This week, we are pleased to present a pair of staple Division Road Service Boot special make-ups with Viberg that turn back the clock. These are Vibergs you would have seen over a decade ago — reimagined, redesigned, and made with today’s refinement. One attribute that makes Viberg unique is their connections and partnerships with tanneries, firstly with Horween. Rather than using split-down weights, they utilized this premium US tannery’s core leathers in full weight, allowing the Service Boot to be unlined and employing stitchdown construction to present the first fashion-forward, virtually indestructible, rebuildable footwear.
Viberg and Horween have developed cult-like followings from a similar approach over the years. Both companies have become archetypical in their categories by working on recipes and processes that fuse formal with industrial, translating those into utilitarian products that manage to inspire while maintaining tradition. Chromexcel® is one of Horween’s original recipes from 1913 and involves almost one hundred ingredients through eighty-nine procedural steps. Much has been said about this tannage and its properties, and in a full-weight hide, it is durable, consistent, molds to the foot, and will patina beautifully. Using steer hides in a chrome-base tannage for pull-up, pliability, and robust performance, CXL is vegetable re-tanned for a natural feel and finish that ages gracefully and is one of the most recognizable leathers for being the best of all worlds.
As we always look for new and different leathers, we wanted to return to the tried-and-true to create something classic yet exclusive and distinct for this release. In that view, we designed the Natural CXL Service Boot using the more recent 2020 Last and the Brown CXL Service Boot on the archival 310 Last to hallmark Viberg’s first evolved styles. We added our subtle twists to create staple footwear — ideal as additions to any established collection or a first introduction to this level of footwear craft. Both Service Boots are a window into Viberg’s legacy as a workboot maker that bridged into the high-quality lifestyle zeitgeist and to Horween’s well-earned status as America’s premier tannery.
Any Viberg collaboration pack that leverages heritage should include a Service Boot on the 310 Last, originally referred to as the 1950s Service Boot from its archival chronology. This uniquely shaped Last has a distinct, stylistically versatile aesthetic, adapted from a vintage factory workboot form with a moderate profile and sprung bull-nosed toe for proportional balance and to force one to walk heel to toe. Using the classic medium Brown CXL leather with a grain strike dye that retains the natural core color, we produced a make-up for the daily grind that looks like a jeweler's version of an antique workboot.
For that rockabilly workman look and utility, we used signature refinements of a straight cap toe, antique brass eyelets, and a hand-finished antiqued midsole on a Vibram 705 Split Sole with a slight sculpt to the heel. Proving that keeping things simple has benefits, this Service Boot is structurally and stylistically sound for gents wanting to add to their collection or those keen to introduce a 310 to their line-up.
The ability to marry dress and utility that gave Viberg distinction in footwear is perfectly represented in our Natural CXL Service Boot, designed as a classic daily make-up. This version is uniquely formed on the 2020 Last that was refined over the years to take a dress toe and profile and, with an orthopedic hook from the forefoot to heel, combine them into an anatomical cantilever form that fits and functions beautifully. The undyed Natural CXL is revered for its light sepia brown color provided by stuffed oils and waxes and the balance of patina potential with a consistent finish and grain.
This adaptation for the next era of collectible classics comes with a pinked cap toe, antique brass eyelets, a natural leather midsole, and the flexible, dutiful, and signature wet and dry traction Dainite sole. While easily overlooked in an assembly of more dramatic designs, this Service Boot is a slick style piece that will immediately be embraced for habitual use with a cleanly coordinated look in an industrious build.