Brandon Burk, Salt Lake City, Style no. 1907.
Red Wing Heritage proudly presents 5 new Postman shoes, inspired by style no.101, Red Wing’s original postman shoe. Designed to meet Postal Service requirements, the 101 is sturdy, sleek and simplistic and these characteristics served America’s mailmen well. First introduced in 1954, Red Wing Heritage is now expanding on this style with five more casual variations.
The new Postman shoes are built using the same leather upper as the 101 including a dog tail, blind eyelets and a Goodyear Welt. Premium Red Wing leathers, made at Red Wing Shoe’s very own S.B. Foot tannery, are used to craft the new Postman. The cushion crepe outsole gives these boots as much comfort as the 101, allowing for the longer walks, as a postman would.
The new Postman comes in five colors. Three oil-tanned leathers; Oro-iginal, Charcoal Rough & Tough, Amber Harness and two Suede Roughout leathers; Olive Mohave and Blueberry Muleskinner.
As part of an ongoing video series, Red Wing’s Heritage division is partnering with independent characters who wear Red Wing boots to give a glimpse into each of their lives. The first video highlights Grammy Award-winning musician Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Volcano Choir. A lifelong resident of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and longtime wearer of Red Wing Heritage shoes, Vernon is no stranger to the Midwestern value of hard work. He has an appreciation for well made goods and understands that it’s worth taking the time to create something that will last forever. In addition to his own musical projects, he created April Base recording studio in Fall Creek, WI, which serves as a meeting place for established artists and local up-and-coming musicians, with the idea of keeping the creative spirit alive in Eau Claire.
Image by Scott Toepfer #roadworn
This 8-inch hunting boot became the product that elevated the Red Wing brand to worldwide renown. The 877 was made of russet colored leather, tanned by using the sap of sequoia bark. The process yielded a rich color that was very close to the coat of an Irish Setter hunting dog. Next to its huge popularity among hunters, farmers and construction workers, the boots became a commodity for leisure-hours as well, as mentioned in this Red Wing Shoes advertisement from 1959. Boots with a double life…
Last summer, the logo of Red Wing Shoes was painted on this factory, along the Mississippi river. A fine work of craftsmanship.
As the 1950s rolled on, the Red Wing Shoe Company found itself being pulled in different directions by the company’s three main divisions. The Salt Lake City, Utah branch was trying to build a line of shoes for West Coast workers, while the Dallas, Texas branch was focused on expanding the brand for women and children. The Red Wing corporate office in Minnesota continued to market to the working man in the rest of the country. Each branch had its own ideas about the company’s future, image, and marketing strategy. It soon became clear that the different personalities of each branch was becoming a distraction and spreading things too thin.
So, the Red Wing Shoe Co. found itself at a crossroad, unsure of which way the company should go. After much deliberation, it was decided that Red Wing needed to remain firm in its commitment to making high-grade shoes and boots for the working man. A singular product identity was developed that brought the company back together. The return to the company’s roots marked a turning point, as the brand re-committed itself to making a boot that would highlight function, not determine it.
With the reunification of the brand and changing consumer demands, Red Wing shoes and boots were slowly being pushed aside in independent retail stores. At about the same time, the concept of a specialty store was introduced by Salt Lake City branch manager, Harold Packwood. Packwood saw that most costumers were being improperly fit for shoes in independent stores and that many shoe brands did not offer varying widths and sizes. Packwood’s idea for specialty stores would allow customers to be fit correctly for Red Wings, finding the right boot and fit for each individual.
The first Red Wing Shoe store, pictured here, opened in Salt Lake City in 1953, and was owned by Vaughn Johnson. Johnson’s store soon set the standard for future Red Wing shoe stores, and by 1960 there were about twelve Red Wing Shoe stores located throughout the United States. At first, it was uncertain whether the stores would be profitable but after a couple years, they began to stabilize and sales increased. Today, there are more than 559 Red Wing Shoe stores throughout the United States and even some in Europe and Asia. Each store continues to emphasize the importance of being properly fit for Red Wing shoes in order to find the correct style, size, and to maximize comfort.
Fresh oiled and colored hides. Image Shot by The Coveted Man.