About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on on his
dad bod father figure.
Well known for their budget friendly dress shirts and menswear attire, Charles Tyrwhitt has been flipping the script on their classically styled aesthetic this year, churning out lots of modern-looking garments. Their shoe collection is also brimming with fresh and interesting designs, ranging from simple leather sneakers to polished Oxfords that were made in England. There seems to be something for everyone. Since we’re now in the colder months of the year, it only makes sense to get our mitts on a pair of their boots. Today we’ll be looking at their Goodyear welted Chelsea boots in a lovely brown suede.
UK Company. UK Style.
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.
A good middle ground on suede quality.
- Brand: Charles Tyrwhitt
- Style: Chelsea Boot
- Size: 10 US (43 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: 270° Goodyear Welt
- Upper: Calf leather suede
- Sole: Open channel leather sole
- Details: Three piece upper, color matched gores, and fabric pull tabs
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: India
- Price: $249 USD
My pair in brown suede was ordered back in early September. It was discovered shortly after ordering that there was a month plus backorder. They finally arrived over a month later with little to no tracking updates. That long of a backorder should have been disclosed up front; if these were for a special occasion, that kind of delay could have put a real damper on any prior plans.
FYI: Charles Tyrwhitt offers a SIX MONTH return policy, which is practically unheard of. They’ll replace the item or give you a full refund if you’re not satisfied, although you are on the hook for the $8.95 USD/$7.95 CAD return shipping fees (exchanges are free).
Score: 4/5 Stars – Easy ordering and a five-star return policy are dented by the month-long backorder.
Nice box. Too bad it was filled with ads for wine clubs and shaving supplies.
My pair arrived in a lovely navy-blue Charles Tyrwhitt box that was in great condition after crossing an ocean (or two). For those of us with limited closet space, a shoe box can become a long-term storage container so I always look for a good, sturdy one that can survive a few years in the attic/basement.
Surprisingly, there was nothing else inside this box except for a metric ton of stuffing paper and advertising brochures for a meal delivery service, a shaving supplies club, and a Wine of the Month club. It feels like they’re subsidizing some of their operating costs by partnering with these third-party, direct to consumer companies. Charles might see this as fiscally interesting, but personally, I find it annoying.
Normally, brands within this price tier throw in some shoe bags, a simple shoehorn, spare laces (for shoes and boots that, y’know, use laces), or something to keep the kicks fresh during storage or travel. While a lack of these helpful extras might not matter much to most people, it might be a deal breaker to others when cross shopping this price tier.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Nice box; would love some storage bags and fewer advertising flyers.
270° Goodyear Welt
First impressions are always just that, your initial reactions to something based on a number of factors like brand name, price, reputation, customer service interaction, etc. Your brain takes all of this data and combines it into an opinion, whether positive or negative, and that opinion tends to stick. People rarely change these opinions even after being presented with lots of evidence to the contrary. I say all of this because I’ve had some negative experiences with other Charles Tyrwhitt products in the past and I wasn’t sure what to expect in regard to their boots. My initial reaction was a hearty “meh” but after digging in a little deeper, and looking closer, I’ve come to appreciate these Goodyear welted Chelsea boots.
The first thing you’ll notice after taking the shoes out of the box is the richly colored, evenly manicured suede. For you leather nerds out there, I think the hide used here is a good middle ground between the ultra-cheap split suede from mall brands and the buttery smooth hides from C.F. Stead that higher tier brands use. The nap is long enough to earn some visible texture without being so long that the fibers get matted down. It also has a great depth of color with some subtle highlights. Speaking of color, this shade of “medium brown” really is the perfect shade to pair with just about anything – flannel shirts and raw denim, an OCBD and a pair of casual chinos, and even slim sport shirts with tapered wool slacks from a modern-leaning menswear retailer like J.Crew or Club Monaco. This color is just super versatile.
Great color. Chunky knit gore panels.
Looking a bit deeper, you’ll see that the elastic gores are woven in a chunkier knit, which adds another layer of style and texture to a space that’s usually filled with the slick, shiny, and cheap stretchy stuff. All of the upper stitching is neatly done and without issue. There was a small scuff on my left boot, but that brushed out with a suede brush and a little elbow grease. My only real complaint on the exterior is the cheap feeling pull tabs. I’m pretty sure they’re waxed cotton, but they feel like cardboard in the hand. I’d prefer to see fabric ones like those used on Blundstones and RM Williams.
The interior is fully lined in a glove soft leather and there’s a nicely cushioned heel pad embossed with the Charles Tyrwhitt name logo. The insole is a middleweight slab of vegetable tanned leather that will mold to your feet over time, especially considering there’s a layer of cork filler underneath. Personally, I find the cork filler a better option than the often-used layers of foam that can poorly compress and degrade over time. Cork tends to mold to your feet and can easily be replaced when you have a cobbler replace the smooth leather outsoles after a few years of wear. Seeing as how these boots are Goodyear welted, most competent cobblers can replace these outsoles and the rubber heels in no time flat.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Great! Well made from above average materials and construction at this price point.
Sleek. Some will find them too narrow if you’re a wider foot.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
Like I always say, comfort is very subjective. Out of the box, my pair feels quite stiff and narrow. I feel a firm hug across the instep, at the heel, and along the outer edge of each foot. It’s not really an uncomfortable tightness, but it’s enough to let you know these aren’t exactly roomy. There’s plenty of length; my toes don’t feel cramped, but the width might be an issue for those of you who naturally run a little wider. If you’re on the edge of a D/E width fitting (UK G/H fitting), or anything wider, I’d highly recommend you skip these and try a more forgiving pair from competitors Grant Stone or RM Williams. If you’re on the narrower side, you’re going to be golden.
With all of that said, after a few minutes of wear, they do start to soften up and stretch or mold to your feet. After walking around the house for a half-hour, the tightness has mostly subsided except for the instep area (which I’m especially prone to anyways). You’ll need to give these a few days for break in.
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 – Stiff at first, will need some break in time. They run slightly narrow in my opinion.
Breaks in, but they do need to be broken in.
Charles Tyrwhitt and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on their dress shirts, but when it comes to their boots, I think they should certainly be on your radar. If you’re in the market for a pair of sleek Chelsea boots and you’re working with a sub-$300 budget, make sure you give the Charles Tyrwhitt pair a try. Assuming they’re in stock and they fit you, you’ll probably fall in love with them pretty quick.
- For something a bit cheaper, check out the Beckett Simonon Bolton boots.
- For something a bit nicer, check out the R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman (direct from Australia).
Avg. Score: 3.75/5 Stars – Mr. Tyrwhitt nailed the style, but his shopping experience needs a tune up.