Sneak Peek | Red Wing Shoe Co. AW11 | A Continuous Lean.

Sneak Peek | Red Wing Shoe Co. AW11

Jan 16th, 2011 | Categories: Factory Tour, Footwear, Made in the USA, Minnesota | by Michael Williams

It is that time of year when the real anticipation starts to take hold, anticipation for stuff that doesn’t come out for months. To that end, allow me to introduce to you to some nice looking (“tasty” as my buddy Mr. Aaron Levine would say) boots from the Red Wing North America AW11 collection. Just a little sneak peek of what’s to come.

Red Wing 8881 in Olive Mohave

Red Wing 8881 in Olive Mohave

Red Wing 8881 in Olive Mohave

Red Wing 213 in Oxblood Mesa

Red Wing 9029 in Black Featherstone

Red Wing 9029 in Black Featherstone

Plus, a little something extra…

The first ACL factory tour was of Rocco Ciccarelli’s clothing shop in Long Island City, Queens which was posted to the site on April 11th, 2008. Seeing how things are made has long fascinated me. Maybe the spark came from the TV adventures of Mr. Rogers and his trips to pencil factories, but this curiosity is one of the things that has helped shape what ACL is today. Finally getting the chance to visit Red Wing, Minnesota and tour their famed “Plant 2″ manufacturing facility has been something I have wanted to do since the day my dad drove a twelve year old me down to the Red Wing store in my Ohio hometown to buy my first pair of boots.

I know that some of you may have seen factory photos from the Red Wing Shoe Co. before, but because Red Wing is one of my all time favorite brands I can’t not post this stuff. It should also be pointed out that my marketing company does work for Red Wing, something we couldn’t be more proud of. This point is something I want to be clear about to you guys, full disclosure and all that good stuff.

Next up on my list of factories that I want to tour: the Airstream assembly plant, the Brooks Brothers shirt factory in Garland, NC and the M1A2 Abrams tank factory in Lima, Ohio. Something tells me that last one is gonna be a stretch.

The Red Wing home office. It really is Main Street USA.

The world's largest boot.

Related: Minnesota exporting cool.

Comments: 45

45 Comments to “Sneak Peek | Red Wing Shoe Co. AW11”

  1. Simon Grey
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 3:17 PM

    I once lived in Lima, and knew someone who got a job at the tank plant. Apparently, tours aren’t particularly difficult to come by (most local elementary schools take classes on a tour there), but taking pictures and publishing them is undoubtedly going to be verboten. Still, it would make a great story/post.

  2. Diane Zerr
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 3:27 PM

    I’m confused. I thought Red Wing Shoes were made in USA. With this thought, gift cards were purchased for my husband over the holidays so he could get a new pair of boots. Clearly on the tongue it’s marked “Made in China”.

    I was upset when he told me this. Any clarification here?

  3. Michael K
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 4:14 PM

    are you sure he didn’t buy knockoffs? The pair I own, and every pair I have looked at, all say “Made in the USA” on the tongue.

  4. beatnik
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 4:44 PM

    looks clunkier than the pair the frankenstein monster wears.

  5. Terrapin Stationers
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 5:44 PM

    Is that Largest Boot a 14? Awesome pics.

  6. Charles
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 6:16 PM

    Redwing has boots made in china. They are just priced lower.

  7. CWW
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 7:34 PM

    Way to rub it in our faces with the only-available-in-Japan black work oxfords! Someday, someday…

  8. Billy
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 8:31 PM

    Nothing like a pair of quality black boots. Great.

  9. mistermidwester
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 8:45 PM

    Great photos. I love these behind-the-scenes shots.

    This is totally nerdy, but I’ve always wanted to visit the Ball canning jar factory. We can tomatoes and other jams and stuff from our garden every year and I’ve always loved those simple glass jars.

    We also have a small collection of the antique blue ones that we’ve used over the years for different things (holding flowers at our wedding reception, etc, etc), and to my knowledge they’re all still made in the United States.

  10. iamamoody1
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 9:33 PM

    I couldn’t help but notice the age of the employees at Red Wing. Apparently the employee turn over rate isn’t very high there.

  11. AX
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 10:15 PM

    Since you have the inside poop, is it true that you can special-order japan-only RW boots (like, for example, the 2268 engineer boots) from any official Red Wing store?
    And any idea how they can possibly justify not having their best made in USA boots available in the USA?

