Have you checked our latest M.F.B. interview with Michiya Suzuki? If you found it very intriguing to read, we got something more for you!
Mr. Suzuki gives a very detailed comment on and share the story behind each pair of his favorite boots. Let’s go and check it out!
Red Wing Irish Setter #875 “Vintage (late 1960s – early 70s)”
Needle to say, the icon of Red Wing brand. This era, #875 has Irish Setter tag without country-of-origin description. The quarter pattern slightly different from what it is today (it was around late 80s or 90s when the brand changed the pattern) and this pair, therefore, has a bit old-fashioned look than current model. This is the point I like.
Red Wing Irish Setter #9877 “SMU”
Regular #9877 is made of Gold Russet Sequoia leather but this pair is made of 2 leathers; Black Cherry Featherstone (the leather for Beckman boots) for Vamp and special Bison leather for quarter. This pair is made to celebrate a milestone event of Red Wing Japan team in 2012 and made only about 15 pairs. This is the first time that we expose this to public.
Red Wing #2015 Huntsman “Custom”
“Huntsman” was made as the company’s 100th Anniversary Limited release. The boots was inspired by late 1930s hunting boots of the brand. It was when hunting boots tended to have black leathers, leather soles and heels.
The “custom” is done on this pair to make it look even more like the old hunting boots than original #2015, by removing box-toes and mid-soles and replacing the laces by flat cotton laces.
Red Wing #9011 Beckman Boot 6” Round-toe “Prototype”
In fall 2017. Red Wing has launched Beckman “Flat Box” which is a 6” round-toe boot without box-toe. Such was one of the most popular styles of American work boots in 1930s-40s. I was considering to launch such boots (simple round-toe boots without box-toes, with rather thin leather soles in classic types of leathers) since around 2011. The pair is one of the first prototype that the brand made in 2012, simply by removing the box-toe from #9011.
by the way, the pair is one cover page of the book "Dear My Boots" issued as a special edition of Lighting Magazine in winter 2018.
Clinch George Boot
Clinch is one of few brands that I pay a great respect to. I found all of their boots and shoes carefully and beautifully designed and very well built. They are beautiful. Among some pairs of Clinch boots/shoes that I have, George Boots is my favorite. The narrow last perfectly fit my feet. The leather I have chosen for this is Latigo (Antique Black) which shows an interesting ageing as time passes. Black leather will have greenish shade. The pair’s quarter has just started to show this ageing and I am looking forward wo seeing how it well evolve.
Red Wing #9268 Engineer Boot “Custom”
My first pair of Red Wing was Engineer boots 32268 (PT83) that I bought in 1988. It was a beautiful pair with the best leather condition among many, many old #2268 that I have ever seen. However, as leather broke-in, my fingers started to hit the steel-toe. It was painful and I could not wear it anymore. This experience made me to have 39268, which is a reproduction of old #2268, customized by removing box-toe. As results, the pair became one of my pairs of Red Wing which I enjoy wearing the most.
Red Wing 9203 Garageman
This is my single favorite oxford of Red Wing. The design is one of the typical work shoe (service shoe) design in America around 1950s-60s. One piece moc-toe vamp is comfortable and the leather (named Madeira Chaparrai) is so beautiful. The pair did not make commercial success and not a lot of pairs were sold to market. I believe that those who bought this style was the person like me; those who like American vintage styles and those who knows what they like regardless to fashion trend or what others wear.
Red Wing Lace-to-toe #2966 “Custom”
This style was launched in 2015 as Lineman Boots. Although we named it Lineman as the boot design, so-called “monkey boots”, is often called as Lineman in the market, we knew that it was not made for Lineman. The design has more things to do with old-tie athletic shoes. So, I was considering if we could make a light-weight boot which is a bit like classic athletic shoes and therefore made this custom. Although the ideas did not turn into a new product development project of the brand, I like this “custom” pair as an unique pair.
Red Wing #2941 7” Round-toe “Custom”
The pair is one of the brand’s long-seller design and the successor of #708 which was first launched in 1954. The original outsole of this pair was Cushion Crepe sole. To customize this boot, outsole was replaced by leather-base sole with heel, box-toe was removed, the collar finish was changed from leather piping to row edge and pant-grip was added inside the collar. “Pant-grip” was a tape to hold the pants always tacked into the boot and it used to be used for many hunting/military boots. One of the objectives of customizing the boot was to test if the “pant-grip” made sense for today’s market. The result of this was negative but the pair remains to be my favorite.
As a boot-maniac, How can you not feel jealous about Mr. Suzuki’s collection? I am drooling on the SMU version 9877...
It is so admiring to see Mr. Suzuki’ heart is still full of enthusiasm about work boots after his career at Red Wing Japan. You may follow his latest projects below.