SMALL LEATHER GOODS

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After years of development, we’re proud to announce the release of our line of small leather goods. We sat down with the mastermind behind the new wallets, zipper pouches and lanyards, Danny Karp, Senior Product Creator-Accessories for Red Wing Heritage, to learn more about what went into creating this line.

What are you most excited for with this product rollout?

I’m excited to see these goods that we’ve put so much time into developing go out into the world and get put to work. Knowing that our customers will be able to confidently count on these products every day makes the all the work worthwhile.

How did you decide on small leather goods?

This is a logical extension for Red Wing. Not only do we make the best footwear in the world, but we make the best leathers in the world. Our loyal customers were looking for the next move from us, and here it is.

What were your priorities during the design process?

Stylistically, we knew that these products needed to be classic and timeless across the board, but designed and executed for owners today. From a practicality perspective, we don’t design for the sake of design. We don’t add embellishments and decorative stitching just for the look. Every stitch has a reason to be there, and same as our footwear, is built with purpose.

What was your creative process like?

The research that went into the line goes back a few seasons. I wanted to make sure that we could provide a product that would be globally embraced in regards to concept, design and overall quality. I studied leather goods manufacturers all over the world. Taking note of what they did well and where I saw room for improvement. We made a point to combine heavyweight leathers with long-lasting stitch techniques to create a line that will proudly stand in line with our footwear and bear the Red Wing name.

What was the most memorable part of this process for you?

I can remember walking into the factory for a meeting one morning and realizing that the craftsmen and craftswomen around me had actually begun production of the small leather goods. I took a moment to look around and at every step, you could see them putting their hearts into creating each piece. From shopping globally, to designing and making decisions that eventually became the “DNA” or key details of the entire leather goods collection, it was humbling to see it all finally come to life.

What was involved in the process of selecting and developing leathers?

We worked hand in hand with our Red Wing tannery team at SB Foot throughout the process. This leather was specifically made for our leather goods collection. We wanted leather that’s struck through, meaning that color goes through the entire thickness of the leather. The leather needed to be robust and rigid, and it needed to be aniline or naked, with no protective top coat sealants. All of these factors combine to create leather that can last for a really long time, while developing a unique patina and character over the years.

Some of the small leather goods are made with vegetable tanned leather. Could you share a little bit more about this type of leather?

We started using vegetable tanned leather in the Heritage belt program a few years ago. We source our veg tan leather from Hermann Oak tannery. Compared to other veg tan leathers, theirs is more robust and durable. This comes from the old world technique that they’ve used since they opened their doors in 1881. They don’t cut corners to accelerate die and stain penetration, instead they allow the leather the time to fully make the most of the preserving process. For the leather goods, we decided to use their bridle leather, as it will age and patina beautifully with use. This leather has a very light tan color when first cut, but over time, with the natural oils in the owner’s skin and sunlight, the leather will darken and develop a slight sheen as the oils and waxes come to the surface.

What can owners expect with these goods down the road?

An old mentor of mine had a saying “design with the end in mind.” This has always stuck with me and was the driving force that motivated all of the time on developing the leather, and dialing-in the construction details so that the leather will develop its own unique patina and distinct character that gets better with use. Owners will be able to look back at the memories that they created with their piece and be able to pass it on to the next generation.

What do you hope the legacy of these wallets will be?

Just like our footwear. Timeless, classic and passed down from generation to generation. When our fans talk about Red Wing they share stories through their footwear. This will be the same for the small leather goods–creating stories and memories that can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Red Wing Heritage small leather goods are now available online and at select Red Wing Heritage retailers.

Red Wing Heritage has opened its first ever Women’s Store in Berlin

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After successfully launching their first Women’s Collection a year ago, Red Wing Heritage took the next step. The long-established company opened a store exclusively for women in Berlin early October – the first of its kind worldwide.

