The Luxury Red Wing Moc Toe Alternative — From Indonesia

If you take the classic Red Wing 875 and elevated every aspect of the boot, then you will get the Jakkrabbits Moc Toe Boot. Both models share a lot of superficial similarities but once examined under close inspection, they are very different: different leather for the uppers, different construction methods, and different internal components.

Spoiler alert: the Jakkrabbits is superior in just about every way — provided you’re comfortable buying Indonesian instead of American!

Here are the specs for Jakkrabbits Bootmaker’s Moc Toe Boots:

  • Vegetable tanned insole and midsole
  • Steel shank 
  • Flexible Vibram “Gloxi” wedge outsole 
  • Hand welted 
  • Italian Vegetable tanned leather uppers
  • Price: $419

That’s just $120 more than Red Wing — and shipping’s included. Is it worth all the extra? Let shoe podcaster Ticho Blanco and I take you on a journey to the Pacific…

The Elevated Red Wing
Jakkrabbits Bootmaker Moc Toe Boot

Hand welted and crafted out of vegetable tanned leather from the famed Badalassi Carlo tannery, this boot is the boot to get for an elevated take on a cult classic.

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Who Are Jakkrabbits Bootmaker? 

Indonesia has a thriving boot and shoemaking scene

For those who are not in the know, Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, and one of the lasting effects of their colonial past is that European shoemaking remained a part of the economy long after the southeast Asian archipelago achieved their independence post World War 2. 

Jakkrabbits is one of the newer brands in this space, but they stand out from many of the other Indonesian brands by having a state-of-the-art website and a rapid lead time for their made-to-order service.

jakkrabbits moc toe

Ordering

The Jakkrabbits Bootmaker website is unusually user-friendly and… existent for Indonesian brands, who typically ask customers to order through DMs on Instagram or Whatsapp. To be fair, if an Indonesian company is able to operate at capacity without a website — and most do — there’s not much of an incentive to build one, but as a newer brand Jakkrabbits decided to invest in a website to better convert new customers.

On there, you will easily find links to a range of ready-to-wear models, pre-orders, and their rapid made-to-order service. Jakkrabbits guarantees that you’ll receive your boots in four to six weeks after ordering. (Consider that Benzein‘s lead time is over six months at the time of writing.)

Jakkrabbits Moc Toe

What’s In The Box?  

The boots arrived in a heavyweight cardboard box that was filled with extra goodies. Inside were: 

  • Jakkrabbits Bootmaker Moc Toe Boots 
  • 2 sets of kilties – These pieces of add to protect the gusset or the tongue of the boot, and can help reduce volume on your instep.
  • 3 sets of spare laces – Always wonderful! 
  • Leather-lined insoles – These will help make the boots instantly comfortable. 
  • 2 dust bags – It’s great to see brands don’t expect you to jam 2 boots into 1 bag.
  • Certificate of Authenticity – This humorous card is a great way to show appreciation for their customers. 

jakkrabbits authenticity certificate

The Uppers

The Jakkrabbits Moc Toe Boots come in five leathers and three colors at the moment, but as a made-to-order service you can be assured that they’ll make you boots in any damn leather they can get their hands on.

My golden boot’s made with Badalassi Carlo‘s Olmo Minerva leather, and they also have a version made with Tochigi’s Oil Vachetta Col. 2. Both of these are vegetable tanned leathers from Italy, and the buttery vachetta in particular is quite rare. (So much so they were sold out when I asked for it, but you can see some pictures from u/Heritage_By_Niels in his worn in vachetta mocs below.)

vachetta leather moc toe boots
The vachetta leather version of my boots.

They also sell a green boot made with shrunken leather from Japan’s celebrated Shinki Hikaku tannery, a black one with Badalassi Carlo’s Pueblo Bone leather that has been over-dyed to black, and a local black pull-up leather if you’d like to save some dough. But again, they’ll customize these boots to any leather and sole you like.

Mine is Badalassi Carlo’s Olmo Minerva smooth leather. This is a full-grain vegetable-tanned leather that has a rich orange hue and is dyed with only soluble dyes. Being dyed with soluble dyes means that the leather will absorb color at different rates. Areas with scars or stretch marks will absorb dye a little slower and will appear lighter when fully tanned; smoother parts of the hide with absorb dye faster and appear darker. This gives the finished product a subtle, yet beautiful gradient of color.

One interesting note about this leather is that unlike Red Wing’s Oro Legacy, Minerva leather will actually patina lighter over time. As the leather gets used, it will start to fade back to its original color.

jakkrabbits moc toe catalog

Construction

From a visual standpoint, both boots look similar but they are crafted using different methods.

  • Red Wing 875: Goodyear-welt construction
  • Jakkrabbits Moc Toe Boot: Hand-welt construction

The Jakkrabbits Moc Toe boot is made using a hand-welt construction. Hand welting or hand-sewing a boot is when the footwear’s upper, insole, and welt are stitched together by hand using one seam. Compared to Red Wing’s Goodyear welt construction, hand-welting is more laborious and a skill-intensive process, which why hand-welted shoes are often very expensive. Many consider them more comfortable than Goodyear welted boots because of the breadth and thickness of the leather required for hand-welting, yet in Europe and the United States it is almost impossible to find a hand-welted shoe for under $500. 

