Viberg Service Boots Review: Canada’s Best

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Viberg Service Boots get high praise from the boot community, but you’re right to wonder if they’re worth their high cost. I mean, you can get two pairs of Red Wings for that cost.

In this Viberg Service Boots review, I’m diving deep into the Viberg 310 last Service Boot so you can decide if these legendary boots are worth adding to your collection.

Pretty good, eh?
Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Viberg

Viberg Service Boots

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Bottom line: The construction and quality of materials on the Viberg Service Boot is the best I’ve ever seen. Standard Viberg Service Boots run wide, including the 310 last I have. I wish I’d ordered a full size down instead of a half-size, because Viberg boots run large---even compared to other boot brands.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • There isn’t even a single tiny flaw on my boots---Viberg must have a thorough QC process
  • The C.F. Stead Culatta leather has a beautiful, rich undertone to it that’s aging well
  • These feel like tanks in terms of durability, but on your feet, they don’t feel heavy or clunky like some other brands (Nick’s, White’s)

Cons:

  • I wish there was an option for speed hooks---I’ll have to have a cobbler add these for me

The last frontier: Viberg. 

In my years running BootSpy, I’ve had the chance to review over 100 different boots

And one comment I consistently get on the YouTube channel is people asking my thoughts on Viberg. 

Now, I’ve tried Nicks. I’ve tried White’s and Wesco. And now that I’ve been wearing my Viberg Service Boots for several months, I’m ready to deliver my thoughts. 

Viberg Service Boot Overview

Viberg Service Boot profile view on white background

There are several types of Viberg Service Boots: 2030, 2040, 1035, and 310.

These are all different “last” shapes, which basically means they have a lot of the same material and construction quality, but they’re shaped differently, either for style or for fit. 

The most popular Viberg Service Boot is the 2030, and you can find that with a plain toe, cap toe, or even a brogued cap toe. 

I went off the beaten path, though, and picked up the 310—the newest Service Boot last in the lineup (introduced in 2007). It has a slightly squared off bump toe and is a really unique looking boot. 

While I’ll specifically be talking about the 310 Service Boot, much of what I’m diving into will also apply to the 2030, 2040, and 1035 shapes. 

Viberg Service Boot 310

The construction and quality of materials on the Viberg Service Boot is the best I’ve ever seen. Standard Viberg Service Boots run wide, including the 310 last I have. I wish I’d ordered a full size down instead of a half-size, because Viberg boots run large---even compared to other boot brands.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider Before Buying Viberg Service Boots

author william barton wearing Viberg Service Boots

Viberg’s come in a wide E fit as standard (unless it’s specifically marked as a standard D-width fit). 

So if you have a standard width foot, you should order a full size smaller than you would for your sneakers (or for your Brannock size). 

I didn’t read all the sizing advice before buying and just figured I’d get a size 10 (I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock), and I definitely could’ve fit into a 9.5. Still, they’re not so bulky that I’m uncomfortable. I just wear thicker socks with these boots. 

Also, choosing between the various last shapes can be tough—I spent a few hours agonizing over the decision before settling on the 310

So to help you out, I have a basic breakdown of the various last shapes and fits in the “Fit and Sizing” section below. 

Why are Viberg’s so expensive?

Viberg boots use rare leathers from the world’s best tanneries and their boots have the most meticulous construction I’ve personally seen on a boot. 

Few brands use the same types of leathers, and Viberg tends to select leathers that age in a unique way. So if you’re after an interesting patina, Viberg is the best.

question icon

Viberg Service Boots Review

I got the Viberg Service Boots in the 310 last with Husk Oiled Culatta leather. This is from Viberg’s Fall and Winter 2022 lineup, so depending on when you read this, they might not be available. 

However, it’s really just the leather that changes throughout the years—all thoughts on quality and construction are still relevant. 

First Impression

View this post on Instagram

I chose the 310 Viberg Service Boot because of the squared off bump toe. It has such a unique look to it—I couldn’t resist. Check out the quick unboxing video I did with these boots above. 

Viberg ships waxed cotton laces and leather laces with their boots, so you have a tough choice right away. I went with the leather laces myself, but I’m keeping the cotton laces handy just in case I want to swap out. 

author wearing Viberg Service Boot

The most popular Viberg Service Boot last is the 2030—this has the basic look you’d expect from a service boot. It’s a fairly slimmed down style that’s not quite as bulky as a Red Wing, but it’s not so narrow that it could ever be confused with a dress boot

And I’d say that’s true for the 310 and the other Viberg lasts: they’re casual boots, but not so chunky that you’re forced into wearing rugged clothes every day. 

Leather Quality and Care

Viberg Service Boot top down on white background

The C.F. Stead Husk Oil Culatta leather has a deep, rich musky undertone to it that’s been getting more dynamic as I break the boots in. This leather is designed to get more distinctive and develop a patina over time. 

