The historical work boot most similar to the Merchant is style 245 from 1920, which was made without a toe-box, but instead featured a plain toe and raw cut at the quarter edge. The Merchant is built on the 8 last, which is also used for the Blacksmith. But because of the missing toe-box, the Merchant has a slimmer look and a lower toe profile than the Blacksmith. Sole: The Merchant is built on a Chemi Gum sole, which Red Wing has been using for work boots since 1964 and is now introducing in the Heritage line. Featuring a lower cork content than the Nitrile Cork sole. The Chemi Gum sole creates a clean, slim, and lightweight boot. Leather Ebony Harness.