True Grit: The Legacy of Red Wing Boots

Words by Matthew Vanatta

“Whether I’m in the shop, on the road, or working on my motorcycle I know my Red Wings will keep my feet comfortable and protected. They’re not overly complicated and their simplicity and durability make them a true classic.”

-Artists and Motorcycle Enthusiast Patrick “Duffy” De Armas

The Heartland is a special place. An expansive stretch of land dotted with lakes and countryside that seems to drift along forever. Often referred to as the Great Plains it’s a place of brutal juxtaposition long hot summers give way to even longer winters. It’s a place of true grit and authentic Americana.

Red Wing, Minnesota, sits on the south bank of the mighty Mississippi River, not far from the more metropolitan area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. A small but mighty town defined by industries and its surrounding landscape. A perfect setting for the namesake shoe company that would shape its principles of rugged durability and performance becoming synonymous with the character of the hearty people that call the area home.

Red Wing Shoes was founded in 1905 and within a decade would find itself producing over 200,000’s pairs of boots and outfitting the majority of the soldiers fighting in the first great war and cementing its reputation as a no-nonsense work boot that would become a favorite amongst the working class across the country.

For well over a 100 years Red Wing Shoes has stayed true to their mission and continued to create work boots for those who need dependable footwear. They have also become a favorite amongst creative and lifestyle enthusiasts who cherish craftsmanship and style. While the brand was initially created to outfit the areas miners, loggers, and farmers, it has transcended without alienating its core customer and found loyal fan base amongst the new creative class.

You can’t fake a heritage brand. Many modern brands yearn for the aesthetic and legacy of the classic heritage brands, but only through sweat, determination, and fortitude can a brand become an iconic part of the American landscape. Red Wing doesn’t have to curate authenticity, because it is rooted in the lore of the American dream, it symbolizes the principles of its craftsman, it’s community, and it’s customer, work hard and be humble and everything will work out.

Today Red Wing stands as a testament to durability and classic style. A pair of Red Wing boots can last you a lifetime if properly maintained. Red Wing sources the highest quality leather, meaning not only will your boots be tough, they’ll look better with age. The Red Wing Heritage Collections uses leather sourced right here in the U.S at the S.B. Foot Tanning Company. Because of their unwavering dedication to excellence Red Wing continues to grow and find new loyalist within every new generation.

As long as there are hardworking folks, those that toil in the dirt and mud, and makers of all sorts Red Wing will continue to inspire and outfit the builders and the bold. Red Wing has been dedicated to crafting durable and timeless footwear for well over a century, and they plan to stay the course as no matter how advanced the future might be, there will always be a need for a good pair of boots.

Much like many Red Wing customers, Wayward takes pride in carrying such a legacy brand and this summer we will host a number of workshops at our Seattle, Chicago, and Bellevue locations so you can learn more about the friendly folks behind the legacy brand and how to properly care for your Red Wing boots.

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