S&S x Viberg Shinki Horsebutt Service Boot

Hey folks, Elliot here to tell you about some boots! The first delivery of our SS21 Viberg exclusive makeups has arrived, a Black Shinki Horsebutt Service Boot sewn up on the 2040 last.

These are my favorite Viberg build we've done, a perfect balance of sleek and full - thanks very much to the 2040 last and completely unstructured toe.

Our full delivery of these boots launches Friday, May 21 2021 at 10:00am Pacific Time.

The 2040 Last

These are built on the 2040 last, and the sizing and fit are a little similar and a little different than the most popular 2030 last. The 2040 last has more room in the forefoot and toebox than the 2030 last, with a slightly more narrow heel and waist, and a lower volume instep.

Viberg describes them as a "single E width Munson style last" but we've found our best success in sizing it like a D width due to the low instep and snug heel.

For sizing the 2040, we suggest the same thing as we do with the 2030 - going 1 size smaller than your Brannock measurement, or 0.5 size smaller than whatever you take in the Alden Barrie last. If you have particularly wide feet, or a very tall instep (you'll raise your hand if this is you) we suggest only going 0.5 size smaller than your Brannock measurements in the 2040 last.

All this makes the 2040 sound more fussy and difficult than it really is, mind you. Overall it's a remarkably comfortably and easy to wear last, owing to its military inspiration and Viberg's years of development. The 2040 has just the right amount of room to hold your foot securely all over, without ever feeling tight, and the less tapered toe box is comfortably roomy and feels great from day one.

In fact, if you have any difficulty with these boots at all, it'll be when they're brand new. After some wear, the very dense and stiff horsebutt will have had a chance to break in.

Shinki Black Horsebutt

The leather is, as expected, breathtaking. A custom horsebutt leather developed by Shinki Hikaku Tannery in Japan, who only tan horsehide leather. This leather has more character out of the box than some leathers will develop over a lifetime of wear. Initially, the horsebutt feels thick and almost impenetrable, but over time will relax. Horsebutt also has the tendency to roll, rather than crease.

The horsebutt has been finished with a glossy shine, making the leather pop in a satisfying way in almost any light. Not so shiny as to look like patent leather or synthetic, the shine on these just looks natural. From a distance and from up close, they look like something that shines because it is an object of great quality (because these boots absolutely are), and not something that simply imitating excellence. Hiding beneath the shine, a subtle but attractive grain pattern can be seen, adding yet another layer of visual interest to the already attractive leather. You'll see variations in the grain - honeycomb shaped stretch marks, vertical striations or even a rare glimpse into the Hausdorff dimension.

Shinki were not content to stop there though, going one step further still in making this horsebutt a tea core leather, that will scuff and wear over time to the natural brown sitting below the black dye on the surface.

The Works

The trimmings are up to par with what we expect from Viberg, especially on such a high caliber leather. The uppers are sewn together with precise double needle stitching, with a tonal black thread and high SPI (stitches per inch) count. Viberg's signature double row stitchdown outsole stitching is equally clean, extending 270 degrees to a clean finish around the heel. Like any pair of goodyear welted boots or shoes, Viberg's stitchdown construction boots can be rebuilt and maintained for a lifetime of wear.

They stand on the Ridgeway sole and heel combo, and if I'm being honest, I wasn't sold on it at first. However, after spending some time in them, I'm surprised and pleased to support that I've come around on these. The Ridgeway sole is light, flexible, very comfortable to stand on, and with great traction. These are certainly the sort of sole that I'd have no trouble walking around in, whether I'm in the city, the office, the garden, or the woods.

Additionally, as a fun fact, the Ridgeway sole is stamped, advertising that it is "94% made in England" - what they do not mention is that the remaining 6% is actually made in France, a historical quirk that is maintained (by law) through the continuation of a single hundred-year-old trade agreement between England and France.

For lacing, we opted for 7 gunmetal eyelets, allowing you to dress the boot up should you feel like it, and maintaining the serious tone of these stunning-looking black boots. Viberg has included a set of flat waxed laces (which appear in the photos above) and a second set of black rawhide laces, which have a slightly more rugged look.

A Highly Limited Exclusive

These are available Friday, May 21st at 10:00am Pacific Time. They are regrettably, a one and done release. Though the style is exclusive to us here at S&S, we are unable to restock this particular makeup, so we recommend sleeping on a different product release - not this one.

By Elliot Young

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