DSW’s in-house brand “Aston Grey” is one of those brands that’s always worth keeping an eye on. It’s a lot like Nordstrom’s 1901 and Calibrate lines. Affordable, well executed, and often goes on sale so the goods can be had for less than the already reasonable asking price.
These chukkas? They’re all of those things, and they’ve hit the DSW site just in time for this transitional time period, as well as for use into the summer (and more on that later on, as well as in later posts).
Not a desert boot. No crepe sole. A slim soled chukka.
Out of the box you’ll notice the all too familiar smell. The “these weren’t very expensive” chemical smell that often comes with cheap leather shoes (these are made in China.) But, that dissipates pretty quickly, and the leather uppers are soft and super flexible. Not bad for the $79 these were purchased for (there was a $20 off $99 code running at the time).
Soft leather. Great toe shape.
The shape is perfect. Slim without being pointy, and the lack of clunk to the sole will be greatly welcomed by those who want a chukka that can be dressed up a bit more than a crepe soled desert boot.
There are some inconsistencies to the leather. The right heel cap has an almost pebbled look to it, while the inside of the left boot has some pretty severe clicking/marbling/stripe-grain going on, which doesn’t match the texture of the inside of the other shoe. Maybe just a bum set, and most would return this pair, yet some (and maybe this is being too optimistic) might find some character to that texture. I don’t know, it’s hard to find cheap leather that’s this soft, flexible, and relatively matte.
Again, really nice shape. Not clunky in the least. Really versatile.
Sizing seems true. A 10.5 medium fit my normally 10.5 D feet just fine. Insoles are leather, with most of the rest of the interior lined in a polka dot textile (the interior of the tongue is also mostly leather). Eyelets are reinforced with brass-tone grommets, and the round, waxed feeling laces tie easy and don’t feel cheap or papery.
Leather texture is a little inconsistent? See that heel patch.
Wear em’ now with jeans while it’s still cool, and then don’t be afraid to make use of them with chinos and a fitted polo once the weather gets warm. Sure, suede chukkas might look a little more natural in the heat, but these should do fine too (and again, look for more on the ease and awesomeness of the polo/chinos/chukka look in an upcoming series of posts). And speaking of suede, really wish DSW made these in a variety of suede shades too. Then we’d have a huge hit on our hands. Or more accurately, on our feet.