Just processed a few more images to compare three well known, US Made work boots.
Wolverine 1K Mile in brown CXL, sz 10.5D (2 yrs old)
Red Wing 9011 GT/Beckman in Black Cherry, sz 10.5D (6 months old)
Oak Street Trench Boot in Natural CXL, sz 11D (1 week old)
Edited to add comments about fit, finish, workmanship, etc.
The 1K's are missing something in terms of aesthetics to me, no shape to speak of (to me, this became much more evident when you compare them to the other two). CXL was comfy out of the box and they are relatively light weight. Fit & finish was fine with mine but I've read about others that had a number of issues, ranging from minor/cosmetic all the way to structural. Again, mine were fine. Build quality, durability and materials have all been very good.
RW 9011 with the half lugged sole are more practical here in New England in the winter. They took a solid 10-12 hrs of light wear to break in. Before they were broken in they were a bear, however, once broken in, they are extremely comfortable and feel more substantial on the foot compared to the 1K. This is due not only because of the sole. They appear to be about an inch taller than the 1K and the leather feels beefier (this could be due to the differences in tanning as they are virtually the same in terms of thickness). With that said, I don't think I'd want a boot that is much heavier than the 9011. While I like the appearance or the idea of heavier boots, I'd likely wear them less. For instance, I coveted the Whites SD for a long time but after handling them in person, I realize that they'd be too heavy for 4 season wear (for me). Durability, workmanship and materials of the GT are all excellent.
Trench Boot took a bit of break in, not much more than a few hrs and they became very comfortable (CXL). I much prefer the last of the Oak Street boot, both in terms of fit and aesthetics. The slightly upturned toe combined with the height of the toebox make a very appealing boot. I wouldn't call them sleek but they are less blobby than the 1K and RW while maintaining its workboot roots and function. The natural CXL is the perfect canvas to showcase patina. Fit and finish are a clear step up in this class and pricepoint. The finishing really shines, especially compared to the other two. IMHO, they really got it right with the Trench Boot.They wear lighter than the RW but feel more substantial than the 1K. Oak St. Bootmakers captured all the right properties with the Trench Boot from appearance to function. I'd liken them to a fine, German sports sedan. They've married agility and lightness with the heavy, substantial clunk you get when shutting the door of a Mercedes.
Goldilocks would refer to the Trench boot as "just right" and I wouldn't disagree.
Edited by patrick_b - 1/19/13 at 6:17am