There’s a boot renaissance going on right now in the world.
Small-time Indonesian, Chinese, and American bootmakers are building long wait lists for custom-made boots. And some of these bespoke brands can charge $1,000+ for a pair of boots.
But not all small brands charge that kind of premium—some are keeping things affordable while still offering top of the line quality.
One such brand is Bordon. Based in Colombia, Bordon uses top-quality materials to make stitch-down boots.
I tried their new Isidro Chelsea boots to see what Bordon is all about.
Bordon Isidro Overview
To me, the Isidro is more like a work Chelsea—with the heavy Commando sole and thick leather, you could put a beating on these boots and they’ll hold up.
There are five different leather options available for the Isidro, plus you can either get the Commando sole or an Eton sole, which is Vibram’s answer to the Dainite studded sole.
There are a few waxed suede leathers, and the full grain leather options are either from Wickett & Craig or Maryam. The Burgundy leather I picked up is from Maryam.
Things to Consider Before Buying Boots from Bordon
Bordon has an interesting model: they open up orders for only a few weeks, and then craft those orders in batches. Once the boots go into production, you can expect an 8-week wait time at the minimum, plus a few extra days for shipping.
A lot of boot brands have a waiting period, so that doesn’t bother me so much—but the way Bordon words the ordering process is honestly confusing.
I think it’d be a lot simpler if they just said the boots had a 10 or 12 week wait time, rather than the current system of open and closed ordering windows.
So it’s important to note that the trade off for getting such excellent construction and material quality at such a relatively low price is that you can expect to wait 10-12 weeks from when you order the boots.
Bordon Boots Review
These are the best smelling boots I’ve ever opened up. I know that doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I just have to say it—opening the box was an absolute treat.
It’s immediately apparent that these boots are built extremely well, from the materials through the stitchdown construction.
From a style perspective, this is definitely a more chunky Chelsea boot. It’s wider through the “waist” of the boot and the stitchdown construction leaves a wide rim around the outside of the boot, which increases the amount of surface area.
Combine the wider style with the heavy lug Commando sole and this has the ideal look of a rugged boot you can put through the wringer.
If you’re looking for a sleek stylish Chelsea, this isn’t the boot for you—but if you want something rugged enough for anything and still simple to slip on and off, the Isidro is a good option.
Leather Quality and Care
The particular version I got is made with burgundy leather from Maryam, which is a legendary Italian tannery.
I couldn’t get specific information on this specific leather, but I know Maryam is a small tannery operation and they do exceptional work.
The upper combined with the aniline calf leather lining measures out to 3mm, so it’s a heft amount of leather throughout the entire boot.
I love the leather lining—it’s incredibly soft and smooth. The upper has been creasing gently and hasn’t lead to any harsh grain breaks or anything like that. The leather looks creamy smooth just like when I opened the box.
The sole is heavy duty, which gives this boot its hard-core nature.
The insole and midsole are both vegetable tanned leather from Colombia. The midsole is a thick piece of leather, and while I expected it to take a while to break in, it was pretty comfortable from the get-go.
The outsole is the thick lug Vibram Commando sole. Probably my favorite aspect of this entire boot is the one-inch toplift (or heel cap). It’s going to take a lot of walking and a long time for the heel cap to ever wear down.
I can see these boots lasting for five or more years before needing any maintenance.
There’s a steel and leather shank in the midsole area as well, which gives a lot of arch support compared to other brands.
Fit and Sizing
It’s hard to get the Isidro on your foot because the opening is so slim.
But once it’s on, this boot is very comfortable. It’s a wider last, so your toes have some breathing room.
I ordered a size 10E in US sizing, which fits me perfectly. I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock device (and in most of my sneakers and dress shoes). So I’d say they fit similarly to most boot brands on the market.
There was very little break in period for me. The Maryam leather was soft and supple and has been gently creasing with each wear. While the veg tan leather insole and midsole are breaking in, I haven’t had much discomfort.
They continue to get more comfortable, but I don’t have to cut my walks short ever when wearing these.
My Thoughts Overall On Bordon Boots
What I Like
Bordon has exceptional craftsmanship and material quality.
I like that the heel cap on the Isidro is an inch thick—I feel like I won’t need maintenance on these boots for at least five years.
Considering that the insole and midsole are thick veg-tanned leather, this boot is really comfortable right out of the box.
What I Don’t Like
I find Bordon’s ordering window system confusing. At the very least, you’ll need to wait 8 weeks for your boots to arrive.
The Isidro Chelsea has such a narrow opening, it’s difficult to put on.
Who is Bordon Boots for?
Bordon boots is an excellent brand for you if you’d like to save some money on a handcrafted pair of exceptionally made boots with interesting leathers.
Bordon boots is a brand for boot nerd and boot lovers.
Bordon’s ordering system is a bit confusing. But I’ve found that true boot fans and leather lovers don’t mind a multi-month wait time, or sending emails back and forth to find a great new pair of boots. Bordon boots is a company for true boot lovers.
Those that appreciate solid stitchdown construction, fantastic and unique leathers, and the durability of a fully vegetable tanned leather insole will find a lot of value in Bordon boots.
In terms of construction quality, these remind me a lot of my Nick’s and White’s (a little less heavy-duty, but they’re definitely reminiscent).
Considering that Bordon boots are roughly half the price, I think more budget-conscious boot lovers who are looking for a new pair will enjoy Bordon.