INGO KELLER

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Ingo Keller is a well known cobbler in the Red Wing world, who started working as a cobbler in a traditional shoe repair shop in Cologne, Germany at the tender age of 20, just after finishing his shoe repair apprenticeship. In 1996, he decided it was time to become his own boss and he took over ownership of this shop. Today, he has over 30 years’ experience as a cobbler under his belt and his repair shop “Schuhmacherei Ingo Keller” is famous for its quality repairs and the customizing of Red Wing boots. During his long career, Ingo has gained the respect and the trust of many regular customers, some  of whom jokingly gave him the nick name ““Schuhgott” (German for “god of shoes”).

We visited the Schuhgott in his workshop to take some great photos of the space and of the machinery. Later, we met Ingo again at a traditional Brauhaus in Cologne called Haus Schwan. During some traditional German food, we talked about his shop and the cobbling world in general. Unfortunately, the meeting took place on a Friday during lunch time and we both had to work afterwards, so no, there were no Kölsch (typical Beer from Cologne) involved! 

Q: How did you get to know Red Wing?

A: About 10 years ago I had a customer, an actor, who used to come to my workshop and kept telling me: “Ingo, you have to start repairing Red Wing Shoes, they are really, really good.” This customer always drove to the RWSS in Frankfurt to get his Red Wings. At that point, I wasn’t really aware of Red Wing as a brand yet.

I became an official Red Wing cobbler when, by coincidence, I bumped into Guido and Sascha Wolf, who own the RWSS in Cologne. Naturally, we started talking about footwear and before I knew it, 4 hours had passed! Towards the end of this conversation, Sascha told me they were looking for a cobbler to support the RWSS in Cologne. Of course I did not hesitate, as I remembered how passionate some of my customers were about Red Wing and how well I got along with Guido and Sascha. I feel like this meeting could not have been a coincidence!

Q: Can you remember your first pair of Red Wings?

A: Of course. It was the 8113 Iron Ranger that I am wearing right now. I have rebuilt my pair using a leather midsole and the Vibram 430 mini-lug outsole.

Q: What is your favorite style?

A: That is impossible to say. I personally like a boot with a heel and have a very narrow foot, so the Iron Ranger is a good fit for me. But I would not be able to choose which style I love the most. When worn, every boot is beautiful in its own way.

Q:  What do you like about Red Wing?

A: Of course, I like the history of the brand and the long list of famous and non-famous people who have worn them, e.g. Jack Nicholson in 
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest”.

I also really like the setup of having RWSS offering a unique service and customer experience, paired with selected high quality retailers, and 
a network of cobblers, who offer a premium repair service.

Most of all, however, I really like the people who actually wear Red Wings. The way they love the brand and identify with it and your products fascinates me. Every shoe is different, due to different wear, different care, and just simply because of the person who wears the boot, and that’s what I find really interesting. When I receive a pair for a resole, I am always very curious about the story behind the boots. Whenever I get a chance to meet my customers, I always try to find out what stories surround every boot.

Q: Where do you receive most repairs from?

A: Most pairs are dropped off at the RWSS Cologne. I usually go to the store once or twice a week to pick up boots that need a resole or repair.

Besides that, boots are sent to me from all over Germany, especially from the Ruhr Valley Area with its great and vibrant biking scene, but also from everywhere in Europe and across the globe. Even customers from the US and Malaysia have sent boots for a resole. I guess most people become aware of my Instagram account and simply get in touch.

Q: What is the most requested repair service?

A: Most of my work for Red Wing is still resoling. I don’t get a lot of repairs or defects. Most customers don’t realize just how much work actually goes into what seems to be a simple process of resoling, though.

During every resole, the full sole construction is replaced and renewed. I fully deconstruct every pair, replace the cork filler if needed (this can become brittle from years of wear), and replace the midsole and outsole. And I also clean all parts of the boot. This takes a lot of work and skill.

Q: What do you think of the quality of Red Wing? You must also see and repair a lot of other footwear?

A: Red Wing uses extremely high quality leather. This is not only great for wear, it is also extremely easy to clean and repair. I think Red Wing offers great value. Of course you can buy more expensive boots, but in Red Wing’s price category, it is very difficult to find another boot of such high quality.

Q: How has the profession of cobbler changed?

A: In the 80s, all a cobbler did were repairs and resoles of lower quality footwear. Your work was expected to be cheap and quick. This has changed, as more and more people are spending a little more money on a good pair of shoes and understand that good things have their price and also take some time. This is true for shoemaking, just as much as for any other job. Fortunately, I have more and more customers who are willing to wait a week longer to get the quality of service they expect. 

