Excellent tailoring meets elusive boots in the new Freemans Sporting Club x Viberg pop-up shop in New York City — but the bad news for menswear fans is, the offering won’t be around long. The recently launched shop-in-shop on at the Freemans location on Rivington Street is now home to world-class boots and world-class menswear, but only through the end of June.
It’s fitting that the boots look right at home in Freemans Sporting Club, as the brand and the shop itself blend both modern and more classic, heritage-inspired pieces in a way that’s accessible and still forward-thinking.
The brand frequently styles its wares with Viberg boots, too — that’s why NYC-based fans of both brands should be more than pleased with the pop-up shop, including new styles introduced just in time for spring (like the Snuff Calf Suede Slip-On). For those who covet a beautiful pair of Viberg boots in NYC, chances to try them on can be few and far between — often bringing crowds to Viberg sample sales in the city. That scarcity, combined with a growing fan base in New York, made the partnership so appealing, said representatives at both companies.
“Being able to try it on is huge,” said Viberg Brand Director Guy Ferguson as he helped put the finishing touches on the pop-up in April. “You need to be able to understand the story.”
Given that Viberg is in its third generation of family ownership, that story carries some weight. With it comes a history of making boots that fill a nice niche between rugged workwear and modern menswear. Taken together, it’s an ideal fit for a brand like Freemans, which stocks everything from unstructured jackets to breezy chinos, tailoring and smart-looking branded ballcaps.
Given the product diversity at Freemans, footwear options like the Brown Chromexcel Chelsea Boot or the slightly more rugged Brown Reindeer Service Boot work nicely in equal measure. In all, the company’s product offering made it a natural fit for Freemans — so natural that the partnership came together in a little under a month.
Kent Kilroe, the managing director and co-owner of Freemans Sporting Club, first discovered the brand in Japan and had been a fan for years, calling it “the best footwear on the market.”
And the way in which Viberg is evolving — selling a snuff suede slipper and offering Chelsea boots at the pop-up shop — evokes what Freemans is trying to do as a brand.
“One of the challenges we’re embracing … (is) we’re trying to evolve into a more contemporary space,” Kilroe said.
One thing is clear for the time being — handsome, durable and beautifully made boots from Viberg are just the ticket if you want to up your own contemporary menswear game. And if you find yourself in New York City before the end of June, you’d do well to make the trip to the Freemans Sporting Club x Viberg pop-up.