After opening 14 Heritage Stores globally, including nine in Europe with the latest one opening in Stockholm, Red Wing Heritage has now gone one step further by also focusing on female customers. After 50 years, the long-established brand from Minnesota reintroduced boots for women in September 2016 and now, one year after the successful launch, opened the world’s first Red Wing Heritage Women’s Store in Berlin – an important milestone in the 110-year old company history. The store is located just a stone’s throw away from the Red Wing Shoe Store (Münzstraße 8) and will of course offer the full Women’s Collection as well as selected products from other manufacturers. The new concept on the Almstadtstraße 1 is a project close to the heart of Allison Gettings and designer Gaal Levine, who were in charge of launching the Women’s Collection in 2016. Allison Gettings is a member of the family that owns the company and Director of Product for both the Women’s and the Men’s Collection.

Store owner Kay Knipschild is supporting the store opening with his long-standing connection to the brand as business partner and owner of the Red Wing Shoe Stores in Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The interior of the store authentically reflects the core values of the brand: tradition, craftsmanship, and the resulting quality label “made in the U.S.A.”, with the store design featuring a characteristic combination of leather, wood, and metal. Carefully selected vintage collectors’ items from the Red Wing company history round off the picture and handmade fabrics from the Minnesota region add a feminine touch to the store.

Photo: Max Schwarzmann

The collection is divided into the styles Modern, Core, and Legacy and offers boots for every occasion. The Women’s styles cover the needs of women through softer leather quality, less weight, an optimised fit, and a more feminine silhouette without losing the characteristic DNA of the brand. All according to the credo: quality above quantity.

Photo: Max Schwarzmann

Eat Dust Pecos

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Eat Dust is a Belgian denim brand based in Antwerp that is fueled by friendship and mutual interest. Eat Dust officially began life almost 7 years ago when Rob and Keith started the company out of their garage. They’d been friends for a few years before that and had pretty much been talking about doing something for themselves since the day they met. The guys chose the name Eat Dust over beers in their local bar and sketched-out their signature handlebar stitching on the back of a beer coaster, it was from that moment, Eat Dust really ‘kicked off’. Today it’s still just Rob and Keith running the company but thankfully they’ve also had a lot of friends help them out along the way. Eat Dust is not into making fashion, Eat Dust is about proper garments that will stand the test of time. http://www.eatdustclothing.com/

Keith – Photo: Jelle Keppens

Rob – Photo: Jelle Keppens

There has always been a natural bond between the two brands, based on mutual interests in quality, style, craftsmanship, materials, motorcycles, design, art, traveling, and work. We often see each other at different events in different places around the world. We usually meet at occasions at which fine drinks, nice food, loud music, and good times play an important role. It was at one such occasion that the first idea of a collaboration was born. Rob and Keith are long time Red Wing fans and have always had a special love for the Pecos style, so it was a natural decision to work together on a special Pecos boot. It was not long into the designing process that the decision was made to go with a two-tone red colored Pecos. Based on this idea, the Red Wing Shoe Company owned S.B Foot Tannery made the two special tanned leathers Oro-Russet Portage and Oro-Russet Abilene that now form the base of the Eat Dust x Red Wing Pecos, style #4327.

Don’t wait too long to get your Eat Dust x Red Wing Pecos, style #4327! This is a limited one-time production and only available at select locations. Look for stores that carry both Eat Dust and Red Wing and check out the Red Wing Shoe Stores in Europe. Available from15 September 2017

Photo: Jelle Keppens

Irish Setter Limited Edition

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In the postwar years of the last century, Red Wing Shoe Company introduced a 9-inch lace-up boot for sportsmen—bird and deer hunters who spent autumn days in the woods and marshes of North America. The boot called the Style No. 954, made use of leather tanned with the bark of sequoia trees that gave it a distinctive deep reddish-orange color known as “Oro Russet”. It was so similar to the coat of a certain breed of hunting dog that it was given the name, “Irish Setter”, in our 1950 catalog and it quickly became a popular boot.

In 1952, the Irish Setter evolved further, taking on a form that has come to be synonymous with Red Wing ever since. Retaining the distinctive moc toe of the 954, the new 8-inch Style No. 877 replaced its predecessor’s heel with a wedge sole made from a white crepe rubber that promised to be quiet underfoot in the woods. This sole had been used on shoes before but the No. 877 Irish Setter was the first to use it on a tall hunting boot. In addition to its benefits for the stalking hunter, its comfort also found favor on the job site and soon the Irish Setter was seen in the factories and on the scaffolds of a growing America.

