On May 16, Vic Mensa and Wolverine launched the Wolverine x Vic Mensa 1000 Mile Combat boot collection, a line of men’s combat boots co-designed by the 135-year-old Michigan-based shoemakers and the Chicago-born rapper. Aside from the obvious parallels of Vic’s love for wearing boots and leather, and Wolverine’s repertoire of crafting great boots, this partnership goes much deeper than a reach for sales and recognition.
“With Wolverine, I was able to pull my personal style into the collection and bring a lot of the punk aesthetic that I’m drawn to into the design of these shoes to create a boot-inspired sneaker,” said Mensa. “It’s been a very collaborative process and I had the opportunity to get my hands on the quality materials Wolverine uses—like the leathers I hand-selected.”
The result? A stellar pair of vintage-looking boots that reflects both Vic Mensa’s unique aesthetic and Wolverine’s classic archive in a powerful way. Vic’s creative passion and unique, singular style have been influenced by a lot over the years, even before he began his rise in the music and fashion industries.
“I wasn’t initially inspired by music or fashion. I was inspired by skateboarding and graffiti,” says Mensa. “The rock music and the hip-hop music came through those avenues. The rebellious spirit of both of those things — the rebellious but artistic, creative spirit of skateboarding and graffiti really inspired me to begin with.”
Mensa, however, attributes much of his fashion inspiration and designs to a certain punk rock icon that ushered a movement that is still apparent today.
“One of my biggest style inspirations is The Clash,” Mensa said. “The way they kind of evolved, you know, from the classic zipper pants and leather jacket creepers to a more tailored suit look, to army fatigue, and combat boots. I’m heavily inspired by them.”
The Wolverine x Vic Mensa collection is rooted in the hard-working foundation of regional Midwest cities, an in-your-face gritty, punk-rock attitude, and a devotion to high-quality craftsmanship. This, coupled with Mensa’s experience working with leathers when designing jackets and pants for his 93PUNX creations, it should be easy to see why the two sides went with a combat boot inspired shoe design rather than your typical everyday sneaker.
After meeting with Wolverine at the Horween Leather Chicago factory, Mensa began to brainstorm ways to create a boot-inspired sneaker that reflected his personal style and punk aesthetic. The Combat collection features a reimagined design of Wolverine’s coveted 1000 Mile boot, which embodies the brand’s reliable American craftsmanship and Mensa’s fearless style.
Offered in three different heights and three different color ways, the Wolverine X Vic Mensa Combat collection allows you to personalize your shoes to your style as much as Mensa did with designing them. Better yet, each pair gets its reinforced comfort, chunky style, and lightweight feel from custom Vibram outsoles.
Wolverine X Vic Mensa Combat Collection
Note: Each colorway features the same pricing per style. All prices reflect the the “tall” style shown below. Pricing for the “mid” style is $200 and the “low” is $190.
First off, the Ink silhouette sports an ultra-soft black “Rookery” outer made at the Horween Leather Factory. Everything from the eyelets, laces and soles is completely blacked out and we are here for it.
The Burnout treatment boasts a two-tone sandblasted color and is hand-finished from C.F. Stead’s “Cracked Spitfire” leather. The result is a worn-in, brown leather that Mensa selected specifically to mirror the vintage motorcycle jackets he customizes by hand.
Complementing Mensa’s passion for DIY style, the Anthracite combat boot is enveloped in a hand-finished, perfectly imperfect, matte-black “Metallic Rambler” leather from Leeds-based tanners, C.F. Stead. It also gathered some added style points via a smooth Horween Leather “Rookery” tongue.
But great style isn’t all you get when you buy a pair from the collection because a portion of the proceeds from the collab’s sales go to Mensa’s non-profit charity, SaveMoneySaveLife, which provides essential resources to those in Chicago’s underserved communities.
“I try to tie in a socially conscious aspect to different things that I do, whether it be music, fashion, or whatever,” said Mensa. “My foundation was doing a lot of dope things…teaching first response to address the gun violence problem that we have in the city and working with the youth and teaching music production. So I wanted to tie that into this collaboration, especially having the Chicago connection to the factory, and them (Wolverine) being from the Midwest. It was only right to put some focus into the foundation as well.”
Vic was also kind enough to supply us with some styling tips for the combat boots.
“You know probably just like a black jean, or like camo pants. I’ve been wearing these with my baggy camo pants. Blue jeans could work too with the different colorways. Just make it easy. They can be dressed up, too. The dark black (Ink style) can definitely be dressed up.”
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