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.
I keep telling my wife that I don’t need any more boots, but then Joe asks me to maybe review the new Huckberry-sourced Rhodes Darren cap toe leather boots. They certainly look nice online, especially in that warm, intense espresso brown color. They have all the right specs on (digital) paper: premium waxed cowhide uppers, soft leather lining, Vibram mini-lug sole, etc. AND they’re Goodyear welted. AND they’re made in Leon, Mexico, where the locals have been making beautiful boots for generations. Don’t look at the credit card bill, honey!
The new Darren, Owen, and Cooper Rhodes boots.
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.
Made in Leon, Mexico, which is a bit of a leather industry hub.
- Brand: Rhodes
- Style: High top blucher workboot with cap toe
- Size: 10 US (43 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: 360° Goodyear Storm Welt
- Upper: Full-grain waxed and tumbled leather
- Sole: Vibram 430 Mini-Lug and heel topper
- Details: Leather lining, padded ankle, and antique brass eyelets and hooks
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Mexico
- Price: $230 USD
Huckberry shipped out my Darren boots on a Monday and they arrived on Wednesday, just two days later. I’m a big fan of Huckberry’s free and quick shipping, especially when it rivals Amazon’s Prime.
FYI: Huckberry has a 60-day return policy with free return shipping. Like most retailers, your footwear must be unworn and in resalable condition with no signs of try on wear or damage.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, fast shipping, and an extended return policy.
Q: Why do Adam’s shoe reviews always have a box shot?
A: Because Adam’s shoe reviews always has a box shot.
We all need things to depend on.
Huckberry has recently upgraded their Rhodes footwear lineup, including the box that they ship in. This new cardboard box is slightly larger, slightly more sturdy, and includes a plastic carrying handle. Allegedly, the box is also 100% recycled materials and it’s printed with eco-friendly vegetable oil ink. Neat!
On the inside, the boots are wrapped in simple tissue paper. Both boots did arrive with some light marks from the other boot knocking around during shipping, which could have been avoided with another layer or two of that tissue paper or individual plastic bags. Speaking of bags, there are no cotton flannel shoe bags or miscellaneous accessories. Come on, Huckberry! At this price point, you should throw in some basic cotton boot bags for dust free storage (J.Crew and Spier & Mackay do). For that matter, put together a care package with cedar shoe trees, Bick 4 neutral conditioner, and a horsehair brush and upsell that kit for an extra $20! Call me, I have ideas!
Score: 4/5 Stars – Simple, but very solid. At this price, a set of boot bags would earn them five stars.
Impressive leather. A dark brown shade with slight gloss finish.
At first glance, I’m really impressed with the leather on these Darren boots. There’s a glossy, slightly waxed finish on top of a (seemingly) lightly oiled leather with a subtle marbled look peeking through in sunlight. There’s little to no visible pull-up with this leather, so don’t expect a lot of change over time. The color is a dark brown shade – I’d call it espresso or cigar – and it looks great with the antiqued bronze eyelets and speed hooks. There are six sets of eyelets and three sets of speed hooks, which is slightly different from the normal five/four setup that I prefer. This extra eyelet pair forces me to unlace a bit further than I’d like, but this isn’t really anything to complain about. Just an interesting observation.
Leather pull tabs with internal reinforcement.
Slightly padded collar = comfy.
Around back, the leather pull tabs at the top of the boot are sewn into the backstay and reinforced internally. I don’t foresee these ripping out if any of you hastily put your boots on. The natural leather welt is neatly stitched and the welt join (where the two ends of the strip come together) is very tidy. The tonal upper stitching is clean throughout and I’ve noticed no major defects anywhere. My only minor nit to pick is with one of the cap toes, where some glue residue is visible at the edge. I imagine the cap toe leather is glued down on top of the upper and then stitched, causing some glue to ooze out between the layers. This was easily cleaned up with some water and a quick brushing.
Opening up the boots lets you discover that the tongue is bisected with a row of stitching. Thanks to this, the tongue can fold further forward, almost like soccer cleats, allowing a bit more space for you to cram your piggies into the smaller opening created by that six/three eyelet configuration. The calf leather lining is very nice and feels extra luxurious after having just reviewed the J.Crew Kenton boots which have a thinner, firmed pigskin lining. These Darren boots have a slightly padded collar around the ankle, too, adding a bit more comfort. The non-removable insoles are leather topped foam with what feels like different density foams for the heel and forefoot areas. I think I can feel a Texon or fiberboard layer underneath that.
Good grip without the chunk. Long live the mini-lug rubber outsole!
Underneath all that pretty leather and comfy lining is a rock steady Vibram 430 mini-lug rubber outsole and heel topper. I’m a huge fan of this sole because it has tons of grip without looking too chunky – the side profile remains sleek, since the lugs are in the middle and directly underneath your midfoot. If you live in an area that sees regular rainfall or Wintery slush, you need boots with a sole like this for good grip. There are few worse things in those conditions than smooth leather or rubber soles, trust me!
Score: 4/5 Stars – Great! Materials look and feel nice, and the Vibram sole is a huge upgrade.
360° Goodyear Storm Welt.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
The cowhide leather lining is plush and a tactile step up from the thin pigskin stuff that lots of brands, like J.Crew, typically use. I’m a fan of the padded ankle collar on the Darren boots, too. Those foam insoles are very comfortable on first impression. Comfort levels are higher than Snoop Dogg.
These boots fit true to size; do not size down from your Brannock measurement. There’s the perfect amount of room in the rounded toe box and the heel is snug enough so that there’s practically no heel slip. If you take a narrow or wide fit, you may need to try a few pairs to nail down what works for you.
True to size. Very comfortable. Some roominess in the toe box.
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 – Very comfortable and fit true to Brannock size. Do not size down.
Huckberry has done it again. I’m a self-admitted shoe nerd and it can take a lot to impress me. I know that I can be hyper critical when reviewing boots, especially when my “golden standard” is the Alden Indy. With this in mind, I can confidently say that Huckberry’s new Rhodes Darren boot is a home run. They are well built, comfortable, and recraftable. Invest in some good shoe care items, because these will last you for years and years to come. If you try a pair, let us know what you think! Cheers, y’all.
Avg. Score: 4.5/5 Stars – Great boots! Highly recommend trying out the new Rhodes Darren.