Since the 1950s, the Irish Setter changed little from its origins. A 6-inch version and a few other colors were introduced, as well as some subtle new construction techniques but otherwise, it remained the same boot that was ceremonially presented to President Eisenhower in 1960. By the 1990s, the original No. 877 became simply known as the “Classic Work Boot”, while the Irish Setter name branched off for an entire family of hunting boots made by Red Wing.

A few years ago, we embarked on a project to recreate the iconic Irish Setter boot, as close to its original form as possible, for our Japanese market, where Red Wing has long enjoyed a loyal following. It was an ambitious undertaking. We dusted off old machines at our Minnesota factory, called in help from retired workers, and experimented with tanning methods that could recreate the original Oro Russet color but adhere to modern environmental practices. Finally, after three years, the boot made its debut. And now we’re bringing it back to the American market.

The new limited series Irish Setter appears as if out of a time machine from 1952. In addition to its matched color, which we’re now calling “Gold Russet Sequoia”, the boot has all the exacting details of its historic forebear. The “Red Wing” name is embossed on the inside quarter of the boot, the moc toe is finished with a distinctive rectangular bar-tack stitch, and the backstay chain-stitch is once again done on our ancient Puritan Stitch machine, which has its origins in the 1890s. We use the same mahogany and sage thread of the original, the top band is double-stitched, and the laces are leather instead of Taslan. All of these features are subtle differences from our standard No. 877 Classic Work Boot but they add up to an Irish Setter that is both unique and true to its name. Finally, to finish it off, we’ve added the traditional woven “Irish Setter” label inside the tongue and the boots come in a box that features the original logo and text from the 1950s.

While the limited series Irish Setter boots will no doubt be coveted by collectors who want a piece of history, these are Red Wing boots, after all, built for a lifetime of service. Like the faithful dog for which they’re named, they’ll come out of the box eager to head into the woods when the leaves start to fall in autumn, not afraid to get dirty. And we’d have it no other way.

 

How to take care of your Red Wing Roughout leather boots

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We’re kicking off a new series on the Journal this year in which we’ll take a closer look at the different leathers and other components Red Wing Heritage uses to build its footwear as well as the construction techniques we use. We call the series, Red Wing 101. 

New Iron Ranger 8083

Worn Iron Ranger 8083

Winter can be tough on your boots. Salt, mud and snow can wreak havoc on leather, requiring vigilant care to ward off the inevitable scuffs and discoloration. And while all leather can benefit from occasional TLC, there’s one that shrugs off abuse better than most: roughout.

Roughout leather is the underside of a hide’s grain, so the grain remains intact. To better visualize roughout, imagine a loaf of bread where the crust is the full grain. The roughout is the soft side of a slice at the end of the loaf; a split grain would be like the inner slices. This gives roughout a surface texture that not only wears well but doesn’t require as much care to keep looking good. Since it is a thick, full-grain leather, roughout also provides superior support and durability, a feature that made it popular with midcentury mountaineers as well as the military who used it for boots during World War II. Roughout combat boots also didn’t require as much care in the field, an added advantage for soldiers.

Worn Weekender 3321

 

Of course, all of these traits make roughout an excellent choice for Red Wing Heritage boots, such as our legendary Iron Ranger work boots, but we also use it for our more refined Merchant, where the oiled Muleskinner roughout stands up to slushy city streets. The matte finish and textured surface of roughout give the boots a slightly more dressed-down style, going well with jeans and chinos alike.

Merchant 8062

Though at first glance, roughout leather can resemble nubuck or suede, the three are quite different. Suede is usually made by splitting full grain leather, resulting in a thinner and less durable leather because there is no grain to keep the fibers intact. Nubuck is full grain leather that has the smooth side sanded to give it a more velvety texture. All three have their distinctive uses and advantages but it’s important to know the difference.

