Viberg boots review: heavy on the foot, taxing on the wallet, easy on the eye
A growing subsection of my footwear collection is now represented by Canadian maker Viberg. This has come as a bit of a surprise to me, as I've always preferred British makers in terms of looks - but I started with one pair off Marrkt, and I've now found myself with five. Assuming a consistent rate of geometric increase I expect to have thirty-five million pairs by Christmas. I'll need a bigger shoe rack.
Viberg is a maker that has long been beloved by online communities like Reddit's r/goodyearwelt, so I'm a bit late to this particular party. Price-wise they are in the £600 - £700 bracket, making them relatively expensive for the American service boot market, though still markedly less costly than higher-end British makers like Gaziano & Girling, Edward Green et al, although the comparison between their output and a traditional service boot is apples to oranges.
When bought at RRP I would agree the brand has become rather overpriced, but it's a bit moot either way, as I've not spent more than £200 through Marrkt or eBay for any of these, which is extremely competitive for the product.
All these pairs are a Viberg size 10. I wear a UK 9.5 and this has proven a relatively consistent fit for me. The received wisdom seems to be to take the same size Viberg as your UK shoe size, which I could probably also see working in terms of fit for all of the below pairs.
Viberg Service Boots 2030 in Chicago Tan Latigo Horsehide
Probably my favourite of the current collection, these are handsome, versatile and reassuringly well put together. The uppers are Latigo Horsehide, a relatively stiff leather that Viberg used in 2020 I think for a run of models. The four-month air-drying and tanning process of the leather creates a pretty distinctive end result.
In spite of the "tan" in the name, the leather is pretty much cherry red, with a particularly nice patina forming on the toes which have an almost museum leather, mottled appearance. I've long been an advocate of red shoes, so they are very welcome in the rotation.
The double-stitching around the welt uses two distinctly different thread colours, which creates a neat effect. They're on Dainite soles, which I know many people don't find very comfortable, but tend to be my preference for boots due to its overall indestructibility.
Viberg Service Boots 2030 in Natural Tan Suede
My second favourite current pair - I'm a sucker for this particular shade of suede, somewhere between tan and camel, which is really useful with denim and has a nice nap to it.
This is the plain toe service boot model - nice little extra features include the contrast stitching colours, raw leather laces, and a pleasant contrast leather tongue. The only downside for these are the leather soles, although since I probably would only wear suede in dry weather I guess this makes sense.
These do wear a bit larger than the above pair, but are still comfortable for my UK 9.5 feet. They haven't seen very much wear yet, but they should prove useful for the summer.
Viberg Hikers in Tobacco Brown Roughout
I struggle to find much info about this pair - these were the first Vibergs I bought.
They are a hefty hiking design, with a lot of ankle padding and some very high grip Vibram soles. The uppers are tobacco brown roughout suede and are pretty much completely impervious to grim weather.
I like the difference in grain between the leather at the shaft and the quarters - not a design choice so much as some weird clicking, but it does add some extra texture. I've worn these for some decently long walks, and while I'd probably defer to a proper pair of hiking boots for anything more serious, they have held up well thus far.
Viberg Service Boots 2030 in Black Horse-butt
The horse-butt leather used here and in the next pair is really interesting. It's aggressively textured, with a lot of very fine micro creasing - it is simultaneously somewhat glossy but also quite matte in finish.
From some reading on the internet, it seems the finish applied to the leather is quite prone to suffering from careless application of cleaning and conditioning products, so I am leaving them pretty much untreated for the foreseeable future.
The contrast of lighter brown edges with the black leather uppers works well here. The only major downside is the skinny black laces - unfortunately, the eyelets are too small to fit Viberg's raw leather laces, which is a shame.
Viberg Side Zip in Black Horse-butt
Final pair - a spur of the moment pickup that were available for a good price from Marrkt. These are way outside what I would normally wear - side zip boots have a generally poor reputation in terms of quality footwear, with a lot of less than favourable associations with fashion brands.
They are made from the same black horse-butt as the previous pair, with the same distinctive shiny but also somewhat matte finish. The profile is very slim - a necessity of the design since they obviously have no laces to fasten with. They close with a brass zip at the inside, which makes them convenient for getting on and off.
So that's the whole family lined up - probably enough pairs for now unless I see a particularly tempting shell cordovan pair.