A friend posted an image of a pristine pair of Red Wing Chukka boots to which he’d applied trusty Mink Oil to feed the leather and lengthen his enjoyment of his shoes. Another friend commented that “We become our Fathers”; as, of course, that’s what the previous generation would have, sensibly, counseled us to do – see, some of it sank in.
The first time I came across the truly iconic US brand of Red Wing was in conversation with Eric Clapton. He is known for his sartorial touches and is a very active co-owner of the Cordings business with its shops in Piccadilly (London) and Harrogate (Yorkshire). See here Eric talking about his love of the Cordings and their products Eric Clapton on Cordings
I cannot remember where, but it must have been late the early 1990’s and he was wearing a pair of favourite 875 Red Wing Moc-Toe classics. He explained they were the most comfortable boots that he’d owned and a complete favourite. So much so that in 2001 he and Red Wing collaborated on what was called the Clapton Classics Boot.
Red Wing Shoe Company, LLC was founded by Charles H Beckman – an already established shoe merchant – and fourteen fellow investors in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota.
By 1915 Red Wing were producing 200,000 pairs annually including for the military used in both World Wars.
In 1966 the celebrated artist Norman Rockwell was asked for his unique touch to the marketing – see our earlier piece here – Norman Rockwell – “Triple Self-Portrait”
Many of Red Wings early and now heritage products stem from the boots provided to local trades including oil, lumber and mining. To continue to comply with health and safety requirements many Redwing models are made with steel or Aluminium toe-caps, offering puncture resistance, electricity dissipation and metatarsal supports.
It’s clear that when you really like a brand you want to make sure you enjoy them for a long as possible. Many of Red Wing’s boots are “Goodyear” welted meaning that as the sole wears out – so long as the uppers stay in good repair – they can be resoled.
As regular readers will know that I am visitor to New York City. Whilst there I don’t miss out on a visit to Dave’s at 581, Avenue of the America (New York 10011) they have an excellent range of Red Wing boots alongside a wealth of American and American-made brands – well worth a visit. Their website is Dave’s New York
If you are not planning a trip to the US and would like to buy a pair of Red Wings we have five of their iconic models available by clicking the link below each of the following images.
These are the classic 875 – Eric Clapton’s favourites. So much so that it is said that when receiving delivery of a new Ferrari he insisted that Ferrari should reduce the size of the clutch pedal to enable him to wear his favourite boots. Not surprisingly Ferrari accommodated their celebrity cient’s reasonable request!
Add a pair of Moc-Toe’s to your wardrobe – by clicking on the link below the image
Ever wanted to know how to car for your oil-tanned leather Redwings – here is an excellent video for Red Wing Caring for Oil-Tanned Leather Redwing Boots
As a final thought you’ll need some Mink Oil to maintain that quality finish – get a tin by clicking the link below the image
Image Credits courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company LLC and Cording and Company
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