*SALE NOTE: Grant Stone is offering 20% off carts $400+. Which means you can save some significant money on the boots if you also pick up a pair of shoe trees ($35.) Doing so trips that $400 threshold, thus dropping the price to $332 total in your cart (proof here.) If you’re full-up on shoe trees, you could always get some Saphir Renovateur or a key fob or something… but the price shown above reflects the logical new boots + trees combo.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the construction industry. He enjoys whiskey, watches, boots/shoes, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Today we’re taking a first hand look at Grant Stone’s newest boot release, the Garrison boot. If you’re a regular Dappered reader, you probably already know that Grant Stone is a house favorite for their dress shoes, loafers, and boots as they bring an incredible value to the table. In a world full of options at various price points, what makes Grant Stone worth it? Let’s find out.
A very successful… use of chromexcel (#8.)
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Outstanding! Very nice and well worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.
- 4 – Very satisfactory. Above average, may have very minor issues but still worth it.
- 3 – Satisfactory. Average at best. May have notable issues, may be OK for some.
- 2 – Unsatisfactory. Below average due to defects, flaws, or other imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price. Avoid!
- Brand: Grant Stone
- Style: Cap Toe Boot
- Size: 10.5 US
- Last: Leo
- Construction: Goodyear Welt
- Upper: Horween Chromexcel #8
- Sole: Grant Stone Lug (Vibram Mini-Lug Replica)
- Details: Brass eyelets, unlined tongue, and thin waxed laces
- Extras: Shoe bags and shoe cloth table runner
- Place of Origin: Xiamen Island, China
- Price: $380 USD
A clear step up in refinement compared to their more casual styles.
My Garrison boots were ordered through the Grant Stone folks on a Monday afternoon. They shipped out via UPS Ground the following day and were delivered to my porch on Thursday afternoon. I’ve always been a fan of Grant Stone’s service and their shipping/processing times are pretty darn quick. Granted, it’s a bit quicker for those of us in the south or on the east coast. If you’re way out there on the west coast, it may take an additional day or two at most.
FYI: Grant Stone offers free shipping on orders over $50 and free exchanges within 15 days of ordering. Returns using their (third-party managed) prepaid label service incur a $15 restocking fee, but that’s probably a little cheaper than you shelling out your own cash to the folks at UPS or FedEx. It’s important to note that returned products must be in mint condition with no signs of wear or you may incur a damage fee. Special pre-orders cannot be exchanged or refunded.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, quick shipping, and a simple return/exchange policy.
“Give them their flowers.” Grant Stone’s packaging team deserves praise.
My pair of Garrison boots arrived in Grant Stone’s new boot box, which unfurls instead of having a removable lid. This origami lid is held in place with small magnets; it might seem silly to some, but this new presentation adds a small touch of elegance above and beyond what Grant Stone usually delivers. I’ve previously seen similar boxes from high end, luxury boot makers Viberg and R.M. Williams. In addition to the new box, Grant Stone includes two velvety soft boot storage bags, a small goodie bag with spare laces, a mini metal shoe horn, and a small landing strip of twill fabric that can be used to polish or protect your boots from scratches during the try-on process. I’m tempted to turn this thing into a decorative dining room table runner, but I’m not sure how to get that one past my wife. Any ideas? Hah!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Grant Stone excels at creating an opulent unboxing experience. A+
270° flat welt with contrasting white stitching.
Fresh out of the box, these new Garrison boots are very handsome. You can tell that Grant Stone has finessed the silhouette so that this is an entirely new and different design, but it still speaks the same language as the other boots in their catalog. The Garrison boot sits a bit higher and features a slightly taller shaft with eight sparkling brass eyelets instead of the four matte, bronze-colored eyelets and three speed hooks commonly found on their Diesel model.
The brogued cap toe is a clean, tasteful addition to the overall design and adds a level of stylish sophistication above the plain (and less interesting) cap toe design that currently exists. I am definitely one of the detail driven nerds and I appreciate how symmetrical and properly proportioned this cap toe is; it’s not too small where it looks like an afterthought, nor is it too large where you may have comfort issues for those with notable arches.
The taller shaft of these boots accommodates 8 pairs of brass eyelets. No speed hooks keeps it sleek.
Out back, they have incorporated the heel counter into the backstay, which also helps to hide the rear seam stitching. Speaking of stitching, the upper finishing is incredibly clean and without visible fault. Details like this help explain and allow you to show first hand that the designers and craftspeople are progressing their pattern making and construction skills to the next level.
This batch of color #8 Chromexcel leather from Horween is simply fantastic. The rich maroon color shifts around a bit in different lighting conditions, flowing somewhere between burgundy and bordeaux. It’s also interesting to note that over time, UV exposure from the sun’s rays can cause this dye’s saturation, or depth of color, to lighten up or fade a bit. While all leathers that get worn earn a patina and some character over time, high quality leathers, like Horween’s Chromexcel, maintain their luster and depth better than less expensive, lower quality hides.
A fine looking backside if there ever was.