  12. M
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 10:28 PM

    i’ll the merlot and the olive and i guess a ceaser salad. any boots coming out in feta, or sun dried tomato?

    sure are good lookin though

  13. calabreezy
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 10:39 PM

    Red Wing keeps killing it.

    A lot of the Red Wing motorcycle and worx line seem to be made in China. I bought a pair of motorcycle boots last summer at my local army/navy and they were super uncomfortable and fit way different from the classic moc toes.

  14. DinTX
    on Jan 16th, 2011
    @ 11:58 PM

    alright! this is the best time of year! new boots coming out – old boots going on SALE!!!

  15. Gina Americana
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 5:30 AM

    I’ve got to get to Red Wing, if anything, just to see that giant boot.

  16. Greg D.
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 9:43 AM

    These are all good. Liking those suede jobbers for sure.

  17. Diane Faye Zerr
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 11:11 AM

    The boots my husband purchase weren’t knock-offs, I almost wish they were. They were bought from an authorized dealer with a Red Wing gift card.

    I was so proud that my husband could finally get quality boots that were made in the USA and then when he tried them on at home, he pointed out that they’re made in China. I was extremely disappointed. And after researching online I’m not the only one. Red Wing should distinguish which are made in the USA and which are not. If I would have known this, I would have made sure that he got a pair that were made in the USA, but it’s too late.

  18. Larry
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 12:00 PM

    I too was duped about 7 years ago (right before Red Wings were “cool”) and they were moving more and more manufacturing over to china. My story was that I was telling a friend why I’d pay so much money for my shoes and my final point was the they were made right here in (looked at tag on tongue of shoe)… China!!! These shoes (black oxfords) blew out of the side within 8 months, when I brought them to the cobbler’s shop he told me that the soles were glued on (not stitched) and that It would be cheaper to just buy a new pair of shoes.

    Fast forward to today, Red Wing is re-opening more factories in the U.S. and people like us are buying the shit out of them. Good job American consumer, way to demand quality.

    In regards to you Diane, in the RW catalog all boots that are made in the U.S. have a flag next to them… everything else is made in China.

  19. Michael
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 12:56 PM

    Unlike M, I’m really diggin’ the surreal imagery conjured up by the names of these colorways. Makes me hungry and makes me want to take a Southwestern adventure. Some other colors I would like to explore/taste:

    - Navajo baked potato
    - Turnip Sun-bleached cattle skull
    - Filet mignon bolo tie
    - Saguaro zucchini

  20. Cory
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 1:02 PM

    Maybe you can do tours of manufacturing facilities and post them on your site more often. I am thinking similar to the “Made in America” tv show but better gear.

  21. Makaga
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 1:35 PM

    @ Cory, I too think a “Made in America” + “How it’s Made” TV show would be a great way to highlight American manufacturing.

  22. jbjones
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 1:43 PM


  23. Nick
    on Jan 17th, 2011
    @ 9:45 PM

    Red Wing is doing a multi-million dollar expansion here in Missouri. I’m glad to hear that and hope they shift more of their Chinese manufacturing back to the states.

    I have always been disappointed their dress shoes were not made stateside.

  24. James
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 2:00 PM

    Those 9029s are Indy copies (right down to the horizontal stitching and 9 eyelets). Hopefully they’ll be available in more colorways, as I’ve got a black boot just like these without the mock toe. If they can be had for 250 they will be an awesome alternative (and most likely more durable). Those oxblood boots are amazing as well. Will be ordering some 899s soon from my local retailer.

  25. ciclofish
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 2:25 PM

    Just a heads up to all you bargain hunters out there: I visited Red Wing a few months back, if you visit their flagship store you’ll find their outlet in the basement. I was able to pick up a pair of 9010 Beckman boots in Black Cherry for $89, not the $280 they retail for. The selection down there is varied, most of the stuff is China made, but they had enough USA heritage stuff to call and ask them what’s available, though I don’t know if they ship from the outlet.
    As for the USA v China thing: Sorry for those who feel fooled, but the bottom line is that the stuff that is China made would cost a LOT more to be USA made than it does and Red Wing likely would have gone under many years ago had they not outsourced most of their line. Every item does have a tag inside with country of origin.
    Great post Michael.

  26. Diane Faye Zerr
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 2:51 PM

    “In regards to you Diane, in the RW catalog all boots that are made in the U.S. have a flag next to them… everything else is made in China.”

