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In search of Gold and finding Iron

In the late 19th century, America was in the height of its Gold Rush. From the frozen north of the Yukon to the Californian desert prospectors showed up in abundance. Gold wasn't all they found however, around the turn of the century in Minnesota's northern frontier they struck Iron. Iron was so abundant that the miners had unwittingly discovered the worlds largest Iron ore on what became known as the Mesabi Iron Range.

Photo - Flickr

The birth of iron mining in Minnesota coincided with the early years of Red Wing Shoe Company. The Iron miners or "Iron Rangers" as they came to be known needed footwear that stood up to whatever a Mesabi iron pit could throw at them. Red Wing presented them with what is the now iconic Iron Ranger. Boots with a tough leather upper and an oil resistant cork compound sole that was not only durable, but also constructed to let heat escape the boot, something a miner would want whilst dealing with the scorching temperatures deep inside a mine. One characteristic that remains to this day is the double layered toe cap. The extra layer of leather and canvas would protect miners feet from the harsh environment and heavy machinery. 

 

Photo - Minnpost

The word Mesabi or "Missabe" is taken from the language of the Ojibwe people who were native to the area and means giant mountain. Regardless of the mountains relative lack of height it is a fitting name in the sense of the legacy of the Mesabi Range. Iron Mining in the region prospered and with it, so did the demand for hard wearing work boots. As the industry grew it wasn't just the miners that needed sturdy boots, the rail workers working on the steam locomotives that carried the excavated Iron to other parts of the United States, the truck drivers driving it to nearby factories, even the mine owner and surveyor would need something suitable wear on site. Red Wing Shoe Company had something for all of them. 

 

Iron Mining in Minnesota is not what it once was but it helped our company grow and help shape the reputation we have today. It will always be a huge part of our history and heritage. You can have a small part of that history with your Iron Ranger boots.  

 

 


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Sizing

Sizing guide and fitting instructions 


For those of you that are new to the brand, for your consideration our boots do fit much larger than other brands. More often than not you will drop half to a full size in our boots. But, this does all depend on foot shape whether you have a broader or narrower fitting.
If you would like more in depth information before buying please do contact us at the store and we will do our best to ensure you purchase the correct size for your foot shape.

 020 7287 5007 or email us at info@redwinglondon.com.

 

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