Full grain leather heel counters are incorporated into the back of the boots, and the backstay
masks any rear stitching seams.
(Side note – I spoke with Wyatt Gilmore, CEO at Grant Stone, about future leather options and he mentioned that we will probably see this color #8 Chromexcel from Horween, a selection of Minerva from Badalassi, roughout suede from C.F. Stead, and a brown kudu. My suggestion for more Shell Cordovan must have gotten lost in the ether, again.. hah! Thanks, Wyatt.)
Inside, these boots are lined from heel to toe in full-grain kip leather except for the tongue, which is unlined and molds well to your foot. As with most other Grant Stone products, these boots feature vegetable-tanned leather insoles, a cork filled footbed underneath, a steel shank for extra rigidity and support, and a vegetable-tanned leather midsole forming the solid foundation. Inside and in between the panels, these boots feature full-grain leather heel counters which are a decisive upgrade from other brands (both cheaper and more expensive) that use rigid plastic or moldable celastic parts. This is important for better quality comfort.
Lined from heel to toe in full-grain kip leather except for the tongue,
which is unlined and molds well to your foot
These Garrison boots feature the (relatively) new, “in house” lugged outsole that’s very similar to Vibram’s V100 sole. You can also see this sole in use on the current Edward boots in Dark Oak roughout. This sole is toothy and has enough bite to serve you in whatever conditions the weather throws your way, but it’s not too aggressive and doesn’t take away from the overall silhouette. These won’t make you look like you’re wearing hiking boots; it’s not that toothy.
Grant Stone has chosen to design their own outsoles and pivot away from third party units from brands like Vibram. I believe this decision was made primarily to have bespoke molds made to achieve a better fit and a specific durometer (hardness), but moving production also has the advantage of removing supply chain issues with those third party brands. Imagine being tied to Vibram for a specific sole and they decide to discontinue that option. You can see how that could throw a wrench into Grant Stone’s business model with purchasing, scheduling, production, shipping, etc. Moving sole production to an “in house” vendor was a smart choice.
An inhouse lugged outsole is toothy enough to provide traction in weather, but not so much that it
detracts from the handsome aesthetics of the boots.
A quick note on weight – these boots are notably heavy in hand and feel well built in a good way. Using a standard bathroom scale, this pair in 10.5D weighs in at just under five pounds. For a comparison, my Alden Indy boots are slightly lighter at a hair over four pounds and my Viberg service boots weigh in at just under six pounds. The Vibergs are a great example here as I feel like Grant Stone has elevated this particular boot design to the level of Viberg’s goods. They also share a similar modern service boot aesthetic with a highly refined last, top notch leather clicking and selection, higher SPI on the upper and welt stitching, bespoke sole, etc.
Style wise, this Garrison boot feels like a slight departure from their more casual lot of boots. This design is more refined and would look fantastic with an elevated, yet rugged style aesthetic along the same vein as American Ivy or British country styles. Imagine wearing these with waxed cotton jackets, tweed sport coats, brushed Scottish lambswool sweaters, well-worn Oxford cloth button-down shirts, and crispy raw denim or buttery soft corduroy chinos. That’s the kind of vibe that these boots work with, in my opinion. These boots are not inherently dress boots, either, as the lug soles, thin waxed laces, and 270° flat welts with contrasting white stitching help these lean more upscale business casual than fancy formal, but you could easily wear these with a casual suit or sportcoat and chinos to an outdoor wedding.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Fantastic. Heavy, well made, and suitable for a variety of styles. A+
Notably substantial feeling in hand and clearly well built in a good way.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size down from your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in my Brannock size of 10.5 D with my usual Darn Tough “The Standard” merino wool socks, and they fit correctly in terms of length and width but feel slightly too voluminous.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy boots and 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 narrow. I also prefer a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. Have a size question? Email us!
With a taller shaft and thicker leather, it may take a little longer for these boots to mold to your feet.
The unlined tongue however molds well upon first wear.
Comfort is always subjective, but I’ve always found Grant Stone boots to be very comfortable with a short break-in process. The upper leather, leather lining, and veg tan leather insole and support system all work together to create a naturally comfortable package. These Garrison boots fit a bit taller and this Horween Chromexcel leather feels a bit thicker than usual, so I suspect these may take a few extra days to really start to mold around my feet and ankles.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Sizing is TTS but roomy; comfort is great for well made stitched boots.
As always, we finish our reviews with the big question: are these boots worth their price tag?
Absolutely. The simple answer is that Grant Stone still holds the “Best Value in Boots” title for many folks because they manage to combine high quality materials, excellent craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and exceptional customer service at a price point that reflects the investment you’re making, but shouldn’t require you to cash out a 401k. One could argue that Grant Stone is now situated on the top rung of the sub-$500 ladder. In my opinion, these Garrison boots are yet another example of how this brand continues to innovate and offer a better, more refined product for less money than their competition. Nice!
Avg. Score: 5/5 – Yes, highly recommended. Grant Stone delivers another great boot.