As global product design & development manager at Red Wing Shoe Co., Mike Larson has touched every single product that’s ever been placed into a Red Wing Heritage shoe box over the last 13 years—a lineup that was 260 styles strong just over three years ago, before shrinking to just 12 over the course of the pandemic.
After truly banding together as a brand-within-a-brand amidst Covid, supply chain messes, AND a brutal hack that shut down Red Wing’s site and internal systems, Mike’s team is currently back on track and working on product the rest of us won’t see until two years in the future.
In the first episode of Shoecast season 8, Ben and Ticho chat with Mike about how the Red Wing Heritage development process works (it’s uh…very long and far more complicated than probably anyone realizes), the insane level historical detail the brand imbues into all their Heritage products (they’re legit matching thread tension from the 70+ years ago!) and the research behind it, the oldest working machine in the factory, Red Wing’s approach to preserving institutional shoemaking knowledge, how American manufacturing survives our currently trying times, and oh so much more.
Give it a listen below!
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