I thought that they also still did custom if you showed up and ordered in person.
Custom White's Boots ... Thoughts? - Page 201
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That may be true, but how viable is that for most?
I've also confirmed that Viberg does not do group orders. They only do makeups through their authorized retailers, of which SF is one.
Some of the (IMO) more important differences:
- White's uses Norwegian Welt Construction (or something very similar). The leather welt is hand-sewn to the upper, and then the upper and the welt are folded over and machine-stitched to the sole. White's appears to stitch both rows on the sole simultaneously (as far as I can tell, using a double needle machine)
- Viberg uses stitch down construction. (second example) Viberg appears to stitch each row on the sole separately
- Viberg seems to produce cleaner work, on average, than White's. (see: linafelt's comparison) The structural integrity of both White's and Viberg boots is high (they will probably last years), but Viberg seems to have higher aesthetic and quality control standards.
- White's uses a leather shank.
- Viberg uses a steel shank.
- The shank is mostly personal preference, and unless you are going to fight forest fires in your boots, probably not a concern.
- White's has a consistent stable of leathers, including iconic (distressed brown, dress brown, red dog) and many standard (black and brown oil tan, natural/brown/black chromexcel) selections. There are a ton to choose from (view the gallery for this thread) but not many people order off menu.
- Viberg has a smaller selection of consistent leathers (chromexcels, oil tans, some ROs, waxed flesh), but will often do limited run builds in unusual leathers (midnight reverse kudu, alligator)
- I have liked the leathers I've handled from Viberg (cxl, oil tan, RO) more than the ones that I have handled from White's (oil tan, assorted ROs, distressed). White's leathers feel much more workboot-like (rigid, thick, not as smooth/soft) and Viberg's feel more luxurious (thick but soft and flexible).
- White's makes Made-To-Order boots either directly or through Baker's Shoes. They also have a pre-built boots presence on Rakuten.
- Viberg sells prebuilt boots directly from their website and through many boutiques. They do not accept MTO builds except through group buys (such as on Iron Heart or StyleForum) or through physically showing up at their storefront in Victoria, Canada.
- If you want a custom order, you pretty much have to go White's. Viberg puts out tons of interesting builds, though. If you like making decisions, go White's. If you want a good build without effort, go Viberg.
I mean, overall, White's and Viberg grew out of similar areas with similar boot demands. They've approached the fashion market very differently, however. Viberg chose to embrace it, produce a ton of collaborations, release a lot of their own fashion builds, etc. White's welcomes the orders but aside from a handful of domestic and international collaborations, doesn't produce many prefab fashion builds. Vibergs cost about $300-400 more than White's, on average, but this also seems to guarantee a much higher quality control standard. Both are solidly built boots, but Vibergs often look more polished--it's up to the individual how much this matters. You can build a Viberg boot to look like White's and vice versa, but there are some things that one or the other is better known for (Viberg's service boot pattern vs. White's smoke jumper) and those specialties are worth researching when you move toward your next boot purchase.
Edited by missusjuiceman - 1/27/14 at 7:55pm
Agreed...but we need some Nick's info in there too. (I'm dying to hear/learn more about Nick's, but I just don't see a lot of info out there anywhere)
I've got a pair on order, so the wait/suspense is killing me.
I was really unhappy with the leather samples sent by Nick's (of their three standard leathers, black, chocolate, and walnut). They were very tough, and plasticky on the smooth side. I'd suggest that anyone considering Nick's avoid their standard leathers.
They use both McKay lockstitch and Goodyear welted construction, depending on the boot. (source) Nick's construction quality seems good, but there's just not a ton of info about them online--I've found more on Japanese blogs and Rakuten than any English-language source, and there are very few pictures. Nick's seems way less inclined toward the fashion community than even White's, though they were very easy to deal with on the phone and seem to have no issue taking fashion orders.
While I haven't handled any leather samples from Wesco, I'll note that their sole stitching makes White's look like Viberg. (one, two, three) For the price, I'd avoid Wesco. (They also tend to upcharge for every little modification from the standard build, which can quickly bring them between White's and Viberg pricing.)
Misterjuiceman has a pair of Wesco leather laces and they are A+, though.
After first day
Leather 1: Cognac Water Buffalo
Leather 2: Brown Chrome Excel by Horween
Toe Vamp Leather: Brown Chrome Excel by Horween
Toe Cap Leather: None
Celastic Toe Box: Single
Safety Toe: No Thanks
Heel Counter Leather: Brown Chrome Excel by Horween
Upper (Shaft) Leather : Cognac Water Buffalo
Leather Liner: Tan
Sole Trim: Close Trim
Back Stay Leather: Cognac Water Buffalo
Pull Loop: Yes
Eyelet Color: Brass
Eyelet Configuration : Hook and Eyelet
Top Garment: Hook
Lace Design: Lace to Toe
False Tongue: Cognac Water Buffalo
Sole: Vib 700 Composition Half Sole,
Half Slip: No
Heel Shape: Curve
Heel Height: Standard
Midsole/Edge Color: Natural
Size - Length: 10
Size - Width: E
I'm actually getting them in 6" (5" is a tad short for me, and I do enjoy some add'l ankle support), and the soles will be just a touch thinner (apparently they were having trouble sewing through it all), as well as the heel being 1/4" lower (to match the thinner sole and allow me to descend easier when hiking). Tongue is yet to be determined, as I didn't want black. Fingers are crossed I can get the tongue done in dark olive CXL to match the boot, but he (Dustin, owner of Vermillyea Pelle, who provided the leather and did the soles) wasn't sure they'd be able to properly split it thin enough for tongue leather. Fall back is ideally natural CXL, and if not that, their natural tongue leather (not leather from a tongue--that would be amazing--but leather that they use specifically for tongues).
We shall see. Can't wait to get these beauties on my feet. 10-12 agonizing weeks away.
Edit: The roughout boot that they're offering is damn fine, too. Both are made by Nick's, but Dustin did/taught them how to do the block heel, as they don't really offer one like that (apparently he worked in shoe repair/crafting for 12 years before opening his store).