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.
Todd Snyder is a man that needs no introduction in the world of menswear. As the former creative spark behind brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, and J.Crew, Mr. Snyder has been around the block and really seems to focus on dressing the American man in stylish, yet unexpected ways. The brand also loves to collaborate with other high quality brands like Alden, Champion, New Balance, and more. If you’re a regular Dappered reader, Todd Snyder products are featured here from time to time and the brand is generally regarded as the next step up the men’s style ladder when you’ve been shopping at J.Crew and you’re looking to start buying fewer, but better things. Today we’re looking at Todd Snyder’s first shoe design, the Nomad boots. How do they stack up and are they worth the not-insignificant investment? Maybe!
Available in tan, tobacco (reviewed in this post), “grey”, and olive.
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: Todd Snyder
- Style: Desert chukka boot
- Size: 11 US (EU 44)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Stitchdown
- Upper: Italian (Tuscan) suede
- Sole: Natural crepe rubber
- Details: Natural cow leather lining
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Price: $248 USD
To Adam’s discerning eye these are a noticeable step up from J. Crew.
My pair of Nomad chukka boots was ordered on a Friday afternoon via the Todd Snyder website. The package shipped out on Sunday morning via FedEx Home Delivery from a third party logistics hub in New Jersey and was finally delivered on my doorstep on Tuesday morning. Todd Snyder offers free ground shipping for all orders over $150 USD and the two business day delivery window is above average in today’s world of logistical nightmares. Nice!
FYI: Their return policy is the good ol’ 30 day policy where returns and exchanges are free, so long as the goods are in new, unused condition. Note that shipping costs are not refundable.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering online, quick shipping, and a simple returns policy.
These look and feel like a slightly tweaked version of the Astorflex Greenflex boots.
This pair arrived in an unassuming black box with very subtle Todd Snyder branding on a military-inspired sticker on a side of the lid. Inside, each boot was wrapped in decent tissue paper and stuffed with a handful of recycled paper to serve as impromptu shoe trees for shipping. There were no other accessories or extras included in the box, which is a real shame at this price point. For reference, J.Crew offers a very similar desert chukka boot with a similar unboxing experience for over $100 less. Do the Todd Snyder boots justify the price difference? That will be for you to decide as worth is always subjective. For me? I expect a bit more.
Score: 3/5 Stars – The unboxing experience was fine, but nothing too special to note.
Fresh out of the box, I’m ambushed by just how nice these boots are in person. I just finished reviewing the J.Crew MacAlister desert chukka boots and while those were fine enough, these are a notable step up in overall elegance. The suede is nice, the crepe sole looks more pliable, and I love the deep, rich shade of tobacco “snuff” brown that Todd Snyder’s team chose here. It’s also important to note that the Nomads here have a more gentle, subtly rounded toe shape. All in all, these look and feel like a slightly tweaked version of the Astorflex Greenflex boots. Like, really similar to those. I’d even wager that these might, just maybe, be made by Astorflex for Todd Snyder.
All the quintessential chukka boot details are ticked off here.
For me, the archetypal desert chukka boot must have a suede or simple brown leather upper, a crepe rubber sole, two lace eyelets per side, and stitchdown construction. This is what we think the original boots would have looked like in the early 1940s when off-duty British soldiers were purchasing them from the markets in Cairo, Egypt. Any change in parameters outside of those and you start affecting the look and feel of the boot, causing their style to shift around. Should you decide to swap the suede or beeswax leather for something more elegant, or add another set of eyelets, you’ll quickly realize that your casual, weekend knockaround boots are now too fancy to wear with a t-shirt and your favorite pair of well-worn raw denim jeans. Sad!
Lush Italian suede stitched to pliable crepe rubber soles.
Todd Snyder (or Astorflex) nails this quintessential style perfectly. Everything is as it should be when you imagine a nice pair of desert chukkas – that lush Italian suede, those pliable crepe rubber soles, the simple set of eyelets per side, and the elementary stitchdown construction. As mentioned earlier, the upper suede is sourced from an Italian tannery, allegedly in the Tuscany region. It’s truly buttery soft and a notable step up from J.Crew’s previous offerings, let alone a truly remarkable step up from something you’d find at Banana Republic, ASOS, or DSW. This is a nice cut of leather, too, and my metaphorical hat goes off to the hide clicker in the factory as there are no notable cuts, scrapes, or otherwise poor marks on either boot.
