Red Wing Shoes has a history of manufacturing high-quality work boots since 1905. While name says “shoes“, they mostly make boots. Charles Beckman founded the company in Red Wing, Minnesota. He wanted to fill a need for sturdy, reliable work boots. They were needed in the region’s iron mines, logging camps, and other industrial jobs.
Known for Quality
Beckman’s first boots were made from high-quality leather. They were designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the mines and forests. Red Wing gained a reputation for durability and comfort. Demand for the boots grew rapidly.
In the years that followed, Red Wing Shoes continued to innovate and improve its products. The company introduced new materials, such as cork and rubber, to enhance the comfort and durability of its boots. It also began using new manufacturing techniques, such as the Goodyear welt, to make the boots more resistant to wear and tear.
The Great War and Beyond
During World War I and World War II, Red Wing Shoes supplied boots to the U.S. military, and the company’s reputation for quality and durability grew even further.
In the postwar years, Red Wing Shoes continued to expand its product line and its reach. The company opened new factories in other parts of the United States and in other countries, and it began producing a wider range of footwear for different industries and applications.
Here are some popular early boots made by Red Wing:
Red Wing No. 16 Boot (1905) – This was the very first boot produced by Red Wing Shoes. It was a high-quality work boot designed for farmers, miners, and other laborers.
Red Wing Ironclad Boot (1920s) – This boot was designed for ironworkers and other tradespeople who needed a durable, protective boot for their work. It featured a steel toe cap and other safety features.
Red Wing Blacksmith Boot (1920s) – This boot was designed for blacksmiths and other workers who needed a sturdy, heat-resistant boot. It featured a leather sole and heavy-duty stitching.
Red Wing Engineer Boot (1930s) – This boot was designed for engineers and other workers who needed a boot that was easy to get on and off quickly. It featured a side zipper and a low heel.
Red Wing Logger Boot (1940s) – This boot was designed for loggers and other workers in the forestry industry. It featured a lug sole for traction and was made from heavy-duty leather.
Red Wing Shoes has been family-owned and operated since its founding in 1905. The company was started by Charles Beckman, who owned and operated it until his death in 1940. After Beckman’s death, his family continued to run the company.
In the years that followed, ownership of the company passed to different members of the Beckman family. In the 1960s, the company was owned by Charles Beckman’s son, who sold it to a group of investors in 1977.
The new owners, led by a businessman named Don Wyper, expanded the company’s product line and opened new factories in other parts of the United States and in other countries. Wyper also established Red Wing Shoes as a global brand, with a presence in markets around the world.
In 1985, the company was sold again, this time to a group of investors led by Bill Sweasy, who is the company’s current owner and CEO. Under Sweasy’s leadership, Red Wing Shoes has continued to expand and innovate, while staying true to its heritage of quality and craftsmanship.
Today, Red Wing Shoes is still family-owned, with Bill Sweasy and his family owning the majority of the company’s shares.
- Year Started: 1905
- Year Ended: 2099
- Origin Of Name: Headquarters Town
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Charles Beckman
- Owner While In Use: Several
- Owner Successor: Sweasy Family
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Red Wing Boots
- Naics Code: 316210
- Location Headquarters: Red Wing, Minnesota, USA