Although the mechanized nature of the Goodyear welt process is economical and can produce shoes quickly on an assembly line, hand-welted shoes do have their advantages. 

jakkrabbit moc toe

3 Advantages Of A Handwelted Boot 

  1. Hand welting boots help keep the art of shoemaking alive. As production efficiencies become readily available, it is easy for brands to invest in machines and produce shoes on a massive scale. However, Jakkrabbits and a lot of other Indonesian makers choose to invest in rare, old world skill instead. By investing in people and trusting their craft, these brands are preserving a dying skill and helping boost their local economies. 
  2. Hand-welted boots are more comfortable than Goodyear welted boots. This is because thicker leather insoles are required for creating the channel of the hand-sewn boot during production. The result of this thicker insole is that it omits the need for cork filler. Brands tout the comfort of cork filling, but it is still inferior to leather in terms of how well it molds to the wearer’s feet. 
  3. Hand-welted boots are more durable than Goodyear welted boots. Their durability comes in the form of using leather instead of canvas to hold the insole to the welt.  Technically, the usual canvas is fine for how most people use their boots, but it will never be as secure as using leather. 

If you want to learn more about hand-sewn boots and how they differ from Goodyear welted boots, our friend Jake from Almost Vintage Style has written a comprehensive article about hand-welted boots that you can read here

close up of hand welted double midsole boots

Internal Build

When coming the internal structure of the two moc toe boots, the Jakkrabbits pair is evidently of higher quality. 

Red Wing 875

  • Rubber midsole 
  • No steel shank

Jakkrabbits Moc Toe Boot  

  • Veg-tanned leather midsole 
  • Steel shank

The leather midsole that Jakkrabbits uses is better than the rubber one used by Red Wing. In most cases, leather midsoles are reserved for the most premium workboots. Midsoles made from leather add cushioning that is also durable and conforms to the foot with time. For rugged terrain or on the job site, it is best use materials that are comfortable and long-lasting. 

Rubber midsoles suffice in most situations; it’s firm yet forgiving, which makes it an ideal alternative to leather. The issue with rubber is that it is not as protective for the wearer’s foot and won’t form to the contour of their feet as well. 

To be fair, most people won’t notice the difference so much that they’ll pay extra for handwelted, leather midsoled boots — but what’s cool about Jakkrabbits is that they offer these premium construction methods at an affordable price. The Jakkrabbits mocs would cost a solid thousand bucks if they were made stateside.

vibram gloxi sole

Outsole 

Both boots use a crepe wedge outsole made by Vibram. The difference is that the Gloxi sole used by Jakkrabbits comes with cuts along the entire piece, a practice that makes for a more flexible and grippy sole. 

  • Red Wing 875: Vibram Christy Wedge Sole
  • Jakkrabbits Moc Toe Boot: Vibram Gloxi Cut Wedge Sole

When comparing both types of soles, the Gloxi wedge sole offers more flexibility and in turn, better comfort. At first, one might think that the cuts will reduce the Gloxi’s lifespan but that is not the case at all: by allowing the sole to bend and move with the movement of the wearer’s foot and reduce friction between the soles and the ground, it slows the sole’s degradation. 

jakkrabbits vs red wings
The Jakkrabbits moc is just $119 more expensive than the Red Wing — and shipping’s included.

Conclusion 

The Jakkrabbits Moc Toe boots are superior to the Red Wing 875s.

Costing $419, it’s $119 more expensive than the Red Wing but offers so much more in terms of premium materials and construction. The only disadvantage about buying this Jakkrabbits boot is that it takes about 2 months from ordering for the boots to arrive, and it doesn’t support the American bootmaking industry which, to be fair, is a priority for many Red Wing customers.

Still, here at Stridewise, we think it’s worth considering Jakkrabbits if you’re into the look of the classic moc but want something a little more exclusive and premium. It makes for a hell of a conversation piece. 

The Elevated Red Wing
Jakkrabbits Bootmaker Moc Toe Boot

Hand welted and crafted out of vegetable tanned leather from the famed Badalassi Carlo tannery, this boot is the boot to get for an elevated take on a cult classic.

Check Best Price
The American Icon
Red Wing Classic Moc

This may be America's most iconic boot. Build the same way since the 1950s, this boot is equally at home on the jobsite as it is paired with modern streetwear.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How much are the Jakkrabbit Moc Toe Boots?

It depends on the leather, from $350 for local leathers to $419 for premium imported leathers.

How long does it take to get Jakkrabbits boots from the day of ordering?

The current lead time is about four to six weeks.

Can I request a different leather to be used on the Jakkrabbits boots?

Yes. You can place custom orders with this brand.

 

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Humphrey Tsui

Humphrey is a native Brooklynite who loves clothing! He is a teacher by day and a total shoe geek by night.Follow him on Instagram.

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