In a city of Red Wings, Lanona stands out. While Red Wing Shoes were founded on a legacy of creating boots constructed for hard labor, the St. Paul-based brand creates boots and shoes designed for the high-street, in beautiful leathers ranging from black and brown to rich burgundy, navy blue, and hunter green.
Lanona recently debuted its new shop on the main level of the Northern Warehouse in Lowertown. The cozy space showcases the brand’s shoe and boot styles, along with a selection of boot-leather hides (customers can choose from 30 leathers to custom-design their own boots) and its wool logo caps by Ebbets Field Flannel, which feature custom leather straps by upstairs neighbor, Leather Works MN.
The idea for Lanona was born about four years ago when founder/owner Ben Ransom set out to create a custom shoe for himself. He connected with a manufacturer in Miami, and spent more than two years testing things out, observing the shoemaking process, and building the Lanona brand. [While Ransom was new to the retail world, his background in business development came in handy.] After a soft launch a year and a half ago, operated out of a second-level studio at the Northern Warehouse, the brand officially launched last April with an e-commerce site showcasing four styles. Today, Lanona sources about ten different styles out of three different factories in the U.S., and has been featured at the annual Northern Grade pop-up market in Minneapolis.
Styles include the Tavern Boot and Academic Boot, which both feature a moc-toe; the new Porter boot, featuring a plain-toe and made with black leather uppers from the S. B. Foot tannery in Red Wing, Minnesota; the Spaulding, its moc-sole boat shoe; the Fireside, a double-outsole moc slipper; and the Concourse, a stitch-down leather slip-on.
Ransom says phase two is to develop product in-house within the next year. He’s already begun working with a local bespoke shoemaker to design patterns for a boot that we will make entirely at the new Lowertown facility.
So what of that other Minnesota footwear brand?
“If anything, Red Wing helps our brand,” says Ransom, “because the people who are already wearing Red Wing, they know the price-point and they know the quality of good footwear.”
Ransom adds, “We focus a lot on comfort–not that [Red Wings] are uncomfortable, but some of their styles take awhile to break in. We’re using some softer leathers, that are also water-resistant. Our styles are comfortable right out of the box.”
To learn more, visit lanona.co.