The leather is fairly stiff out of the box, and even after several months of breaking them in, the leather still has a lot of structure to it. 

It sort of reminds me of new Chromexcel leather, but with a tighter grain and a little more structure. 

Culatta leather is cut from the belly part of the steer, so it’s one of the most sought-after cuts you can get. C.F. Stead tans it in such a way that the tighter grain develops a metallic-like sheen to it. 

model putting on Viberg Service Boots

This is what gives the leather such a dynamic look as it ages. 

Because this is a pull up leather that’s already packed with so much oil, I’m not going to condition it for the first year. With more casual boots, I really like to break them in all the way and let the leather develop a distinct patina before I condition it. 

But if you want to keep your boots looking relatively new, you could condition every three months. 

I’m going to use Venetian Leather Balm when the time comes because it doesn’t darken the leather, but still conditions well. 

Venetian Imperial Leather Balm

After testing 10 of the most popular leather conditioners, Venetian came out as my top pick because it nourishes leather, doesn't change the color, and actually adds a decent amount of weather resistance as well.

Buy Now at Amazon Watch Our Comparison on YouTube
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

There’s a kip leather lining through the vamp. The ankle and heel aren’t lined, so you get some added breathability there while still getting a boost to durability from the vamp lining. 

The upper leather is 2.2mm thick at the unlined parts. The kip leather lining adds another 1.4mm of thickness (so the toe totals up to 3.6mm of leather, which is substantial). 

Overall, I’m a big fan of this leather and have enjoyed watching it age. 

Sole

Viberg Service Boot sole detail walking up steps

Viberg uses all natural materials for the sole, including a vegetable tanned insole and midsole, leather stacked heel, cork filler, and a Dainite rubber outsole. 

And like all Viberg boots, the Service Boot is made with double-row stitchdown construction. 

One thing I love about the stitchdown construction here is that Viberg does a much tighter stitch pattern compared to Nicks, Whites, and Wesco

Of the stitchdown boots I own, the flange of leather usually has a substantial width that makes the boot look bulkier and less refined. 

But that’s not the case with the Viberg Service Boot—the stitchdown construction isn’t any bulkier than a Goodyear welt would be. 

Viberg Service Boot dainite sole detail on white background

I’m a big fan of the shape of the heel. It has just the slightest angle to it—it looks like a regular straight heel, but the slight taper gives this boot a refined shape. It’s one of those things where people see it and they can’t quite put their finger on why the boot looks so good. It’s all in the details. 

Of course, the Dainite rubber outsole is a winner—I have several boots with this outsole and I’ve only ever had great experiences with Dainite. 

Fit and Sizing

Viberg Service Boot profile view on stairs

The fit and sizing is a bit tricky with Viberg. Their standard fit is an E-width. 

I’m used to shopping with brands like Red Wing, Wolverine, Grant Stone, Thursday, Nicks, etc. So I know that boots tend to fit larger than sneakers. 

I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock, and I get all my sneakers in a size 10.5. 

I get my Red Wings, Grant Stone, Thursday, Nicks in a 10D. 

So I picked up the Viberg in a 10, and I should’ve gone with a 9.5. 

Viberg Service Boot front view on model

In other words: order a full size smaller in Viberg than your Brannock sizing (or what you normally get with sneakers and dress shoes). 

This is especially true with the 310 last—the bump toe has so much room for forgiveness that it’d be difficult to get a boot that cramped your toes. 

There is one notable exception, and that’s with the popular 2030 last. Viberg has started offering D-width 2030 Service Boots, though the default is still E width. 

Viberg Service Boot

The Service Boot has been a Viberg icon since the 1930s. It's versatile, rugged, and Viberg makes one of the best versions of this boot you can find. But you gotta be willing to pay the price.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Now if you’re wondering which last shape to get, here are the big differences:

  • The 2030 is the standard fit and shape. It’s your classic service boot.
  • The 2040 is wider starting at the waste of the foot, allowing the ball of your foot and toes more room. It also has a slightly elevated toe, so it’s forgiving if your toes splay. It’s a bit more bulky than the 2030. 
  • The 1035 is similar to the 2030, but has a rounder, flatter toe. 
  • The 310 takes the elevated toe to the next level and makes the shape more stylized.

The 2030 is the most versatile shape. The 2040 is a bit more rugged, but still fairly tame.

The 1035 is a good option if you like the versatility of the 2030, but you need more room at your forefoot than you do in the heel. 

And the 310 is a one-of-a-kind look. It’s the least versatile, and it’s also the most rugged looking. 

Break-in Period

Viberg Service Boot on author william barton

The break in period wasn’t bad for these Service Boots. Maybe it’s different with leathers besides the Husk Oiled Culatta, but besides some leather stiffness out of the box, I didn’t experience any major discomfort. 

