Norwegian Lars Jensen, who runs Østmo Boots, does things very differently. He is a self-taught shoe manufacturer who makes boots with an old traditional Norwegian construction method, he decides for himself what shoes he wants to make, and the buyer is then randomly picked by everyone who has reported interest in the specific boot on his Instagram.


Lars Jensen in his workshop.

Lars Jensen behind Østmo Boots started trying to make his own shoes in 2015, when he lived in Finland (now he is back in his home country Norway) and used mainly old tools from his grandfather who had been a shoemaker, and learned from books and Youtube videos. He shared the process of learning how to make shoes on the forum Reddit, where people later when the shoes started to look pretty decent wondered if there was an opportunity to order from him. At first he said no for some time since he didn’t feel that the shoes he did was good enough to be paid for, but then he began to accept orders. That said, in order to retain the creativity and joy he felt about learning how to make shoes and try new things, and not just become someone who needs to stress with finishing the wishes of his customers, Lars Jensen eventually established his own, unique business model. He basically do a pair of boots in the size and material he feels to or has access to at the time. He then posts the final result on his Instagram (he has no website), anyone who would like to have the pair report interest, and among these it’s then drawn who can buy the shoes (here you can see how a lottery is done) .

The model Type 2 in oiled leather.

What Lars Jensen focuses on with Østmo Boots is a type of boots that is a kind of combination of American Viberg’s Service Boot and traditional Norwegian becksømsko. The construction is based on the upper leather being pegged to the insole at the back, while it is folded outwards and fastened in a midsole with a stitch, and then a second stitch is added that attach upper leather, midsole and outsole. So the idea is that you never change the midsole, but simply remove the outsole when resoling.

He also does shoes occasionally, like here, which also has a leather sole in this case.

Østmo Boots mainly produces two models of boots, Type 1 and Type 2, while the material can vary widely, ranging from traditional calf hides and grain leather to various veg-tanned roughout leathers and leather from Mongolian yak. He uses proper thick insoles, just leather stiffeners, and so on. You can still see that he is relatively new in the profession, as well as it’s evident he is constantly developing. He still takes very little for a pair in terms of the working time that goes into them, also here he has an unorthodox model in always taking the material cost x2. This usually means that the final price will be around only €600.

The model Type 1 in chocolate brown leather. All pictures: Østmo Boots