Note: Above price reflects a 40% off discount, which happens pretty often, considering Banana Republic’s frequent use of codes and promos. Cardmembers can knock an additional 10% off with the code BRCARD at checkout.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, raw selvedge denim, and working on maintaining his dad bod. He’s excitedly nervous about welcoming his first child.
What is a pirate’s favorite work boot? The Banana Republic ARRRRLEY of course!
Sorry, I’m still workshopping some of my “dad jokes” as we prepare to welcome our first child in May. Along with building the nursery furniture, painting the walls fifty shades of grey, and hiding all of the bourbon, I’ve also been doing a little KonMari tidying up throughout my closet. After downsizing and getting rid of some of my rarely worn shoes, I realized that I needed a slightly more rugged version of a business casual chukka boot. When the chance to test drive the Banana Republic Arley suede “work boot” came along, I jumped at it.
- Brand: Banana Republic
- Style: “Work Boot”
- Last: BR
- Construction: Bondwelted/cemented
- Leather: Lightweight suede in tan
- Lining: Half pigskin, half breathable fabric
- Sole: Rubber lugs, similar to a Vibram 430
- Details: Six brass-colored eyelets, tonal brown cotton laces, and integral pull tabs
- Made in: China
- Price: $178 USD
This pair was ordered on a Monday and was delivered by Wednesday evening. Most retailers that offer free basic shipping take an eternity to actually ship and deliver the goods. So when these arrived earlier than an Amazon Prime order that was placed on the same day, I was very
impressed. Great job, Gap, Inc.!
Arriving in the standard dark grey Banana Republic boot box, the Arley’s arrived in great condition and stuffed with tons of paper to help keep their shape. No spare laces or fancy flannel shoe bags, though, if that matters to you.
First Impressions / Build Quality
After removing the boots from the box, you’ll first notice how soft and supple the suede is. Unlike really cheap suede that almost feels like a fabric rather than leather, this suede has a lovely, buttery smooth texture. The particular shade of tan is perfectly neutral and should pair well with other earthy tones, especially blues and greens. Imagine these being worn with a light blue Oxford cloth button down shirt tucked into a pair of tapered olive chinos. Simple, but great!
Comfort is always subjective, but the non-removable OrthoLite insoles feel very squishy and comfortable. The open-cell foam material should breathe pretty well, too. Similar foam-type insoles won’t typically last as long as leather and cork insoles, but hey, you’re not investing Red Wing money here. There’s no real arch support to speak of, but they don’t feel paper flat either.
The slip-resistant rubber soles are decently thick and have a nice low-profile lug pattern to them for added grip. They look very similar to the heavy duty Vibram 430 rubber soles that adorn other work and hiking boots. You should have no problem with grip in most land and weather conditions, minus those 100-year floods and Polar Vortices. Do note that these soles are Bondwelted (cemented), not stitched.
Fit and Sizing
Banana Republic doesn’t disclose what last/form that these boots are crafted around, but they run slightly narrow and have a rounded toe and tapered heel. They fit very similarly to my Clark’s Originals Desert Boots, which isn’t a bad thing. One minor complaint – these wear like a work boot/chukka boot hybrid. They’re a hair too short (and too thin) to have any real ankle support. The opening also tends to bow outwards when walking, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Odds are you won’t be doing any heavy manual labor in these anyways.
Sizing down to a 10 US (UK 9, EU 44) gave me the best fit out of the box. They fit very well with no noticeable heel slip or pinching. I would recommend sizing down a half-size from Brannock.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10D in most dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last. I take a 10.5E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs narrow and I have slightly high arches. I also take an 11 in most Adidas or Nike sneakers.
Based on my personal experiences and expectations at this price point, I highly recommend the Banana Republic Arley suede boots. If you’re in the market for something significantly dressier than a pair of Timberlands and can snag these during one of the semi-regular 40% off sales, you’re getting a real bang for your style bucks.