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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.When Red Wing Shoe Company was founded in 1905, streets were still muddy, travel was still largely by train or horse-drawn and daily life a little more demanding. So footwear had to be versatileeven a shop owner or banker needed shoes that could keep feet safe and dry but brush off and look good while doing business. The Merchant is a direct descendant of those earliest boots we made, like the style 245 from 1920.