Minnesota company sees its products on Olympic stage
RED WING, Minn. (KTTC) -
Whether amateur or professional, it takes a great pair of skates to keep you on your feet.
Riedell Skates in Red Wing, Minnesota has been making ice skates for more than seven decades for Olympians like Johnny Weir, Michelle Kwan, and Jeremy Abbott, but also for average folks too.
More than 100 employees help create up to 240 pairs of ice and roller skates each day. Forty-five of those employees work in production; all of those will touch every sake that goes through production.
The process of making a skate can take seven to ten days, and accuracy is key. Every skate must have a foot form called a "last." Workers take leather material that is cut to a specific size and form it to be attached to the last.
From that point, skates are steamed, nailed down, and cooled in a freezer.
The blade is the last thing to be attached, with 10 screws put into the bottom.
Dan Riegelman, Vice President of Riedell Skates, says it's cool to see the finished product on an international stage like the Olympics. "A lot of these employees have been here a long time and they've learned their trade. Their craftsman; most of them have 20 years experience with us making skates... it's a great sense of pride that, not only I share, but all of our employees share being able to [watch someone] perform at the highest level with a skate we made for them."
Competitive skates like the ones seen on the Olympics take up to 125 steps to build, but non-competitive ones take less than half of that.