Possibly The Best Boots You Will Ever Have
Today is a very special day for me. I finally get to talk and Review the Carlos Santos 9156! An exclusive pair of Field Boots for The Noble Shoe. It comes in two combinations of bi-material uppers but today we will look at the Suede/Calf version.
In fact, I am so in love with this model that I got one for my self. It holds a special place in my heart since it was the very first image on my social media, my first ever order and because of the value and quality it holds.
As always this will be an in-depth Review of all the different sections of the boots. We will look at each area individually and show striking it will look on your feet.
What Is This Hype About?
For every boot enthusiast around the globe the endgame is the Edward Green Galway. A shoe from an iconic British shoemaker that deserves its spot in our “Best Brands Article“.
This iconic model serves as the inspiration behind the 9156. A pair of shoes with an almost identical look, exceptional finishing and quality for a fraction of the cost.
The silhouette is elegant and attractive while at the same time you will revel at aesthetics of the bi-material uppers.
That’s A Lot Of Talk, Why Is It So High Quality?
Well for starters since I own The Noble Shoe I have a lot of inventory. All the shoes I received were in top condition, very consistent and with a very high finish. My client testimonies reflect that.
“The quality of the craftsmanship and the quality of the leather that went into this has left me quite frankly rather astonished. These boots have the quality behind them to rival boots in the 400£ to high 500£ range in everything.”
The second part is the legacy and experience of Carlos Santos. He makes shoes since 1942, starting as a mere worker in the factory he now owns. A family business that treats shoemaking as a passion and an expression. All of this with a distinctive Portuguese flair.
I am blessed to have a wonderful working relationship with Ana Santos as well as Zahraa (the PR/Social Media Manager). As time passes it only reinforces my love for the Brand and their quest to push the boundaries and provide the best value out there.
To put this in perspective, buying my first Carlos Santos Shoes last year is the reason that The Noble Shoe exists. The reason for me leaving my job to pursue my passions in shoemaking. I believe in the people and the product.
Specifications To Die For
Our Field Boots come in two combinations at the moment. One in Brown Grain/Cognac Calf and today’s version in Dark Brown Suede/Oak Calf. Let’s take a deeper look at their specs:
- Brand: Carlos Santos
- Shop: The Noble Shoe
- Type: Field Boot
- Style: 9156
- Size: UK 7 (US 8/EU 41)
- Uppers: Bi-Material Dark Brown Suede/Oak Calf
- Last: 316
- Width: Regular
- Sole: Dainite
- Lining: Genuine Leather
- Eyelets: 4 brass and 4 speed hooks
- Construction: Goodyear Welted 270°
- Made In: Portugal
- Price: 299$ (240£/2899 SEK/270€) + VAT
Reminder: VAT is only applicable for countries inside the EU and is 25%.
Carlos Santos 9156 Review
Without further adieu let’s begin inspecting the boot from head to toe (pun intended!). We will discuss first impressions and styling along with each individual area. The review will finish with sizing and comfort.
Unboxing & Shipping
As is customary with Carlos Santos shoes the unboxing experience is pleasant. Clients have described the box as sturdy and say it protects the shoes very well. I will always wrap it in bubble paper and for extra safety include some more around the inside walls.
The box itself is black with a nice distinct texture and a houndstooth pattern inside. Along with your shoes you will get a branded shoe horn, a small brochure and high quality dust bags. You will also receive a personal handwritten note by me!
One of the sides has a sticker with quick information about your shoe such as size or model. It helps if you have multiple shoes from the same brand and keep them in the box like I do.
Lastly, shipping is something I am experimenting with. It is currently around 5€ for Sweden, 15€ for the EU and 30€ for the rest of the world. I feel it is overall a good price especially if you are in countries like the US or Australia since it costs a lot to ship there. Of course I am working to reduce the cost as much as possible.
Styling & First Thoughts
You can instantly see how gorgeous the boots are. It looks like a classic derby boot but instead the shaft has a different shape and extra leather if you compare them to the 8866 Model. Another difference is the presence of a dainite sole instead of a commando sole. This ensures a more sleek design and package. As a boot it is quite tall with 7.5 inches counting from the heel.
On the top we get a more discreet loop and a U-Shaped entry point. I think it makes it very easy for your foot to slip into the boot. Depending what you wear them with it will look like a unique derby shoe. And this is where it also shines because of the color. This version of the 9156 has a shade of color that resembles oak or deep chestnut. It looks darker in the evening or darker days making it very versatile and a great pair for jeans, chinos and suits alike.
Closer Look At The Uppers
I am quite familiar with how the leather feels on a Carlos Santos pair. I have seen a few people complain about how the leather is thin, creases a lot and the patina is hard to maintain. Not in my opinion.
The leather comes from reputable French tanneries and is much better than what I have from Loake 1880. It does not feel dry and a neutral polish or wax is all you need. The Suede on this model is a little more special than usual. You see Carlos Santos uses cow suede (gaucho) which is very soft and supple but also goat suede (camurça). The latter has a much coarser nap which probably comes from the animal and tight sanding. It looks a bit more elegant for this type of boot.
It is still very soft but don’t go in with the expectation of those fluffy suedes.
Tip: For an in-depth guide on types of shoe leather read our article!
Lacing & Facing
I still find it funny how those two words rhyme together. The Carlos Santos 9156 has a total of 8 eyelets and hooks. From those 4 are classic brass eyelets with a golden/bronze tint and 4 speed hooks climbing to the top of the shaft.
Toe & Backseam
One of the trademark finishes of Carlos Santos is burnishing on the toes. It is truly exceptional and never so intense that is overwhelming. It strikes the perfect balance of depth and works seamlessly with the rest of the uppers.
