HOW THEY'RE MADE
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ANATOMY OF A RED WING
EACH RED WING SHOE IS CRAFTED WITH SKILL AND PRECISION, BY PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT QUALITY.
  1. CUTTING
  2. FITTING
  3. LASTING
  4. BOTTOMING
  5. GOODYEAR WELT CONSTRUCTION
  6. TOE TYPES
  7. FINISHING
ANATOMY OF A RED WING
1. CUTTING
The shoemaking process, largely unchanged since Red Wing’s inception, begins with cutting the leather for the shoe. Highly trained leather cutters carefully lay out the cutting dies on every hide. Since no two sides of leather are the same, selecting the best parts for our shoes is an art that can be performed by only experienced craftsmen.
2. FITTING
The cut leather pieces are sewn together to form the upper of the shoe, so careful hand-eye coordination is required by our skilled sewing machine operators. The same Puritan sewing machines that did the job when Red Wing was founded are still used today.
PURITAN SEWING MACHINES
The triple-stitched seams found in Red Wing shoes have been sewn using the Puritan sewing machine since the company’s inception. First patented in the 1860s, the machines melt latex into the sewing thread, making the boots more water resistant.
Many Puritan sewing machines in use today date back to the 1920s. The only way to keep these sometimes finicky machines running? Red Wing’s full-time maintenance team who provides repair services with parts they manufacture themselves.
3. LASTING
During the forepart lasting process, the fitted upper is pulled over the shoe last giving the shoe its final shape and form. The leather welt is sewn together with the upper and the leather insole using the traditional Goodyear welt construction process patented in 1869.
OUR LASTS
Last No. 224
The Red Wing No. 224 Last is the newest Red Wing Heritage last, created in 2008 especially for the Beckman Collection. It features a narrower toe shape, but is still a slightly bulkier toe than a typical dress shoe.
Last No. 210
Recommended for higher insteps, the Red Wing No. 210 last is used for our straightforward, uniform footwear pieces.
Last No. 23
Created for Moc Toe products, the Red Wing No. 23 Last was developed in the 1930s for the 668 Red Wing work boots.
Last No. 45
The No. 45 Last is also used for Moc Toe products, but was developed in 2005. This is a footbed-friendly last, giving ample room for footbeds to be used.
Last No. 8
The Red Wing No. 8 Last is one of the oldest lasts still used at the company, and the most frequently used last. It is a round-toe last and helps build some of our best selling products like the 8165 and 8111.
Last No. 522
Originally created for SuperSole® steel toe products in 1985, Red Wing Last No. 522 was eventually used for soft toe products. Due to its wider toe shape, this last provides comfortable fitting around the toe finger area.
Last No. 326
The No. 326 last was designed for a snug fit both in length and in width. Designed for people with higher arches, this last provides a secure fit in the toe and heel area with support in the mid-foot.
4. BOTTOMING
The sole is stitched or glued to the midsole, completing the shoemaking process.
5. GOODYEAR WELT CONSTRUCTION
Most Red Wing work boots are made using the Goodyear welt construction. This traditional construction process was patented in 1869. This elaborate method of stitching a thin leather welt together with the upper and the leather insole yields the highest quality shoes that are both durable and comfortable. Welt construction also makes resoling of boots possible, guaranteeing continued, long-term use.
6. TOE TYPES
ROUND TOE
Round Toe, also known as a plain toe, is characteristic of the most common type of shoes. Red Wing’s round toe work boots are closely associated with the company and remain almost unchanged since our company began.
MOCCASIN TOE
The name "Moccasin" comes from the Algonquian word for “shoe.” Boots with this enduring U-shaped cutout leather upper have become known as moccasin-sewn shoes, or "moc toes." Red Wing has made shoes with this moccasin-toe design since its earliest days..
CAPPED TOE
A version of the Round Toe shoe, the Capped Toe shoe has an additional piece of leather attached to the vamp. This was widely used until the 1930s as the precursor to the Steel Toe and keeps the toe protected with a double layer of leather.
BROGUE TOE
A Brogue Toe features small holes in the leather of the boot toe, usually styled in a pattern that is appealing to the eye. First worn by farmers and gamekeepers, the brogue shoe was intended for use in bogs and wetlands where its water-resistant build performed admirably.
7. SHOE FINISHING
All shoes are carefully inspected twice before being packed into shoeboxes. Depending on the leather, each shoe is cleaned, polished, brushed and finished by a team of expert shoe finishers.

TOUR THE FACTORY

Get an up-close look at the Red Wing Factory and see just how we make our iconic line of boots.

LEARN ABOUT REPAIRS

See the Red Wing repair process and learn how to keep your boots in solid, sturdy shape.