Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mixed Message

Recently I bought a pair of Red Wings ladies boots. I thought to myself, OK Red Wings, they are a little more money but they are Made in the USA so they are better quality. So I purchased the boots from and waited a few days and presto there they were sitting on my front step. I was pretty excited to have finally found a pair of women's boots that were Made in the USA. I proceeded to unwrap the package and remove the boots from the box but something was amiss. There were no big tags on it with an American flag saying Proudly Made in the USA or anything like that. I then pulled out the tissue they stuff inside the boot to look at the imprinted label and to my shock and amazement these Red Wing boots were made in China of all places. I was shocked and very dismayed. When did this iconic American shoe company like Red Wings shoes sellout to the Wal-Mart set?

I looked the boots over and took note that these boots that cost me nearly a $150 could have been easily purchased at Payless shoes for a fraction of that price. I then proceeded to start the return process with They are easy to work with so it was a no hassle return, you fill out a form and they give you a return label to print. Then you take the box to the nearest UPS store or give it to your UPS delivery person and they're gone and you get your money back. Shipping is paid for both ways.

I wrote to Red Wings shoes to tell them that I was extremely unhappy they have decided to sell out the American worker and sell poorly made shoes at Red Wings prices when the same product could be purchased at Payless shoes for one third of what I just paid for these cheap boots. I added that at least Payless is honest about their products, they fully admit that their shoes are cheaply made Chinese products. The advertising for ladies Red Wings both on the Red Wings website and said nothing about them being imported much less that they were manufactured under the brutal iron fist of a communist ruled dictatorship.

There was no reply from Red Wings shoes as I expected. They are ashamed of their behavior as they should be. They try to keep this ethical lapse as quiet as possible so standard business practice is do not reply to such questions or comments. We have to shame these companies to stop being lazy and trying to do underhanded sleazy things to make a buck. It is up to us to hold these companies to the American values and standards that we were taught by our families. It has always been up to us because this isn't the first or last time an American company will be run by people that have limited ethical standards.

I wrote to to explain my position and I must not have been the only one to do so because now provides a search option on their website that allows you to narrow your search for products that are Made in the USA. I do have a problem with companies selling communist made shoes but I can't change that and it's their business if they choose to do such a thing. I just want to know which shoes they are so I can choose not to give my money to a communist government or buy from companies that are less than honest about where their shoes are manufactured.

Red Wings shoes still make shoes here in the USA. They make high quality motorcycle and work shoes for men and have limited offerings for women. Red Wings comfort and fashion shoes and boots are all made in China. Other American shoe and boot manufacturers have opted to have the Chinese put American shoe company names on poorly made Chinese shoes and then make an attempt to pass them off as Made in the USA by using American name recognition. They do not advertise or specify where the shoes are made unless they are Made in the USA. Even though Chippewa, Double H, Danner and Justin still make shoes and boots in the USA they have been putting their names on inferior Chinese made products too while making little or no mention of it. I believe this practice is extremely dishonest and downright despicable.I own Chippewa and Justin American made boots. I also own Danner Chinese made work shoes that I didn't bother to check immediately and I was unable to return them because they had been worn before I thought about checking them. So I have been burned and I check everything before I buy now.

If the American shoe makers are proud enough to charge any of us the prices they ask for shoes bearing these iconic American names then they should be proud and honest enough to let us know where those shoes are made and let us choose which ones to buy based on truthful information. Being underhanded and dishonest is a short term business practice that leads only to contempt and eventually to failure as it should. If you sell a shoe or any other product that is made in China then clearly state it and tell us how proud you are of that product. The phrase for American shoe manufacturers should be "Proudly Made and honestly sold in the USA".

UPDATE*** This is from a 2007 Red Wing shoes Newsletter that insructs retailers about signage.

Made In USA Signage Reminder

Due to some Red Wing branded products now being sourced off-shore, Red Wing retailers can no longer use Red Wing Shoes brand signage that carries the Made in the USA reference. As you know, all Red Wing footwear is clearly labeled as to its country of origin. We ask that you help in this effort to make sure your customers are not confused about this issue. We would ask that you review all of your interior and exterior signs and make sure you are in compliance.Signs that carry the reference must be removed.Only those Red Wing products that are labeled as Made in the USA can be displayed on slat wall shelving carrying this description.Please look carefully at all Red Wing branded materials(floor mats, clocks, etc…) to make sure you are in compliance. Your Red Wing sales representative has been instructed to help you with this task. New slat wall shelves, clocks, floor mats, etc.are in stock and eligible for 100% co-op reimbursement. Please contact Red Wing Customer Service to order your replacement signage.


