The Emerald Dream
Boy I have something special for you today! A Review of the 7991 Chukkas by Carlos Santos which is an exclusive for The Noble Shoe. These are not just regular Chukka Boots however. With an incredible rich Dark Green Color they are a welcome break from classic brown and black.
Most people think it is rather challenging or difficult to style such a shoe. I don’t think so and will attempt to prove it with this article. It is part of a continuous series where we explore the wonderful world of Carlos Santos and my foray into entrepreneurship.
As usual, we will focus on every part of the shoe and discuss the quality and consistency. Let us begin analyzing this beautiful model and embrace Autumn with a warm cup of tea.
Previous Carlos Santos Reviews
The iconic Portuguese shoemaker is a staple of Misiu Academy Reviews. In fact, we have a lot of them! Here’s a list of all the previous reviews:
- 9381 Derby in Coimbra
- 8866 Jumper Boot in Coimbra
- 8866 Jumper Boot in Kudu Leather
- Handgrade Adelaide Oxford in Guimaraes
- 6942 Double Monk-Straps in Wine Shadow
- 9156 Field Boot in Suede/Calf
- 9780 Penny Loafer in Suede
- 7273 Wingtip Oxford in Brown Calf
Quite a list huh? Pretty much a shoe for every occasion, with many more to come. In the meantime, I advise you to take a look at our GMTOs and Crowdfunders.
Specifications Of Today’s Model
I actually never owned Chukkas until this point which feels strange to think about. The inspiration behind this was a picture I saw floating in the web of this unique striking color.
As with all our Carlos Santos Shoes they are Goodyear Welted but it is worth noting that some models on their website use the Blake Construction. Not sure what are those two? We got you covered. Here are the specs of this model:
- Brand: Carlos Santos
- Shop: The Noble Shoe
- Type: Chukka Boots
- Style Reference: 7991
- Construction: Goodyear Welted
- Last: 401 Almond Toe
- Color: Sintra Dark Green Patina
- Sole: Dainite
- Eyelets: 3
- Lining: Genuine Leather
- Price: $285 (€256/£223/2770 SEK) excl. VAT
Nice specifications as always. A rubber sole works very well with such a model especially since it is a more casual shoe. Of course, price does not include VAT which is perfect for those of you living outside the EU. For EU residents the VAT is 25%. If your size in not in Stock or you want a different color, please contact me at [email protected].
Wait, What Is A Chukka?
Back in the day I would just call this an ankle boot. So what is this mysterious “Chukka” Boot and where does it come from?
A Chukka Boot got its unusual name from from game of Polo. Not water polo, but the one where you ride a horse and use a wooden mallet to push the ball through the opposing goal. A playing period in Polo lasts 7.5 minutes and called “Chukker” or “Chukka“. It originates back to India just like Chinos and was a popular choice of the Duke of Windsor back in 1924. The British soldiers stationed in India during those times liked to wear these kind of boots off-duty and were Polo enthusiasts.
The whole story is fascinating and deserves an article of its own. However, legendary Northampton Museum Shoe historian June Swan requires a few characteristics in order to classify a shoe as a Chukka:
- The uppers traditionally use Suede leather with thin leather soles
- Chukka Boots have 2-3 eyelets
- It uses two pieces of leather, an upper “quarter” and lower “vamp”
- They have to just cover the ankle bone
Of course, nowadays the term Chukka Boot differs with many different variations, buckles, eyelets and choices of leather. One thing is certain and that is the the Chukkas has its roots in the military and Sports.
Trivia: During WWII British Soldiers in Africa adopted the Desert Boot which is often confused as a Chukka Boot. They are similar, but have differences. Nathan Clark was the creator of the original “Clark’s” Desert Boots which are still popular today.
There are two things that one will notice when looking at these shoes. The first of course is the very unusual rich color while the other one that it is a Chukka Boot alright! A very elegant design with 3 eyelets for a higher instep and a slightly beveled waist.
Of course Goodyear Welted with a Dainite sole and the customary Carlos Santos black box. It comes with a nice textured feel, a side vent and careful packaging. Inside you will get a nice branded shoehorn, high quality black dust bags and a small brochure.
Additionally I try to make the unboxing experience a little more personal by connecting with all of you individually. You make all this possible.
Now we begin going deeper in this Review of Carlos Santos Chukkas. Section by section we analyze each part and how it affects the shoe as a whole. This is the time where I enjoy writing this with a cup of strawberry tea. What are you drinking?
Finish & Construction
A big focus on this particular model is the color. For those of you unaware, Carlos Santos specializes in Patinas through their Patina Service. This means that there are a list of 16 base models and 12 colors to choose from. This particular Chukka model uses the gorgeous dark green Sintra Patina but the construction remains the same for you that might opt for a different finish.
It is Goodyear Welted in Portugal in the Zarco factory, which means that you can easily resole it as many times as you want. This is vital for the longevity of your shoes and a good return on the money you invest in them.
The color is handpainted and that means each shoe will be unique. I am continuously impressed by the high quality finish of Carlos Santos especially on such a challenging color. Under natural light it appears very dark green however upon close inspection it has those rich, vibrant emerald fluorescent hues. The leather is supple and soft and feels miles better than what Loake uses on my two older pairs.
Additionally it is rather lightweight and feels very sturdy. Most of the weight comes from the sole. As far as the uppers go it consists of essentially 2 pieces of leather sewn together and a backseam at the back. A very clean design with minimal stitching and blind eyelets.
Tip: The Noble Shoe is adding the Patina Service in the near future!
Toe & Backseam
This section usually has very interesting details. Chukkas are usually plain toes however and this is not an exception. You can notice the slight burnishing on the toe that is a Carlos Santos trademark while at the back you have a very simple backseam holding the quarters together. Minimalist design.
