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Red Wing Boots: A Timeless American Icon - Are They Worth It?

CEO Tinh Phung
In today’s edition of our review series, "Is It Worth It?", we delve into the world of Red Wing boots. These boots have long been a staple in American workwear, but now they are making...

In today’s edition of our review series, "Is It Worth It?", we delve into the world of Red Wing boots. These boots have long been a staple in American workwear, but now they are making a splash in fashion-forward circles as well. The question on everyone's mind is, are they worth the price? Let's find out!

History of Red Wing Shoe Company

Before we dive into the present, let's take a step back in time. The Red Wing Shoe Company, a family-owned business, was established in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota. However, the story of Red Wing goes even further back. In the late 1800s, Red Wing was known for its wheat production and thriving stoneware industry. It was during this time that Charles Beckman, a keen-eyed shoe seller and businessman, noticed a need for better-fitting footwear among carpenters and blacksmiths in the city.

After facing initial setbacks, Charles teamed up with other investors and launched the Red Wing shoe company. By 1912, the company had achieved significant success with its innovative "Black and Brown Chief" boot, designed for farmers working on their land.

Red Wing Shoes in WWI

As World War I unfolded, men left their factory jobs to serve in the war, and women stepped in to fill their roles. One particularly popular style during this time was the 1088 Pershing boot, which Red Wing continued to produce until 1965.

Recent Years

Fast-forward to the present, and Red Wing boots have transcended their workwear origins. In the 1960s and 70s, these boots gained popularity beyond their original target audience. More recently, a partnership with J.Crew in 2007 launched the Heritage Collection, combining the classic Red Wing aesthetic with a modern twist.

Today, Red Wing boots are worn by fashion-forward individuals, often associated with the label "hipster." The Classic 6-Inch Moc-Toe boot from the Heritage Collection has become an iconic style loved by many.

A Tour of The Factory

To truly appreciate the legacy of Red Wing boots, one must visit their factory in Red Wing, Minnesota. The century-old factory holds a wealth of history and passion. During a tour, visitors can witness the craftsmanship that goes into each pair of boots, from dyeing the leather to stitching the soles.

How Red Wing Shoes Are Made

Crafting a high-quality Red Wing boot is a labor-intensive process. Many of the shoes are hand-stitched, as modern technology doesn't meet Red Wing's standards. The journey begins with the finest leather from the SB Foot Tannery, which Red Wing acquired in 1986. The leather undergoes various steps, from tanning to cutting and fitting, before moving on to the lasting and bottom departments. Finally, the boots are thoroughly inspected and prepared for distribution worldwide.

Leather Care & Maintenance

To keep your Red Wing boots in pristine condition, proper care is essential. Different types of leather require specific treatment. Red Wing recommends using their all-natural boot oil for the Iron Ranger style or any product designed for calfskin leather. Should your boots need repair or resoling, Red Wing offers repair services to extend their lifespan.

The Verdict

Now for the ultimate question: Are Red Wing boots worth it? The answer lies in your intended use. If you need a rugged and durable boot for outdoor work, Red Wing has you covered. However, if you're a fashion enthusiast who appreciates the Heritage Collection's timeless style, Red Wing boots offer versatility and unbeatable craftsmanship.

While Red Wing boots might carry a higher price tag, it's important to consider the production costs associated with manufacturing in the USA. Furthermore, a visit to the Red Wing factory showcases the meticulous attention to detail that goes into each pair.

Based on my personal experience of owning Red Wing boots for nearly 10 years, I can confidently say they are worth the investment. The quality construction, durability, and ability to pair them with various outfits throughout the year speak volumes.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose the Iron Ranger 8111 or the Classic 6-Inch Moc-Toe style, Red Wing boots are sure to become a staple in your wardrobe. So treat yourself to a pair and enjoy the comfort, style, and undeniable American heritage these iconic boots offer.