HAVEN / Viberg Canadian Made Footwear

For Fall / Winter 2020 we work alongside Canadian boot maker Viberg to create two custom silhouettes in premium Horween leather: the Officer Derby and Service Boot. With a rich history spanning over 80 years, Viberg has garnered a reputation as one of the best bootmakers in the world. Still utilizing old world production methods, each stage of production involves an advanced level of expertise, care and precision with many processes performed by the hands of skilled craftsmen. These techniques are combined with the highest quality materials and components sourced from around the globe to create a product that is both rugged and artisanal. To coincide with the release we take a behind the scenes look at this meticulous assembly process at their Victoria, British Columbia based factory.

Developed by famed Chicago-based tannery, Horween Leathers, Chromexcel leather undergoes 89 separate processes, including bating and pickling with chrome salts, and takes 28 working days to turn it into the distinctive, smooth leather. This leather is waxed with a blend of tallow and beeswax to achieve an evenness and weatherproofing unmatched by other tanneries. The leather is carefully inspected one hide at a time and cut individually using a hydraulic press and steel dies. Prior to construction, the craftsmen take care to match tones and textures across each pair of boots or shoes.

    Pieces of the upper are marked and skived in preparation for sewing. A small team of specialists carefully construct each upper using only single-needle machines. Linings, eyelets, thermal-folded edges, and french binding are all applied at this stage as well.

        The last dictates the shape, form and size of the final product. Both our Officer Derby and Service Boot are built on Viberg’s timeless 2030 last that gives the footwear a low-profile and almond shaped toe. The completed upper is laced and steamed to add moisture back into the leather and a leather counter is placed inside the heel pocket. The upper is then carefully pulled over the last and tacked to a heavyweight insole, beginning at the heel and working up the sides towards the toe. The majority of this process is performed by hand.

            At this stage the midsole and outsole are attached. Our collection utilizes the long established Goodyear Welt process that allows the shoes to be resoled and worn for a lifetime. This process is characterized by a leather welt that is attached to the upper first, which is then sewn directly to a leather midsole and outsole. The heel unit is then nailed on separately.

            For both silhouettes we chose the rugged Vibram 1276 Sierra sole that has been a proven choice for outdoor, military and industrial use. Made from premium nitrile, its angled tread and rounded heel, provide traction and stability on a wide range of surfaces. An EVA foam midsole adds further support and all-day comfort.

              Once attached, the sole is trimmed and sanded to fit the shape of the last. The edge of the midsole and outsole pass through progressively finer sandpaper creating a smooth edge and the top of the midsole is bevelled using a hand tool. Overseen by owner Glen Viberg this area of production requires an extreme degree of skill and precision.

              Finally, the footwear undergoes a thorough cosmetic finishing and quality control process. The smooth Horween leather is polished and a layer of clear coat is carefully applied to the exposed edge of the midsole and welt to seal and darken the leather. Sewing marks are erased, loose threads are burned and minor touch ups are performed. A stamped heel seat is placed inside each shoe or boot and a handwritten label is applied to the box marking the end of the production process.