Grant Stone is a shoemaker I’ve been eyeing for a while—they produce a tight but complete range of styles, and really seem to really focus on getting every aspect of what they make correct before releasing it.
Having been one of the earliest members of Stitchdown Premium, I was absolutely ecstatic when Ben let me know I won one of the SDP Grant Stone giveaways. After a lot of hemming and hawing and pretending I was going to get something else, I decided on the Ottawa Boot in Dune Chromexcel. I almost purchased these exact boots when they were offered with leather soles, but decided to hold off since I would just immediately want to toss on a topy on or resole to rubber. So I put Grant Stone on my backburner.
Fast forward a couple years, and here we are. I had always wanted a pair of Norwegian split toe boots, but was never a fan of the level of clicking that some companies use for Horween Chromexcel leather—as the boots age, loose grain was apparent at times. Having seen how well other Grant Stone boots looked after heavy wear, I figured if anyone was going to get it right, it would be them.
As someone with wide feet, I exchanged a few emails with Grant Stone founder Wyatt Gilmore (who as it happens did a great Stitchdown Conversation here). After confirming everything with Wyatt, the boots took less than two days to make it all the way down to New Mexico. Before these boots, I would have said the best sub-$400 boots were Red Wings or something from one of the Indonesian makers. Once these were in my hands that opinion completely shifted.
Let’s Talk Construction
The hand-stitching on the apron is flawless, the machine stitching on the uppers is completely straight, and the welt stitching is cleaner and more consistent than some footwear you’ll see in the $700+ category. The Dune Chromexcel—which is essentially natural Chromexcel with a bit of a buffing–is thicker than most I’ve seen used by other makers like Alden and Wolverine, which probably contributes to them having little-to-no loose grain. As is typical with Chromexcel, scuffs buff out with just a little brushing or rubbing them with a finger, and my guess is they will continue to age beautifully.
The overall build of the boots is another area where Grant Stone goes above and beyond. When you pick them up there is a bit of heft to them that isn’t typical in this price range—they remind me of my Vibergs with their weight and sturdiness. There was also little to no break in other than a little bit of stiffness around the ankles on the first couple wears.
How I Approached Sizing—With Wide Feet
One of the other factors that makes Grant Stone such an intriguing option is how they cater to those of us with wider feet. I went through a large portion of my early adult life thinking that I needed to wear something like a size 9.5 size shoe and put in insoles to be comfortable. It wasn’t until I fell down the quality footwear rabbit hole that I finally got sized correctly: 8E, and at times pushing into an 8EE.
Since many bootmakers create their lasts to fit with more room, I end up wearing a 7.5 in most boots. Wyatt recommended I go with a 7.5E, and they fit like a dream. Anyone with wide feet knows: putting your feet in a pair of boots and not having any hotspots, toe pinching, or other issues is a magical feeling. I know fit is subjective and will be different for everyone, but if you are like me and always wish you had a little more width around the toes, Grant Stone is probably your best, or possibly only option in this price range.
How They’re Looking a Few Months Later—And How They Fit In With My Wardrobe
It has been a few months since I got these now, and sometimes the honeymoon period for a footwear nerd doesn’t last very long. However, I can say without a doubt that these are still right up there with my favorite pairs of boots. The CXL has the fine creasing that everyone hopes for, the storm welt gives the boot an excellent casual look, and Grant Stone’s proprietary rubber sole is showing barely any wear. I’m a casual dresser most of the time, and these pair very well with denim and my canvas trousers. They fit in well with those and a button down, t-shirt, or henley. They’ve been great for work, chasing my kid on his tricycle down the street, walks, and a few short hikes.
The Final Take
At times I wonder how my footwear journey would have gone if I hadn’t had to search for so long to find the right fit and finish on a boot to satisfy my desires. It’s completely possible that had Grant Stone been available eight years ago, I would have bought a pair and stopped there.