Even fervent collectors have trouble finding a pair of Red Wing's super-rare Abilene Classic Moc Boots, which, up until now, have only been available in European countries and women's sizes. A riff on the iconic Classic Moc style, this particular pair uses roughout leather, not traditional hide, creating a soft, textured look without the delicateness of suede. Roughout leather is the underside, while traditional leather is the animal's outer flesh. Suede, on the other hand, is cut from the middle. As such, it's soft on both sides.
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Roughout leather shares many of the same qualities as the tanned flesh: it's just as water-resistant and just as tough, but it's far more interesting to look at, in my opinion — and less abundant. When applied to the right silhouette, roughout leather shines. Not literally, of course, but its typically lighter tones contrast the sea of dark brown, chocolate brown and black boots most men wear.
Clearly Red Wing agrees, since the Abilene Classic Moc Boots are making their long-awaited US debut, more than 60 years after the material was first introduced. It's been a part of the brand's portfolio since 1959, when it was introduced as a breathable alternative to waxed or oil-finished flesh, which traps heat. Now, the style is more than a beige-colored summer boot — it is one of Red Wing's most impressive designs.
"The neat thing about our roughout leather," Red Wing's Global Product Design and Development Manager, said in 2020, when the brand used Abilene leather to make a boot celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Amsterdam store, "is that we use the full grain... When you split out that top grain, you weaken the structure of the leather. [Full grain] gives you a lot of strength and integrity to the leather, and it also gives you a nice feel on your foot, because that top grain [makes it] feel like it is fully leather lined."
This fan-favorite release will surely go fast, especially since it's limited. And a few of the brand's most famous devotees already have pairs — like Ryan Gosling, who will wear the Abilene Classic Moc Boots in his forthcoming movie, The Fall Guy, which is due out in 2024.
Despite the premium feel, and on-screen association, these boots will cost just as much, if not less, than most other Classic Mocs, making this ultra-rare, previously Europe-only release well worth the $299 Red Wing's asking for 'em.