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. 

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New Iron Ranger 8083

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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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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.

Red Wing Shoe Store Vienna

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On October, 13th 2016 the 8th European Red Wing Shoe Store opened its gates in Vienna. The store is situated in the 7th Bezirk, an energetic area surrounded by new and traditional store concepts, and a variety of places to eat and drink.

Red Wing Shoe Store Vienna

The Red Wing Heritage Collection, including the newly launched Women’s Collection, will come to life in a 100 m2 space, making it the largest Red Wing Shoe Store in Europe to this date. The store will offer its guests the complete Red Wing experience, which includes advice on proper fit and boot care, knowledge of leather and construction, and the possibility for repair and resoling with original parts. In addition to the boots, the store will also offer selected products of the high-quality brands Filson and Stetson. Aside from quality and service, the store is also always a good place to visit simply for having a coffee and enjoying a talk among friends.

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Red Wing Shoe Store Vienna –  Lerchenfelderstr. 65 – 1070 Vienna

(Photo: Giorgio Sironi for Uomo+)

Faces of Red Wing | Taylor Johnston

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“In keeping with the outstanding tradition of American-made workwear, our collection highlights American utility and construction,” reads the “About Us” page of Gamine Workwear’s website. “The inspiration… grew out of hard work, and the desire to create products where form and functionality are not mutually exclusive.”

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Reading this, you can see why Gamine’s founder, Taylor Johnston, became one of the muses for Red Wing’s new Women’s Collection. Taylor embodies what our new boots are all about—versatile, hard-working but resolutely feminine. As a horticulturist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and knows the value of durable gear, which is why she wears Red Wing boots. It’s also why she started her own workwear company in 2014 to make honest, hard-wearing clothes for women, products she tests in her greenhouse and which are built to last through years of use.

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After studying horticulture and geology as an undergraduate, Taylor earned a Master’s Degree in philosophy, but decided she would get more satisfaction digging in the dirt, so she went back to her first love—gardening. “It’s a job that requires a lot of intelligence and finesse, and working with your hands,” Taylor says about her profession. She adds that making workwear for people in the trades, “brings attention to the types of people who are proud and hold a lot of character.”

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We couldn’t agree more. Our new Women’s Collection boots are built with the idea in mind that hard work and beauty are not mutually exclusive. American-made out of durable materials, with a nod to the past but ready for years of service, our boots celebrate those women who like to dig in the dirt—like Taylor Johnston.

 

THE COOPER – MOC TOE, REIMAGINED

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The Cooper, Style No: 2954 & 2964
The Cooper, Style No: 2954 & 2964

The so called “Moc Toe” is arguably Red Wing’s most famous trait, found on boots dating back to the earliest days of the company. At first favored by sportsmen in the field, our famous Moc Toe 875 and 877 boots were later adopted as the footwear of choice by the  ironworkers and farmhands who were building and feeding America in the middle of the 20th century. Now, a new boot joins this legendary legacy—the Cooper.

Style No. 2964
Style No. 2964

Named for the woodworkers who build barrels and casks, the Cooper takes the classic silhouette of the Red Wing Moc Toe and adds a Vibram 430 Mini-Lug outsole. The Mini-Lug offers a greater measure of traction when you need it—in the mud and snow of the coming season—while keeping a low profile for more refined forays. And the rest of the Cooper is up for it too, with sturdy leathers from our S.B. Foot tannery that shrug off dirt, abrasion and moisture for a lifetime of service. Goodyear welt construction ensures durability and can be resoled as often as you wear them out, which won’t be easy to do, but it’s nice to know.

Style No. 2954
Style No. 2954

The Cooper is available in Amber Porter and Black Harness leather, civilized enough for the office, rugged enough for weekends at the cabin. It’s the iconic Red Wing Moc Toe boot, reimagined.

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Faces of Red Wing | David Mahaffey

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David Mahaffey is part of a dying breed. In a time of specialist, he is a generalist, a true renaissance man. David grew up woodworking and playing sports in rural West Texas, spent time in the Navy, studied and taught at Harvard and traveled around the world shooting photos for Polaroid before settling in Napa, CA at the age of 30 to “drive a tractor”. He taught himself how to grow grapes and make wine and 38 years later he produces some of the most delicious and unique Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the Country.

