Banana Republic Norman Chukka in Suede – $106.80 when 40% off ($178)
NOTE: These chukkas are currently 30% off, and get a 40% off cut if your purchase is over $200. But there’s always another promo train comin’ with Banana Republic.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Whoever has been handling Banana Republic’s shoe department, both on the design and production side, give that person or persons a raise.
Because this Norman Suede chukka is, to be blunt, perfect for the price.
BR’s shoes used to be awful. About 5-6 (?) years ago most of the leather was crummy, the designs clunky, and the durability less than great. I don’t know what happened, but they have come a LONG way. And now the vast majority of their stuff is a gosh-darned steal when 40% off (or more). And thanks to BR’s frequent codes and promos, that’s often the case.
These feel nice and solid, look contemporary and not clunky, and the materials used are also quite nice for the price. The suede is soft, has some nap and isn’t burnished in any odd places, and the interiors are comfortable and flexible out of the box. No break in time here. Fit seemed true to me. A 10.5D fit my normally 10.5D feet just fine.
They lace up great and the reinforced, grommet eyelets are a welcome touch. You can cinch these down without feeling like you’re gonna tear through the punched hole. All stitching is nice and clean, there’s no silly extra leather patches for flair or such nonsense, and the sole is slim and subtle.
One small quibble: I wouldn’t mind a little extra traction on the soles. A rubber insert or something. But if given the choice between these flat soles and some toothy lugged monster, I’ll take the flat soles every day. Plus, those flat soles are much, much easier to dress up a notch compared to crepe soles, which you’ll find on a true desert boot. These aren’t desert boots. These chukkas can be dressed up or down, thanks to the shape of the shoe, and the dressiness of the sole. Wear them with jeans, chinos, or cords. Dress ’em up with a sportcoat and OCBD, or down with a sweater or layered up henley and cardigan combo.
Sure they’re basic. No they’re not as nice as, say, Huckberry’s new Rhodes chukkas. Of course they’re made in China. But for around $100 or less with codes and promos, not many are doing it as well as Banana Republic when it comes to basic, versatile, and still very handsome shoes. These Norman Chukkas in suede are just the latest proof.