Dunross & Sons Jayden Chelsea Boots – $126.40 w/ extra 20% off redeemed ($198)
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Amazon is the Buy n’ Large of our generation. They offer so many products across so many market segments, it’s both incredibly convenient and very worrisome. Need some shampoo? Your favorite brand is always available on Amazon, it’s a few bucks cheaper than your local drugstore chain, and you can even have it delivered today if you’re having a hairmergency.
Maybe you’re renovating your closet and you’d like to upgrade your hangers from those cheap, white plastic pieces to some nicer wooden ones. You can get those (I recommend these) online – they look classy, they are pretty affordable, and again, you can have them delivered ASAP.
How about a new pair of dressy Chelsea boots? Amazon has those, too, but are they really worth your money or are you better off investing in something a bit nicer? Today we’re checking out the Jayden Chelsea boots from the “sold exclusively on Amazon” Dunross & Sons brand. The brand materialized on our style-radars during Amazon’s fall Prime Deals event. They claim to be sold exclusively on Amazon, but it doesn’t seem like Amazon actually owns the brand. Fulfilled by Amazon, yes, but not actually owned by them. In recent years Amazon has cut back on their own private-label adventures (think the evaporating/evaporated Goodthreads,) so no, it doesn’t seem like these are “Amazon Essentials Chelseas” only with a fancier name. Different company, or so it seems.
Smooth lines are a hallmark of a chelsea boot.
Weirdly smooth “leather” is a sign of a cheap pair of shoes.
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: Dunross & Sons
- Style: Dress Chelsea boot
- Size: 10.5
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Glued/Fiberboard
- Upper: They claim it’s “Genuine Italian full grain leather”
- Sole: Soft, studded rubber soles with rubber heel toplifts
- Details: Leather pull tabs, leather lined latex insole and footbed
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Made in China
- Price: $126 – $198ish
Corrected grain “leather” the likes you’d find on inexpensive department store shoes.
Also notice the harsher burnishing lines on the toes.
My pair of Chelsea boots was ordered on a Wednesday during one of Amazon’s daily lighting deals. There wasn’t much in the way of tracking this shipment, but I believe they shipped out from a random warehouse near Ft. Lauderdale, FL on that Friday via USPS Ground Advantage. The package was delivered on Saturday afternoon. All things considered, this was pretty fast.
FYI: These boots are sold and shipped through Amazon, so they fall under the Prime free shipping and free returns policy which typically means you have 30 days from the date of delivery. During the holiday season (November 1st – December 31st), Amazon extends this return policy through January 31st for most items. As usual, returns need to be like new.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Amazon offers free shipping, free returns, and a quick delivery.
A super even color and smooth grain makes these leather boots look “plasticky.”
This pair of boots arrived in an unexpectedly nice shoe box. While it might not mean much to most people, this elegant navy blue box with silver foil branding is nicer than the boxes that most mall brands like J.Crew and Banana Republic use for their shoes. Inside, the boots were wrapped in a few layers of branded tissue paper and each boot was stuffed with a few pieces of a thicker, almost craft paper-like tissue paper to help keep them in shape during shipping. Unfortunately, there were no other accessories or pieces inside the box. For the price point, this experience scores a “meets or sometimes exceeds expectations” on its report card.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Above average box, but the experience won’t knock your socks off.
A surprisingly nice box, but the upgrades end there.
Fresh out of the box, these Chelsea boots are shorter than I had imagined and planned for. They’re probably an inch shorter than my R.M. Williams Craftsman boots. While I’m not personally a fan of these shorter designs as I find that they get stuck on my pants cuffs, that’s a personal and subjective opinion. Many of you out there may like this style and that’s OK.
The shorter shaft on these boots may result in a battle with your pant cuffs.
It’s also immediately apparent that these are budget-focused boots. The upper leather looks to be a pretty standard, inexpensive calfskin or heavily corrected cowhide that you tend to see from the house brand shoes sold at shopping mall anchor stores like Macy’s or JCPenney. You can tell because the leather’s surface has been sanded to the point that it’s practically buttery smooth and the warm, brown shade of “espresso” color used here is a little too even. It looks like it was sprayed on in a paint booth, not rubbed on with pigmented bars and a buffing wheel. Speaking of overspray, the factory had a heavy hand when adding a little bit of burnishing at the toe and heel. Instead of adding some highlights or a bit of depth to emulate patina, these spots are overly blackened and have not been blended in well enough at all. Very odd.
Heavy handed burnishing is not blended well, as can be seen on the heel.
Style wise, these are definitely a dressier option than something like the R.M. Williams Gardener or J.Crew Kenton Chelsea boots. The smooth leather upper, dark welt line, black elastic panels, and minimal details help shift this design towards a more formal style and they would look best with tailored suiting, business casual sport coats and slacks, smart casual button-down shirts and chinos, etc. Personally, I would not pair these with a flannel and jeans.
