that the Red Wing Beckman fits a little larger than marked, but they don't feel too long and don't slip in the heel.

For my foot, the extra space just means more wiggle room in the toe area rather than feeling too big overall.

For your reference, I wear a 12D in most dress and casual shoes like Allen Edmonds, Clarks, and Converse, but occasionally need to go to a 13D for athletic shoes like Nike and Saucony.

So I recommend going true-to-size when ordering if you'll be wearing thick socks in the winter or down 1/2 a size if you like a more snug fit.

Red Wing Beckman Colors

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Red Wing Beckman – Black Cherry, Cigar, and Chestnut

I opted for the black Featherstone leather simply because my current boot lineup is already dominated by shades of brown. Otherwise, I would've purchased the black cherry leather (deep reddish brown).

Darker leather is easier to dress up, so if you intend to wear these boots with casual clothing, get the black or black cherry.

If you want a more rustic boot, then opt for cigar leather, which is more of a medium to light brown.

Buying the Red Wing Beckman

The Red Wing Beckman retails for $349 but you can find them cheaper online.

Buy the Red Wing Beckman on Amazon

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So if you're on the hunt for a boot that can fill a number of roles in your collection, I'd highly recommend the Red Wing Beckman.

I've been incredibly pleased with them so far and I can't wait to see how they evolve over the next few years.

All the best,

Nate

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Eric
    November 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Some day I’m going to bite the bullet and get myself a pair of Red Wings. I’ve been kicking around in a pair of moc toe Chippewa’s for years but they’re definitely not as versatile as these.

    Glad to see you back with regular content again Nate. Keep it up.

    • Reply
      Nate
      November 2, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Eric! You definitely won’t regret buying these. If you were to only own one all purpose boot, this would be a very good candidate.

  • Reply
    phil
    November 2, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I have two pairs of these boots, Black and Cigar. They are hands down the best footwear I have ever owned.
    Break in period is expected, but as already stated in the article, you want them to last.
    They look great with any outfit. after 2 years contact wear the cigar ones need re-healing. other than that they look better than the day I got them.

    • Reply
      Nate
      November 2, 2016 at 11:01 am

      That’s awesome that you’ve had a great experience with these boots as well. To help anyone reading this, what was your experience with sizing? Do they fit true-to-size or a little big?

      • Reply
        Adam
        November 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm

        I don’t have a pair of the Beckmans, but I do own a pair of Iron Rangers and a pair of 1907s and I would say to size down a full size especially in the IRs because the toe box is pretty roomy. I’d like to get a pair of Beckmans someday though, they look good with pretty much anything.

  • Reply
    Arthur
    December 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    I tried a nice pair of cherry Beckmans at a dealer here in Taguig City, Philippines. I have size 8EE feet but 8D fits (with full terry cotton socks on) well for me. But, they’re too expensive because of the additional shipping, import tax, etc. I’ll just buy a pair of Beckmans when I go to Chicago in October 2017.

    • Reply
      Nate
      December 28, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      That’s a shame that shipping takes these already pretty expensive boots out of reach. But some things are worth waiting for!

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