Sturdy, reliable Red Wing boots have been hard to find in Ann Arbor since Ehnis & Sons closed ten years ago. “There was a mom-and-pop shop down the street that used to carry them,” Ed Lopez says, jerking his head Ypsi way, referring to the former Larry’s Boots and Shoes on Washtenaw.

Now Lopez runs Ann Arbor’s first dedicated Red Wing store in Chalmers Place, a few doors down from Elevation Burger. He says Red Wing has stores all over the country, some franchises, some company stores. This particular one is a franchise, but Lopez says the owners “don’t want to give out their names.”

Named for its Minnesota hometown, the company still makes most of the boots sold under the Red Wing brand in factories there and in Mississippi. Others, including the iconic Irish Setter hunting boots, come from China. The store also carries casual lace-ups; hiking shoes; belts; socks; and shoe polish. For people who get really dirty, Red Wing stores sell the Wisconsin-made “Scrusher” for $42.99–you drag your mud-encrusted shoe through a tunnel of long, stiff brushes.

“A lot of kids from the university go for the Heritage boots,” Lopez says–expensive, all-leather designs that are often continuations of now-outdated work-boot styles. But the store’s real business is in work boots for the working man (and to a lesser extent, woman). “U-M is really happy to have us here. So many workers need boots with safety toes. They send people here. So does Comcast.”

Red Wing, 3365 Washtenaw (Chalmers Place), 997-5325. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.