Red Wing, How They're Made

CAREFULLY CRAFTED

Red Wing Shoes are built in the USA with traditional construction techniques that turn the premium components into supremely durable boots and shoes. It takes over 230 individual steps to build each pair of footwear by hand.

THEIR PROCESS

Tanning

TANNING

Most of the Red Wing Shoes are built with leather from their own tannery, S.B. Foot Tanning Company in Red Wing, Minnesota. S.B. Foot prepares hides and soaks them in wood drums with tree oils, tanning agents and dyes. After soaking, the tanned leathers are rolled, dried, and stretched before being transported a mile down the road to the Red Wing factory.
Cutting

CUTTING

 The shoemaking process, largely unchanged since Red Wing’s inception, begins with cutting the leather for the shoe. Highly trained leather cutters (clickers) carefully lay out the sharp cutting dies on each large piece of leather, only  Selecting the highest quality sections of leather to cut is an art form executed by a highly trained and well-experienced team.

 

Fitting

FITTING

The cut leather pieces are meticulously sewn together to form the footwear’s upper by seasoned sewing machine operators. The operators work on the same century-old Puritan sewing machines that were used in the earliest years of Red Wing Shoe Company.
Lasting

LASTING

To precisely form the shape of their footwear, the leather is pulled over a foot-shaped last. The shape of the last varies depending on the footwear style. Once the leather is secured over the last, the shoe is welted or stitched down, depending on the construction method used.
Bottoming

BOTTOMING

The outsole is manually stitched or glued to the midsole. This requires highly proficient hand-eye coordination to ensure that the final step in the construction process is perfectly completed.
Shoe Finishing

SHOE FINISHING

All shoes are meticulously inspected twice before being packed into shoeboxes. Depending on the leather type, each shoe is cleaned, polished, brushed and finished by a team of shoe finishers.


CONSTRUCTION TYPES

Goodyear Welting

GOODYEAR WELTED

Most Red Wing Shoes are built using Goodyear welt construction, this is a process that dates back to 1869. Renowned for its durability, and repairability, Goodyear welt construction stitches a thin leather welt together with the upper and the insole of the footwear, to which the sole is then attached to the welt.
Stitchdown

STITCHDOWN

Stitchdown construction is used to build some of the more flexible Red Wing Shoes, Stitchdown construction dates back to the 17th century. The footwear’s upper is turned outwards and stitched directly down to the midsole, this makes the footwear more flexible and comfortable straight out of the box.