About the Author: Adam Terry is a 30-year-old Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He’s #menswear by day and #workwear by night. He enjoys raw selvedge denim, Scotch whisky, and working on maintaining his dad bod.
If you’re a regular Dappered reader, you already know about Grant Stone and the value they bring to the table with their Goodyear welted shoes and boots. While most guys (and gals) from the previous generation would bank their money in pairs of Allen Edmonds, Grant Stone is my modern day benchmark for quality and value for money in the sub-$400 tier of men’s shoes.
Like many of us, I now work in a hybrid office role. This means that one day I’ll be in the office wearing a jacket, sport shirt, and chinos for the daily grind, while the next day is spent traveling or working from home in something a bit more comfortable. I’ve been looking for a pair of shoes to bridge this style gap and fill a new “modern business casual” role. I think I’ve finally landed on a winner with this pair of coffee suede longwing bluchers from our pals Grant Stone.
An “elevated American” longwing for modern business casual looks.
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.
- Brand: Grant Stone
- Style: Longwing blucher
- Size: 10D US (43 EU)
- Last: “Leo”
- Construction: Goodyear welted
- Upper: Charles F. Stead calf suede
- Sole: Vegetable tanned leather
- 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: $298 USD
Gotta’ love that velvety, rich suede.
My pair of longwings was ordered on a Tuesday afternoon, shipped out later that evening, and were delivered on Thursday via UPS Ground. I’ve never had a bad experience ordering from Grant Stone and their super speedy shipping from Michigan continues to impress me. A+
FYI: Grant Stone offers a tight 15-day returns or exchange policy. Returns will set you back $10 for a prepaid UPS shipping label, but exchanges are completely free and fast. Pay close attention to the returns window in the event that you don’t love the pair or size you receive!
Score: 4/5 Stars – Easy ordering, quick shipping, but a tight (non-free) return window.
15 day return policy. $10 pre-paid labels for returns, but exchanges are free.
Grant Stone, as usual, nails the packaging design and unboxing experience. My longwings arrived in their elegantly simple cardboard box (that’s much nicer than it looks at first glance). Inside, the shoes arrived shipped within their individual, branded flannel shoe bags and came pre-laced with some dark brown, round waxed cotton laces. My shipment also included a hand signed 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. I’ve said this before, but I continue to be super impressed with the Grant Stone unboxing experience at this price point. Take notice, Allen Edmonds and Alden!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Nice storage box; Love the shoe bags, spare laces, and mini shoe horn.
Fresh out of the box, you’re going to fall in love with this rich, dark chocolate brown calf suede from the British tannery Charles F. Stead. In hand, there’s a tactile velvety softness that you just don’t find in cheaper suedes. You can see this visually from above as well – I love the contrast between the velveteen nap of the suede and the crisp texture of well-worn raw denim.
These shoes feature a 360° leather storm welt.
Speaking of denim, suede longwings like this look fantastic with today’s updated version of “smart” business casual style. Most agree that this style incorporates a simple button-down Oxford or sport shirt, neatly tailored chinos or denim, and a pair of dressed down derbies, bluchers, or chukka boots. Smart casual styles are those that fill the hybrid role that I mentioned earlier – you’re dressed up a bit for days in the office, but you wouldn’t look out of place grabbing a drink or two after work, either. The Grant Stone longwings fit this role perfectly. They’re what I like to call “elevated American” in that they have a generous last, but they’re not overly bulbous. This silhouette helps them blend into a ton of style scenarios. The upper’s brogueing is well done, the pinking around the edges is crisp, and the stitching is neat and tidy throughout. Once again, Grant Stone’s level of quality control impresses me.
Lots of people see suede and think that it’s a delicate material that needs to be worn carefully and infrequently. As someone who wears suede shoes or boots at least once a week, this couldn’t be further from the truth! High quality suedes like this stuff can take a beating and many of us shoe nerds think it looks better with some distressing. If you’re afraid of a little rain or a spilled drink, pre-game with a spray on suede protector like Tarrago Nano or Saphir’s Invulner. These products add a DWR-like coating to make the material water and stain resistant. The 360° leather storm welt also helps to keep Mother Nature’s wrath away.
A pseudo-orthotic ready to happen.
Unlace the round, waxed laces and peer inside to see the three main components that make up the interior – the full-grain cowhide leather lining, the vegetable tanned leather insole, and the foil stamped leather heel pad. That leather lining is buttery smooth and feels great against socked and sockless feet. Unlike cheaper shoes, this leather lining covers the entire interior. The vegetable tanned leather insole is fantastic! It, and its hidden leather midsole buddy, are giant slabs of leather that will break in and mold to your feet within a few outings. While it may not feel like you’re immediately walking on pillows right out of the box, these leather pieces and the cork filler between them will end up giving you a pseudo-orthotic in due time. Also, there’s a steel shank hiding up in there for extra durability and stability as well.
Finally, we get to the outer leather sole and it’s an absolute unit! This has to be one of the thickest slabs of leather that I’ve come across and it’s impressive. Don’t be scared of leather soles – they break in well and after a few outings, will feel just as steady as rubber outsoles. I have a pair of Alden longwings that I purchased seven years ago and they’re still holding up rather well. One note – avoid rock salt, as that will destroy leather soles very quickly.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Well made from above average materials and construction.
An impressively thick slab of leather will feel as steady as rubber after a few outings.
Fit and Sizing
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in 10D, which is a half-size down from my usual Brannock measurement, and these are just a hair too small with my normal dress socks. Grant Stone says that the Leo last fits a little large and that you should size down a half-size from your average US sneaker size. That advice checks out; I’ve tried a handful of their boots and shoes and while I usually suggest sizing down from your Brannock size, it seems as though these are fitting true to Brannock.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie and Van lasts. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I prefer a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. If you have sizing questions, reach out to us via email!
After the first few wears you should feel the comfort begin.
Comfort is always subjective, but I find Grant Stone boots and shoes to be incredibly comfortable. Their selection in upper leathers, cowhide linings, cork fillings, and other build materials lead to a fantastic fit and level of comfort after the initial few days of wearing in.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Fits true to size and feels fantastic out of the box to me. A+
As usual, Grant Stone knocks it out of the park. I am in LOVE with these coffee suede longwing bluchers; I will definitely be purchasing a pair for myself, once I find an empty spot in the closet. If you’re in the market for a fantastic pair of longwing bluchers that can easily be dressed up with a classic American style suit or dressed down for a polo and jeans, look no further. The upper leather is velvety soft, the leather lining feels like butter, and the stable leather outsole makes you feel grounded and sure of foot. As that one guy from the Men’s Wearhouse commercials used to say, you’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it!
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 Stars – Highly recommended! Fantastic shoes, fantastic value for money.
Adam found his new go-to business casual blucher.