Name – Joy Lewis
Location – Ventura, CA
What kind of bike do you ride?
My daily bikes are all 60s Triumphs – I mix it up between my little 200cc Cub, my 500 and a couple of 650s mostly because they shift on the right side and I don’t do so well with my left foot these days. I like to say if it’s old and British, I’ll ride it (though I don’t know that my English husband appreciates me calling him old.)
Describe your personal style / what are your ‘go to’ daily clothing items?
Because I’m on a bike everyday I’m always wearing jeans and boots with either some vintage dealer or race tee and a neckerchief. My go to pieces are my Atwyld commuter or shred jeans and Red Wing mocs.
Tell us about your trip to Red Wing, MN:
Last fall while out in Minnesota for work I was able to sneak in a factory tour for myself and a couple of equally enthusiastic boot wearing coworkers. Armed with earplugs and safety glasses we stepped into the factory and were immediately greeted with that familiar smell of leather and a massive stack of hides. The first shoulder we peeked over was the only person using what I would consider ‘modern technology’ in the whole place. This person laid out each hide on a giant drafting table and used a laser pen to digitally map every flaw. The hide was then passed on to their counterpart who overlaid digital ‘patterns’ like a game of Tetris - careful to avoid the flaws but use up as much of the hide as possible, limiting the amount of scrap. From here we went station to station and watched the boot gradually come together. Most impressive to me wasn’t that the bulk of the employees had been there for more than 20 years, it was that they had been doing the same job for that whole time. One guy we chatted with had been pounding the same nail into boots for all of his 31 years at the company.
One highlight was seeing the repair department where they bring shitty old worn out boots back to life. The team is only made up of a few people but they get through hundreds of repairs a day, ranging from simple clean/conditions to resoles to customizing boots for special needs – like if you have one leg that is a couple inches shorter than the other.
How did that tour change your perspective on footwear and the production of boots?
At some point during the tour when we realized what a manual process it was and how many hands touched each boot, my friend said he would never be able to buy another brand of boots. We all agreed and while I’m not advocating for a price jump, if they were double the price I’d still say they were worth every penny.
What is it about Red Wing Heritage that you appreciate the most?
When you visit the Red Wing factory it is immediately clear that the company is rooted in the working world. There wasn’t a single person building those boots that thought about whether or not they were trendy – they were thinking about what oil prices were doing and worrying about their customers being laid off across the country. I appreciate that the Red Wing Heritage designers are looking to the company’s history to make functional boots, built with the same attention to detail and durability that Red Wing has always been known for.
You wear both mens and womens Red Wing Heritage, what do you find the main differences are?
I have a couple pairs of the men’s boots from before women’s came out and the standout difference to me is the break-in process. The lady boots are instantly comfortable and form to your feet right away whereas the dude boots take some easing into (I recommend thick socks and break-in shifts). One of my favorite fun facts about the girl boots is they’re made from girl cows because the leather is softer and breaks in more easily. Obviously Red Wing calls them heifer hides but I like telling people that they’re designed by girls, for girls and even made of girl cows!
Can you share a favorite memory you have from a motorcycle trip?
Ha! So many come to mind but because we’re talking boots… while in Red Wing, I was able to grab a bite with the director of product creation for Red Wing Heritage. We were sharing upcoming travel plans and found that both of us were headed to Japan the next month – totally unrelated. Fast forward to Halloween in Tokyo - I was finishing up a shoot with BMW in some PACKED alley in Shibuya – I stepped off the bike and before I could take my helmet off I was standing face to face with that same gal – WHAT THE F ARE THE CHANCES?!! We were both giddy about the coincidence – what a world we live in!!
To see the entire Women's Heritage Collection click HERE