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Dispatches: Red Wing Plant II

October 13, 2011

A few weeks back I wrote about visiting Red Wing Minnesota and S.B. Foot Tannery, the starting point for all Red Wing shoes and boots.  The second installment of said trip was a visit to the factory floor in Plant II, where the footwear comes to life.

The Red Wing factory has been getting a lot of well deserved coverage lately.  For starters, the sheer scale of the factory is impressive.  While walking through and focusing on all the details, it’s easy to get lost among all the machinery once you finally lift your head up to get your bearings.  On top of its size, Plant II is packed to the gills with Puritan Stitch Machines, the very machines that established the quality Red Wing continues to hang its hat on.  Having been on the floor since 1905, the Puritan Stitch continue to be used for Red Wing’s trademark wax coated triple stitch – often copied, never duplicated.  On top of utilizing tried and true methods, a quality driven process help crank out millions of pairs of shoes and boots each year.  There are very few factories left in the U.S. that couple both historical integrity with modern process and churn out the volume that Red Wing does.

What many fail to realize about well made footwear such as Red Wing is that you get what you pay for.  Just as each hide was meticulously checked for imperfections at the tannery, every shoes undergoes the same inspection before it’s boxed.  Each step being done by hand; cutting, sewing, gluing, inspecting, all done at the hand of a person.  Few places that can say the same.

These are some of the photos I shot while at the factory and a previously made video courtesy of fuckyeahmadeinusa.

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