Worn Pecos 8188

While rough-out leather can take considerable abuse, you’ll still want to take care of your boots to keep them looking their best. Red Wing Heritage provides a Care Guide and has the right products to keep your rough-out boots going for a long, long time.

 

FOAM LEATHER CLEANER

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We’ll be the first to admit that Red Wing boots look good with a little dirt on them. After all, our origins are in factories, mines, forests and fields, where mud and dust are plentiful. But every now and then you’ve got to clean up—call it a “leather re-boot”—and to help with that, Red Wing Heritage offers our new Foam Leather Cleaner. Now, cleaning your boots can be almost as easy and fun as getting them dirty.

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Besides making your boots look good, cleaning also protects the leather to ensure it lasts for many years. If dirt and mud are left on your boots for long periods, it can dry out and break down the leather, causing it to crack, which makes boots difficult to restore. Our Foam Leather Cleaner works on every pair of Red Wing Heritage boots, from the muddy Moc Toes you wore mushroom hunting to your dusty Pecos that put in miles on the motorcycle.

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To use the Foam Leather Cleaner, you just mix two capfuls with three ounces of water and stir or shake until it’s good and foamy. Then apply it to your boots with a sponge, scrubbing the most stubborn stains with a cloth. Then just wipe off the excess and let the boots dry. Once they’re clean, your boots are ready for conditioning so they’re protected for further adventures. Then, it’s time to get them dirty all over again.

Red Wing 101: Roughout Leather

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We’re kicking off a new series on the Journal this year in which we’ll take a closer look at the different leathers and other components Red Wing Heritage uses to build its footwear as well as the construction techniques we use. We call the series, Red Wing 101. 

IronRanger8083_NewRoughout

New Iron Ranger 8083

IronRanger8113_RoughoutLeather

Worn Iron Ranger 8083

Winter can be tough on your boots. Salt, mud and snow can wreak havoc on leather, requiring vigilant care to ward off the inevitable scuffs and discoloration. And while all leather can benefit from occasional TLC, there’s one that shrugs off abuse better than most: roughout.

Roughout leather is the underside of a hide’s grain, so the grain remains intact. To better visualize roughout, imagine a loaf of bread where the crust is the full grain. The roughout is the soft side of a slice at the end of the loaf; a split grain would be like the inner slices. This gives roughout a surface texture that not only wears well but doesn’t require as much care to keep looking good. Since it is a thick, full-grain leather, roughout also provides superior support and durability, a feature that made it popular with midcentury mountaineers as well as the military who used it for boots during World War II. Roughout combat boots also didn’t require as much care in the field, an added advantage for soldiers.

Weekender3321_RoughoutLeather

Worn Weekender 3321

Of course, all of these traits make roughout an excellent choice for Red Wing Heritage boots, such as our legendary Iron Ranger work boots, but we also use it for our more refined Merchant, where the oiled Muleskinner roughout stands up to slushy city streets. The matte finish and textured surface of roughout give the boots a slightly more dressed-down style, going well with jeans and chinos alike.

Merchat8062_RoughoutLeather

Merchant 8062

Though at first glance, roughout leather can resemble nubuck or suede, the three are quite different. Suede is usually made by splitting full grain leather, resulting in a thinner and less durable leather because there is no grain to keep the fibers intact. Nubuck is full grain leather that has the smooth side sanded to give it a more velvety texture. All three have their distinctive uses and advantages but it’s important to know the difference.

Pecos8188_RoughoutLeather

Worn Pecos 8188

While roughout leather can take considerable abuse, you’ll still want to take care of your boots to keep them looking their best. Red Wing Heritage provides a Care Guide and has the right products to keep your roughout boots going for a long, long time.

Faces of Red Wing | Django Kroner

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Django Kroner_Red Wing Heritage

Django Kroner is most at home among trees, specifically those in the forests of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. But “at home” means something quite literal for this woodsman. Because Kroner actually lives in the trees, up in the branches, in treehouses he builds with his own hands. So passionate is he about this experience that Kroner wants to share it with others who seek a new perspective on things, particularly one many feet off the ground.