Jeep2000 said...

My husband has been buying Red Wing shoes Made in USA recently.
Luckily the local shoe store we get them from is knowledgeable about the shoes. If I remember correctly, the distinction is that shoes branded Red Wing are made in the USA whereas "Red Wing Shoes" are not. We're due for a new pair, so I'll check it out for sure the next time we go in.

It's also become more difficult to find New Balance tennis shoes made in the USA in brick and mortar stores. The made in China ones seem to be taking over. At least online New Balance still has a good made in USA presence.

J_G said...

Thanks for stopping by Jeep2000. One of the fellows at work went to a Red Wings store near where we work and the sales person tried to get my co worker to buy the Chinese made ones because they are not selling in that store. Who wants imitation shoes when you can buy the real thing.

Ryan said...

I've worn Red Wings my entire life. The pair on my feet right now has served me for about 11 years. I was saddened to hear that Red Wing was sourcing some product off shore. Thanks for your post.

I'll probably still buy another pair if they are made in the USA.

I will send them a letter denouncing their off-shore manufacture either way.

Anonymous said...

Just so everyone knows...I recently bought two pairs of Red Wings...I have worn them my entire life or nearly...I picked up a pair of motorcyle boots and some heavy work shoes ( sorry, but neither of thos mentioned in posting are NOW american made)...both had the Red Wing lable flying on ' always I assumed they were union made right here...I spent a total of nearly three hundred bucks and bought from one of their dealers who sell to working folks here...wore 'em for awhile...and read your post...only to find out from tiny lable inside that they are both made in china...and these were not the "workx" brand of red wing or any of the offshoots they sell, but actual Red Wings...the actual ones...this company is shady and it is indeed a shame...I wrote them and said that they had lost a life long response of course...Hey, good luck Red Wing! Way to ruin a good company and any chance of selling me shoes in the future...Jeff in Vermont

Anonymous said...

Frye is also a company that resides in the US, but makes some boots overseas or in Mexico.

Such a shame to the company and the consumer. $220 for a pair of imported boots with inferior leather and stitching is an insult.

I held off on a purchase from them and ordered a pair of LL Bean Katahdins made by Chippewa. Hopefully, these are for sure made domestically.

But economically speaking, it's hard for everyone to afford good American products. If we were mostly middle-class like before, it wouldn't be a problem. But that's not exactly the case today.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention one other US-made shoe brand: Alden of New England. Pricey, but they have very good craftsmanship.

Anonymous said...

As a person who has lived 25 mi. from Chippewa Falls Wi. all my life, I was mad as h-ll when the greed flu infected them, but I have found that Katahdins does have the rights for a Chippewa boot, and makes a top quality unlined boot sold through LL Bean ,(always considered a city boy dandy's store round here),but has a really great boot in this product.

Anonymous said...

one last note about Red wing shoes also.
Doesn't it p--- you off when you hear their adds,"still hand made like they always have been", with no mention of where, or by who's children?

still steaming in Chippewa

Anonymous said...

The writer of has written a superior article. I got your point and there is nothing to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not disagree with: As more information is distributed via the 'net, the less knowledge is gained from the net I will be back.

Anonymous said...

I too was wws recently swindled by Red Wings I heard they were American made so I figured I'd give it a shot. I looked at the label they were made in China. I paid over $200 for the boots I'm going to write them also. I am very disappointed with this news all the videos of Roh Roh Roh made in America what a load of crap

Anonymous said...

