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Red Wing's Lineman boots make exclusive U.S. debut [Updated]

January 6, 2011 | 11:07 am

Southern California fans of hard-to-find heritage work wear can thank the cold weather of Minnesota for the limited-time stateside availability of the Red Wing* Lineman boot, which will be sold exclusively at the Stronghold boutique in Venice through the end of January.

The thick-soled, round-toe, narrow-profile leather work boot with a chunky heel was originally designed by Minnesota-based Redwing  Shoe Co. in 1910 for linemen -- the workers responsible for stringing and repairing electric and telephone lines.

"The thick sole provided support while standing on a ladder, and the aggressive tread helped with

traction," explained Dan Dahl, lifestyle director for Red Wing. "It's a real authentic work-wear piece."

Dahl said that the current version of the boot is based on a design that's been used since about 1940 with a few tweaks. "They used to be about 8 or 10 inches tall, which we've cut down to 6," he said.

Thanks to the Japanese appreciation and appetite for authentic U.S. heritage brands, the boots have been part of the product mix offered through Red Wing Japan for a while, but they haven't been offered in the U.S. until now.

Dahl said the company had noticed increased interest in the lineman boots and decided to offer them to U.S. consumers for a limited time.

And how did Stronghold, a postage-stamp-sized boutiqe on Abbot Kinney Boulevard end up as the sole purveyor of said boots?

"It's so cold in Red Wing [Minn.] this time of year, we decided to do something different and hold our national sales meeting down here instead," Dahl said. "And since Stronghold is one of our key accounts, and they only sell American-made, pre-1950 heritage brands, we thought it would be a good fit."

The Red Wing Lineman boots ($290) will be available at the Stronghold store at 1625 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, or by phone at (310) 399-7221 (no Internet sales), until the end of January (or until its stock runs out). 

-- Adam Tschorn

[*Updated 1/7/2011 at 10:44 a.m.: In an earlier version of this post, Red Wing was misspelled as Redwing.]

Photo: Red Wing's Lineman boots ($290), previously available only in Japan, will be sold exclusively through Stronghold Denim in Venice until the end of the month. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times