About the Author: Adam Terry is Dappered’s resident shoe expert. He’s a thirtysomething Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, and raw denim. He’s also a new(ish) dad!
Astorflex is a small, eco-friendly company based in Mantua, Italy that focuses on responsible, transparent, and sustainable footwear manufacturing. Their handful of shoe models, essentially better and hipper versions of Clarks, are designed to be flexible, comfortable, and adaptable to the user’s feet over time. You might be familiar with their Greenflex desert boots or their Bitflex Chelsea boots, but have you seen these new Rolflex Chelsea boot sneakers? A hybrid shoe that you (maybe) didn’t know you wanted!
Part chelsea, part sneaker. A higher quality alternative to the old BR Tully.
- Brand: Astorflex
- Style: Chelsea boot on a sneaker sole
- Size: 43 (10 D)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Stitched and glued (bonwelted)
- Leather: Italian pull-up leather
- Sole: One-piece natural rubber cup sole
- Details: Elastic gores and fabric pull-tabs
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Price: $198 USD
Top down. “Snehlseas.”
About Adam’s Scoring System: The Adam Shoe Scale of Justice (A.S.S.J.) is as follows: 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended. 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect. 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price. 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections. 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
This pair of brown leather Chelsneakers (see what I did there?) was ordered on a Friday and they were delivered the next day. One day shipping is practically unheard of, so, you definitely can’t fault it.
FYI: Huckberry has free shipping and free returns on orders within 30 days of delivery. You might not that speedy of shipping. Be warned.
Score: 5/5 Stars
Obligatory box shot.
My pair arrived in a plain, unbranded (possibly recycled) cardboard shoe box. There’s one 2.5” x 4” sticker on the end noting the brand, model, color, and size, but that’s it. No shoe bags or any extras here.
Score: 3/5 Stars – At the full price point (they just recently went on sale), travel/storage shoe bags would be a nice addition.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at the age of 13, played a concert at the Teatro Bibiena in Mantua, which lies just a half-hour West of where the modern Astorflex factory resides. As with Mozart, these Rolflex boots have some positives and some… character. Let’s talk about the elephant cow in the room. The oiled pull-up leather (not nubuck as listed on Huckberry) that was chosen for this particular pair has some major visible loose grain and tiger striping/stretch marks. The bovine that gave us this hide must have been doing hot yoga or something! While I personally don’t normally love these characteristics, especially at this price point, the results of an informal poll on my Instagram told a different story. Most of the commentators said that they didn’t mind the marks as they add unique character to an already informal, casual type of sneaker. After some Deep Thoughts, I kind of agree. It’s definitely not the end of the world – no one expects your Chelsneakers to be highly polished anyways. To each their own!
Unexpected? … Character? … Both?
Also available in a taupe suede, which won’t have these markings if they’re not your thing.
Moving to the inside, the vegetable-tanned linings and insoles are above average in terms of thickness and density. The non-removeable insoles are sculpted very well with a hint of arch support and there’s a helpful layer of foam underneath for cushioning and support. The elastic gores feel sturdy and snap back quickly to hold your feet in place. My only complaint here, a minor one, is that the fabric pull tabs are too small to actually fit a finger into.
Made in Italy.
The white rubber sole is both cemented and stitched to the upper and is surprisingly nice. I’d compare it to the Margom units used commonly across high end designer sneakers, though this one is slightly softer. The small grid patterns molded into the bottom should give ample grip in the usual Spring/Summer conditions. As a side note, Astorflex says they use water-based dyes and adhesives to hold all of this together, which is great because they’re non-toxic and better for the environment.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Well made from above average materials and construction. Just be prepared for possible tiger striping if you get the smooth leather option.
Really nice sole. Comparable to Margom units used across high end sneakers.
Fit, Comfort, and Sizing
You could say the fit is… generous. This last runs wide – the heel is fairly snug, but the collar opening and rounded boot-like toe box have some extra space for sure. I’d compare the overall fit to Dr. Martens or Blundstone boots. I recommend trying a half-size down from your Brannock size or go with your regular dress shoe size. My pair in EU 43 (10 US) feels like they have some free air around my feet, even with medium weight Darn Tough wool socks. For those of you who prefer thicker socks or need a wider fitting shoe, THESE ARE PERFECT FOR YOU. Note: Only available in US whole sizes at this time. If you are between sizes, Huckberry and I both recommend sizing down.
Comfort is entirely subjective. The leather upper, lining, and padded insole are all quite comfortable to me. Not quite as comfortable as my favorite Vans, but certainly more comfortable than my old Clarks Desert Boots.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Vans and an 11 in most Adidas or Nike sneakers.
Score: 4/5 Stars – They run quite wide, but are very comfortable.
Comfortable. A bit wide. Size down if you’re between sizes.
If you’re looking for a unique, eco-friendly sneaker option made from above average materials and construction, you should definitely check out the Rolflex “Chelsneakers” from Astorflex. These are an exclusive to Huckberry, so with free shipping and returns/exchanges, there’s very little risk in trying a pair for yourself. Also, they just went on sale! Personally, I think these would look great with casual weekend type outfits – hoodies, t-shirts, denim, etc.
Avg. Score: 3.75/5 Stars – Above average, but leather concerns and sizing might be an issue for you.