Massdrop x A.E. Unlined Chukka Boot – $239.99 FINAL ($395)
NOTE: Since it’s Massdrop, you have to be a “member.” Meaning, you have to hand over an email to get in and see the drop. This pre-order (or “drop”) is scheduled to end later on this week. For size and color ordering specifics, you’ll be asked at checkout to choose your preferences. The pair in this post were ordered back in the fall during the first go-round of this chukka collaboration, and thus show a little normal wear and tear.
Many of us fall into the camp of giving the side-eye to pre-order/crowd-funded retail. A lot can go wrong. But Massdrop is one of the more established sites using this “pay before production, get (much) later at a big savings” model, and this collaboration with Allen Edmonds in particular is all kinds of right.
There’s some serious shoe magic / good voodoo going on here. I didn’t have to warm up to these things at all. As soon as I pulled em ‘out of the box, after ordering during their first run a few months back, my jaw was hovering just above the floor. Apologies for the hyperbole, but they really are that good.
After a few months of wear.
Created by the folks at Massdrop, members of Styleforum, and Allen Edmonds, these chukkas are a hybrid of three previous AE chukkas; the Amok, Mojave, and Dundee. They’re built on the AE 511 boot last, which somehow combines a fuller toe box with a decently sleek shape (again, good voodoo). And the materials that are used? They have to be the top of the line for AE. Just short of cordovan.
This suede is the best I’ve ever felt. It’s from an English tannery, full grain, and soft to the point of sitting on the fence between solid and liquid. The vamp and shaft can be downright floppy when not occupied by your feet or shoe trees, but somehow, someway there’s enough structure to the last that they don’t feel lose or flimsy when worn.
Unlined, but not split suede. Full grain, so you get the super soft leather interior.
Shoe magic I tell you.
They’re Goodyear welted of course, and the sole is an oil soaked leather to help keep the water out. That said, some would probably prefer a v-tread or some sort of slim rubber sole for traction in wet weather.
But even with waterproofing spray, I’d be afraid to wear these in any sort of serious weather. I mean, I’m sure they’d do fine (if you water proofed them), but they feel just too darn luxurious to go smashing your feet into puddles with.
Room in the toe box, but not clunky.
Fit is true to size and that super-soft-suede makes them immediately comfortable right out of the box.
This is Massdrop, so you pay now and your purchase is non-refundable. Final sale. That’s part of how they save you money. You’ll also have until the end of June (or thereabouts) for them to ship. Cutting down on overstock is another way the crowd-funding model works. Less waste = tighter margins = better prices for the consumer.
Offered in chocolate, sand, or the rich “snuff” suede color shown in this post. Again, the pair shown here have obviously seen a few months of wear, but they’re holding up great, and it’s honestly a pleasure to lace them up every time I choose to wear em’. I need another pair of shoes like I need another hole in my head, but I’ll be damned if I’m not having to seriously resist the call of the chocolate suede pair. Even though I’ve already got a pair of mighty fine chocolate suede chukkas, that I got somewhere else, for much cheaper.