Eyelets & Closing
I really enjoy the 3 eyelets closing. It makes it easy for me to slip my foot inside while also allowing for a slightly higher instep to fit in properly. The laces are black and feel durable and I enjoy how consistently clean this model is with the blind eyelets.
Stitching Quality & Welt
For such a shoe the stitching is minimal. Single stitching goes across the uppers and connects the arching quarters down to the sole.
On the back we already discussed the simple towering backseam. Everything looks very consistent up there, including the inner lining. One interesting detail is that the lining stitching uses white threads instead.
The SPI (Stitches Per Inch) is high all over the boots and the same goes for the welt. A very good job once more by Carlos Santos. On my pair I noticed a very small thread at the end of the 270° welt but it is not noticeable unless you really want to find something.
The Dainite Sole
I feel that for such a shoe a Dainite sole is the perfect fit. While it looks rather dressy you also want some function for everyday use. And quite honestly it still looks elegant to me.
The finish is pretty good and has a very smooth surface with studs providing traction. If you have some OCD like me you will notice that some of the studs are not evenly placed. But that could be a part of the design, I have no idea how soles are made.
Inside The Shoe
A genuine leather lining and insole complete the package and end the inspection phase of our Carlos Santos Chukkas Review. The walls come in the classic natural orangish color with the model specs and size on the side.
The insole splits into two half parts. One is right where your foot arches at the midway part and has a whiter color. You can notice the glued parts near the edges between the uppers. The other part is where your heel rests and sits higher for better support.
I feel the insole is comfortable for my own feet, though I do think that it is just a tad harder than the one Carmina uses.
How Should I Size For The 401?
The 401 last has a soft almond shape. It is very elegant and serves as a replacement for the older 160 last. It has a slightly wider toe area but still a little slimmer than the 234. It is also less elongated than the 160 was.
If you own a 160, 234 or 387 last in another pair of Carlos Santos I would choose the same size. The same goes for Carmina Rain, Forest, generally Cheaney shoes, Meermin Hiro and from former clients the 65 last on Allen Edmonds.
If you come from the US please size down one full size from your regular size. So if you are a US 8 you should opt for a UK 7.
You can always visit our page for the size conversion here.
But Is It Comfortable?
If you like a snug fit I think the 401 will be a really good last for you. The same goes for the higher instep since the 160 suffered from a lower one. It is the first ever last I tried from Carlos Santos and joint second favorite. This is because I enjoy the little wider 234 last when I use boots for a longer period of time.
Breaking in period is rather minimal especially if you compare them to Meermin or many British brands. For some reason I really enjoy this last when I use it with high quality cotton socks. It just feels very comfortable and silky smooth.
If you have overly wide feet though this is probably not the last for you. My feet are about 10.3 cm wide at the forefoot and fit comfortably in a UK 7. Could serve as a benchmark I suppose.
Is It Hard To Style?
This is the most common misconception of people when they see this shoe. A colleague at work called it “The Riddler Shoe” from the eponymous Batman Villain. In fact, dark green is a very flexible color that matches most other colors. It is also a Chukka so not a shoe you should wear with suits unless they are casual ones.
In my opinion where it really shines is when you pair it with dark denim or contrasting chinos. Let me show you my own pair as proof.
Who Is It For?
This is not a shoe for those that are just starting their collection. Unless you are an artist I suppose. You should always start with a pair of Derbies, Oxfords or Monks and Loafers depending on your work and lifestyle. If you never wear formal shoes, you can still go for this Chukka but maybe in a more conservative color. Also if you are a fan of classic British shoes this is probably not for you either.
If you do have however covered the basics and look to be more adventurous, then this might be the perfect pair for you. Here’s how my customer Chris wears his.
Do not be afraid of green. Both in pants and suits! I promise.
Caring For Your Carlos Santos Patina Shoes
Depending on how adept you are you can choose the appropriate polishing creme. Now if you are at least at intermediate level I doubt you would be reading this section and would probably use something like the Saphir dark Green Superfine polish.
However, I would definitely stick with light applications of the neutral polish or wax. Do not overpolish as it can dry the leather and create residues. Always use a shoe tree and get a nice horsehair brush to clean them up.
Many say that the Patina leathers are fragile and thinner but I am not sure that is the case. The whole point of the Patina is to develop over time and it will! Don’t stress over it, be careful and everything will be fine.
Quick Food For Thought
This is a section I added at the last moment before publishing after a small discussion with someone. We discussed how there are a few minor things Carlos Santos could do better such as some glue residue. I would certainly find that unacceptable on a John Lobb or Crockett & Jones Handgrade but this costs 4-8 times less.
You get a lot of shoe for your money with Carlos Santos and more often than not they punch way above their weight. I feel it is at the perfect price point for quality shoes. A Carmina shoe might have some higher finishing quality at certain areas, but are you ready to spend that extra 100$?
Final Words – Fortune Favors The Bold
Well here we are at the end of this Review of the 7991 Chukkas by Carlos Santos. A very exclusive and unique model for The Noble Shoe in Dark Green Patina. Probably the most unique model I carry in The Noble Shoe right next to the Sandy Chelsea Boots. Easy to match and maintain with a very high quality finish and construction. Just what you would expect by the shoemaking masterminds behind Carlos Santos.
For those that missed the news we also have some GMTOs running and producing at the end of the month. Due to increased workload I am slowing down with new guides but I am working behind the scenes to collaborate with CNES and Septieme Largeur. Exciting!
Regardless, Misiu Academy has been growing immensely over the last few months and I thank you for your support. We all share passion for knowledge, shoes and fine tailoring after all. I wish you all a very nice week and hope to see you in the comments. Remember to Subscribe to not miss a thing!
Thank you for reading,