This is my neighbour who found his way up here from Aleppo, Syria. He is a fine young man who dresses well and surrounds him in a mist of exotic fragrance. And today we will use him to test a boot called "vegvisir." And this is the story about how I test all my boots.
Our backyard is littered with old huts back from when people worked on the fields. So we often use the old paths and dirt roads between them to get to where we are going.
I check heel height and roll ✔
Then a stretch of farm land. Muddy and soft soil that absorbs any moisture and transfer it straight to your shoes.
I check the water tolerance ✔
I walk about 10-15kms per day on weekdays, on weekends slightly more carrying our daughter on my back [+9kg weight]
I check the shock absorbance ✔
See how those water drops just lay there instead of being soaked up by the leather. That is from my own home cooked mixture which I apply to all shoes in three layers. It is tran from deep ocean fish. Hoof oil. Mink oil and a wee bit of tar.
The last stretch is just mud and gravel. Which is good to get a feel for:
- Sole grip ✔
- Stains on the upper ✔
I walk around 100km in every pair to evaluate them and make changes accordingly. And then I am done with that pair, and I start another one with a change list. And the cycle continuous. But this design didn't even make it to the first round of tests. I only use them here because they are the biggest shoes I got, and the only one my neighbour could fit.
The reason they did not make the cut was because they felt to flimsical. To uncertain. I saved the base pattern and went straight to a new boot called "Huggorm".
Huggorm is a padded boot that is very stable and walks extremely well on gravel. I would estimate that it took about 170 hours of work+walking time to get from "vegvisir" to this pair made.
This is the first version of Saint Denis. The one boot I have worked continuously on for over one year. They have gone from big clunky alpine boots to something entirely different. Because for every 100km walked, piece by piece they have evolved to what they are today.
A 640gram fierce well balanced walking machine that is slim enough to wear to town with jeans.
We live in what is considered the arctic. And as far as testing conditions go?
-This is top tier topography. Constantly walking on a wet biomass-stew. And before we moved here I wasn't aware that anti-freeze can freeze. Well it can. And here it does. Along with the glues commonly used in shoemaking.
I. Test. Everything.
And when it is good enough for me right here, it is good enough for anyone, anywhere else. And these shoes get the job done. That is the reason why I feel confident enough to start making them for customers now.