Q: Your son also works in your workshop. He is 19, right? How do you think business will be when one day he will take over?

A: Yes, he is 19 and has 1 year of (cobbler) education left. I hope one day he will choose to continue running the business here in Cologne. 

I think there is a trend that will continue for a long time. Even though there are still a lot of people buying throw away items, there are more and more people that are interested in a more sustainable lifestyle. These people are also interested in a good pair of denim, a high quality shirt, and a good jacket. I think that this group is only going to continue growing in the next couple of years. 

Q: Do you still have a professional dream? What do you dream about? 

A: You know what, actually I am very, very happy at the moment. I was fortunate enough to have a great teacher in my cobbler education, who always told me that I should not only make the customer happy, but also myself by the time the customer left the shop. This is a valuable lesson I learned early on. My customers rightly demand a premium service, which takes time and also has its price. If the customers and I both realize this, both sides will be happy.

But I also apply this lesson to my work in general. I understand that my employees sometimes work 12-hour days to help me maintain a high level of quality. I therefore need and want to pay them accordingly. In a small, family-run business of 4-5 people, the personal relationship you have with employees is really important, because you spend so much time together, in our case in a really small space.

Q: Any advice you have for Red Wing owners or fans?

A: I think the most important advice to any Red Wing owner is to care for your boots and to respect the product you have purchased. Many people don’t use care products or are scared to use these products. Some people are even scared to clean their boots. To those people I would like to say that the leather Red Wing uses is made to withstand a lot of wear and tear, but it does also need some care from time to time.

Q: Any general rules of thumb in regards to care?

A: Please give your boots some rest from time to time. Ideally you set your boots aside after intensive usage to let them dry properly. I recommend using cedar or beech wood boot trees as they absorb moisture well. If you don’t own boot trees, you could also use newspaper, I guess. But boot trees are better.

In general, you should be able to tell when your boots need care. This depends on how much and in what conditions you wear your boots. The leather will start to look and feel dry and you will notice more creasing in the leather. This is an indication that you should apply some care product. If you are unsure which product to use, simply visit the care section on the redwingheritage.com website, then choose CARE GUIDES. After selecting your style, you will be guided to the right products and detailed care instructions.

On the other hand, do not overprotect your boots. Similar to your own skin, leather can only take in a certain amount of product. The rest will just stay on the surface. You should be able to identify when the leather is saturated by the leather’s ability to absorb the product you are using. Don’t use too much!

Please just make sure you use quality product on your boots. I always tell people: “If you own a Porsche, you would also choose a high quality oil for its engine. The same is true for your boots.”

Website: schuhgott.de

Instagram: @schuhgott_custom_shoe_repair

Facebook: Schuhmacherei Ingo Keller

EMILY VIKRE

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Emily Vikre is the co-founder and president of Vikre Distillery in Duluth, Minnesota. Blending a love of tradition, penchant for pushing boundaries, and inspiration gathered from Minnesota’s North Shore, she and her husband Joel have built Vikre into a nationally acclaimed distillery. Emily’s affinity for meticulous process is echoed in the Red Wing Women’s Collection, and we’re proud to showcase her passion for craft here.

You and your husband quit your office jobs to dive into this work. Could you elaborate on the calling that drove you to be more hands-on for a living?

With a lot of work, the further you advance in your career, oftentimes the further you get from doing hands-on work with real things and real people. And while my husband Joel and I are both idea people—we can’t stop ourselves from brainstorming and exploring non-concrete realities—we both become more alive when we ground ourselves in making. While none of us need a lot of things, we do need some things, and the world is such a beautiful, meaningful place, it seems to me that things should be beautiful and have intention and meaning behind them as well, if at all possible.

What sparked your passion for distilling, specifically?

It was one simple, fateful conversation. Joel and I were living in Boston at the time, but we were in Duluth on a frigid January night to visit my parents.  That night we learned the story behind a Swedish whiskey: a few guys from Sweden were fishing in Scotland and they got sick of hearing the Scots brag about how they have the best grain and water and peat, and therefore they make the best whiskey in the world. They thought to themselves, “We have all those things in Sweden, let’s go make whiskey.” So, they did! When we heard that story, we instantly thought, well, we have all those things in Minnesota! At the time, my passion lay much more with wine—and I am still definitely fascinated by wine—but as I started to research spirits, I fell in love with the history and traditions and creativity that good spirits are imbued with.