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“What I like about treehouses is, they ignite this really old flame in anyone,” he says, “It’s something that sparks your inner child.” Kroner and his company, Canopy Crew, build custom treehouses in addition to renting out two of his own, The Sylvan Float and The Observatory. The two arboreal abodes, which feature a mix of modern amenities with a decidedly rustic charm, are only the beginning though. Kroner’s master plan is to build a “treehouse village” where people can come and hear the creak of limbs and fall asleep while being rocked by the wind.

Kroner grew up in the Red River Gorge, hiking, camping, and building forts in the woods on vacations with his family. “Here you just lose track of the normal pace of everyday life and things slow way down,” he says of its appeal.

Roughneck 8146
Roughneck Style no. 8146

It’s not just living in the trees that slows down the pace. Building the treehouses themselves takes time, involving hauling materials through the forest, choosing suitable host trees, and then building the structures using hand tools, pulleys and a lot of rope. It’s a long process that requires great patience and a lot of care.

“I’m going to build with the best craftsmanship and put in the most thought as possible, and pour myself into it,” Kroner says, describing his uncompromising approach. It’s no surprise then, that Django Kroner wears Red Wing boots, which are not only rugged enough to stand up to the rigors of the work but are built with much of the same ethos as the treehouses—patient craftsmanship with a healthy respect for hard work and the outdoors. Red Wings are also right at home in the forest, whether in the undergrowth or up in the canopy. Just like Django Kroner.

Above and Beyond: Ashley Watson

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Who is Ashley Watson?

I’m a clothing designer living in London and I engineer functional clothing for travel by road. I balance the pace of the city with trips on my motorbike in search of space. Motorbikes mean different things to different people. To me, it’s about imagination, the possibility of where a bike can take you. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that a road, starting at your door, connects you to the distant corners of the world. Whether it’s a short run out of town or an expedition across a continent to me, at their core, they both share the same sense of freedom. This is what I design for.

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When it comes to testing his designs Ashley does not hold back or take shortcuts. To put his latest design, the “Eversholt Jacket” through its paces, Ashley set off for a trip in search of the toughest climates and terrains Europe has to offer. Wearing the Eversholt Jacket together with a pair of Red Wing Harvesters he rode across the blasting heat of central Spain, pushed through hours of driving rain, followed off-road tracks to secluded lakes and rode high in the Alps before dawn. Throughout the trip, Ashley searched for beautiful, untouched landscapes and photographed those he found. Here are some of the amazing photo’s Ashley took while testing the Eversholt Jacket.

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Red the full story on the website: ashleywatson.co.uk

Instagram: @__ashleywatson__

FACES OF RED WING | KRISTIN TEXEIRA

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rwhw_kristintexiera_0009

It is said that writing about art is akin to dancing about architecture, an endlessly elusive attempt to capture the essence of one with the other. But that’s exactly what artist Kristin Texeira does with her paintings, sketches and collages—capturing memories, experiences and places in color and shape.

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“Color is what I see when I hear music, taste wine, or read the titles of short stories,” Kristin says, “Through color I am trying to remedy nostalgia; my paintings are the vessels that ferry viewers back in time, so they can encounter a moment again and again.”

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Kristin is based in Brooklyn but is anything but rooted there. She is a frequent traveler, drawing inspiration from the places she visits—Paris, Florence, a small town in Massachusetts—and then translating the things she sees and the people she encounters into her “memory maps”. Her art is spare and minimalist but evocative, conveying a sense of place through a simple line or a combination of colors. To see one of her works is to be transported to a place and time that at once feels familiar even if you’ve never been there.

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Artists have muses but artists themselves can also be muses. Kristin’s work with color, experiences and moments in time are what made her a perfect one for Red Wing Heritage, inspiring us when we created the new Women’s Collection. Good boots are timeless, transcending fashion with a form born from function—rich leathers and construction details that have an inherent utilitarian beauty, evoking moments in the past while inspiring action and creativity. “Remedying nostalgia” is what we do too, taking the classic styles worn by strong women in the early 20th century and reinterpreting them for the strong, creative women of today, like Kristin Texeira.