Ted Williams and the green Kangatan

Ted Williams. The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. The Thumper. The man with many names was more than just a legend. He was a hall of famer, a pilot in the marines, an outdoorsman, and one of the greatest hitters who stood over home plate.

The Kid was born Theodore Samuel Williams on August 30, 1918, in San Diego California. Due to a busy and often absent father, and a mother whose time was frequently occupied by protesting the evils of alcohol, Ted Williams, a tall and scrawny youth found a family and home at the park on the baseball diamond.

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Image source: http://blogs.uoregon.edu/hlamb/

He quickly stood above the rest of his friends as an elite player. During his junior year at Herbert Hoover High School, Williams boasted a 16-3 pitching record and a .538 batting average. At the age of seventeen, Williams signed with the then San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League for the summer. Over several more summers, Williams continued to play for the Padres until he signed a deal after the 1937 season to play with the Boston Red Sox. However he was optioned to the club’s minor league team which would bring him to the Double-A-League playing for the Minneapolis Millers in Minneapolis, MN. The Kid quickly became the star player in Minneapolis, almost securing the MVP for the season.

In 1939 Williams was called up to the Sox as left fielder. He would play for the Sox for the next two years until 1942 when he was drafted into the military as a Naval Pilot, though he still found time to play ball. Over the next several years, Williams would prove himself to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball. On July 17, 1956, became the fifth player to hit over 400 home runs.

Life outside of baseball for The Kid was often spent outdoors and on the water. He quickly found a second love, fishing. Devoting much of his time to exploring the outdoors, he quickly became an avid and expert fly, and deep-sea fisherman. And because being in one hall of fame wasn’t enough for William’s, he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame in 2000.

Ted Williams and Red Wing Shoes

Williams eventually reached a deal with Sears to lend his talents as an outdoorsman and athlete to developing and marketing a line of household sports equipment for hunting, fishing, and baseball. 

In 1963, Ted Williams and Sears partnered with Red Wing on the SuperSetter, resulting in a boot crafted out of the desire for a superior sport boot. The boot was not only a home run in terms of style, but also in its premiere quality that has long been an icon in American heritage.

While the no. 888 has long been retired and sits in the Hall of Fame of American style, Red Wing is making a new boot inspired by the original SuperSetter into style no. 8180 which like its predecessor, is also called the Kangatan boot.And like the original, the 8180 also features the unique green sport styling that made the no. 888 an icon. 

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The no. 8180 is crafted in Red Wing, Minnesota and features our classic Traction Tred outsole, Goodyear Welt construction, nickeled brass equipment, and of course, the unique green Kangatan Portage leather.

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New | Introducing The Harvester

The Harvester, style no.258, was one of Red Wing’s most successful products in the 1930’s. Popular in both the harvest field and mining sections of the country, the Harvester helped growing the fundamentals of a nation.

The 8-inch lace-up boot comes with traditional speed hooks and a Vibram lug-sole for optimal grip. The Harvester, style nos. 2943 and 2944 come in Amber Harness and Black Harness. Made in Red Wing, Minnesota.

The Harvester is for sale now in stores across Europe and North America. 

Workshops | Mona

Despite decennia of standardisation and automation, craftsmanship is still widely alive. Partially ignited by a re-born desire to work with their hands, but mostly because these craftsmen and –women would never consider doing otherwise. Working with their hands is at their hearts.

We find Mona working between piles of leather positioned in a comfy space in West-Berlin, which feels more like a living room than a workshop. She sits at a table next to a wall filled with hand-tools. Mona crafts leather accessories that find their way to customers all over the globe.

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How did Leevenstein first begin? The desire to create was passed on from my parents. After first pursuing photography, I realized I wanted to engage in work that has that touch and feel to it. Working with leather got my interest, so I applied at a custom shoemaker. That proved to be a very fine and delicate craft because building a shoe with your hands demands extreme accuracy. The shoemaker taught me all I needed to know about leather types and how to work with them.  Personally I love to work with the thicker leathers.  Thick leathers age with such grace, and now this is what I mainly focus my work in. I started experimenting by making camera-shells for friends but soon I received requests for wallets and belts, and started producing those instead. And that’s how Leevenstein was born.

What’s the joy of working with your hands? Starting with an idea, and in the end of the day holding that idea in your hands.  It’s rewarding each and every day.

What are the essentials for a good workshop? It should be a pleasant and warm environment. I work with leathers, a warm material. I need my workshop to reflect that in order to be inspired. It’s a visual thing for me. 

See Mona’s work here: www.leevenstein.com

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Photos by Tim Adler Photography.

New | Iron Ranger Style no. 8116

Originally designed to be worn in the iron mines, Iron Ranger boots had to be as tough as the people who wore them in demanding conditions. Iron Ranger boots are built with a double layer of leather over the toe to provide an extra measure of safety. 
Our latest addition to the Iron Ranger collection is Style no.8116, built with Charcoal Rough&Tough leather. The instant patina of this leather make each boot look unique from the first step. 

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New | Chelsea Rancher 8200 & 8201

These new additions to the Chelsea Rancher collection brings a whole new silhouette to the table. The boot is built on shoelast no.17, allowing for a low nose and a slim look. A classic silhouette, formerly seen on Red Wing’s Peco boots. 
The style comes in Black Star and Amber Harness leather, made at our own leather tanning facilities, S.B.Foot Tannery. These boots are 100% made in Red Wing, MN, USA.

Tales from behind the counter

“The last shoe on earth will be a Red Wing shoe.” Kami, the owner of Red Wing’s oldest store in Europe, strongly believes this to be true. Located in Frankfurt, his store is considered an institute for shoe fitting, advice and service. The longer a product lasts, the more soul it accumulates. The same goes for Kami’s store, where the colorful clientele leads to surprising encounters every day. Kami shared one of these stories with us. 

Eight years ago two English tourists entered my shop. “Hey what’s up with the old boots in the window?” one of them asked me. I told them they were a pair of 15-year old #1178 Pecos boots that were a gift from one of our customers. We saved them for our vintage collection. “Can I buy them?” he asked. 

I showed him a new pair on the shelf and said, “You can buy those.” “Ok,” he replied, “but how long does it take for the new ones to look like these?” I said, “Probably about seven years, depending on what you do with them.” “Oh no,” he said, “I don’t have seven years, I need them now!” “Ok,” I said and gave back his credit card.

“I can’t sell you boots that we received for free from another customer, so if you really want them, you can just take them.” He looked at me in disbelief, then gave me a massive hug and happily left with his new old boots. 

Years later there was an article in the German Musikexpress about singers and their outfits on stage. One of the interviewed artists told a nice story. “We were in Frankfurt and passed by a Red Wing Shoe Store. I saw some old worn-out Red Wing boots in the window and went into the store right away. It turned out the boots were part of a little museum they had there and were not for sale. I really wanted them because they looked so cool. Then the owner just gave me the shoes for free! Isn’t that fantastic?” It turned out that the guy was Liam Howlett, member of The Prodigy. 

'Marching to a Different Drum'

"All good things in the world are made in wooden drums. Leather, beer, wine and whiskey." Watch the latest video on the installation of a new wooden drum in our S.B.Foot leather tanning facilities.