Chukka: Suede vs Grain - help me decide

hardline_42

Honors Member
I've decided that I'd like to add a proper, more refined chukka to my closet this season to replace the string of floppy desert boots I've had in the past. I'm looking for something that can be dressed up to the level of mid-grey flannels, SC and tie max, and dressed down to, at minimum, an OCBD and khakis. Since they will potentially be worn on wet and/or salted sidewalks in the winter (though not while it's raining or snowing) a weather-resistant sole is preferred. Since this is a more casual shoe, I'd rather not spend more than $250. Right now, the two top contenders are -

Allen Edmonds Gobi in snuff suede:

With the current sale they're at $249 (seconds are $199). They have a red Dainite sole and leather lining. Definitely on the more casual end of the spectrum, with the suede and natural welt/sole edge, but still way nicer than a desert boot. I'd lose the contrast laces.

Next up is the Herring Totnes: https://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?brandid=6&shoeid=8428

This one comes out to around $240 shipped from Herring with the AAAC discount. Grain leather, black Dainite sole, three eyes instead of the Gobi's two, and probably a sleeker last (207?) though I know nothing about Herring lasts. I've also never purchased from Herring before so I'm curious about the experience.

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on the two choices and any other suggestions you might have that fit my needs and budget. Thanks.
 
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CMDC

Honors Member
I like the Herring. They look a lot like the old AE Malvern which I wish I'd have bought before they were discontinued. I think that the grain leather is the key factor here. It is able to be dressed down easier than the suede is able to be dressed up, IMO. I would assume that whichever pair you choose will get a fair amount of wear--more than other shoes in your rotation. I've found suede much harder to keep looking nice on something that gets worn a lot, especially in less than great weather.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
My choice would be the Herring...great looking boot and I think it will prove a lot more versatile when it comes to pairing them with different rigs!
 

Odradek

Elite Member
Been having a similar dilemma myself between the Herring Gosforth in tan grain leather and the identical Loake Kempton in suede.




I already have the Gosforth in burgundy. I'd like suede but not sure how it would work out in the muddy wet winter we get here.
 

Z.J.P

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Usually, I would suggest suede. But of the two options, the Herring is much better looking than the AE. It also would work better with the grey flannels and SC look you mentioned.

The better suede choices would be Alden or Crockett & Jones. But those are above the budget, so moot point.
 

hardline_42

Honors Member
Been having a similar dilemma myself between the Herring Gosforth in tan grain leather and the identical Loake Kempton in suede.




I already have the Gosforth in burgundy. I'd like suede but not sure how it would work out in the muddy wet winter we get here.

I looked at the Gosforth, but I really need something that isn't in the walnut family. I've got too many options in that shade and not enough in a true brown. I think I like the idea of suede but, in practice, I'm not so sure it'll hold up.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
^^I've been wearing a pair of Alden snuff suede chukkas for four years at this point, that still look great after four years of hard wear and good care! Suede chukkas are a lot more durable than many assume them to be. :thumbs-up:
 
Between your choices, Hardline, I'd prefer the Herring option.

But I like Odradek's suede Kempton even better, in terms of pure aesthetics. Given the weather you're looking at, though, I'd support a storm welt and grain leather.
 

AndrewH

Starting Member
Of the ones shown, the Loake Kempton suede is a handsome choice. And, you'll get away with wearing almost anything with it.
 

dparm

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Suede all the way. It's a casual boot by design, and the suede keeps it so. Leather ones are an attempt to dress it up slightly, which rarely works IMO -- clunky + dressy just doesn't sound right.

Suede also tends to be a bit more comfortable than leather since it's really soft. I rock a pair of Clarks Originals taupe suede desert boots with jeans pretty regularly. I threw a set of red laces in to make them more interesting.
 

Nobleprofessor

Super Member
Suede all the way. It's a casual boot by design, and the suede keeps it so. Leather ones are an attempt to dress it up slightly, which rarely works IMO -- clunky + dressy just doesn't sound right.

Suede also tends to be a bit more comfortable than leather since it's really soft. I rock a pair of Clarks Originals taupe suede desert boots with jeans pretty regularly. I threw a set of red laces in to make them more interesting.

i like the Herring. More versatile
 

zeppacoustic

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I just got the Gobis and they are great so far. Color is fantastic in person and they are very comfortable. Perfect for my uses which are exclusively casual
 

mrm21711

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have always liked the look of suede chukkas and boots, but have worried about damaging them or that they would get ruined in bad weather. I think there are more practical and better suited options.
 

RT-Bone

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Love the idea of suede for your execution wishes, but I just don't think that pair is refined enough to wear with mid-grey flannels.
 

hardline_42

Honors Member
I think the solution here is that I need to buy both. After seeing the Kemptons and some of the other English suede chukkas , I think I'll pass on the Gobis. I'll just save up a bit longer and get one pair in suede and one in Scotch grain since there's a place for both in my wardrobe. Thanks everyone for the advice.
 
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