Our first ever Viberg Colab boot comes out swinging, and personally I'd like to think it's anything but ordinary.
Introducing the Midnight Chelsea
A collaboration and exclusive piece by Viberg Boots for ButterScotch.
Made from C.F. Stead's Black Box Calf leather and utilizing the rugged and well rounded versatility of Viberg's 2030 Last we got to cooking up the Midnight Chelsea Build.
Now I know what you are thinking, "Oh cool another Chelsea boot and how original... it comes in black..."
In a sea of what I am sure are a ton of other options out there, visually, nothing quite compares to the build quality and construction of that of an Viberg Boot. Maybe this is a biased opinion, but giving the track record of our boot partners and our collaborative builds of the past, I would like to think I know a thing or two about well made boots and what I don't know I turn to the experts to help craft some of the best made and best looking pieces out there.
Let us start in the beginning, When I launched ButterScotch back in 2017, it was a dream of mine to create a rugged Chelsea that could kick ass and take names day-in a day-out. To create a boot that looks just as good in a pair of denim or flip the script and throw them on with a suit and tie. When I create I am all about creating items that can equate to a "cost per wear analysis." I understand we are not only creating items that stay in your closet for years if not decades to come but with that comes the cost of goods. What we all have to pay out of pocket from our hard earned monies. This is not something I take lightly and with that said the cost per wear analysis comes into play.
$5 bucks in a jar every time you wear something, when does it pay for itself? I really think about this when creating our unique pieces for the shop and I would hope with that thought in mind it helps paint a picture of the real versatility I'm aiming to create with things like the Midnight Chelsea. I understand a lot of our product is not for the faint of heart when you see the price tag, but building something of quality with the intention of having an item withstand the test of time and the endurance of wears really starts to outweigh the cost. When you have one of our unique items for years if not decades its in partly thanks to the quality materials, build construction and overall high quality of the item due to the skilled craftsman we partner with in each category and with every one of our brands.
So anyways back to the beginning. It's 2017 and I'm looking to create a versatile Chelsea, after many attempts and even a few prototype samples later, it's now 2023 (yes, almost 6 years later) I find myself in Paris sitting down with the team of Viberg discussing our partnership and what our two brands working together looks like. I'd like to think I have a knack of creating interesting and detailed boot make ups. To note, some of these builds or ideas have been bouncing around in my brain box for years. Six years and half way around the world I have the pleasure and opportunity of sitting down with one of the best boot makers in the world and his last name just happens to be the name of the company.
I sit down with Brett Viberg and his Sales Manger to discuss what 2023 looks like for our two brands working together as well as special projects I have been personally looking to develop. I pitch a few ideas of things and styles I'm looking to create and I revisit the idea of a rugged, all purpose Chelsea. Brett uncrosses his arms leans forward and says "lets talk more about this"
Now I know what you are saying, "Why does the world need another Chelsea boot?" And my answer, well because after searching and searching I have still yet to find one that checks all the boxes that isn't full dress or for a lack of better phrasing... total garbage. It's either too dressy, or the shaft height is too short, maybe it has double pull tabs that hang up your pant leg, the leather squeaks, or the sole is beyond lackluster. Honestly the list goes on and on here of what I was looking for. With all these things in mind I wanted to set out to create one with exact specs I was looking for.
(NOTE: This is not to discredit current Chelseas we carry, each of those check specific boxes but still have left a couple unchecked due to production restraints and restrictions.)
The Midnight Chelsea is inspired by simplicity. A boot that can handle an all nighter if need be (while your back thanks you for the support). Something that looks good with denim or a pair of dress slacks and can with stand rain, snow, or any other elements mother nature wants to throw at them all while maintaining a sturdy grip. This is the important part, you'll hear me say "rugged and refined" a lot when I refer to development items for the shop and the Midnight Chelsea is epitome of this. Refined because well it really does not get anymore refined then that of the build quality of a Viberg boot, combining that refined fines with almost understated ruggedness. This comes from a fully blacked out silhouette. With a closer look the MNC it has the following build specs that separates the boys sections from the mens.
The Black Box Calf Leather sourced from CF Stead's tannery is a sturdy rough and tough leather that is pretty unforgiving when it comes to daily wear. We choose this thanks to natural wax finish. It is Heavily plated for a smooth grain aspect and fully aniline (black all the way through) with a rich, deep pull-up
From there we move down to to the welting process where we chose a stained black Goodyear storm welt process that is 360 degree stitched for a rain / snow "gutter" wrapping all the way around the boot to keep your feet protected from the elements. The storm welting adds a small lip vs a traditional flat welt process to aid in in keeping the wet out. Storm welting also lends itself well to the Commando sole which is what we have chosen for the Midnight Chelsea.
Before we jump to the sole of the boot we need to take a moment to address the midsole. This is something we took some time to deliberate on to create a more 'hefty" overall Chelsea. Midsole is something that usually is optional on boots and in some instances I really like what the additional of a midsole does for the balance of a boot, especially if adding a more robust sole. With the MNC I wanted to add a bit more to this boot so I opted to not go with the standard 3mm midsole but to double it using a combo of cork and rubber for a 6mm midsole. The cork helps keep the weight down while the rubber adds a little more height all while keeping underfoot weight in the scope of build design to make sure two things.
1. Weight - The boot was not overly heavy and feeling like a brick under foot. For reference the MNC weighs the same as Viberg's 2030 Service boot.
2. With the addition of the cork vs all rubber the boot still has bounce and does not murder your lower back from all day wear. The Cork is a natural support that can help conform to your foot shape during wear this plus the all leather foot bed helps mold to your feet for natural orthopedic support.
Last but not least, the sole of the boot, and some could argue one of the most important details of the entire boot. I opted for the Commando Sole. A sole to juxtapose the rest of the beautifully refined build.
A sole forged during war times in the 1930's, the commando sole was built as an absolutely utilitarian vehicle of sorts. The bottom star pattern or "Lugs" as they are called, not only create grip / traction in almost every condition but they also provide additional shock absorption and cushioning underfoot. Typically a smooth leather sole would be used on a dress application like something of a Chelsea or oxford, but leather over time in wet conditions will saturate and the use of something like Dainite sole just wouldn't do the heftiness of this build justice. Stylistically the chunky lug of the commando sole was the perfect balance of aggressive and practical while also sleek. I could have opted for Vibam's 100 lug which brings the chunky lug pattern to the very edge of the welting of the front toe box of the boot but I liked the Commando sole due the lug pattern being recessed back roughly 1/4 of of an inch for the entire front 270 degrees of the boot. Another detail the really captures the balance of rugged and refined elements that make up the Midnight Chelsea. The rear heel stack lug matches that of the rugged aggressiveness for just the right amount of sole angst with the lug coming all the way to the edge.
On a bike, in the office, an airport security line, red carpet event, or on the morning coffee run, there is no denying the simplicity of something so formal yet so casual in a pull on Chelsea boot. The Midnight Chelsea is here to take on whatever you want to throw at it and its built to last. How ever you want to wear a pair of these every thought and detail was put into these so you don't have to think about it. Just wear them
The Midnight Chelsea is exclusively built for ButterScotch.
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photo credits to the following:
Kevin Pak (Night Time Shots)
Sterling Reed (Lifestyle Shots)
Viberg Mfg (Factory Photos)