Building Riedell Skates: Our Process
At Riedell Skates, our proprietary manufacturing process involves more than 125 different production steps! Each specific step has been refined over more than 70 years of testing. Like skating itself, we take a labor-intensive approach to blending skill, artistry, and technology to create every pair of our world-class skates.
We owe much of our success to our talented and dedicated team of professionals, many of whom have spent a couple decades or more working at our manufacturing plant in Red Wing, Minnesota. When it comes to materials, our buyers and inspectors rely on an extensive list of suppliers to ensure only the highest leather and components are used.
Beauty is in the Details
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Our hands-on work starts in the cutting department, where the uppers, linings, outsoles, and other skate components are cut out on the cutting press before being sewn together. Cutting takes about half a day on average, making it the fastest step in our process.
The components that were cut then head to the fitting department, where all components are recorded using our computerized tracking system. Here the uppers actually begin to take shape as the exterior outers and interior linings are sewn together and the eyelets, lacing hooks, and tongue are installed by one of our skilled craftsmen. Fitting usually takes about a day to complete before moving on to the next step.
Next, it's off to our lasting department, where the sewn and completed uppers will start to take shape and turn into the skate boot. A foot form called a "last" is used to mold and shape the upper, and will give the skate boot an accurate and consistent shape, size, width, and look. The lasting processes take roughly a day. These operations are critical because they determine the overall look and dimensions of the skate.
The final production steps take place in the bottoming department. After the skate bottom and sole are prepared via a roughing and cementing process, the sole will be attached using heat and pressure. Next, the heel will be attached using a cementing and nailing process to securely anchor the components together. The soles and heels are then trimmed to be uniform in shape, size, and appearance.
Finally, it’s time for finishing and packing. First, the entire boot is cleaned, polished, and given a final inspection. Then it’s tucked neatly into one of our famous blue boxes, and sent on to the attaching department to be mounted with an ice blade or roller plate, or sent over to the shipping department to head out the door.
At this point of the process we are almost ready to ship our skates to you, except for one final step: turning the various components into a skate that can be used. Either a roller plate or an ice skate blade must be attached.
Our skate attaching department goes to work by affixing the proper components. For roller skates, the skate plate and wheels must be properly positioned on the boot bottom. Holes are then drilled through the sole, and either mounting bolts or rivets are used to secure the plate to the boot. For ice skates, the skate blade must be properly positioned on the boot, and small pilot holes drilled into the sole bottom. Using either screws or rivets, the blade is then secured to the sole bottom.
After the proper roller skate plate or ice skate blade is added to the boot, the skates are cleaned, packaged, and sent down the track to be shipped out the door.
Of course there are many additional steps performed within these six steps to create the best skating boots available. Overall, it takes our team about 10 days to complete all the steps in our process.