H&M Suede Chelsea Boots – $79.20 w/ 3282 ($99)
Code 3282 is good for 20% off $50+, whereas 3281 will get you 25% off $100+. and 3280 will get you 30% off $150+. So, it might make more sense to use one of those higher threshold codes depending on what’s in your shopping bag.
Cheap suede almost always trumps cheap smooth leather, and the suede used on these inexpensive chelseas from H&M isn’t half bad. They’re also made in Portugal. Kinda a big surprise there, and they seem to run true to size, without being overly tight through the toe box.
So what’s the catch?
Heavily burnished toes = bummer.
That right there is the catch. The toes are burnished to the point where the nap of the suede is almost completely worn away. Look, burnishing can look good on smooth leather dress shoes, with a slight darkening at the toe, but when it’s done to this level on suede, they end up looking damaged. Or, worse yet, they look like they’ve been pre-distressed (because they have been). And the pre-ripped jeans, or machine-frayed baseball cap just don’t appeal to many anymore. Maybe we’re all lying to ourselves, asking for an $80 pair of boots to look clean and simple out of the box, but this wearing down of the suede seems like a useless affectation.
But that burnishing isn’t always so easily noticeable.
The good news is that the burnishing really isn’t that noticeable in too many kinds of light. And the rest of the boot is impressive for the price. The only cheap feeling bit of construction is the pull tab on the back. It’s a chunkier nylon that looks like it was stolen off the frame pack of someone hiking the Appalachian trail. Doesn’t really go with the rest of the refined look of the boot, but who cares. It’ll be hidden by your pants anyway.
Made in Portugal. Soles are slim but still have traction.
Soles are a rubber or synthetic with a bit of traction. No massive lugs or anything to get in the way. Sizes are all but gone online, but they might be worth searching out in store.
For the price, it’s hard to complain. But those toes are going to be a big turn off for more than a few. That grinding down of the suede seems unnecessary, and almost certainly adds to the cost of the manufacturing process. If those toes were clean? They’d be worth the full $100 in a heartbeat. But if you winced when you saw the toes, you might want to strongly consider the Jack Erwin Ellis instead. Despite those being almost three times the price.