Hiroki Nakamura’s obsession with hard-wearing footwear began in the mid-1980s at age 14, while looking at two similar pairs of boots. The teenage vintage clothing neophyte was entranced by the inherent toughness held by one pair that the other lacked. Or as Nakamura put it in a previous interview: “One boot had a really strong power, and one didn't. I wanted to know why.”

Nearly 30 years later, Nakamura is still working towards that answer. He founded visvim in 2000, a time when the Urahara movement of unassuming, sub rosa Japanese men’s brands and shops was in full swing. The name stemmed from a predilection towards v-lettered logos, A Latin Dictionary, and the pleasant assonance of those two particular syllables, though it doesn’t hurt that the Latin words “vis” and “vim” both translate into “power.”

visvim’s experimental nature skewed part-mad sartorial science and part-modern pioneering spirit. The shop was labeled as a “Free International Laboratory” (F.I.L. for short), and fit in alongside labels like Jun Takahashi’s Undercover and Tetsu Nishiyama’s WTAPS, a surplus-infused offshoot of his previous line, Forty Percent Against Rights. Nakamura’s eight-year tenure at Burton Snowboards, where he often traveled with team riders, is felt through products like GORE-TEX outerwear and slalom-ready Ballistic backpacks combining durable CORDURA with wrinkled Horween Bison leather.