    That would be great if we were buying from a catalog, but he went directly to a store. We assumed all of their products were made in the USA, which I guess is our fault. I just wish I would have known this, because we would have intentionally purposed a pair that were made in the USA instead of China. I want to support the people who work hard to create great products here in the US. I just feel like my effort to support handmade in the US was tricked into buying something else because we weren’t informed. Next time we will be more careful when purchasing.

    I think a series on touring manufacturers in the US would be a great idea as well!

  27. great zamboni
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 5:26 PM

    For folks in the SF, East Bay area, just disovered “Treviso and Sons” nice little family owned and official carrier of Red Wing up on San Pablo Ave in Richmond. Buy local. There’s also a proper Red Wing store down the same street but in Emeryville way…

  28. unitedstyle
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 5:43 PM

    They should have a cage match between that big Red Wing boot and the big Bean Boot outside LL Bean’s flagship store.

  29. Ramalhoni
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 7:27 PM

    The black ones look a little bit like the Alden indy boots!.. But with a more rugged look I like it…

  30. My Affair with Michael Bastian
    on Jan 18th, 2011
    @ 11:55 PM

    I want!!!

  31. vintageworkwear
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 3:40 AM

    Very Nice! Those factory photos are special & black Alden style moc toes sure aint bad either. Do you mind if I borrow a photo (with proper due of course) to post on vintageworkwear it maybe send some people to this post?

  32. tintin
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 10:35 AM

    I have a contact at the Armour Museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Let me see if he can assit with the Abrams.

  33. Ed
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 10:51 AM

    I just got word from Matt Streiff at Red Wing Customer Service that these beauties would be available in late August or early September 2011. I’d get the 9029′s tomorrow if I could.

  34. Larry
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 11:13 AM

    @ Diane, yes I was referring to the store. Every RW Store here in Minnesota (as you can imagine there are a lot of them) has a catalog on the front counter that will tell you all about the shoes (I.e. safety rating, steel toes, soles, widths etc…) additionally, this book also will inform you of the country of origin.

    Much like the health care industry, you have to be your own doctor. As I mentioned, RW is doing a great job of bringing more U.S. jobs back to the states so keep demanding made in America.

    I too believe that there should be a blog like Cliff’s Made in America show.

  35. Kevin
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 11:23 AM

    I’m glad my friend hooked me up with a sweet deal on the dark green mocs.
    Very nice boots!

  36. tahonng
    on Jan 19th, 2011
    @ 11:36 AM

    Still waiting on the answer to AX’s question about special-orderingJapan-only RW boots from any official Red Wing store.

  37. bl@ster
    on Jan 20th, 2011
    @ 4:01 AM

    Kevin: How’d he hook you up with a deal if they don’t come out until Aug/Sep 2011?

  38. mark
    on Jan 20th, 2011
    @ 9:23 AM

    loving those 213s. very nice.

  39. kevin
    on Jan 20th, 2011
    @ 6:53 PM

    bl@aster: My bad, mine are the “Sage Mohave” colorway. Slightly darker.

  40. Larry
    on Jan 20th, 2011
    @ 7:34 PM

    Any of these come in the wide sizes?

  41. mat buckets
    on Jan 21st, 2011
    @ 6:23 PM

    oh boy oh boy

  42. early joe
    on Jan 30th, 2011
    @ 8:53 PM

    i recently bought a pair of the made in china boots def not the same deal been wearing these boots for work for about 15 yrs i just got a pair of dms that were made in thailand at least irish brouges are made in ireland

  43. Wesley Verhoeve
    on Jan 30th, 2011
    @ 11:56 PM

    Man those are great pictures Michael! Thanks for letting it be like we all got to see it in person!

  44. zachary shea
    on Feb 2nd, 2011
    @ 6:26 PM

    Dear fellow Americans, It is our fault that we don’t check everything we buy as to where it is made from. I check on every product I buy. Price isn’t everything, people. Quality is also important. We have been brain washed with throw away products that’s made with inferior quality at lower prices. Don’t be fooled by them (I’m not saying all USA made good are with great quality either). I check what I buy and I buy things to keep. If you think what you buy is cheap made in China, think again. I have been to China where they sell everything 1 tenth of what we buy here with the exact same thing. You go figure. They are laughing at us all the way to the bank. Our country has been on a credit card binge to buy cheap goods in quantity and look at what we have done to our economy now. Check everything you buy where they are made from. I buy only USA made with USA materials from Redwing. These boots have lasted me over 2 decades. See if your made in China can do that, my friends. Buy qualify and save!

  45. Sara
    on Feb 2nd, 2011
    @ 7:58 PM

    women, size 5? wide-ish?