Good design solves problems and fills needs. This thought, in a nutshell, defines the history of Red Wing Shoes. Founded in 1905, the company began when Charles Beckman found the shoes most ideal for his daily life were simply unavailable in Red Wing, Minnesota. He decided, as many visionaries do, that the best recourse was simply to make them himself.
A heritage of shoemaking in Red Wing made the establishment of Beckman's company a little easier. For example, the S.B. Foot Leather Tannery (acquired by Red Wing in 1987) was established nearby in 1873. The tannery provided for some of the requisite raw material with which to build both shoes and an iconic American brand.
Beckman supplied farmers, hunters, postmen, and (most importantly) factory workers with the some of the most important tools they employed — long lasting comfortable shoes. The individual needs of his consumers drove innovation and inspired the designs that rooted Red Wing Shoes in the fabric of American life.
Historic Red Wing images courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.
Continue on to learn the history behind the icons of Red Wing Shoes.