Arts and Culture

It's-a-me, Mario's shoe: Red Wing makes boots inspired by video game character Mario

Brown boots that Mario the video game character would wear
Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoes created a pair of the iconic boots worn by Mario; sadly, they are not for sale.
Courtesy of Red Wing Shoes

Mario, the mustachioed and red-hatted Italian plumber who first appeared in Donkey Kong in 1981 and has since appeared in over 200 video games, is enjoying another moment in the limelight.

In April, the character will be voiced by Virginia, Minn. native Chris Pratt in an animated movie. In advance of this, Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoes has constructed a pair of the character’s iconic boots.

The company’s website offers a video showing the laborious process of transforming Mario’s somewhat bulbous footwear into a real-world version. Over serene, meditative music, we witness designers and cobblers working out patterns, cutting leather, steaming and carefully stitching together a pair of boots that manages to be both exquisite and ridiculous.

This is not the first pair of once-fictional boots created this year: Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF created a pair of ballooning red boots based on those worn by Japanese cartoon character Astro Boy. The footwear sold for $350 and has since been spotted on the feet of rappers Lil Wayne, Lil Nas X, Coi Leray and Rich the Kid.

Alas, there’s some bad news for aspiring fashionistas hoping to go viral in Instagram images wearing Red Wing’s version of Mario’s boots: they’re not for sale.

A pair of shoes and tools on a white background
Mario is the main character of the Mario franchise and has been entertaining the world for over 40 years.
Courtesy of Red Wing Shoes
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.