Red Wing Moc Toe 8882

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Blue! Built with Indigo Portage leather, we welcome style no.8882 to the family. This unique indigo color pays respect to the blue collar worker who initially adopted the iconic 875 work boot in their daily lifes and made Red Wing Shoe Company flourish in the 1950’s.
First introduced in 1953, Red Wing’s moc toe styles are built with the same attention to detail as the boots built long ago. The 8882 is built with premium leather tanned at Red Wing Shoes’ Minnesota tannery and made in the plant located just down the road. The boot is available now at selected retailers.

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Faces of Red Wing | Colin Spoelman

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KC_6 Colin Spoelman runs the oldest distillery in New York City, Kings County Distillery. While that description may sound a bit grand for a five-year-old distillery, Spoelman is very much steeped in old whiskey culture. He grew up in Kentucky, America’s whiskey heartland, and with a healthy DIY attitude launched his Brooklyn-based whiskey brand right as the thirst for craft distilling began to take hold in the U.S., putting him, and his distillery, at the forefront of the craft spirit movement. Spoelman spends most of his time at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a 115-year-old brick building that serves as the headquarters for King County Distillery. On a recent muggy August day the distillery was filled with the sweet smell of whiskey-soaked barrels, and it was there we caught up with Spoelman to discuss his passion for distilling and craft whiskey.

Tell us about your path into distilling, growing up in Kentucky and what that meant.
Interestingly enough my parents didn’t drink. it was a dry county, so there were no bars or liquor stores. Very different culture of alcohol. I grew up going to a bootlegger who was just a guy, not necessarily making moonshine, but he would go into Virginia and buy commercial alcohol and sell it to high school kids and alcoholics.
I moved to New York and would periodically go back and visit the bootleggers, and some of them did sell moonshine. And knowing that people in New York were kind of curious about that, I’d bring it back and share it with people. And that got me interested in this culture I had left, which is really a culture of a lot of homemade stuff.

Did you learn from anyone?
No, because there’s really nobody who really knows how to do it anymore. There are some old-timers in Kentucky but they don’t really like to talk about it.

It’s secretive…
Yeah, but that being said, there are books that are out there. It’s basically home-brewing and then going one step further. The science is pretty straightforward. My experience as a startup hobby distiller was: Wow this is surprisingly easy, and surprisingly easy to make stuff that is comparable or better than commercial whiskeys that are out there.
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Tales from behind the counter | Red Wing Shoe Store Berlin

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Mick_blogA new pair of Red Wing boots is like a blank sheet of paper. But the longer you wear your shoes, the more this sheet becomes a chronicle of past events. Scratches, spots, and stains tell of manifold experiences and, as time moves on, a simple pair of shoes will come to tell the story of your life. At Red Wing Shoe Store Berlin, we are the proud owners of the largest vintage Red Wing collection in Europe. 300 pairs from the 1930s up to the 2000s. Aviator boots from the 30’s, hunting boots from the 50’s, gentleman’s boots from the 60’s. These boots have walked through countless countries. They have been to the tops of mountains, the shores of oceans, and the major cities in the world. Weathered and beaten, all of them have acquired a unique character, and if they could talk, each pair would have one hell of a story to tell.

Even though there is a very active trade in worn-in boots, we don’t sell any of them, but challenge our customers to start wearing in their own boot, which will have a story of its own to tell soon enough. After all, those pairs will be the most precious in the end.

I remember an Italian biker who came in one Saturday wearing his 35-year old pair of Engineer boots. The black leather had turned grey and marks on the boot hinted at numerous motorbike adventures. The outsoles were in poor condition though and he asked desperately whether we could fix them. He had had them resoled elsewhere, and the job had been done poorly. Unfortunately, that had rung in the final round in their 35 years of companionship. Feeling sorry for him, Mick offered to give his boots a place in the collection in exchange for a free pair. The biker smiled: “Even if I can’t wear my boots anymore, there’s too many memories tied to them. One can’t leave such a thing behind…”

Our most special pieces are probably the ‘Skytrooper’ Jump Boots. These myth-enshrouded, very rare shoes were produced by Red Wing Shoe Company from the early 40’s to 50’s and served as footgear for American Paratroopers during WWII. Soldiers wearing these boots were dropped from the sky and had to work their way through any kind of terrain or situation. It is impossible to track single story lines some 70 years later, but it is safe to say that both, wearers and shoes, went through experiences we cannot even imagine today. These pairs are no longer blank sheets, but completed books. They tell more than an individual story; these boots have become part of history.

Written by Mick Adler.
www.redwingberlin.com

How to take care of your Red Wing Roughout leather boots

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Red Wing Roughout leather is created using a reverse-suede technique. While most tanneries split, thin and weaken the hide to create the rough suede surface, we simply use the other side of the hide. By doing so, we avoid splitting or thinning our full-grain hides. This makes our Roughout leather just as strong and durable as our other leathers. Or visit our shoecare instructions page here.