Small heel tabs have missing dye, a sign of lower level quality control.
The upper is a three piece design that has a side seam directly underneath the black elastic gores separating the front vamp cut from the rear two quarter panels. There’s also a leather heel strip running up the back that helps hide the rear stitch seam and transitions into leather pull tabs before getting stitched underneath the liner leather. These finger loops or pull tabs are too small; I can barely fit my pinky finger in there and that doesn’t provide a whole lot of leverage when putting the boots on. Plus, both boots have finger loops that have spots where dye is missing or was removed. This is low level quality control typically found on budget items. Unlike higher end Chelsea boots that utilize fabric or leather pulls at both the front and back, these only have those leather pulls at the back of the boot and I’d wager that’s only because it was convenient to loop the leather before stitching it up during construction. One bright spot is the pair of elastic gores. Unlike those really cheap Chelsea boots that have floppy or loose gores, these are relatively tight and do help keep the boots secured to your ankles.
The elastic gores are a bright spot, being relatively tight and sturdy.
Inside, these boots are half lined in some thin, low level calfskin backed with some sort of fabric for structural integrity. The front half of the boots are lined in a microfiber-type fabric that’s about twice as thick as a pair of panty hose. This material is really thin and will definitely not withstand a lot of wear from your toes rubbing against the underside of the vamp as you walk. Plus, this type of material is supposed to be breathable but ends up holding onto bacteria, which can cause your boots to stink if you don’t let them air out between wears.
Looks nice, but the insoles are thin.
The front half of the boots are lined in a thin fabric. That (also) spells trouble.
These boots have a leather topped latex footbed insole unit that’s glued to a firm fiberboard midsole. This layer of latex cushioning foam is rather thin, which creates a “princess and the pea” scenario where the insoles start to compress down within minutes and you can start to feel every pebble and grain of rice on the floor. You can check for this yourself by just pressing down with moderate pressure; I can barely feel some of the rivets underneath the heel section. These boots are not meant to last very long; any initial comfort will fade quickly and that stinks.
Soft molded rubber creates a Dainite-like outsole, which is glued, rather than welted, to the shoe.
The outsoles and heel top lifts are made from a very soft, molded rubber type material with studs that emulate the famous Dainite outsoles. These outsoles are not stitched or welted to the upper; I’m 99.9% sure they’re glued onto the fiberboard midsole/backbone. The heel blocks look to be a pre-manufactured unit and you can’t separate the different layers with a fingernail. If you’re a shoe nerd and like to count the stitches per inch (SPI), these boots have fake 6 SPI stitching on the faux welt (there’s no welt joint) and 5 SPI on rubber outsole. That’s really low and they don’t even match in quantity or line up vertically. You can tell these are glued together and that’s not inherently bad, but you can get a better value elsewhere if you’re patient. You could snag a pair of Allen Edmonds seconds on sale for not too much more.
Score: 2/5 Stars – These boots are not made for walking; they look OK, but won’t last.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size up from your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in 10.5 D and they feel slightly too small, especially in length and across the arch where I feel notable pressure. If you’re in between sizes, size up.
Initial comfort is honestly good, but so many red flags point to that comfort not lasting long.
For size reference, I measure 10.5 HTB (heel to ball) and 11 HTT (heel to toe) on a Brannock device, but I consider myself a 10.5 D with tall arches. I usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last, but I take a 10.5 D/E in Allen Edmonds 65 last as that last runs narrow for me. I take a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most athletic sneakers from Adidas, Nike, HOKA, etc. Have a size question? Email us!
Comfort is always subjective, but if you ignore the sizing issue, I think the initial comfort is pretty good. Chances are slim that this level of comfort lasts more than a few months, though.
Score: 2/5 Stars – This last fits small, so size up a half size. Comfort and quality is low.
Honesty is always the best policy and based on what I’ve seen with this particular pair, at this price point, I think you will be better served by a product from a brand like Nordstrom, Spier & Mackay (when available), Thursday Boots, Beckett Simonon, Grant Stone (on sale), etc. Sure, those brands may cost a bit more money up front, but you’re getting a wholly better product with higher quality materials, better craftsmanship, a more comfortable fit, and possibly a more elegant last shape.
Bottom line: these likely won’t last you very long with regular wear.
Where do these boots make sense? Maybe you need a pair of dressy-looking boots for an upcoming job interview, an outdoor winter wedding, or some sort of other upscale event but you know deep down that you won’t wear these things all too often and you’re OK with a lower quality, lower cost boot. In that narrow focus of ownership, then these boots may (may) be the ticket.
Avg. Score: 3/5 – We can’t recommend these boots with the overall subpar quality.