1901 Bradford Chukka Boot – $79.90 ($125)
These are not as nice as Astorflexes, but they’re good all the same. And if you don’t like crepe soles? (Some guys just don’t like crepe soles.) Then these are a great buy if you’re in the market for a more casual, unstructured chukka.
Shape is smart-casual to casual. Not stumpy, but not a sleek dress chukka either.
I’m still really surprised that these are made in Italy. But, there it is. MADE IN ITALY right there on the bottom of the subtly textured PU sole. And it’s not like Nordstrom’s 1901 brand hasn’t done similar things before. But I think this latest chukka is an improvement over their previous Made in Italy, super affordable boots.
Like many other gray suede shoes, these can appear a little more taupe/greyish brown in direct sun.
The suede is nice. Not amazing or super plush, but there’s a nice soft nap there. And thankfully they avoided any silly burnishing or other useless affectations. These things are simple. And simple is good. Plus, since they’re a basic shade of gray, you can wear either a brown or a black belt with them. Matching isn’t necessary here.
They’re also nice and lightweight, but not cheap feeling. The description on Nordstrom’s site says these boots are “welted smartly to a rubber sole,” but I feel like these things, at this price, have to be cemented. No? They certainly aren’t Goodyear welted. Blake perhaps, but cemented is what I’m thinking. And that’s fine at this price.
Made in Italy indeed.
Linings are a combination of oddly soft and flexible leather, and some textile underneath the tongue and down towards the toes. Comfort is great out of the box. Usually with EU sized shoes I can’t quite seem to find the right fit. These size 44 EU boots fit my normally 10.5D perfect when wearing medium thickness socks (not dress socks, not fat winter wools either). So if you’re a size 10, they might run a little big, but I don’t know if I’d size down to a 43, which claims a 9-9.5 US translation.
Mostly leather lined. Pretty unstructured, but not floppy or sloppy.
The only knock against them is when you lace them up. The laces feel kinda cheap. A little papery. And the eyelets aren’t reinforced. Just a simple punch job. But those are two pretty small critiques for an $80, made in Italy, ships and returns for free boot.
They’re simple. There’s not a lot going on here. Hell, they’re even colorless (assuming you don’t count gray as a color.) But they get an awful lot of things right. Especially at this price during the Anniversary Sale.