we sent Matthew Hranek, author of the men’s style blog William Brown Project
, to the
Minnesota headquarters of Red Wing Shoes® for a closer look at the handcrafted details
that make their boots so special
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Red Wing founder Charles Beckman began making workboots in 1905 after he
couldn’t find an existing style he liked. His design combined leather, buckles and
laces for a snug fit.
HIDE AND SEEK
Each Red Wing boot is crafted from leather sourced directly from the S.B. Foot
Tanning Company, a local tannery that’s been around since 1872 and is still
considered one of the best tanneries in the United States. (They’ve been
Red Wing’s sole supplier from day one.)
The process of die-cutting originated in the mid-19th century, and craftsmen at S.B.
Foot Tanning still cut all their leather by hand (using metal dies such
as these) to this day.
STITCH IN TIME
A Red Wing boot can be identified by the signature triple stitching, which is done by
hand using original Puritan sewing machines that date back to 1905.
Every single stitch and grommet of each boot is eyeballed by a team of skilled
sewers with robotic-like accuracy.
Red Wing boots are constructed with a rugged Goodyear welt for durability, but should
you need to, you can send them back to the factory to have them resoled. (The small
charge is totally worth it—they’ll come back good as new.)
DETAIL BY DESIGN
J.Crew’s design team has been collaborating with Red Wing since 2007,
creating custom styles (like the Wabasha and the Beckman) that
you won’t find anywhere else.