Im still curious as to how you were able to purchase a pair of Red Wing boots online. To date no online retailer has been given permission to sell their boots. I am a loyal Red Wing customer. Always will be. They still have boots made in the US. Those are what I buy. And I refuse to purchase their China made boots. You got a choice in a Red Wing store. US made or China made. I leave the China made on the shelf. And refuse to try them on.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you some info about your Chippewa boots and Danner and possibly redwing. I have been a die hard Danner fan and own several pair that are over 15 years old, but won't buy anymore. The parent company that OWNS! Danner and Chippewa is a Japanese company, no longer a U.S. Owned company, another U.S. SELL OUT!!! What a shame and we wonder why our country is in the shape we're in when paying the $300.00 + dollars for the "made in the U.S.A." Boots the profit doesn't stay here it goes to our old friends (LOL!) the Japanese. Do Americans not remember Pearl Harbor can you say interior take over this time. These CEO's only care about money in there pockets and piss on the U.S.A. By the way this info came directly from a Danner customer service rep. Why don't we just invite the Chinese and Japanese to take over, NOT ME!!!! Or we could rename our country Won Hung Lo or Bin Soul Out. Thanks all you sell outs I hope they come to your houses first turn coat CEOs or better yet we should kick your asses over to the Orient so you'll feel at home. I am retired Marine Corps and Law Enforcement and am also disgusted about what's going on in OUR! country. Don't keep adding to the Oriental economy. Don't do business with these SELL OUT! company's. Semper Fi !!!!

Anonymous said...

all three of my pairs of Redwing boots have Made in USA on the label. I live in London and have bought all three pairs here. I'm a huge fan and the workmanship on the boots is some of the finest I've seen.

which boot models and from where are people talking about that are made in china??

Anonymous said...

I searched Red Wing's site trying to find out where their shoes are made these days. I wanted to support the AMERICAN workers, not stinking China. After reading this I know now I will not buy from this company unless they bring their manufacturing back home. Why pay two to three times as much for the same trash I can get at lousy Wal-Mart?
Red Wing, you need to start listening to the AMERICAN people or you will end up out of business.

craig roark said...

Well today in America especially in California , there are more people whom speak Spanish, Tagalog or Chinese as a first language before English. In a country where the Pledging to the US Flag in a grade school classroom is offensive to many students whom are not even US Citizens. Red Wing Shoes was taken over by Corporate Minded Nitwits that have shamelessly sold out their products to the Peoples Republic of China. Get the US Made while you still can as everything is now Made in China.

Anonymous said...

Those people badmouthing Chippewa are ignorant. Chippewa is not owned by the Japanese. It is owned by Justin Brands which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is owned by a smarter than you American from Nebraska. They are 100% handmade in the USA and are fine boots. You should do your homework before spouting off crap that badmouths one of the few great American shoe companies still left in America.

Mark Hertel said...

I have 5 pair of redwing boots. Two pair of Beckman's, two pair of 9 inch Logger boots, and a pair of Chukka's. All made in the USA accepted the insulated logger boots. I am all for buying USA made products, I ride a Harley (mostly USA made) and a Jeep. Now the funny thing is out of the 5 pair of boots I had to return one pair of the Beckman's for squeeking issues and the USA made loggers for a bump in the side caused by what looked like an extra piece of leather folded and stitched in. The logger boots made in China have been fine. They are quadruple stitched in places where the USA made boots are triple stitched, they are just as comfortable, the leather is just as good.......honestly put side by side between the two loggers if a person didn't know they would just be guessing which ones were made in China.

Anonymous said...

To my knowledge you can only be 100% sure of the authenticity of a pair of redwings if you purchase them in a redwing store. That being said any third party could be selling you a knockoff or something else not 100% authentic. Also the varience in materials leads to as different fit across their line of boots. I currently own 2 pair of redwings boots for work as a mariner; one pair is an insulated boot and the other is an uninsulated version it, both have a goretex membrane and are extremely waterproof and durable. They look identical to each other buy one pair had to be wider do to the insulation. Luckily the redwing salesperson told me that and got me a wider boot. On the redwing site it tells you the origin on the boot as well. So if you are going to risk it and buy from a third party I suggest cross referencing any numbers with the site before you hit buy. Some are made in America with imported materials and others are imported from Asia. The two pair I own are made in America with American materials. That being said the 1214 and the uninsulated version cost over $300 each. Redwing makes 40% of there boots in foreign countries to keep prices low. Expect to pay out for American made boots. And trust me its worth it. I guess my point is this; always be careful purchasing from any third party, and be sure to cross reference with the manufacturer's website and be prepared to pay out for quality American Made boots.