There was a thread talking about the difference between dress and casual chukka boots, as well as dress and casual chelsea boots. Would anyone happen to have a picture of the differences between these two types of models?
Whether a particular shoe is more dressy or more casual depends on the type of leather used (smooth calfskin is more dressy than grained calfskin, which is more dressy than oiled leather, all other things being equal), the width and treatment of the welt extension, and the type and thickness of the sole, among other things. This, for example, is a fairly dressy boot:
This one, because it's made from grained leather and has a rubber sole, is slightly less dressy:
And this one, because of its moc toe, oiled leather, and rubber lug sole, is very casual:
Any suggestions in the lower price ranges (pref. under 200$, but lower the better). I guess I could say I prefer chelsea boots to chukka, but I'm not totally sure.
I prefer chukka boots (I just love the plain-toe blucher thing), but to each his own. I own and wear both types for both of the kinds of applications you're looking for shoes for.
I know lands end has some 100 dollar chelsea boots, but I am sure the quality is terrible. If grenson comes in with some 12/13 oxfords I will probably pick up a pair of those just to have them, but those don't work so well with jeans. It also looks like Grenson does not make any boots.
I haven't seen Lands' End shoes for quite some time, but I suspect that they're like most of what Lands' End sells: decent quality and able to compete with products that retail for 30% more. They're just not going to set the world on fire. Others have had good suggestions for sources: look at the overstock places: Sierra Trading Post, Bluefly, Yoox, and other places will have good shoes at pretty good prices. You just have to be patient and maintain buying discipline. (And, incidentally, the reason that Bennie's is able to sell those Grenson shoes so cheaply is that they're overstocks -- Grenson made too many of them and is trying to unload inventory.) End-of-season sales at places like Neiman Marcus and Harold's in the Heights (since you're in Houston) are other possibilities, as is good ol' eBay.