I Want These Loafers – I Will Buy Those Chelseas
In early 2018 my shoe collection was just growing but I was feeling a bit limited by my options. I needed something comfortable and flexible that could be dressed up or down. After some diligent searching I invited Ms’s Misiu to Bäckmans Skoservice to help me see if the pair of loafers I found would look good on me.
“They are ok, but mmmnje. Try these boots instead” she said.
She was pointing at the Loake 1880 Chatsworth in Brown. And there I was trying a completely different shoe than I came for.
In this review we are going to grade the Chatsworth Loake 1880 Chelsea Boot after approximately 5 months of wear.
A Little Bit Of History
Since I have already reviewed the Loake Shoemakers brand before I will not go into detail about their history and offerings. If you are looking for that you can check my other review about the Loake 1880 Oxford here.
The reason Chelsea Boots exist is because of two people: Charles Goodyear and J. Sparkes-Hall. The first was an inventor that created vulcanized rubber in 1839 by mixing rubber and sulfur which caused the rubber to harden instead of melting. The latter was a boot maker to Queen Victoria, who was an early fashion influencer at the time.
Hall created a boot that was easy to slip on and off with the help of the elastic rubber on the sides, courtesy of Goodyear’s invention. The rest is history.
The Chelsea Boot is still present today but received their fame in the 50’s as a style statement. The Beatles wore them, the Stormtroopers in Star Wars wore them. It is a testament to their flexibility if you can wear them both in space and on stage right?
Loake 1880 Chelsea Boots – Specifications
Line: Loake 1880
Type: Chelsea Boot
Size: 41 (UK 7 – US 7.5)
Sole: Dainite Rubber
Construction: Goodyear Welt
Origin: Made in England
Price: 2995 SEK (290 Euros – 335 $ – 260 £)
Bought From: Bäckmans Skoservice
The Boots come in a blue box, similar to the one I received with my Loake Oxfords. I cannot reinvent the wheel, so I will have to be a little repetitive! The box is strong and sturdy and has ample space for the shoes to fit in without problem. They also came inside blue cloth bags with the Loake logo that is a very nice touch. I personally always put my shoes back in there after every use.
Lastly, the small booklet with information about Loake makes its appearance once more. It is a small piece of their history and I appreciate such details. Don’t forget those shoe trees!
Style – 8/10
These are some good looking shoes. Classic, simplistic and elegant is exactly what you look for when you purchase Chelsea Boots. Slightly darker elastic sides and loops of similar colour give a nice uniform aesthetic appeal. The loops have proven very durable and have the Loake brand name stitched on both sides.
The look is complete with a strong dainite rubber sole. I personally like this very much since in Sweden winter can be tough for the leather soles and the chances for you to slip on icy pavements is less. Sometimes you need to think about utility and these will do just that for you.
I chose the brown version but you can also buy them in black calf leather or brown suede.
Pretty basic offering and nothing groundbreaking but if you are just entering the world of boots you should start with the basic, important and versatile colours.
Pro Tip: I would avoid suede boots if you are inexperienced and live in an area where it rains a lot.
Sizing & Fit – 8/10
I usually wear EU 42-43 shoes but when you buy Chelsea Boots you want them to fit perfectly without extra space. The Loake 1880 Chatsworth Chelsea Boots come in the Jockey last and G Fitting.
Loake themselves have commented on this and said the following:
It is a wider G fitting last, with a slightly squared off toe shape of standard length. The toe itself is quite generous, and being G fitting the boot is a wide fit.
If you do not have a wide foot it may be necessary to go a half size smaller to compensate.
This is quite interesting and a very surprising fact for me when I was doing research about the boots. I do not have really wide or long feet and their oxford capital last was perfect for me (fitting F for that matter).
I did start by trying a size 42 but the salesman recommended I go one size down. I ended up trying the EU 41 (UK 7 – US 7.5) and at the time I felt no discomfort, looseness or tightness.
It is worth mentioning that the opening is pretty tight and in the beginning there was a bit of a struggle to take them off.
I decided to dock off a few points for the trial and error and partly because of what follows up on the next section.
Comfort – 7/10
Some part of me wants to give this a 4 while another wants to give it a 7 because it is a good pair of boots. I settled down for 6/10 and I will tell you exactly why.
I was very sceptical about going down 1 full size from my usual shoes but I tried them on and everything felt great.