How does Vikre blend tradition and innovation to produce compelling products?

Tradition is often as much a mindset as it is an actual set of prescribed practices. So, you can take traditions and apply that mindset of making something carefully by hand, or using the ingredients grown on the land nearby, and you can keep the tradition fresh by adding contemporary things that are meaningful to you. We honor the traditional practices of making whiskey, but I may reach for unusual grains or try combinations of barrels that no one has tried before. Or, all of our gins include the backbone of traditional flavors that you’d expect in a gin, but then I push and pull them in new directions with local botanicals and other unusual flavors. We’re inspired by how it’s done elsewhere, but because there hasn’t been a particular “northern style” of most spirits, like gin or whiskey, we can pave our own way as well.

Vikre is a triple bottom line organization. How does this direct your work?

Joel and I both came from a background of working on social and environmental issues through academia and non-profits, and even though making booze seems like a pivot from that, we’ve found that a business inspired by Lake Superior can actually be an amazing platform for focusing on the environment and community that we love and rely upon. We are a zero landfill company. We source all of our ingredients organically or locally or both. We developed a closed-loop cooling water system to reduce our water use by over 70%. We pay a living wage for all employees and provide earned sick and safe time for them.

Vikre sources locally and creates tastes that reflect the terroir. Why is this important for you?

Terroir has long been important in the world of wine, and as we have emerged from a weird era of whipped cream and blue raspberry flavored vodka, terroir is starting to become something makers are exploring in spirits as well. This idea that the nature and culture of where a product is made can influence its flavor has always been critical to Scotch and some bourbons. Every place is unique, and terroir honors that. Instead of differentiating your products with flashy branding and micro-targeting a customer’s desires, you differentiate yourself in a tangible, place-based way.

Does your affinity for localization and thoughtful process inform your decision making when it comes to products or organizations you choose to support your personal life?

For sure! We try to have fewer things and have them be things made by people and companies we know personally, or at least whose practices we know. Joel builds a lot of our furniture. We focus on buying and cooking local foods, and we recently planted a little apple orchard and berries in our backyard. I’m passionate about art, and love to surround myself with it, so our house is filled with pieces from artists I’ve met around the state and around our place in Norway. I also work to support our local opera, ballet, and theater because I think the way the arts reflect life and bring people together around our shared humanity is so incredible and important. And, of course, we work to support local environmental organizations and projects.

What lies ahead for Vikre? Where do you hope to take things in the next few years?

Our hope is to continue to expand our distribution footprint, but to do so in a way that is intentional and sustainable. We are planning to add more products, but again with intention. There’s sort of this expectation of craft breweries and craft distilleries now that we should constantly be releasing new product. While that is fun and creatively stimulating, it’s not so much my style. It usually takes me quite a while before I’m happy enough with something to release it. But, we do have a few products in the works that I’m really excited about. And, we want to keep tackling new environmental goals, greening-up our whole supply chain.

To learn more about Vikre Distillery, you can follow them on Instagram
@vikredistillery or visit their website at www.vikredistillery.com

Emily is pictured wearing our New 3368 Sand Mohave Iron Ranger as well as our New 3435 Colorado Atanado Hazel.

GUSTAV FRINCH

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Not so long ago, we heard the story of Gustav Frich, an 18-year-old guy from Copenhagen, Denmark, who went on what the Australians call a “walkabout”.  He had decided to walk across Scotland from coast to coast in 10 days’ time. This by itself would already be a cool story, but what drew our attention especially was that he did it in a pair of 9016 Beckman boots. Three years after this hike, we bumped into Gustav, now 21, in Copenhagen while visiting the city and attending a Red Wing event. We sat down with a good glass of wine to talk about his experience.

Q: It came to our attention that 3 years ago, you hiked across Scotland in a pair of Beckman boots and that you even did some mountaineering in them! Why did you decide to walk all the way across Scotland in the first place?

A: I grew up with an anglophile grandfather, who, when talking of his youth overseas, always emphasized his hunting trips to the Scottish Highlands. Growing up seeing his photos and hearing his stories, I suppose the place got an almost mythical appeal to me, and when I turned 18, I thought, why not see for myself?

Q: Then of course the next question is why you walked in a pair of 9016 Beckman boots? Generally, they are not the first choice for some serious hiking or for climbing mountains!

A: I did the hike with a friend of mine, Valdemar, who already had some experience in hiking and mountaineering. He suggested we do a test hike to see how our gear held up, so we did. That’s when I found out my hiking boots were just not going to work for me – my feet were wet and sore, and there was no ventilation whatsoever because of the membrane.