It’ll take a few weeks of wearing to truly break these boots in. After all, they have a leather insole and midsole, and have 3.6mm of leather in the vamp. So they don’t feel like sneakers right away. 

But they’re nothing like breaking in a pair of Nicks. I just wore my favorite thick wool socks and made sure to not go on any long walks with them the first two weeks and they feel great. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

View this post on Instagram

The Viberg Service Boot reviews online come from extremely knowledgeable boot lovers, so you can spend hours reading through comments on how the various lasts fit and to get a feel for the general quality of the boot. 

There aren’t any reviews on Viberg’s site. And after reading through all the professional reviews, the verdict is that Viberg boots are incredible. In fact, I didn’t read one negative comment, which I think is a bit strange. At the same time, I don’t think anyone who spends $700+ on a pair of boots wants to talk bad about them. 

Viberg Service Boots Alternatives

Grant Stone Diesel

walking in Grant Stone Diesel boots

The Grant Stone Diesel is a worthwhile alternative to the Viberg Service Boot. I explain why I think so in depth below, but I’ll give you the short version here:

The Grant Stone Diesel isn’t as well-made as the Viberg Service Boot. And the materials aren’t as rare and high-end. 

But the Diesel gets you quite close to the top-end of boot quality (in terms of construction and materials). And it costs about half as much as a Viberg boot. 

Now that I have both, I wear my Viberg’s more often. 

If I had neither, and I was looking to get the best value for my money (fantastic quality for a relatively low price), I’d pick the Grant Stone Diesel

Grant Stone Diesel

The Grant Stone Diesel is a no-frills mid-weight boot built with superb attention to detail and materials. The quality is comparable to other boot makers who retail for $450-600, but the Diesel is much less expensive. It’s one of the better price for value buys you’ll find.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

My Thoughts Overall On Viberg Service Boots

What I Like

  • I’ve never seen a boot that didn’t have at least one tiny flaw. This Viberg is the first. Their QC process is the best of any brand I’ve ever bought from. 

  • The C.F. Stead Culatta leather has a beautiful, rich undertone to it that picks up a dynamic patina you can’t find from more common leathers. 

  • These feel like tanks in terms of durability and construction, but they’re not heavy and clunky like Nick’s or White’s. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I really wish there was an option to have speed hooks added—I think for the cost of these boots the ability to add two speed hooks instead of all eyelets would be nice. 

Who is the Viberg Service Boot for?

If you’re a patina-hunter, then the Viberg Service Boot is worth the high cost. The main reason to choose Viberg, in my opinion, is because of their rare leathers. They tend to choose leathers that are hot-stuffed with oils and waxes, which means they have a dynamic look to them that looks even better after a year of wearing.

The Verdict

Do you know of the 80/20 rule? It basically says that 20% of efforts produce 80% of results. 

Well, I think if you want an exceptionally made boot, you can shop with a brand like Grant Stone or Truman. 

Viberg boots are built better, and with higher quality materials throughout. But here’s how I think of it:

The difference between Grant Stone or Truman and a cheap mall boot like Carhartt is so vast, it’s almost like they’re not even the same product. And the price difference is around $300, too. A big jump, no doubt. 

And then if you jump up another $300 from Grant Stone/Truman, you get to Viberg. 

Yes, the Viberg Service Boot is better. It’s the finest, most meticulously constructed boot I’ve ever worn. 

But brands like Grant Stone and Truman get you pretty close to the top end of construction and material quality, and do so at a much lower price. 

You might be willing to throw down to get the best of the best (i.e. spend 80% more to get ~10% “better quality”). Heck, I don’t blame you one bit. I did it myself. And I’m happy about it. 

I just want to shoot straight with you. 

If you want the best of the best, the Viberg Service Boot is my top recommendation.

Viberg Service Boot 310

The construction and quality of materials on the Viberg Service Boot is the best I’ve ever seen. Standard Viberg Service Boots run wide, including the 310 last I have. I wish I’d ordered a full size down instead of a half-size, because Viberg boots run large---even compared to other boot brands.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Are Viberg boots comfortable?

Viberg boots are plenty comfortable. They’re not the most comfortable boots because the insole and midsole are all leather and cork, but after a few weeks of breaking in, they feel well moulded to your foot and offer plenty of arch support.

Do Viberg boots break in?

Yes, Viberg boots take a few weeks to fully break in, and they become quite comfortable. Because the insole and midsole are made with leather, and because many Viberg models have a leather lining, you might have to wear them several times until the grain loosens up and forms to your foot.

Where are Viberg boots made?

Viberg boots are made in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

BootSpy Winter 2023 Picks

Grant Stone Brass Boot
Rugged and stylish moc toe boots
Grant Stone Brass Boot
Check Best Price
Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker Jacket
Paired with a sweater, it's all you need for winter
Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker Jacket
Check Best Price
If you click these links and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.