Iron is essential for life because it is indispensable for several biological reactions, such as oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and cell proliferation. Over the past few years, our understanding of iron metabolism and its regulation has changed dramatically. New disorders of iron metabolism have emerged, and the role of iron as a cofactor in other disorders has begun to be recognized. The study of genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis and iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA) has provided crucial insights into the molecular mechanisms controlling iron homeostasis. In the future, these advances may be exploited to improve treatment of both genetic and acquired iron disorders. IRIDA is caused by mutations in TMPRSS6, the gene encoding matriptase-2, which downregulates hepcidin expression under conditions of iron deficiency. The typical features of this disorder are hypochromic, microcytic anemia with a very low mean corpuscular volume of erythrocytes, low transferrin saturation, no (or inadequate) response to oral iron, and only a partial response to parenteral iron. In contrast to classic iron deficiency anemia, serum ferritin levels are usually low-normal, and serum or urinary hepcidin levels are inappropriately high for the degree of anemia. Although the number of cases reported thus far in the literature does not exceed 100, this disorder is considered the most common of the "atypical" microcytic anemias. The aim of this review is to share the current knowledge on IRIDA and increase awareness in this field.