UPDATE: BR decided to dump these in the sale section for $107 while also running an extra 50% off sale items promotion (no code needed.) that drops these boots to $53.50.
Banana Republic’s shoes have had a reputation of being somewhat hit and miss over the last few years. The styling could be a little odd, and leather quality wasn’t always good. But between these sleek new Chelsea boots and their terrific Italian leather single monks, BR has pumped out a couple of solid hits this season.
The “Ty” Chelsea boot is everything a Chelsea should be. They’re simple and they’re sleek. That’s it, that’s the list. No extra stitching or embellishments. Just a couple of elastic panels on each side of the ankles for fit, a pull tab at the back for easy on off, and a perfect toe that’s slightly elongated but not spear or elf-shoe like.
The leather quality is surprisingly nice, especially considering that these are from Banana Republic and should go for the low hundreds with codes. While it’s not thick, beefy leather, it is flexible and doesn’t look, feel, or smell like plastic. The lighter brown “cognac” shade, shown in this post, has some nice depth with darker, subtle marbling. One quibble with the suede pair: There is some darker burnishing at the toe that could have been done without. It’s much more noticeable in person than on the BR website. If you’re thinking you’re going to get a solid suede upper, that’s not the case. So stick with the cognac or black leather options.
The two reviews online claim that they’re either a half or a full size small, but that’s not quite what I’m getting. Yes, they are a little tight through the toe box, so if you’ve got a wide foot you’re probably out of luck, but a 10.5 on my 10.5 feet fits snug without slopping around. Haven’t tried the 11, but so far the 10.5s have been comfortable during longish periods of wear (you might feel differently, so, trust your gut).
Made in China. No shock there. They do have pretty smooth/slick soles, so gotta be careful on wet surfaces. And while the quality isn’t, say, Jack Erwin, they do come in at about half the price depending on the code that’s running. For $110 – $125, they’ll look and feel awfully good for those of us on a tight budget.