Few years ago Red Wing Shoes Amsterdam was invited to Red Wing, Minnesota to pay a visit to the Red Wing Shoe factory and tannery. The mission: to discover first hand the deepest secrets of the American, old school production process. The factory is home to a hospitable team of employees, most of whom have worked at the Red Wing factory for nearly 30 years. All the craftsmen and -women ply their own particular craft on the old machinery. Some of the Red Wing machines were patented in 1893 and have, to this very day, not been replaced. The S.B. Foot tannery is older than the Red Wing Shoes factory itself. The brand bought the tannery in the 1980s to control nearly the entire production process of the shoes . Almost all the machines are sourced from Italy because that is where the best equipment for this purpose comes from. Most of these have been altered so they can process the thick leather that’s used for work boots. After sorting and shaving, the leather is colored, dyed, oiled, waxed, dried and finished to the exact requirements of a specific type of leather shoe. It was not just the mechanical supremacy that was a sight to behold. The human elements involved, such as the workers’ loyalty, craftsmanship and the pride they take in their work was something we had not witnessed before. This combination was truly inspiring and for us really defined ‘Minnesota Nice’.