Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith - Which Should You Buy?

Red Wing Heritage is known for their welted boots that stay true to a long history of American workwear and heritage bootmaking. In this Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith comparison guide we pit two of Red Wing’s most popular boot styles against each other to see which is the better buy.

If you are on the fence choosing between the Red Wing Blacksmith or Beckman, then this is the guide for you. We will explore the differences between each boot by comparing everything from the leather and construction to the style and color options. 

Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith boots
Beckman Blacksmith
Uppers Smooth-Finished Leather Oil-Tanned Leather
Outsoles Vibram Roccia Vibram 430 Mini-lug
Insole Leather Leather
Style Polished, Casual & Dress Rugged, Casual
Recraftable Yes Yes
Made in USA Yes Yes
Price Check the latest price on Amazon Check the latest price on Amazon

Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith Detailed Comparison

Although both boot styles share many similarities, the biggest main between the Beckman and the Blacksmith is in the overall style. While the Blacksmith stays true to it’s work boot roots with rough and tough leather and non-slip soles, the Beckman goes for a more refined look with a polishable leather and beefier soles that are better suited for urban commutes. Let’s dig a little deeper and see what the small differences are that make each Red Wing style unique.


Beckman vs Blacksmith: Leather Comparison

The biggest difference between the Red Wing Beckman and the Blacksmith is the type of leather used in the uppers. While both boots use leather from S.B. Foot Tanning Co, the Blacksmith sticks to oil-tanned leather that is seen in other popular Red Wing Heritage models such as the Iron Ranger.

One pro of oil-tanned leather is that they develop a nice patina over time. This means that over time the boots will develop a nice “worn in” look that you can only get with high quality leather. With care you can count on the Red Wing Blacksmith boots to look better over time. Even with small scuffs and scratches that only add character to the boot as the leather patinas. As for cons, the oil-tanned leather on the Red Wing Blacksmith can’t be polished or shined. This means that the Blacksmith aren’t ideal if you are looking for a dress boot.

Blacksmith - Oil-Tanned leather

Blacksmith - Oil-Tanned leather

Beckman - Smooth Finished leather

Beckman - Smooth Finished leather

The Beckman on the other hand seems to be Red Wing’s answer to a cleaner dressier boot. The leather used in the Beckman’s uppers is a S.B. Foot Tanning Co. Smooth Finished leather. Unlike the Blacksmith’s rugged oil-tanned leather, smooth finished leather has a glossier look that looks best when kept clean and polished. Unlike the Blacksmith’s patina, smooth finished leather is less likely to discolor and more prone to soften over time. This leaves more room for scuffs and wrinkles with wear. 

Outsole Comparison

Another big difference between Red Wing Beckman and Blacksmith is with the outsoles. The Red Wing Beckman has a leather sole with rubber Vibram Roccia outsoles attached to the heel and forepart. If the Vibram Roccia seems familiar, that’s because it’s a popular outsole design who’s variants are used in many outdoor boots such as the Merrell Wilderness and Timberland 6-inch boot. This outsole has deep lugs for traction and great shock absorption for comfort. If you are comparing Beckman vs Blacksmith for winter wear than it’s safe to say that the Beckman Roccia sole has the advantage. 

Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith outsoles

Red Wing Beckman vs Blacksmith outsoles

The Red Wing Blacksmith features a Vibram 430 Mini-Lug outsole. Not only is it the same sole offered in the popular Iron Ranger style, but it’s perfect for the Blacksmith as it further compliments it’s rugged work-wear aesthetic. The Vibram mini-lug is made of nitrile cork and features shallow lugs in the middle for traction. The outsole itself is anti-slip and does very well when walking in the rain or other wet conditions. Normally nitrile outsoles do terrible in the snow and ice, but the mini-lugs do help with this as they add enough traction for safe walking.

Beckman vs Blacksmith: Construction

Let’s cover construction. This is where the Red Wing Heritage Beckman and Blacksmith have the most similarities. Both boots feature a Goodyear Welt construction that allow the boots to be repaired and resoled over time. One of the best features of Red Wing Heritage boots is their ability to be recrafted. This allows owners to stretch the lifetime of the boot and get additional years of wear with each resole and repair.

Red Wing Bleckman vs Blacksmith front and back

Red Wing Bleckman vs Blacksmith front and back

When it comes to the overall construction you’ll also see many similarities in the upper leather panels and the stitching. It’s safe to say that the big difference between the Beckman and Blacksmith lies in the leather finish and outsoles. 

Both boots are even built on the same Red Wing number 8 last. So you can expect about the same fit in both the Beckman and Blacksmith after they are broken in. The number 8 last is one of Red Wing’s most used lasts and it’s recommended you usually go a half size to a full size down from your Bannock measurement.


Hopefully this Red Wing Heritage Beckman vs Blacksmith comparison has answered a few of your questions. But which style should you buy? This depends on which style best suits your wardrobe and lifestyle.


Red Wing Heritage Beckman


Red Wing Heritage Blacksmith

Choose the Red Wing Beckman… if you want a polishable boot that can be dressed up or down. The smooth finish leather is perfect for those who want a versatile boot that can be worn just about anywhere. The Beckman’s Roccia outsoles also great for year-round wear. 

Choose the Red Wing Blacksmith… if you want a classic boot that stays true to it’s workwear heritage. The oil-tanned leather featured on the Blacksmith only looks better over time as it develops it’s unique patina. These boots are iconic, masculine and perfect for casual wear and light work.