About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC and hydronics industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Grant Stone recently released a trio of chukka boots, each in a classic leather make-up: one in Horween Chromexcel leather, one in buttery British suede, and one in a unique “Waxy Commander” hearty waxed suede. I personally have a few pairs of boots and shoes that use Horween Chromexcel and CF Stead suede, but I don’t have anything made with waxed suede. So, with this in mind, I decided to check out these new chukka boots in the “Earth” leather. What’s the leather like in person? How do these boots fit and feel? More importantly, are these boots going to look odd in a business casual office environment with a polo and chinos?
Design elements help this boot get a bit more formal than the average.
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 longer vamp creates a derby/blucher look.
- Brand: Grant Stone
- Style: Plain toe chukka boot
- Size: 10D US (43 EU)
- Last: “Leo”
- Construction: Goodyear Welted
- Upper: Charles F. Stead Waxy Commander Suede
- Sole: Crepe rubber
- Details: Blind brass eyelets, full leather lining, cork filler, and steel shank
- Extras: Spare laces, metal shoe horn, and a signed thank you card
- Country of Origin: Xiamen Island, China
- Price: $292 USD
Vegetable-tanned leather insoles and soft kip leather linings.
My pair of chukkas was ordered on a Friday afternoon and they were delivered on the following Tuesday evening via UPS SurePost. I’ve never had a bad experience ordering Grant Stone boots/shoes, and their super speedy shipping from Michigan continues to impress me.
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 rebuy 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 quick shipping. Great customer service, too!
Grant Stone, as usual, nailed the packaging design and unboxing experience. My boots arrived in their elegantly simple cardboard box that’s much nicer than it looks at first glance. Inside, the boots arrived shipped with individual, branded flannel shoe bags and came pre-laced with some dark brown, round waxed cotton laces. My shipment also included a thank you note, a how-to shoe care guide, and a small care package that included a mini metal shoe horn and a pair of extra laces. There’s also a piece of foam separating the boots and a removable cotton wrap that could be used as a cleaning cloth (or test carpet), should you need that. As usual, I’m super impressed with the Grant Stone kit, especially at this price point. Take notice, Allen Edmonds and Alden!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Nice storage box; I appreciate the shoe bags, spare laces, and mini shoe horn.
All the in-box goodies as per usual with Grant Stone.
Fresh out of the box, you’ll notice how dark this waxed suede is. Grant Stone calls it “Earth” and that’s pretty accurate – it’s a rich, dark brown like fresh dirt. I’d say it’s closer to a dark, bitter chocolate bar (and that sounds tastier than dirt!) and has a mostly matte finish. The Charles F. Stead “Waxy Commander” suede used here is a fantastic leather, featuring a tight fiber structure that’s heavily waxed and very uniform to the touch. It’s rugged and durable, yet polished enough to wear in business casual office scenarios where roughout suede or workwear leathers wouldn’t work. I can imagine this color getting lighter and brighter in time, too, as the waxes and oils shift around at the stress points. This leather is apparently fully waterproof, so don’t be afraid to beat these up or wear them in foul weather.
Design wise, I really like how this chukka boot pattern looks and feels more upscale than your average budget chukka. From above, the taller facings and three eyelet design add some visual interest and give the longer vamp an almost derby/blucher look. These design decisions shifted the boot from purely casual into the business casual realm for me; I’d feel perfectly at home wearing these into the office with a sport shirt and dress chinos, or with a polo and tapered chinos on a dress down Friday. Hell, throw these on with a flannel shirt and some slim raw denim on the weekends, you really can’t go wrong with this style. Big fan!
A dark, bitter chocolate bar waxed suede that can look almost black depending on the light.
I’m not usually a fan of bright, contrasting welts, but Wyatt & Co. did this one right. The natural leather storm welt, leather midsole, and cream/off-white stitching are a wonderfully bright addition to an otherwise dark upper and sole. What makes this one work so well in my opinion is that the upper is more of a dark brown and not black, so the earthy tones play well with each other. Again, I think the upper will lighten up a touch, too, in time. Speaking of the welt stitching, everything is clean and tidy with no noticeable faults or failures. The welt joint is practically seamless. My only minor gripe here is with the wheeling/fudging of the welt, where it’s a little rough around the edges. Not a huge complaint and no one else will notice this.
Crepe soles have always been pretty divisive, but I love them on specific boots like chukkas. The only real downside is that natural crepe rubber tends to attract a lot of dirt/debris and turns black within a few days. Thankfully, Grant Stone thought ahead and used a dark brown, almost black crepe rubber so you won’t have to worry about that color change. Plus, the layers of crepe are thicker than anything Clark’s ever dreamed about using. All of this adds up to a very soft, almost squishy outsole. While crepe soles never last as long as leather or hard rubber outsoles for me, these are simply glued down to a thick leather midsole. Once the crepe outsoles have run their course and you’re ready for a resole, any competent cobbler can simply peel these off and glue on new ones. Simple!
A dark, squishy outsole that shouldn’t change color with dirt.
Finally, we peer inside and see thick, vegetable-tanned leather insoles and soft kip leather linings. The heel pad has a lovely gold foil stamp, letting you know where these came from. Underneath these pieces you’ll find a layer of cork and a steel shank. All of these parts add up to long term comfort, stability, and durability. Side note, that steel shank is often overlooked; most chukkas like Clark’s don’t have one, so those boots can flex sharply underneath the heel. The Grant Stone chukkas are built like their other boots, which is to say they’re built well and designed to last.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Well made from above average materials and construction at this price point.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
Comfort is always subjective, but I always find Grant Stone boots and shoes to be very comfortable. Their combination of well-designed lasts, high quality leathers and materials, and overall finishing tend to lead the pack in terms of comfort for me. As usual, most Goodyear welted shoes and boots should get more comfortable in time as the insole and structure molds to your foot. For me, I find the break-in period for Grant Stone shoes to be minimal – maybe a week of casual wear, tops.
In terms of fit, these chukkas are wrapped around the Leo last, which is very similar to Alden’s Barrie combination last. I find that both lasts tend to fit a half-size larger than the standard US Brannock size with a snug heel and a slightly wider toe box that feels very comfortable and forgiving for most people. With that said, my pair of chukkas in 10 D feel a little too snug. I can lace them up fine and there’s not a huge gap between the laces or anything, but my feet feel like they’ve been wrapped in athletic tape. I don’t have as much wiggle room as I prefer.
There are some nuances in size. Read below.
If you typically buy standard, “off the rack” shoe sizing, I recommend trying a half-size down from your Brannock measurement. If you have a higher instep like me, or know you need a wider width, try going down a half-size in length AND up a width from your usual Brannock size.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy 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 Converse/Vans and an 11 in most Adidas/Nike/Jordan/Yeezy sneakers.
Score: 4/5 Stars – A little too tight, but otherwise, great. Size up or try a wider width.
I’m super impressed with the overall design and execution of these chukka boots. They’re a HUGE step up over a pair of Clarks (as they should be for twice the price), and honestly, they give my other chukka boots from Alden a run for their money. These GS chukkas are more comfortable, more substantial, and finished just as nicely as my more expensive pair at home. So, if you’re looking for a pair of super versatile chukka boots to pair with casual and business casual outfits in your closet, you should definitely take a look at Grant Stone’s options. Let us know what you think, and which pair you would choose to fit best within your style. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 Stars – BIG fan of these waxed suede chukkas. Highly recommended!