Im sorry to sound naïve but a pair of red wings only lasting a year? There is a saying that you get what you pay for and that's why red wings should last a lifetime, that's what the red wing sales person said to me anyway.
How do you wear your boots that they only last a year? Afterall I only walk in mine and don't kicka ball with them or run. I suppose I don't wear boots everyday which will help.
It doesn't matter who makes them, the soles will eventually wear out, especially if you walk a lot in the city on hard concrete and pavement. There's nothing magical about a Red Wing sole. The good thing about a well made shoe/boot though, they can be easily resoled instead of thrown away like shoes that are glued together.