It’s about time we got around to looking at the Steve McQueen Red Wing 877 Moc Toe Boots. After all, the King of Cool is about as “iconic” as it gets. And so many of the pieces that create the foundation of classic men’s style achieved their status in part because of their association with McQueen. The Baracuta G9, the suede Playboy chukkas, the Persol 714s, Barbour and Belstaff riding jackets and the shawl collar cardigan are just a few of the items that owe much of their popularity today to the example he set fifty years ago.
The Red Wing 877s are no exception. Launched in 1952, to this day they continue to be a popular choice with workers and hunters. However, McQueen’s use of the boots for motorbike racing introduced this practical and rugged style of footwear to a whole new audience.
So sure, the soles of your moc toes may never touch a construction site or dirt track. But when you wear them, people know you understand what “boots” are supposed to be. And that you mean business.
Features wanted for the Steve McQueen Red Wing 877 Moc Toe Boots
- Moc-toe style boot with an 8″ boot shaft
- White rubber soles (preferably Goodyear welted)
- Oiled leather uppers in a reddish brown tone
Red Wing 877 8″ Moc Boot: $184.43 to $308.74/£269.00
The originals continue to be a popular boot for Red Wing and are still easy to find. And they’re not that expensive. For example, a size 10 is going for $245 on Amazon right now. The 877s (and this moc style in general) seem to be rarer in the UK. Red Wing London has the broadest selection of sizes. But you’re stuck with that higher price tag. Some odd sizes are floating around Amazon UK for less, if you’re willing to search a little. So maybe you’ll get lucky there.
Best Option for the Steve McQueen Red Wing 877 Moc Toe Boots
Thorogood American Heritage 8″ Moc Toe Boots in Tobacco Gladiator: $135.67 to $199.00/£112.37 to £395.43
Like Red Wing, Thorogood proudly makes their footwear in the U.S.A. (that tag should be a clue). And like the 877s, their version of the moc toe work boot uses a Goodyear welt construction, this time with a Vibram Christy blown rubber wedge sole. Aside from the branding on the heel, there are some other minor differences between the Thorogoods and the Red Wings (triple row of white stitching, the rivets). But the big one is the use of the speed lace hooks. What I’m about to say about speed lace hooks applies to any of the alternatives below. Some folks will love them, some not so much. The positive is they make getting the boot on and off easier and quicker. However, speed hooks also have a nasty habit of tearing up the inside of pant legs, especially if you’re walking around a lot in trousers with a tighter fit or narrower leg opening. So it’s a trade off. Amazon has some of the best prices for the Thorogoods, and they’re stocking sizes 7 to 14 in narrow, medium and wide widths.
Gear Guide Moc-Toe Wedge Boots: on sale for $79.99
Full grain leather uppers? Check. Oil resistant foam soles with Goodyear welt construction? Check. Made in the U.S.A.? Doesn’t say, but I doubt it. Most of the reviews on Amazon give the boots high marks for looks and comfort. But durability, especially around the speed hooks, seems to be an issue. And most feel they run a half to full size too big. So if you’re looking for a casual boot that will give you the look, these could be a good option. But if you need a heavier duty work boot, I’d suggest spending up. Amazon has sizes 8 to 13 in stock, and the boots come in both regular and wide widths.
Wait. Why are these in the “Under $100” category? Because if you sign up for Golden Fox’s newsletter, you’ll automatically get a 25% discount on your purchase. That brings the price down to $93.71. Given my (and other readers’) very positive experience with Golden Fox’s Boondocker boots (you can read my review here), I was very tempted to make these the “Best Option”. After all, they’ve got the full-grain oiled leather uppers and the re-soleable Goodyear welt construction. And if the comfort and construction of the King Rocks is equal to the Boondockers, then you’ll be getting a serious amount of bang for your buck. What held them back? They’re made in China, which some may not like. Personally, I’m always trying the balance the price to quality ratio with the country of origin, so that fact doesn’t bother me too much. Honestly, it just came down to the darker colored mid-sole plate, which is purely a comestic thing. That’s it. And if it doesn’t bother you, then I would say go for them.
Andrew Marc Ashford Moc Toe Boot in Cognac: on sale for $129.97
A shorter (5.5″), more fashion oriented boot available from Nordstrom Rack. It still uses a Vibram wedge sole, so that’s a plus. And the regular price is $348.00. So you’re looking at a pretty deep discount. They have sizes 7.5 to 13 in stock. Not recommended as a serious work/riding boot. But it’s always nice to have a more streamlined, sophisticated option in the mix.
A true work boot, complete with steel toe and shank and electrical hazard rated soles. And they’re made in the U.S.A. I also like that they keep the branding higher on the boot shaft, instead of at the heel. Reviews for the Carolinas are very positive on Amazon. So if you need boots that will give you that McQueen style and can also be used for some serious construction/factory work, these ones may be hard to beat. ShoeBuy has the best price that I could find. Sizes 7 to 14 are in stock in regular (D) and wide (EE) widths.
Irish Setter 894 Wingshooter 9″ Waterproof Boot: $112.64 to $194.99
Originally, Irish Setter was the name of a series of boots designed and manufactured by Red Wing. In fact, from 1952 to around the mid 1990s, the original 877 was marketed under this name.
Today, Irish Setter is actually Red Wings independent, made-in-China offshoot brand. And now the 894 is their flagship boot. Other than the country of origin and some style details, the main difference between the current Red Wing 877 and the Irish Setters is the 894’s waterproof Ultra Dry construction. Amazon has the broadest selection of sizes, stocking 7 to 13 in a variety of widths. But, Amazon being Amazon, pricing is all over the place. A pair of 10 EEs go for $194.99, while 9.5 Ds are priced at $169.99.
Do you have any suggestions for alternatives for the Steve McQueen Red Wing 877 Moc Toe Boots? We’d love to hear about them and the comments are right below!