We position ourselves as an alternative to hype culture run amok around here, and therefore spend a lot of time thinking about the ways our hobby can intersect with consumerist currents. Heck, you can listen to Ben grapple with it live on this episode of the shoecast. It’s important stuff!
Still… sometimes Canadian santa comes down from the north with a whole load of new boots, and we’re all allowed to be excited about it. You’ll find the new Viberg drop, a trio of Lofgren’s Donkey Punchers at Standard & Strange, a classic Russell Moccasin model resurrected, color 8 shell cordovan sneakers from Rancourt and more in this weeks Shoes & Boots of the Week.
Previous Shoes n’ Boots of the Week articles can be found here.
[Ed Note: while we never choose anything specifically because of them, some of these recommendations contain affiliate links—the price is the same for you, but Stitchdown gets a small commission if you make a purchase. It’s essential to keeping the site alive, so we really, really appreciate it.]
As of this week, drop one of Viberg’s AW23 collection is available or, in a few cases, already gone. Drop one featured a tight collection of models in the Classic and City collections, with an emphasis on leathers from Stead and Maryam. Here are a few of our favorites:
Like the other Scout Boots in the Drop, the Snuff Waxy Commander model has a Vibram Moreflex sole (a Christy-esque EVA wedge that’s significantly lighter but still hugely hard-wearing) instead of the chonkier Vibram 2021 found on most of the SS23 Scouts. The black sole colorway and a matching 360˚ split welt shift your visual focus upwards to the upper and the eight antique brass eyelets. It’s a boot that has been pared down significantly from its origins as a hunting boot, but if you’re walking on city streets all day, this a worthy boot boot to do it in.
Blacked-out makeups are already emerging as an early fixture of this collection, and if the cover photo for the (as-yet unreleased) AW23 Refined Collection is to be believed, we’ll see a blacked out Halkett at the very least. In the meantime, we have a series of models in Black Waxy Commander including this Rockland Blucher. The subtle, waxed-over (not for long!) nap of the Commander and the inset lugs of the ridgeway sole make these a touch more casual, while the 360˚ scalloped welt is a through-line to the design language of Viberg’s more formal offerings.
Regular restocks of the Service Boot Essentials, classic 2030 models in Chromexcel and shell cordovan, seem to have left more space in the seasonal collection for Viberg’s less-common lasts. The 1035 last on the Vachetta Lucida Service Boot is a rounder toed affair which maintains its sleek proportions while allowing more room in the forefoot. The construction, as on all of Viberg’s Service Boots, is double row stitchdown, and the upper leather uses new tannage from Maryam, a hot stuffed vegetable tanned horsebutt with a natural finish that’s achieved by ironing the leather and rolling it with woolens. All of that sits atop a Ridgeway sole, which seems to have edged out Dainite as a Viberg focus this season.
The rest of Viberg’s Autumn/Winter 2023 Drop One can be found here.
Standard & Strange continues their love affair with the hefty, half soled Donkey Puncher via three new leather options for the pattern, available ready to wear. All maintain the Donkey Puncher pattern’s standard detailing: two-toned upper stitching, a 270-degree storm welt, lace-to-toe quarters, and a woodsman heel. The 120 last that the boot is built around is an appropriately voluminous E-width. The leathers currently available are Cognac Badalassi veg-tan…
…and Black Chromexcel.
Truman has oriented itself around nailing down reliable patterns and using them to delve deep into the catalogues of tanneries like C.F. Stead (who are highly represented in this week’s round-up). That allows them to highlight more unique leathers like Waxy Mohawk, a waxed suede finished to happily emphasize natural variations in the leather that tanneries often attempt cover up. Truman uses it on their 79 lasted cap-toe service boot, equipped with a proprietary rubber sole and a 270-degree flat welt.
The Bird Shooter, as true as it gets to Russell’s outdoorsmen roots, is one of the Wisconsin bootmaker’s oldest models. This incarnation’s upper is clicked from water-resistant WeatherTuff leather, and in case that isn’t enough for all the wetlands you’ll be slogging through in these, they use Russell’s triple vamp construction. For those in the know, that’s a double vamp upper (two layers of leather that wrap allll the way up and around the foot) with a molded sole (the third visible “bumper” type layer that also wraps up and under). Underneath all that, they’ve got a super light, Vibram 360 Force outsole that keeps things… ahem… *grounded*.
Edward Green’s Piccadilly showed up at Leffot this week (I’m sure the Leffot team would love it if, as that implies, they just appeared on the shelves one morning). This time the storied penny loafer pattern has made its appearance in a wonderfully deep and waxy suede and a matching brown Edward Green branded sole. The welt is a super low profile 270˚ flat welt with welt fudging and dense stitching. The apron stitch on the toe almost manages to hide amidst the texture of the waxed suede, adding another subtle detail to a shoe that aims at perfect execution.
Lewiston Maine’s Rancourt is a longtime player in the well-made sneaker game, and they’ve taken it a step further with the introduction of their Court Classic Low in Color 8 Shell Cordovan—only the second brand we know of to widely produce a shell cordovan sneaker. The outsole is a Vibram cup sole, and the footbed, while foam, is made of a latex as opposed to EVA, and topped with a suede sock-liner.
Some very curious sandals sporting a new Dr. Sole outsole landed at Withered Fig this week, produced by a company out of Singapore called OGL. OGL (short for Obbi Good Label) began as a leathergoods workshop in Singapore producing wallets, belts, and other accessories in natural or over-dyed veg tan. It has grown into a purveyor of all things workwear, milsurp-inspired, or just plain hardy.
Their leather Cross Sandals feature vegetable tanned uppers and a Dr. Sole “Dragon Scale Sole” which, in similar fashion to lightweight composite hiking soles (think the Vibram Sierra used by Nicks and RDT) is comprised of a hard rubber outsole cemented to a softer foam midsole stitched to the upper. The advantage of this construction is that it makes resoling as simple as possible, so for the truly avant-garde these could provide a fun platform for experimentation. They’re available in black veg-tan…
…and Natural Veg Tan.