• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Review: Best work boots? Irish Setter Ashby 83605 work boots may be your best choice

600 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Work boots don’t get the hype or have the glamour of more expensive, fancy-looking hiking or hunting boots.

But if you’re working hard and on your feet all day, you’ll soon appreciate a good pair. These Irish Setter Ashby model 83605 boots are an excellent choice.

By Leon Pantenburg

(Disclaimer: Irish Setter sent me this product to review. Nobody had any input into this post and it is strictly my opinion. At the time of publication, there was not an advertising, sponsorship or affiliate relationship between the company and Survival Common Sense.)

  Most of the manual labor I did in my younger days required sturdy footwear. I grew up on an Iowa farm, and every farm kid had a pair of work boots and other shoes for school, sports and church. My standard work boots were six-inch high, leather, with easy-to-clean soles. 

These proved to be a good choice for farm, factory and construction work, sacking groceries and stocking shelves in a store. In the transmission factory, we might walk and stand for 10 hours on concrete. In the grocery store, we might walk some 12+ miles on each eight-hour shift.

These Irish Setter Ashby model 83605 are a solid working boot and could be a valuable addition to your get-home bag.

I appreciate and value good work boots, and the proper footwear often determines if your feet or back will ache after a long day. Everyone, IMHO, needs a solid pair of work boots. And these Irish Setter model 83605 Ashbys could be a great choice for you.

I’m retired now and have no intention of ever working hard again. But even retirees have to mow lawns, climb the occasional ladder, perform routine house maintenance and walk the dog. Not to mention, that a pair of work boots in the vehicle should be part of your get home gear. So I was interested in these Ashbys.

Here are the Ashby 83605 specs:

ASTM Standard: ASTM F2892-18, EH

As a working photojournalist in 1982, my apparel depended on the assignment and environment. Here, my Wolverine boots and jeans were appropriate. (Bob Ingram photo)

Construction: Goodyear Welt

Footbed: Removable Polyurethane

Height: six inches

Last: 325

Leather Type: Full Grain, Oiled

Insole: Texon®

Outsole: Rubber-EVA Traction Tred

Weight: 3 lbs.

Resoleable: Yes

Country of Origin: Imported

Here is the good stuff:

How do work boots differ from regular hiking boots? Hiking boots are for hiking, according to the popular perception. Work boots are for less-fun stuff – i.e work. But there is a lot of opportunity for cross-over use.

I hiked a week in the Bighorn and Pryor Mountains in Wyoming, the 225 miles of the John Muir Trail in California and 14 days in the Beartooths in Montana in the same pair of Georgia™ brand logger-style work boots. The Georgias worked just fine, and were about half the price of some of the fancy hikers I couldn’t afford. The boots didn’t have a waterproof liner, and despite a lot of rain, there wasn’t an instance when I needed waterproof boots.

Flashback: I bought those original Georgia logger boots at the War Surplus Store in Powell, Wyoming in 1976. Some 25 years later, my wife and I stopped at the store on our way home from Yellowstone. I chatted with the owner, who might have been working the day I bought the boots, and it was possible he might have fitted and sold them to me. Come to find out, there was a pair of Georgias in the back from that original shipment. 

He brought the boots out and they fit me perfectly. I bought them on the spot, along with a pair of white Sorel™ arctic boots for my wife. You can’t make this stuff up!  

On a 1986 backpacking trip, my brother Michael Pantenburg chose 10-inch military paratrooper boots. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park and Wyoming’s Wind River Range in extremely rough terrain in all sorts of weather. His boots did the job. The right hiking boots – for you – might be sturdy work boots.


Then there’s this:

Waterproof liner: None. I maintain that a waterproof boot, in the great majority of situations, is unnecessary. A waterproof boot will hold in moisture, and keep your feet soft and sweaty. When this happens in cold climates your feet get cold. Generally speaking, I don’t like moisture barriers and don’t want them in a working boot.

In other instances, the moisture barriers might be useful. One of the first decisions when investing in boots is waterproof or not?

The HRO soles are designed to last when being worn on hot surfaces.

Soles: The Ashbys have HRO soles, and this is a big deal for people who work on hot concrete, asphalt or on roofs. HRO Soles are designed and tested to perform on high heat surfaces and are heat resistant to melting at a minimum of 475º Fahrenheit. The boots can be re-soled as needed.

I have boots with very aggressive treads and they are wonderful for mountain hiking and rough terrain. But a work boot might be worn from the truck inside the house, or to the store or wherever you go on a normal day. You don’t want a sole that tracks in dirt, muck and debris. Rather, the sole should be easily scraped and wiped clean. Whoever cleans the house will appreciate that aspect.

Style: Style? In a working shoe? Well, don’t discount how well the right work boots can complete your ensemble. I’ve worn L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoes in downtown Washington D.C. during a snowstorm and my footwear fit in perfectly with my suit and wool overcoat. With the right attitude and clothing your boots may contribute to your panache.

And don’t discount fashion trends. For a while, the rugged outdoorsy logger look was popular in big cities. And remember “Urban Cowboy” way back when? After that movie came out, everybody had to have cowboy boots and hats. I’m seeing sturdy boots advertised in a lot of big city apparel stores. Work boots may come into their own.

Durability: Made with full-grain, oiled leather, these boots should last forever under normal wear. They can also be re-soled, so the uppers can live on, long after the original soles are worn out.

Do you need a pair of Ashbys?

Well, work boots have a place in any wardrobe. These appear to be solid performers so far.

I’ll let you know how the Ashbys come out after they have been used a while. Right now, I REALLY like them.

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