About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC/Plumbing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Grant Stone is no stranger to Dappered. We’ve covered them before and on rare occasions they’ll pop up in the weekly sale posts. It is a loosely-guarded secret that J.Crew’s Ludlow shoes are allegedly made by the Grant Stone team – they have very similar materials, construction techniques, and finishing. While they don’t appear on this site nearly as often as they should (*ahem* Joe!) (editor’s note: *sighs* sorry. noted), Grant Stone is a reputable brand that’s churning out great products at an aspirational but still attainable price point for many. Even though they’re made in China, and most uninformed guys take them down a peg for that, I’ve been pretty impressed with their products and have my eyes set on this cap-toe pair once they’re in the budget. Today we’re checking out one of their core models – the Diesel plain toe boot in Crimson leather.
Substantial materials, but not clunky.
- Brand: Grant Stone
- Style: Plain toe boot
- Size: 10 US (43 EU)
- Last: “Leo”
- Construction: Goodyear Welted
- Upper: Horween Chromexcel aniline leather
- Sole: Micro stud rubber sole and heel
- Details: Brass eyelets and speed hooks, full leather lining, cork filler, and steel shank
- Extras: Spare laces, shoehorn, and a signed card
- Country of Origin: Xiamen Island, China
- Price: $340 USD
You know it. You love it. The box shot.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 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.
Horween Chromexcel aniline leather
My Diesel boots were ordered late on a Thursday evening and they arrived mid-day Saturday. Grant Stone’s free standard shipping is normally UPS Second Day service, so your delivery should be fast, too.
FYI: Grant Stone offers a 15-day free return policy, assuming that the product is in new condition (no signs of wear, no creasing, etc.) while exchanges are handled through a return and re-buy process. Pay close attention to the return window if you’re not in love with the pair or size that you receive!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering and lightning fast shipping.
Grant Stone nails the packaging design and unboxing experience. My Diesel boots arrived in this elegantly simple cardboard box that’s much nicer than it looks at first glance. Inside, the boots arrived shipped in individual, branded flannel shoe bags and topped with a small care guide, hand signed thank you note, and a small care package that includes a mini metal shoehorn and a pair of waxed cotton laces. There’s also a removable cotton wrap that could be used as a cleaning cloth, should you need one.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Nice storage box, spare waxed laces, a shoehorn, AND a signed note!
Imagine you’re 10 years old again and it’s Christmas time. You and your family are wearing matching PJs and you’re all gathered around the fully decorated and brightly lit tree (real of course, for the smell). Presents are being passed out and you’re handed a rather large one. As you eagerly rip open one side and peel back the shimmering paper, you notice that Nintendo 64 logo on the box and your heart skips a beat. That excitement? Yeah, that’s what it’s like opening the box on a new pair of Grant Stone boots.
Starting with the leather, these Diesel boots are clad in a gorgeous reddish brown “crimson” shade of Horween’s infamous Chromexcel leather. I recently read that it takes Horween a full month to complete the 89+ steps required to tan, dye, and finish this old school cowhide leather. This pair has practically no loose grain or excessive creasing right out of the box, which can sometimes be found on some brands that don’t have as tight of Quality Control. Chromexcel is a hearty, yet pliable leather that gets better as it ages. Over time, as the leather starts to bend, fold, and crease, the waxes impregnated within the leather will move around, giving the boots depth of color and unique scars from the wearer’s life.
Versatile. Comes with both leather laces (shown) as well as waxed cotton.
Whether that life is experienced in a tee and jeans or business casual sport shirts and chinos, these plain toe boots are versatile enough to be paired with a wide range of options. The dark brown leather laces running through the antiqued brass eyelets and speed hooks add a touch of warmth and contrast to the heritage or workwear aesthetic. Should you want to dress them up a bit, the leather laces can be swapped out for the waxed cotton ones that are included in the box. The panel stitching and matching throughout the boots is flawless. I couldn’t find any nits to pick.
Looking inside, you’ll notice the full grain bovine lining and vegetable tanned leather insoles. The embossed leather heel pad has a layer of foam cushioning underneath for instant comfort, but the cork filling and steel shank underneath those veg tan leather insoles will take a few wears to properly break in and mold to your feet. One interesting note is that the tongue is slightly gusseted at the bottom, which is something usually only seen on work boots or hiking boots where you’re worried about water entering. Also neat is the handwritten model and size info at the ankle. It’s a small touch, but I dig it.
Stitching is, frankly, flawless.
Down below is a micro stud rubber sole. It’s essentially an in-house copy of Dainite’s studded sole, but the Grant Stone version is softer and more compliant. I’ve had issues breaking in boots with Dainite’s sole because it was so dense and hard to break in. This one will be a lot easier to wear right out of the box. The Goodyear welt stitching is clean and looks a *lot* better than some pairs of Alden’s I have.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Well made from above average materials and construction at this price point.
Micro studded sole.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
Comfort is always subjective, but among similar Goodyear welted shoes and boots, these Diesel boots are very comfortable to me. The full grain bovine lining, veg tan leather insole, and cork filler provide a great space for your feet to customize and mold into over a few wears. Give these booties a week and they’ll be your go-to favorites.
Grant Stone’s Leo last is essentially the same as Alden’s Barrie last, which tends to fit a half-size larger than the standard US Brannock size. Therefor, I took a 10 D here. The last has a snug heel and a slightly wider toe box that feels very comfortable and forgiving for most people. FYI: Grant Stone does offer E and EEE widths in some styles for those of you with Hobbit-like feet.
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: 5/5 Stars – Comfortable. Smooth like butter, baby.
Back those things on up.
I know I’m overly critical of practically everything (just ask my wife!) and some might even say I’m a shoe snob (editor’s note II: *ahem*… but that’s why we love you), but I just believe that you should try to get the best boots, pants, sport coat, etc. that you can comfortably afford. My dad used to say, “buy once, cry once” and I take that to mean you should aim to maximize the value you get for your dollars in both substance and style. With that in mind, I can wholly recommend Grant Stone boots and shoes without reservation. Yeah, they’re really that good.
When it comes to quality footwear, Grant Stone is the new benchmark in the sub-$500 price tier. Assuming you wear a standard shoe size and width, you should probably purchase Grant Stone footwear over their closest competitors Allen Edmonds, Meermin, Johnston & Murphy, etc.
If you’re a deal hunter and don’t mind the wait, keep an eye on their website for B-Grade “seconds” sales or previously owned pairs where prices can drop well under $200!
Avg. Score: 5/5 Stars – Grant Stone is the leader in budget GYW footwear. All aboard the hype train.