From the moment I pulled on my first pair in The Duffer of St George, D’Arblay St, I’ve loved Red Wings, and have been wearing them ever since.
It was that workwear fashion-craze of the nineties that brought us not just Red Wing, but also Carhartt. I still have my original pair of boots, but manage to find excuses to buy different variants of the 875.
Until recently, Red Wings were quite difficult to buy; so when in the early noughties I found myself in Portland, Oregon, I was determined to buy a pair. Even in the US they were fairly elusive, as back then, they were just a workwear boot.
I did some research (pre-internet) and located a Red Wing store in the middle of nowhere; Russell Davies drove me all the way out there. It was in a small, off the beaten track, open-air mall that comprised fried food emporiums and cheap leisurewear outlets.
At the end of a row of stores was the tiny little Red Wing outlet. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a very “momsy” woman, whose first words to us were, “You English guys! Why are you always in here buying these boots? Suppose you want the 875s, the steel workers' boot; you know they wear them tight, honey?”
Thankfully it’s not so hard to get a pair of Red Wings on your feet these days, as Red Wing have opened a store in Newburgh St, which also offers a repairs service. Newburgh St is just around the corner from D'Arblay St, where I bought my first pair.