The uppers have two blind eyelets on each facing that get strung together with a pair of round, unwaxed cotton laces in a sandy brown color. These laces pair well with the overall color palette. The fine upper stitching is done in a tonal shade of brown and looks to be neat and tidy throughout. The larger stitchdown stitches are in a contrasting shade of tan, similar to the laces, and have a higher stitches-per-inch count than that of cheaper mall brand products. The only defect that I can find is where the suede upper is folded down to meet the leather midsole. Some small sections have come unglued and are starting to flare upwards, but this is a minor complaint. No one is inspecting your boots that close and it’s not a major structural issue.
Not a major structural issue, but this pair has some suede unglued and flaring upward.
The interior is lined with vegetable-tanned calf leather that feels smooth and delightful to the touch. The lining’s thickness is about on par with the upper suede thickness, if that tells you anything. The leather topped insole or sockliner has some simple cushioning underneath for out of the box comfort and a lovely gold foil Todd Snyder branded hot stamp at the heel. There was one defect here – the left boot’s leather insole/sockliner had a gash that you can feel. If these were mine, I’d just trim that off with a utility knife, but to each their own. Underneath the insole is a vegetable-tanned leather midsole that looks to be used as the initial structure before the rubber outsole gets glued onto the boot assembly. This is nicer and probably more durable than a thermal fiberboard or plastic stiffener, commonly used by less expensive brands.
12mm of natural crepe rubber.
Finally, the outsole is made from a hearty slab of natural rubber. Coagulated latex from the rubber tree is collected like maple syrup and pressed into a mold before drying and curing. The Nomad boots use a slightly thicker 12mm layer of crepe rubber for the outsole which gives additional comfort through their soft, springy nature and a bit of extra traction over leather soles. Note that crepe soles can be slippery when wet, so do be careful out there Bon Jovi.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Overall lovely materials and craftsmanship.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying at least a half-size up from your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in an 11D, which is a half-size up from my Brannock measurement of 10.5 D (really a 10.75 D, if there were such a thing), and these boots fit snugly. If they offered the Nomad boots in an 11.5, that would be the ideal ticket. The width of this size 11 is passable, but the length is the real issue. As I’m wearing my normal Darn Tough everyday socks, I can tell that I have less than a finger’s width of space in front of my toes and can feel the front edge of the padded insole drop off. While that empty space up front isn’t really a good gauge of proper fitment, I like to use it as a reference point. For comfort, I prefer at least a thumb’s width of space for expansion for those days where I’m walking a lot or the heat and humidity are at their peak. Growing older sucks, but you should know that your feet will swell!
Buttery soft leather lining, but these shoes may run a bit short?
For size 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 athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. Have a size question? Email us!
Overall comfort is nice, but try a half size up.
Comfort is always subjective, but the overall comfort out of the box is pretty nice. The calf leather lining is ultra supple and the padded foam insert beneath the leather sockliner/insole is a nice reprieve from the hard plastic stuff used in desert boots by cheaper fast fashion brands. Seeing as there’s minimal structure to the boots, know that these don’t have a ton of arch support. If that’s a concern for you, or you need a wider width, I’d look for something else.
Score: 4/5 Stars – These run small, so size up a half-size or more. Comfort is pretty good!
Overall, I really enjoyed trying the Todd Snyder Nomad desert chukka boots. They seem to be well made from above average materials, but that comes at an above average price point. Worth is always subjective to the shopper, so you’ll have to ask yourself if they’re worth it for you. As for me, I think they’re great boots and wouldn’t hesitate to buy them if they happened to go on sale. If you’re in the market for a similar boot but you’re working with a smaller budget, check out the J.Crew MacAlister boots ($150ish) and the Astorflex Greenflex boots ($195ish). If you’re looking for something a little nicer and brand recognition is important to you, Drake’s is offering their Clifford boots ($405) and they seem to be very similar. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4/5 Stars – Recommended, but there are better values out there.
This one is subjective and up to you!