David’s victorian home in downtown Napa is surrounded by fruiting trees and with a backyard garden producing various types of greens, tomatoes, beans, peas and root vegetables. In the corner is a redwood hot tub that he built which is, of course, heated by solar panels seated on the roof of his woodshop. In the woodshop you’ll find antique tools belonging to his father and grandfather, a lathe that could turn a tree trunk and the starting of custom guitar. Across an apple tree from the wood shop is a traditional Japanese style cabin free of metal hardware. He built it with pegs so that he could, conceivably, deconstruct it at some point if it need to be moved. The floor is made of meticulously placed wine corks on end.

A life of learning and nonstop inspiration seems to be David’s goal and it shows in his work. He farms a rocky, windy hillside vineyard constantly battling various wild animals eager for that sweet nectar of the Organic grape vines of the Olivia Brion Vineyard. 2016 will be David’s 36th vintage as he began in 1980 and his experience shows in the quality of the wine that very uniquely represents the characteristics of this special site.

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You seem to be quite the Renaissance man. What are your top 5 favorite ways to spend your time?

I am passionate about my winemaking. It is my career and my livelihood. I spent a good chunk of the weekend bent over the lathe with a chunk of exotic rosewood from costa rica. I can’t wait to spend more time exploring the American West hiking and being out of doors. I love being outside and taking photos, camping and whitewater boating.

What is the name of your winery and what makes your wines unique?

The name of the winery is Olivia Brion and the uniqueness factor for my wines has to do with the place we grow them. We have the distinction of having the only winery with its own designated appellation which is called Wild Horse Valley. We are the only winery in that appellation. It is special because of soil type and altitude. I am also still a student of the craft of winemaking. I think there is always more to learn to building and assembling the wine, which is how i think of it.

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What is the most challenging part of growing grapes and making wine that most people don’t realize?

Honestly, sales and marketing but that’s not so sexy… Beyond that it would be the challenge of keeping everything clean and embracing nature’s microflora to work with the wine and not against. Also, it’s especially challenging working with a vineyard that is out on the edge in a unique vineyard site that is rocky and windy. Not to mention extended drought.

Why Organic?

For the same reasons I farm organically in my tomato garden in my backyard. I am looking for the maximum amount of flavor and I find that organic farming and gardening gives me the most flavorful material to work with.

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How do you collectively draw from your varied interests and apply a unique perspective to each?

Alfred Einstein said that he wasn’t particularly special but that he was extraordinarily curious. And to the degree that I’m interested in lots of things has to do with the foundation of curiosity. Im curious about the way the world works. Im curious about the way people interact. So my curiosity is what drives my passion and interest in the wide range of areas I work in.

First real job out of High School?

Out of highschool and out of the navy, I was traveling and photographing. I felt very lucky that in my 20s I got to photograph for Polaroid. I spent time visiting every state in the Union and around the world.

Who are your top 3 most inspiring photographers?

Ansel Adams because of the way he saw yosemite and the range of light. Taught showed so many people how to see a place and to see differently. He was a great practitioner and a great teacher.

Henri Cartier Bresson because of his ability to live in the moment and to capture the decisive moment and be prepared to catch something that was happening that was fleeting.

Christopher Burkett because of his astonishingly beautiful color photographs of real world.

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When did you get hooked on woodworking?

I was lucky to grow up with wood tools around me. My dad had taught industrial arts and we had a nice shop at our house. So when I needed a spinning top instead of buying one at the hardware store, I started designing and making my own tops. I realized that turning a top on the lathe could be gratifying to have something unique, functional and different from everyone else’s. I also fell in love with furniture once I needed furniture for myself. Im now trying to build a really special guitar so that I can, as a later in life project, teach myself how to play the guitar.

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I heard you say you rode motorcycles for much of your life. What was the most memorable trip?

A cross country trip in 1979 from California to Massachusetts by myself with only saddle bags and smelling the whole country. I was on a mid 70s BMW 750 cafe racer.

What is the most satisfying thing about being in the wine biz?

The most satisfying part of wine business is that it requires that I know something about a lot of areas. From tractor driving and maintenance to wild animal control as well as working with graphic design. Very few businesses that produce their own goods, do their own marketing and advertising, and sell it all the way to the end user. That multi-disciplinary approach is really satisfying and interesting to me because it demands that I know something about a lot of different areas.

One bit of advice for young creative people?

Most simply it would be to constantly be in a state of beginners mind, to teach yourself something all the time.

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David’s Round Toe 8196 are the perfect “do everything” boot for the various tasks and interests that he pursues – from selling to restaurants, driving the tractor, to cleaning the wine bins.

