The Hardest Working Boot

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. 

 The boots that started it all...

The boots that started it all...

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. 

 Commando (Vibram) sole for tougher terrain.

Commando (Vibram) sole for tougher terrain.

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?” 

 Re-soled at the Newburgh St store

Re-soled at the Newburgh St store

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. 

 They get better with age.

They get better with age.