The next day I wore them at work and after 5 minutes I started feeling extreme discomfort on the inner part of my left ankle and right behind my left small toe. I knew I was in for a ride that day.
By the time I got home after work and took them off – something that was quite hard on its own – the areas of my foot that I had pain were red and a little swollen. At the time I gave it not so much attention since new leather shoes take some time to break in.
Four or five wears down the road, the pain is still there but significantly diminished and starts after a few hours. My left foot feels quite constricted in the top left corner. As I said, it was very surprising given that the G-fitting last is described as quite wide.
The shoes look beautiful, but I must admit that I don’t look forward to using them that much compared to my other shoes.
Update 2-11-2018: I have bumped up a score by a point, since the discomfort has fully gone away now! It took a while, but it makes me glad not having to change the Loake 1880 Chatsworth!
Update 17-12-2018: Extremely happy! The boots now are very very comfortable, they just have long break-in period.
Quality – 9/10
The leather quality is on par with the Oxfords I reviewed and has held up remarkably well. I was initially afraid about the loops breaking at some point but they have proven extremely durable.
The leather is quite stiff though smooth to the touch. Upon closer inspection there is minimal creasing after 5 months of wear and they honestly look brand new.
One can say the same about the soles. Durable dainite rubber soles that have shown no wear and tear from the harsh Swedish landscape.
Inside, the boots are fully leather lined and around the ankle area there are more details about the size and built origin. Gotta love the “Made in England” sign.
Lastly, the stitching is once again excellent and you will not find anything wrong with it. I would say that the build quality and looks are the best features of the Chatsworth.
Price – 8/10
The price is exactly the same as the Aldwych Oxfords (290 Euros – 335 $ – 260 £). Good value, especially for an entry level boot in the Goodyear Welt world. Carlos Santos is a direct competitor at the same price range but I have not had a chance to take a look at these shoes yet unfortunately.
I do think however that I should have spent a little more and gotten the R.M. Williams Chelsea Boots instead. When I wore them they were much more comfortable and the leather hugged my feet like a blanket. There is a bit of buyers remorse but that comes from my better understanding of shoes and quality.
Availability – 10/10 (In Europe)
Loake has a widespread availability at least in Europe. They have retail stores in many countries and a simple clean and easy-to-navigate online store. As always, you can find the full list of retailers here.
In Stockholm they have physical presence in a small store in Humlegårdsgatan 4 and within close vicinity, Bäckmans Skoservice. Bäckmans gives free shoe trees on your purchase which is great value. Their shoes can be found online in CareofCarl or even in Åhlens City in central Stockholm.
Buy Or Pass?
This is the million dollar question. I must admit that I contemplated selling them and trying another brand, such as the Carlos Santos or R.M. Williams. This is due to the discomfort I mentioned earlier. That is never a good sign but it also does not mean that you will have the same problem. My advice is to physically try the shoes before you buy them and walk around a bit.
Updated – They certainly look beautiful and classic and look as good as new 9 months later. Do I regret my purchase? After the lengthy break-in period, the Loake Chatsworth has been my go-to shoe very often. If you asked me 5 months ago I would have said Yes and No.
Yes because of the discomfort that ruins a bit the experience for me and No because of the quality and look. Fortunately this is not the case any more and I can reap the positives!
If you look for entry level Goodywear Welt boots, the Chatsworth Loake 1880 Chelsea Boots are great. I would be very careful to try them on physically and possibly avoid them if you have wider feet. The last has a slight chiselled toe that is great for looks but bad for (my own) feet.
Bottom line: If they fit you and not cause you discomfort, buy them. If not, try Carlos Santos or maybe Allen Edmonds. If you can spend a little bit more, buy the R.M. Williams Chelsea Boots and you will never want to wear anything else.
If I had to grade these based on my own personal experience I would give them a 7/10.
Update 17-12-2018: After the newest updates in the last few months, I can definitely recommend the boots much more. They are very comfortable to wear for me and I am happy I did not just sell them.
Before We Go…
You might have noticed the latest influx of reviews on the website. It is something that I really love doing, especially for products that don’t have many online detailed reviews. I am hoping to continue this and in the near future you should expect a review of the Vincero Kairos watch.
Is there something that you would like to see reviewed? Maybe you have experience with the Loake 1880 Chatsworth. We at Misiu Academy and all our readers would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.
Thank you for reading,