Gustin Made in Italy Desert Chukka – $159.00 (*campaign closed)
About the Author: Adam Terry is a 29-year-old Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He’s #menswear by day and #workwear by night. He enjoys raw selvedge denim, Scotch whisky, and working on maintaining his dad bod.
*Editor’s Note: Why do a post about shoes you can’t currently buy? Because many might be intrigued by Gustin, their purchasing model, and their quality/craftsmanship. Plus, Gustin has been known to bring back popular products for another run.
Thanks to their unique crowdfunding business model, Gustin is in a great position to try new things. They recently launched a chukka sneaker hybrid, combining the sleek silhouette of a chukka boot with the rubber Margom cup sole from their ace leather sneakers. What you get is something uniquely casual, yet polished, like an old school Oxford cloth button down shirt.
- Leather: Italian full grain suede in “Desert” (can look warm or cool depending on light)
- Model: Chukka sneaker hybrid
- Sole: Margom Cremino rubber cup
- Price: $173 shipped
Here’s a quick primer on the Gustin buying process: Instead of stocking a bunch of products that may or may not sell, they design a product and create a campaign for it, similar to Kickstarter or Massdrop. If you’re interested in the item, you back the campaign. If the campaign reaches its sales goal, your credit card is charged and the item goes into production.
This pre-order method allows Gustin to make only as many pairs of shoes as it needs to supply the backers. No inventory, less waste, less overhead, which means a lower price for us. And while $160 isn’t cheap, similar chukka sneakers from luxury brands are nearly twice as expensive.
There are a few potential downsides. Since they have no inventory on hand and each batch is made when ordered, production time can range from a few weeks to a few months. These chukkas were ordered in early February and arrived in early May, approximately 13 weeks later. Returns or exchanges are typically for store credit only, which can be understandably frustrating. However, if you can size correctly and wait patiently, I believe the reward is certainly well worth the risk.
Materials and Craftsmanship
The full grain Italian suede is incredibly soft with just a hint of nap. Gustin says the leather was abraded four separate times at the tannery to achieve a precise thickness while maintaining a super plush texture. They nailed it. Compared to the thinner, flatter English suede used by a lot of other manufacturers, this Italian number has some proper character. It’s like playing a round of golf at Pebble Beach instead of your local goat ranch public course. There is a noticeable difference.
On the inside you should also notice the glove-soft natural leather lining and removable leather-wrapped insoles. Single needle stitching combines all the bits cleanly without any burrs or loose threads. Worn with or without socks, they feel quite nice.
The Margom Cremino cup outsole should look familiar; many sneaker brands use the same style, except this one is color matched to the Desert suede upper. Margom is known for their high quality, long-lasting rubber soles and these are no exception. For added durability, the outsole is both cemented and stitched to the upper.
These wear a half-size larger than Brannock, like many dress shoes, so you may need to size down. But, if you wear a 10 D in dress Oxfords, try a size 10 here, too. Width runs true.
A chukka sneaker hybrid is a strange animal that balances casual comfort with simple-but-elegant style. No, they’re not everyone’s particular taste, but plenty will love the line this type of shoe walks. When paired with navy chinos or dark indigo denim, the visual pop of buttery-smooth suede can add a layer of sophistication. Make no mistake, these are not cheap leather chukka boots. And while some won’t want to invest the time the Gustin model takes, those that do will certainly get what they pay and wait for.