Red Wing Shoes: 100 Years of Setting Records
For more than 100 years, Red Wing, MN has been home to one of the top work boot companies in the world, Red Wing Shoes. Now the city is home to a unique world record: the World’s Largest Boot.
Red Wing Shoe Company was formed in 1905 when Charles Beckman, a Red Wing shoe merchant, realized the need for a sturdy yet comfortable work boot. Workers were soon making 110 pairs of boots a day as word spread about how comfortable and durable the boots were.
Today, the company employs more than 1,200 people and produces 9,000 boots a day that are sold to more than 100 countries. Over the years, the boots have been worn by iron workers building some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, oil workers in the Saudi oil fields, farmers across America and many others.
Red Wing visitors can learn more about the company’s heritage at the Red Wing Shoe Museum on Main Street, home to the World’s Largest Boot. At 16 feet high, 20 feet long and 7 feet wide, the boot is made of 80 full leather hides and now sits in the entrance of the museum and store. It was created over the course of 13 months by more than 160 employees to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary.
Upstairs, visitors can tour the museum, which features the range of boots and shoes the company has made over the century, including horseback riding boots, hunting boots, ski boots and chef shoes. Across the street, sign up for a factory tour, available mid-May through late October, Monday – Friday except for holidays, to see the boots being made.
Red Wing Shoe also boasts the advent of another world-class brand: Paul Riedell, founder of Riedell Shoes got his start as an employee of Red Wing Shoe. More than 60 years ago, he set out on his own to create one of the world’s top ice skate and roller skate companies. Today, Riedell skates are worn by Olympians including Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Johnny Weir and others.
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