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Red Wing Anniversary Boot – The Huntsman

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2015_1Introduced in 1936, Red Wing Shoes’ popular no. 668 was marketed as “The Bird Shooter’s Boot.” The 668 debuted as one of the company’s first hunting boots and quickly became a boot of choice for long days outdoors. Over time, the 668 would eventually evolve into Red Wing’s iconic style no. 877. Red Wing Heritage is re-imaging the 668 for our company’s 110-year anniversary with the introduction of ‘the Huntsman’. Inspired by our early hunt boot designs, the Huntsman is an 8-inch lace-up leather boot built with Black Klondike leather and the same Gro-Cord sole material as the original 668. This rubber sole was an innovation at a time in which leather soles were commonplace. The Gro-Cord sole allowed sportsmen to move silently in the field. Featuring gunmetal eyelets, rawhide leather laces and the 668’s signature sole, The Huntsman pays high respects to Red Wing Shoe Company’s sportsman heritage.2015_blog

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The skill of leather cutting

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Just because we’ve been making shoes and boots since 1905 doesn’t mean we can’t change our ways every now and then. After all, you don’t last as long as we have if you don’t improve. One area in which we’ve made some changes is in our leather cutting department. For most of our history, the individual pieces of Red Wing leather that make up a boot are cut out using metal templates and a pressure stamping machine. A worker eyes up a leather hide and figures out the most efficient way to get the most pieces out of it with minimal waste, while avoiding the blemished and imperfect sections. It’s a method that’s worked well since the beginnings. While  many steps in our process of boot-making can’t be done by machines, at Red Wing Shoe Company we also try to embrace technology when contributing to the quality of the process or footwear.

LeatherCutting-1bThe Comelz machine is a computer-guided leather cutting machine that we use for some of our types of boots. With a template of all the pieces needed for a particular size and type of boot, the machine helps a worker line up the optimum arrangement of cuts that will maximize the hide and minimize waste. Lighted shapes dance on the leather surface as the worker moves them around, locking in his choices with the click of a button. When the hide has been digitally marked, it slides into the cutter and two precision heads descend and cut out the pieces needed, leaving only a thin web of scrap leather. This process takes advantage of technology while still relying on the human element that has been our trademark for over a century. Using the Comelz leather cutting machine has resulted in less waste and faster production, which goes to show that sometimes to make a process better, cutting corners can be a good thing.  LeatherCutting-3b LeatherCutting-4b

Light on Your Feet, And Your Wallet

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We like to think Red Wing boots are a good value due to their durability and our promise to refurbish them as often as you wear them out. But in the 1960s, at some Red Wing retailers, they were an even better value, especially if you were bold enough to step on a scale. As part of a campaign called, “A Penny a Pound”, certain styles of Red Wings cost as much as your body weight, in pennies. Weigh 150 pounds? That’s a pair of boots for $1.50. Being light on your feet meant your Red Wing boots were light on your wallet too.

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Faces of Red Wing | Mark Parr

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“I was working with a woodsman when I was younger and I saw him cut his own finger off”. Mark explains whilst holding an instrument far more than capable of a similar occurrence. The London Log Company are a loose collective of individuals scattered through the city to the rolling countryside. Established in 2006 they’re an independent British company that provides wood and charcoal to the industries in the UK. They make the largest range of single species charcoals in Europe. Their central residence is a small two-door workshop in South East London, filled with paper and hessian sacks of different types of wood and boxes full of charcoal. Apple wood, English Plum and Oak to name just a few, all ticketed and labeled from origin to its then concluding destination.

IMG_0937_blogWe were lucky enough to get invited to their yard in Hertfordshire with company owner Mark, a visual array of old machinery, tools, burners and of course wood. A workman’s playground and photographers paradise, here is where much of the charcoal is made and a huge portion of wood is stored. Magnificent chaotic hills of used wood and chippings, ‘jenga’ like stacks of oak and silver birch glisten, towering over us as we make our way round what used to be a functioning pig farm. Lewis, who manages production on the site is maneuvering charcoal from the retort in an old pick up and sealing bags ready for the road as we gaze in awe at his effortless workmanship. The retort is a double-barreled steel oxygen-less sealed flask where the volatile elements are driven off by heat, leaving a high grade fixed carbon charcoal. “Part science, part alchemy and a lot of craft.”

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Red Wing Blacksmith Style No.2955

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2955_LS_smAfter our successful introduction of the Red Wing Blacksmith collection occurred in 2014, we have now added style no.2955 to our collection. The Black Spitfire leather, tanned at Red Wing Shoe Company’s tannery in Minnesota, is a heavily waxed Roughout leather. The combination of wax and the reversed suede Roughout leather guarantees a beautiful worn look on the boot over time. The 2955 is equipped with a Vibram 430 outsole, providing optimal grip and cushion in slippery conditions, as well as classic bronze eyelets and speed hooks.
The Blacksmith can truly be considered the classic American work shoe. In the early 1900s, when Red Wing Shoe Company first began to service rural America, this style of shoe became vastly popular across the country. Versatile and reliable, it was used in farm fields and blacksmith workshops during the day before being cleaned and shined up for a night out on the town. It was the all-purpose shoe for many
years in many industries.

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Red Wing anecdotes – A young sailor

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Nothing makes us more proud than hearing stories about the adventures people experienced in their Red Wings. Burkhard came across Red Wing boots for the first time during an adventure of a lifetime.
Burkhard_blog2“The year was 1967 and my father had sent me off to work as a deck hand on a freight ship. The route had taken us to New York City. Thanks to a breakdown, we were stranded there for two weeks waiting for the ship to be repaired. 15 years young and driven by a thirst for adventure, I read Ernest Hemingway and learned about what he considered to be the ultimate traveling gear. I decided to search for the items needed for this ‘Hemingway travel pack’ in downtown Manhattan. Apart from a much longed for Filson bag, I ended up buying my first pair of Red Wings in a small store on 16th Street.

I bought the American made boots not knowing that only two weeks later they would save my feet from being maimed. While I was scrubbing the deck, the brake on a massive pulley lining up a 40mm thick steel cable came loose and went zipping past my feet, tearing apart the entire left side of my boot. Within seconds, the steel splinters on the cable had shredded the leather open, but the leather boots’ robustness had spared my feet a similar fate.

Following tradition, I honored my Red Wing work boots by giving them a seaman’s funeral. They are now at rest at the bottom of the Atlantic near Greenland, not far from the place where the Titanic sunk.”