Interestingly enough, the Cap-Toe has triple stitching and is a difference from the Galway. This is a real cap-toe while the former has only stitching. Like a faux-toe if you may.
The back is different from the 8866 as well. It doesn’t follow a specific pattern as it spreads around the bottom while the top creates a rectangle. The belt loop on the very top has more of a decoration function for me since I will always use a shoe horn.
Stitching & Welt
Carlos Santos has very consistent stitching in my opinion especially when you look at the price point. Looking closely at the cap-toe, facing and interior generally satisfies my OCD. The only area of the shoe that the stitching does not look perfect is the top of the backseam on the right shoe. It has double stitching and a “Π” shape that looks to be 0.1° uneven. Not that you would notice!
The welt is also exceptional on my boots. No loose threads and despite the lack of fudge wheeling it looks very elegant. I think it fits the fact that it is a boot instead of say an oxford. The SPI (Stitches Per Inch) is pretty high at around 7.
I read some previous occasions of the outsole stitching falling inside one of the studs but not in my case as you can see on the next section.
Honestly, good job!
The Dainite Sole
Usually boots come with a rubber sole. If you think about their function it also makes more sense. Dainite, Vibram and Commando soles all work pretty well. I would say the only kind of boot that you can consider with a leather sole is a Jodhpur Boot or a Balmoral.
In this case due to the design and function of the Field Boot I wanted a tight yet sturdy combination. The 8866 already has Commando soles and Carlos Santos does not work with Vibram.
I personally like Dainite very much as it has these little round rings (studs) protruding from the sole that create good grip. They take a beating pretty well too even in harsh environments such as Sweden. Then again this is based on my own personal experience.
Quite honestly just by looking at a shoe on feet it is not the easiest to say if it is a rubber or leather sole. I am very happy with the Dainite sole on this model and I am sure you will be too.
This one is a very tricky section. Not to describe, but to show. Due to the nature of the U-Shaped shaft I found it hard to keep it open and take a proper picture. Instead I will show you the top and discuss the rest.
One thing I can tell is it smells amazing! It overwhelms my sensations with an engrossing, rich leather scent. The color has a natural, orange tint to it all the way down with a comfortable insole to complete the look.
The back of the tongue however has a sueded look and feel to it with a dark brown color resembling the top of the shaft.
Sizing The 316 Last
The 316 last is certainly an interesting one. I see people calling it elongated but very gently if I may say. It has a soft almond shape and a normal instep. Arch support is pretty decent and it can be a little roomy on the toes.
Important! Take these measurements with a grain of salt as they are prone to small errors. The tool used was a simple measuring tape for each section.
I had an inquiry last week about a gentleman having a 30 cm foot advising me what size he should get. I will show you a quick table of the difference between size UK 10 and UK 9.5:
|UK 9.5||UK 10|
|Leather & Insole Thickness (cm)||0.5||0.5|
What you see here essentially is that there is approximately 0.5 cm difference when sizing up or down. The welt and outsole protrudes 0.5 cm from the uppers and since measurement was done on the sole I subtract it. Combining the insole and uppers thickness is 0.4 – 0.5 cm.
For the gentleman above I would suggest a UK 10 to ensure there is enough space for his toes and error margins. The general idea is that you need about 1.5 cm for your toes at the front.
As a general suggestion I would start with the usual TTS (True To Size) which in my case was UK 7. I could possibly go to a UK 7.5 for a less snug fit and using thicker socks. Think about how narrow or wide your foot is.
If your foot is slightly wider and you are used to US sizes consider going down just half a size to the UK equivalent. It will help you accommodate the extra room and you can still use thicker wool socks.
Otherwise stick with your classic sizing of popular models like Carmina Rain, most C&J lasts or other Carlos Santos lasts.
There is something magical about a pair of good fitting boots. I enjoy the 316 last very much and so all my clients. For a RTW shoe the arch support is pretty good while the insole does its job perfectly fine.
My forefoot is rather wide which is a recent discovery for me but the shoe is pretty comfortable. I have no heel slip and I can wiggle my toes enough on the front.
Carlos Santos leather is not as stiff as the British equivalents so it tends to break in much faster for me. This boot is also less squeaky than the 8866 which does that in some occasions.
It is definitely a last I will use more in future models.
A Boot For Every Occasion
Apart from the stunning look, comfortable feel and high quality construction the real treat is versatility. The Carlos Santos 9156 just looks fantastic with everything.
Here I am wearing them with a pair of MTM Suitsupply trousers in Brown Flannel. They look so nice on the feet and create a beautiful visual combination.
If you are more of the jeans kind of guy then worry no more, it works perfectly too. In fact I would say it dresses up a pair of denim to a whole other level. See for yourselves in my silly picture!
Never mind the pun!
Final Thoughts – Carlos Santos 9156 Review
The whole point of spending a lot on shoes is first of all comfort and quality. These are Goodyear Welted Boots that will last for decades with proper care. Of course something secondary is buying shoes that work well with all of your wardrobe. Versatility is key especially when you are new to the shoe game.
I was impressed by the Carlos Santos 9156 well before I wrote this Review. It rivals the aesthetics and quality of a 1500$ shoe while presenting an affordable alternative that will keep you smiling. You also know that you are supporting a small passion project of someone that loves shoes as much as you do.
I want to thank the Carlos Santos family for changing my life and offering me the opportunity to present to you such exquisite items.
In the meantime, please consider joining our Instagram army or spread the word to friends about The Noble Shoe and Misiu Academy. It is throughout your support that all of this is possible. Don’t forget to Subscribe for upcoming awesome content. Next week we are heading at the Shoegazing Trunk Show!
Thank you for reading,