Back in July, I bought these military captoe boots from Charles Tyrwhitt on super deep discount ($160), but hadn’t really gotten a chance to break them in and use them enough to feel comfortable reviewing them.
After a series of rainy days a couple of weeks back, I used them quite often and I’d say they’re definitely getting the job done and for the price I have no regrets about the purchase.
The facts on these boots are pretty straightforward: Goodyear welt, Dainite rubber soles, pebble full-grain leather and made in England. Finding shoes for $160 that fit that description isn’t usually easy to do, let alone a pair of boots.
In terms of comfort, it did take quite a few wears to fully break them in. The first time I tried lacing them up all the way to the top and tied them tight around my ankles. Well, my ankles could not bend at all which made walking painful and pretty much impossible. So, I loosened up my lacing at the top and now over time the leather’s broken in to allow for tighter lacing.
The walnut color is definitely a favorite of mine at the moment (currently own five shoes in that color), but the currently available pair is in a much darker brown. It depends on your preference, obviously, but I think either works well with most trousers and jeans.
I have noticed that over time the pebble grain has smoothed a bit along the toes. I’m not sure what this means in terms of the quality of the leather, but it’s something you should know. Also, I’ve yet to give these a polish and see how it reacts with some conditioner, but the leather from the beginning did feel quite stiff and now has begun to wear much easier.
Initially, I’d recommend some slightly thicker socks. I did wear some cotton socks, wool socks and some thick socks with them at various times, and can definitely say thick socks felt better. I have some mildly skinnier feet than the traditional medium “D” widths, but not quite enough to be a “C”, so thicker socks helped in the first few wears before it was broken in. Now, it’s gotten easy enough to wear with thinner socks, but there’s certainly room in the boot for thick wool socks come winter.
My primary reason for purchasing these boots was to deal with the slicker surfaces. They’ve held up well enough in rain and I imagine they’ll do well enough in the winter on ice. While I wouldn’t call them “rugged” in comparison to a pair of L.L.Bean boots, they’re probably going to be just fine for a mild snow, which is fine for my work commute.
In terms of pricing, obviously $160 is a good deal, but right now they’re selling for £179, which is about $280. Sub-$300, I think they’re a pretty good deal, but Charles Tyrwhitt does have a history of reducing prices throughout the season. Frankly, it’s up to you and how badly you need a pair — or if you want to take your chances and see if they have your size once they start hitting clearance prices. Just remember to buy from the U.K. site — not the U.S. site — because the prices are cheaper. Also, you should use the U.K. site and size down a full size from your U.S. size to get the U.K. size that fits. I’m a 10.5D US and got a 9.5F UK. For some dumb reason, their size charts only tell you to size down a half size, which to me seems way off.
For comparison’s sake, I stopped yesterday into the Allen Edmonds store located in downtown Chicago to see how the two’s boots compared. The AEs seemed to have a mildly better leather quality just based on my limited touch and handling of them. I wasn’t so much a fan of the lug sole on the Bayfield boot in comparison to the Dainite sole on the CTs — the profile just seemed off and too rugged.
Bottom line: Definitely get a pair if you can wait until they’re on sale. What price you think they’re worth is going to be fairly subjective, but I’d probably pay upward of $250 for these — especially if you’re looking for a Dainite sole over a leather sole.
What are your thoughts on the toe-box? It looks a little squared off in the picture.
From above, they don’t strike me as squared off, nor do they feel that way when I wear them.
Long time fan my friend, I may have to drive up to Chicago for a meetup just to meet you fancy #menswear Godfathers. Anyway, I'm wondering about wingtip price points. I fully understand, embrace, and endorse the common #menswear practice of buying quality that will last long... however I must live within my means at the time being (20 year old university student). Can you recommend any wingtips around $75-125? If there are none worth the buy, I understand that too. Appreciate your time!
One of the priorities I set for myself recently over the summer was to get my rainwear squared away. Slowly, I picked up each piece and finally consider that part of my wardrobe complete.
The obvious first step was a coat. I don’t think it particularly matters if you have a trench or “mack” overcoat, but keeping your chest and the upper half of your legs dry is pretty necessary on days when rain decides to be horizontal. I have two raincoats — a the blue trench you see above and another tan “mack”-styled one — that I actually bought dirt cheap at thrift stores. Both are vintage London Fog and from what I’ve read they’re from the era when production was still in the United States and the quality still quite good. You see a ton of these in thrift stores, so they’re not terribly hard to find if you search long enough.
Next up was footwear. I have a pair of L.L.Bean Boots, which are great, but they’re not very dressy. I found dieworkwear’s “rainy-day shoes” article helpful in finding an option within my budget. I got a pair of SWIMS overshoes during the spring Friends & Family sale at Brooks Brothers, knocking down the price from $100 to $75 for days when the rain was lighter. For heavier days, I picked up a pair of Charles Tyrwhitt military captoe boots on deep clearance, which feature Dainite soles. Both have worked out pretty well.
Finally, came the last piece: the umbrella. Again, dieworkwear’s article on umbrellas guided my decision on finding a quality one. I’d considered getting a plaid umbrella from Brooks Brothers, but after handing them in person, I thought it might be a better option to consider saving up for one with a solid-stick handle and shaft. For a while, I was planning on going with one of Howard Yount’s umbrellas, which had some great canopy selections, but then I got a really, really lucky break. I’d loved the Francesco Maglia umbrellas dieworkwear mentioned, but thought they were well beyond my budget. Then I found out that they were not only on sale at a local haberdashery (Shrine), but through a Rue La La “local deal” I could knock off another sizable chunk of the price — putting them on par with the umbrellas at HY. I’ll do a full review in the future, but let me just say that at a discounted price it’s well-worth it and the quality is immediately noticeable.
So, that’s my rainwear solution and I expect it to last quite some time.
These each cost about the same. The Mark McNairy boots have an EVA sole and the Charles Tyrwhitt boots have a Dainite sole. Both are Goodyear welted.
I should add that I’m looking to use these as boots to wear in the rain (hence the EVA and Dainite soles I’m looking at here, along with the pebble grain).