There are few things that Scandinavians are yet to master. Their furniture, of course, is legendary — famously filling minimalist homes and hideaways around the world. Their cars, also, rumble down far-reaching roads — bringing peerless engineering and meticulously-made motoring to the masses. As regions go, it’s one to be reckoned with; a subcontinent with skills to spare.
But why should cars and cupboards get all the flat-pack, four-wheeled fun? The fashion industry is just as deserving of Scandinavia’s sleek, simple style. And Myrqvist is more than up to the task. In 2016, the brand first stepped up — and has been creating wonderfully welted, practically designed shoes ever since.
Established in Sweden, the brains behind the brand is Sebastian Öhrn, a man on a mission to revolutionise the strait-laced and restrictive world of men’s footwear. Öhrn, a graduate of St Andrews, always had a passion for handcrafted shoes. However, last decade, the budding businessman identified a divide. He realised that the price of quality shoes was being inflated beyond affordability, and thus decided to transform the shoemaking business from the ground up.
Five years later, and Öhrn has triumphed. Myrqvist has cut out middlemen and sells its shoes directly to customers both at its flagship store in Stockholm and online. It’s a win-win for shoemaking — not to mention another success story to come out of Scandinavia.
But the brand knows its limits. While Scandinavia may be a polestar of innovation and stripped-back style, Myrqvist is not above deferring to the expertise of neighbouring nations in its pursuit of perfection. The construction of the brand’s shoes, for example, closely resembles those built in British workrooms. The designs may bear names such as ‘Strömsö’ and ‘Stenhammar’, but the classic styles — including loafers, Oxfords and Derby boots — could have stepped straight out of Northampton.
Similarly, the raw materials don’t tend to come from Scandinavia. Instead, Myrqvist sources its supple suede from Charles F. Stead in England; with its calfskin coming from the Hermes-owned Tannery du Puy in France. And the shoes are put together in Portugal — a bastion of shoemaking tradition, where the workshop used by Myrqvist has been Goodyear-welting for over six decades.
It’s an inspired Scandi business plan — and one that has seen Myrqvist become the fastest-growing footwear brand in Sweden, providing its premium shoes to the public at a modest price point. And the flagship store, in Stockholm’s fashionable ‘Norrmalm’ district, is the ideal shop window for the brand. It’s a place where the sustainable credentials of Myrqvist’s shoes are appreciated, and where the shoes can be stepped out directly into the harsh Scandinavian climate; immediately proving their reliability, versatility and comfort.
Because, while the brand is premium, these shoes can stand up to almost anything. Whether burly boots or elegant penny loafers (the latter is the favourite style of founder Öhrn), this is tough footwear. And, like waxed cotton jackets, selvedge jeans or even wristwatches with burnished bracelets, the charm of any good garment comes from patination, and character-building wear-and-tear.
This is what Myrqvist does so well. The brand has managed, in its own singularly Scandinavian way, to lace together refined design and resilient capability, offering customers the full functional footwear package across its entire collection. So, with the arrival of autumn, we’ve picked out our favourite Myrqvist styles for the season below…
The 'Granhult' Chelsea Boots
This pair of handsome boots, the ‘Granhult’ style, happen to share their name with a nickel-plated IKEA wall bracket. Happily, they’re just as sturdy and reliable as the forged fixture; crafted from a whole-cut piece of full-grain calf leather from France — and available in both dark brown and black.
There’s a slightly squared toe for the perfect smart-casual silhouette, a studded rubber sole to tackle any terrain and leather board heel caps with a cork filling — perfect for long commutes, nights on the town and ensuring comfort with every step.
Granhult Chelsea Boots
The 'Abisko' Jumper Boots
‘Jumper’ boots have a military background. Originally created for paratroopers and airborne forces, these combat shoes were worn by brave men undertaking heroic, incredible feats. Thanks to Myrqvist, the style has been brought to the masses — in the shape of these affordable ‘Abisko’ shoes.
And this storm-welted spin on the traditional style is as tough as those old boots. Finished to ensure water protection and crafted from country calf leather, these striking shoes stand on double studded rubber soles to effortlessly walk the line between function and fashion.
Abisko Jumper Boots
The ‘Duved’ Hiking Boots
Named for a section of Åre, Sweden’s biggest ski resort (all of Myrqvist’s styles are named after places in Sweden), these new hiking boots promise to look just as good padding across the countryside as they will when striding down a city street.
Equipped with robust rubber soles, soft leather collars and gusseted tongues, each boot benefits from supple suede uppers, crafted from Charles F. Stead’s pioneering water-repellent ‘Repello’ suede. Though also available in black or dark brown suede, we’d go for the navy; an idiosyncratic option for adventurous dressers.
Duved Hiking Boots