Redefining “Lady-Like”: Introducing the Women’s Collection

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There was a time when only men wore trousers. But that changed in the early 20th century when ladies traded their dresses and skirts for long pants. That’s because pants are simply better for riding horses, climbing mountains, or flying airplanes, things women started doing with greater frequency. These were the same strong women who fought for voting rights and worked in factories during two World Wars. In the 1920s, Red Wing Shoe Company started selling women’s shoes and boots that were up to the rigors of these new feminine adventures—rugged and functional, redefining what was “lady-like”.

Barn Bluff, Red Wing, 1938. Photo courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., Red Wing, MN
Barn Bluff, 1938. Photo courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Co, Inc., Red Wing, MN

 

Now we’re doing it again. Introducing the Women’s Collection from Red Wing Heritage.

Gloria from the Legacy Collection
Style no: 3386, Gloria. From the Legacy Collection

 

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The new Women’s Collection not only pays tribute to our 20th century history, but is also inspired by the independent women of today. The collection is made up of three distinct families. The Legacy boots are directly inspired by two boots we made in the early 20th century—tall, rugged and refined. The Modern collection reinterprets classic shapes—a chukka, a Chelsea, and a lace-up—with a stacked leather heel and feminine lines, which make them both practical and stylish. And finally, the Core boots take classics from our men’s line that women have long cherished, and cut them leaner and more comfortable for a woman’s foot while keeping the legendary Red Wing toughness.

Style no: 3365, Iron Ranger. From the Core Collection.
Style no: 3365, Iron Ranger. From the Core Collection.

 

All of the boots in the Women’s Collection retain the hallmarks that have made us who we are. We use top quality leathers from our own S.B. Foot tannery, the same as we have since the beginning. All the boots are stitched together for unsurpassed durability, using Goodyear welt construction that makes them stronger and resoleable for a lifetime of wear.

When we decided to create the Women’s Collection, we knew the perfect person to spearhead its development: Allison Gettings. Allison embodies all that is a Red Wing woman—literally. Her great-grandfather, grandfather, and father have all taken a turn at the helm of Red Wing Shoe Company since the 1920s. Allison remembers visiting our offices and factories as a child, no doubt smelling the leathers and hearing the machines that have long been used to skive, stitch and nail boots together. Two years ago we tasked Allison with the launch of the Women’s Collection, a job for which she was seemingly born and, after ten years working at Red Wing, a challenge she was ready to take on.

Allison Gettings, Director of Heritage Product Creation.
Allison Gettings, Director of Heritage Product Creation.

 

“We wanted to start with a tight collection that has really strong ties to our Red Wing DNA,” Allison says, “but we wanted to have a large enough collection with enough gravity that would appeal to customers who know Red Wing, but also those who are maybe new to the brand.”

Allison points to the Gloria boot as an entry point to the women’s line, a tall lace-up that pays homage to the first boot Red Wing made for women in 1926. “It’s important to us that we make these boots to not only look like ones we made in the past, but are actually made in the same way, with the craftsmanship and materials that we used when we first made these shoes.”

Of course, getting nine new styles created was a tall order and not one Allison did herself. For help, she turned to talented designer, Gaal Levine, to start penning the new boots. Gaal drew from her experience in footwear design but also found inspiration in Red Wing’s company archives.

Gaal Levine, Women's Footwear Designer.
Gaal Levine, Women’s Footwear Designer.

 

“When I first came here, I spent some time doing a deep dive in the archives, looking through old catalogs to see what made sense to bring back.” Gaal counts herself as lucky to work for a footwear company that has its own company archivist. And its own tannery. During the design and prototyping phase, Gaal and Allison were able to talk to the master tanner at S.B. Foot about what was possible—new colors and leathers that suited the unique requirements of building boots for women.

Style no: 3396, Lillian. From The Modern Collection.
Style no: 3396, Lillian. From the Modern Collection.

 

Women have long favored Red Wing boots and often would wear our men’s boots in smaller sizes. But the new collection is designed just for them, with lighter weight and softer leathers, more cushioned fiber insoles, and built around all new lasts that are tailored for women’s feet. So while the Engineer, Iron Ranger and Moc Toe of the new Core collection may look like their masculine counterparts, they’re entirely feminine, from the ground up.

While the Women’s Collection is new to Red Wing Heritage, making women’s shoes is not new to Red Wing. 90 years after we made our first boots for strong, independent women, we’re making them again, just as tough and beautiful as ever. Just like the women we make them for.