So there I was, a week before the trip, with no boots and no money. That’s when I turned to my neighbor Anders, who works for Red Wing. Lucky for me, he had a pair of 9016 Beckman boots that were a bit too small for him, but a seemingly perfect fit for me. So I left the hiking boots at home and went with the Red Wings.

Q: I heard that during the trip, you did not actually go from town to town or use a professional navigation system, but that you had set a few GPS coordinates beforehand and just walked in a straight line wherever possible. On some days, you did not even see a single person. How did that work out and how did you find food and water?

A: It was tough, but rewarding. I’m very thankful my friend did some preparation with the GPS, as otherwise we would have been utterly lost. He brought some filters as well, so we could drink straight from the springs. We mostly ate freeze dried meals I had stuffed in my 70s rucksack at the last minute. I guess I thought we’d have more opportunities to re-stock – instead, we ended up losing an unhealthy amount of weight.

Q: What about the mountain you climbed? What was the mountain called?

A: Ben Nevis, it’s the tallest mountain on the British Isles. We decided to avoid the crowded main path, and tried to scale it from the other side, off-the-grid. It was irresponsible, but the views were amazing.

Q: How did the boots hold up during the trip? We are so curious! It’s not the first boot we think of for a serious hike…

A: The few other hikers we met looked baffled when they saw me in a pair of classic leather boots. But I couldn’t have been happier – they stayed dry when they had to, were never too hot, and my ankles didn’t break when climbing. I’ve given them a lot of abuse, but they’re holding up nicely – I’m actually going to wear them again this winter.

Q: Are you planning other hiking trips in the near future?

A: We’ve been talking about Iceland. We’ll have to stock up better on food this time, though. But the 9016 Beckman boots will be back on my feet for the hike!

 

Thank you for your time and for sharing your story with us, Gustav!

 

Roadside Repair Shop

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Nijverdal in the Netherlands had a brief moment of fame back in 1902, when gold was found there. However, the gold fever did not last very long and more or less ended before it even started. But until this day, Nijverdal remains the only place in the Netherlands where gold was ever found. Today, Nijverdal is home to Wouter and his Roadside Repair Shop. Here, he started messing around with motorcycles and decided to build his own custom motorbike.

While customizing his bike with his best friend Hans, Wouter struggled to find the parts he needed and struggled even more to find them at an affordable price. Whenever he did manage to find a batch of affordable customize products, he bought up the entire batch and then started reselling the parts he didn’t need on the internet. This turned out to be a gold mine. Within no time, he got rid of the extra parts and made some money on the side. This is how the Roadside Repair Shop slowly came into existence.

Because of the extensive experience Wouter has in customizing bikes (he even rebuilt a complete retro Shovel!), he knows what bike builders and customizers need and are looking for… he knows because he is one of them. This is why his business grew fast and became a known name in the bike customizing world. Today, there are even a few serious custom part suppliers partnered up with Roadside to sell their products.

875 Classic Moc

As many motorbike riders do, Wouter wears Red Wing boots when riding and working. Red Wing offers everything he needs: comfort, style, and they hold up in different weather conditions. Wouter owns several pairs, some of which are well used, and his boot of choice is the Moc Toe. Nothing quite says “Red Wing” like a Moc Toe boot with a white polyurethane outsole does. It’s a style that Red Wing started making in the 1950s for sportsmen, but it worked equally well on farms, bikes, and in factories. The Traction Tred sole has minimal tread that sheds mud and provides the underfoot comfort the work day requires. The crescent-shaped stitching on the toe was inspired by the construction of the shoes, or “moccasins” originally worn by the North American Algonquin Indians. The Classic Moc Toe boots have since become a legend.

8130 Classic Moc

8881 Classic Moc

When you are planning your next road-trip, make sure you visit the Roadside Repair Shop. Wouter is a perfect host and his store has so much good stuff to check out. And even though no more gold can be found there today, the area in which Roadside is located still has one of the best sceneries in the Netherlands with perfect riding roads, so don’t hesitate and get on your bikes!

web: roadsiderepairshop.com

Instagram: @roadside_repair_shop

 

Photo’s & video’s – www.evstudio.nl

 

Where It All Started: Red Wing, Minnesota

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Birthplace of an Icon: Red Wing, Minnesota

A walk down Main Street in Red Wing, Minnesota tells a tale of the city’s successes, past and present. Red brick buildings line the idyllic street, as people and cars flow through the heart of the city. Among the historic buildings, the Red Wing Shoes Museum stands as a tribute to the 112-year legacy of the company. Nestled along the Mississippi River in Southern Minnesota, Red Wing is home to just over 16,000 people. It may seem surprising that a brand with global reach would not only begin in a small city in the Midwest, but remain there for over a century. However, a look back shows how the city and its people made Red Wing, Minnesota the perfect place to build a lasting legacy of American-made footwear.

