BNV Footwear started in 2010 as a small outfit in Indonesia, pushing out high quality cow hide handmade leather boots, which were only sold locally. Within those 2 years, the company has expanded astronomically. Their products are carried in stores in the States and Europe and peppered all across Asia. The brand alone is something to marvel at, taking on giants like Alden, Whites, Red Wing, Quoddy, and holding their own. Some of you at this point might be wondering how is that possible? Well, BNV’s design team have not only researched and did right by the boot’s construction (Goodyear Welt Construction), they’ve been keeping up with technology and modern production processes to ensure they’ve got that edge over their competitors. Smart move I’d say.
Before I get into that, let’s talk a bit about me (not something I often do believe me). I’m a sneakers kind of guy. I like being really comfortable in the shoes I wear, and I can’t stand “break-in” periods. Most of my shoes are high cut chucks I buy from around the world, and they look great with slim cut denim. I think boots and denim is a great look, and although I’ve been tempted to buy a pair several times before, I never could pull the trigger. What’s holding me back is what I’ve been hearing about the current leather boot offerings. There’s always a minimum “break-in” period of a month, within that month its not uncommon to have bruised feet and plenty of blistering.
That really irks me. Coming from Roller/Ice Hockey, I remembered the skates I had when I was a kid were made from pure leather, and it would take a month of daily skating to get them broken-in enough that I wouldn’t have any more blisters. The hockey boot has embraced technology and for a long time now, skates are comfortable right out the box. I couldn’t fathom why leather boots in this modern day and age, are still a nightmare to wear.
A couple of designers from BNV contacted me and asked if I was willing to try their boots. Since they promised they’ll be as comfortable as a pair of sneakers, I figured why not? So they flew over, personally dropped off a pair of 5 Eye Summit Boot in Coffee Brown, from their latest Lightweight collection. Holding them, I couldn’t believe just how light they were. If you’ve ever held a pair of Red Wings, these are close to half the weight. The boot is handmade from thick cow hide that’s been processed by a wax tannery, this adds to the leather’s durability and water resistance. The boot is sewn onto a piece of rubber, before the sole is glued on. This ensures the boot’s durability and facilitates sole repair should you ever need one. The sole is made from something called “Micro-Cell-Rubber”, which is essentially a different compound of rubber that can tolerate high compression rates without breaking down the rubber cell structures. This just means a sole made from this particular rubber would be much lighter and stronger than the typical rubber sole. This is probably the reason it feels so light.
I was particularly fond of the shoe’s styling. There isn’t any visible brand stamp on the leather. There is only this simple zig-zag pattern on the back that marks the BNV signature. I’ve only had 1 gripe in the week that I’ve used them thus far, the leather lace on my right foot seems to come undone every now and then. It’s probably attributed to how the leather lace is smooth on one side and unfinished on the other side. If the lace were unfinished on both sides where I did my knot, I think it might hold better. Curiously enough, my left side doesn’t have the same problem. If you happened to have purchased the wrong width, not to worry, the leather expands enough to accommodate your wide feet. It happened to me as I forgot to mention I’m a size EE. A quick 4 day stop over at my cobbler’s and this size D felt like it was made for my feet.
When I first laced them up after getting them back from the cobbler’s, I was completely ecstatic. The boot really did feel like a pair of sneakers. It was like my feet were wrapped in cushions! I wasn’t used to the sole being so stiff compared to sneakers at first, after 3 days of walking around, they softened up and I was strutting around like a peacock on marshmallows.
So I got curious. I started investigating the inside to figure out what made this pair so damn comfortable. Turns out, the sole and heel are lined with supple goat skin. All that red you see in the picture is in fact goat skin.
Taking out the insole, I find the underside is porous! The insole is actually foam and the holes are for breath-ability and sweat absorption. So mystery solved! The boot is exceptionally comfortable thanks to an insole made from porous foam wrapped in genuine goat skin.
This pair of boots have become part of my staple look when I’m about town these days. If you haven’t already heard of BNV, I suggest you check out their site at www.BNVfootwear.com
Special thanks to David and Awie from BNV for taking the trouble to persuade me into it. Would never have stepped into a pair of boots till you guys showed up.
Happy New Year everyone! I’ll be seeing you in 2013.