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Allen Edmonds x Massdrop Unlined Chukka Boot Review/Info

Murlsquirl

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First things first, I did not receive any type of compensation for this review. No cash, no discount, no free stuff, etc....nada; although if Ian (@brillopad) wants to buy me a beer next time I see him in SF, I can't say I'll turn it down


Ian contacted me a few months back and was looking for my opinion on a few prototypes for an Allen Edmonds project he was working on at Massdrop. I was pretty busy at the time but it didn't seem like it would consume too much time so I said sure, why not. A couple days later, I got a few samples of an unlined chukka in reverse calf 'Janus' suede (from CF Stead) on a couple different lasts, with different styling options (heel/sole type, welt stitch thread color, etc.).

Having started out with AE like many other guys here, followed by the natural SF progression to handmade shoes from the likes of Budapest and Brasov, I was pretty impressed with how the samples turned out. Not compared to the other makers I mentioned of course, but based on my experience and expectations with Allen Edmonds. Some of the sloppiness I have seen from AE in the past few years wasn't present on these pairs and the quality of the suede was well above their standard. Knowing what Ian hoped to offer a pair for, I was really excited to see how the final product turned out.

So, I got my hands on the final product a couple weeks ago (just to check out) and they turned out great. Just like the samples, clean stitching all around, quality suede, and the ideal (IMO) shape for an unlined chukka. Full specs are:

-511 last
-Janus Calf uppers from CF stead
-butyl-soaked sole
-dovetail heel
-unlined construction
-goodyear welted


I think Ian and his team nailed it when it came time to decide on the small details. I can honestly say as someone who owns (and loves) Alden's unlined chukka, these are right up there and at half the price, an incredible deal. It's a boot you can wear with denim, cords, wool trousers, etc......pretty much anything other than sweatpants or a conservative suit. Already owning a similar pair in snuff, I'm considering a chocolate pair myself.

The drop will go live on Tuesday 11/1 with a price tag of $240. The Massdrop site currently has a "waiting page" for people to visit to learn more: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-allen-edmonds-unlined-chukka-boot. Now, what you all want to see...some pictures (photos are mine....I'm an awful photographer):


















 
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M635Guy

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Can you take pix of the inside? Very interested to see the reversed leather.

I'm a bit of a wildcard on sizing - most of my AE is 5-last and I'm a D or an E depending on the shoe (my Neumoks are 11.5E, own three pairs of McTavishes in 11.5D - all fit well). I'm not sure how 511-last runs, but thinking I might be a 12 E here? (no AE store close to try :( )
 

Murlsquirl

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Can you take pix of the inside?  Very interested to see the reversed leather

I don't have them anymore, sorry. I was just sent the protypes and then the final product to provide opinions and review. That's something Ian might be able to help out with though.
 

makewayhomer

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Can you take pix of the inside?  Very interested to see the reversed leather.

I'm a bit of a wildcard on sizing - most of my AE is 5-last and I'm a D or an E depending on the shoe (my Neumoks are 11.5E, own three pairs of McTavishes in 11.5D - all fit well).  I'm not sure how 511-last runs, but thinking I might be a 12 E here?  (no AE store close to try :( )

IME same size in 1 (511) last as 5 last, however for me the 1 last fits better b/c it's more generous in the toe / forefoot. it's a bit wider and shorter than the 5 last with a rounder toe. again, just my experience
 
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brillopad

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Can you take pix of the inside? Very interested to see the reversed leather.
I'll see if I can get some tomorrow. It's basically what you'd expect, since it's the grain side of full grain leather (so it basically looks like a tumbled leather sort of thing).
 

mosy

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edit: moved post to regular AE thread
 
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peppercorn78

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Thanks for the review. Very keen on this drop. Just a question about the construction. Is it completely 100% unlined like the old Amok (which I couldn't wear due to the lack of support), or does it have areas of reinforcement like, say. The Alden unlined loafer does around the heel and arches?
 

venividivicibj

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Really liking the lighter one (I'd call it 'bone' or 'desert') - how versatile do you guys think it is -
 

M635Guy

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I think any chukka is more versatile than people (including me) think. And not just a little...
 

Murlsquirl

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Thanks for the review. Very keen on this drop. Just a question about the construction. Is it completely 100% unlined like the old Amok (which I couldn't wear due to the lack of support), or does it have areas of reinforcement like, say. The Alden unlined loafer does around the heel and arches?
It does have areas with slight reinforcement, just like Alden's unlined chukka.
 

jcmeyer

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They call it sand....it looks great with denim.  

Yeah, I think the pic on the Massdrop page with a lighter wash denim is going to be your best bet, otherwise it has the same issues than any really light-colored shoe has.

Anywho, like Murl, Ian (brillopad) sent me a pair to check out for a few days before shipping them back. The samples were a couple sizes too big for me so I have no idea how they fit but they felt nice, looked great, and I'm definitely tempted to pick up a pair of the chocolate. Mostly because I, like just about everyone else, got all #hotandmenswearbothered over the F/W Drake's lookbook. Granted, those are the Aldens, but at $240 for the AEs...



The suede on these is definitely nicer than my other suede AEs, a pair of Patriot loafers. My favorite thing about 'em, though, is the shape of the last. I think it sits in a really good place between rounded and chiseled. I snapped a couple of shots next to some commonly-seen-on-SF lasts for reference. Obviously the AEs are bigger than the others, but you get the idea.

Carmina Rain > Carmina Soller > Alden Barrie > AE 511 (samples) > Clarks Desert (made by Vass)




Couple other shots


 

brillopad

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Thanks for the review. Very keen on this drop. Just a question about the construction. Is it completely 100% unlined like the old Amok (which I couldn't wear due to the lack of support), or does it have areas of reinforcement like, say. The Alden unlined loafer does around the heel and arches?
Since I've handled both quite a bit, I think I can speak to this:

-both are totally 100% unlined, in the sense that they have no leather sock liner
-both have a celastic reinforcement in the heel and toe for structure
-with that said, the celastic reinforcement that AE uses is notably stiffer than what Alden uses in their unlined shoes (probably similar to what they use in their regular shoes)

Hope that makes sense! Happy to expand on that as needed.
 

justinkapur

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I can definitely add my opinion in the matter as well. I also was contacted and was more than happy to provide my input.

Like my buddy @jcmeyer the shoes were not the right size for me but that didn't stop me from trying to get my foot in. I was able to even though they were a bit tight.

The first thing I felt was how soft the suede was. I've owned unlined chukkas in suede before and they feel great and rough but thin. These had a great nap and soft feel to them but definitely felt more substantial in terms of suede quality.

I've always tried Allen Edmonds shoes before but could never find the fit good for my foot. These are a pair of Chukkas that I would definitely buy. The style is perfect, quality is extremely good, and for the price you would be hard pressed to find anyone doing it better.

Fortunately I didn't take pictures. I say fortunately because I don't think there is anyone out there that could take worse pictures than me. I know that's one thing we all can agree on. But the other thing we all can agree on is that these are really a great boot and anyone who is starting their shoe wardrobe, got a few good pairs, or has more shoes than needed, should still grab these while the price is excellent.

All 3 colors are absolutely fantastic and the idea of what the boot would look like was the exact case of what was delivered. Highly highly recommend it.
 

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