Prior to European-American settlement, the Mdewakanton Sioux made the area along the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Southern Minnesota their home. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States Army began to explore the northern reaches of the Mississippi River. Reaching what is now Southern Minnesota in 1805, the Army first encountered Chief Red Wing, for whom the city is now named. In 1851, the Treaty of Mendota transferred ownership of native lands to the United States government. White settlement in Southern Minnesota began shortly thereafter, and Red Wing was incorporated as a city in 1857.

 

Photo courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc. Corporate Archives

 

The Homestead Act of 1862 sparked the land rush in the Western United States, and Red Wing quickly grew as Norwegians, Swedes, Germans and New Englanders populated the area. Among the new residents of the area were thousands of women who actively worked the fields, setting the tone for a community with strong female leaders. In the fertile lands in the Mississippi River Valley, vast fields of wheat were planted, and in 1873 Red Wing was recognized as the world’s largest producer of the grain.

 

Photo courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc. Corporate Archives

 

Growing demand for leather products and a lack of reliable sources for tanned leather paved the way for local resident Silas B. Foot to open Trout Brook Tannery (later renamed S.B. Foot Tannery) in 1872. During this time, the demand for durable work footwear began to grow along with the growing immigrant community settling in the area. In 1905, the tannery began to supply leather to a local “shoe jobber” named Charles Beckman, who had founded the Red Wing Shoe Company that year. The combination of a commitment to quality leather and the craftsmanship of Red Wing Shoes would create a partnership that survives, unbroken, to this day.

In 1986, Red Wing Shoes acquired S.B. Foot Tanning Company, continuing the tradition of quality-first, Red Wing family-owned business. The tannery remains in operation today, providing much of the leather for Red Wing footwear, using updated techniques originally developed by Silas and E.H Foot. Today, Red Wing footwear is still handmade on the banks of the Mississippi in the city where Charles Beckman first started it all. The company has grown along with the city, today employing over 1000 people. For many of Red Wing’s employees, footwear is a family affair. Stretching all the way back to the early years of the company, generations of family members have worked to build shoes, and in the process, build the legacy of the company that has called Red Wing home for 112 years and counting.

Photo courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc. Corporate Archives

ERIKA DURAN

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Erika Duran is a Philadelphia-based embroiderer whose work is inspired by her upbringing in the desert of West Texas. Duran’s business Eradura is a one-woman shop that specializes in intricately crafted patches and striking pins, many of which stylistically reflect her time spent in the southwest.

“I think the desert landscape, with its spindly brush and bleached sand, not only shaped my visual language and aesthetic, but my entire sense of self,” Erika reflects. “It takes resilience and endurance to survive in a place that can be harsh and lonely.”

This hard-earned toughness prepared Erika for the challenges of her work and is unmistakably a foundational characteristic of the Red Wing Women’s Collection. It’s this resilience, coupled with Erika’s passion for craft that drew us to her as a kindred spirit of our women’s collection this season.

Erika traces the genesis of her passion for making back to watching her grandmother sew dresses growing up. When she took the plunge into independent embroidery, it was a saying of her abuelita’s that inspired confidence: “Que no se te cierren las puertas.” Meaning, “Don’t let opportunities close on you, there’s a way.”

“My abuelita’s work gave me the initial belief that I could be an independent maker. Her immense work ethic, creative vision and dedication to her craft all coalesced between the four walls of her backyard shop. She was a commander of the room, and I fell completely in love with that idea.”

A defining characteristic of Erika’s embroidery is how she brings her designs to life entirely by hand. Eschewing machines, she relies entirely on unwavering hands and patience for the intensely meticulous and time-consuming needlepoint process.

“Maybe it’s a bit of my own stubbornness, but the actual making, the handwork that goes in to every little bit, is what I feel gives an object its soul,” Erika says. “The unique textures and irregularities that come from needlepoint create a visual map of how a piece came together– the slow crawl of a stitch, seemingly impossibly, eventually filling space.”

Erika’s appreciation for the detail and process of craft is echoed in her affinity for Red Wing.

 

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.