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Caswell Boots Review: My Experience with the Shaw

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Caswell Boots
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Bottom line: New kid on the block Caswell Bootmakers is fighting for your attention and rightly earning it with their latest release, the Shaw. This boot features a classic and straightforward plain toe design, but their dedication to sourcing quality leathers with a premium buildout makes it a standout part of any outfit. If you want your boot’s leather to make a statement and elevate your style, the Shaw may be just what you're looking for.

Ratings: At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
Pros:
  • Beautiful chestnut oiled latigo leather from Wickett and Craig
  • Solid construction from top to bottom
  • Dainite rubber sole
  • Clean and classic service boot design
Cons:
  • Dressy lasts and premium leather fits in great for city outings, but are over-the-top in rugged environments

Caswell is a relatively new bootmaker and they have some impressive looking stuff. But does their quality hold up? I wore their Shaw boot for the past few months and here’s what I think. 

How Caswell Got Started

Caswell Shaw 1

Caswell Bootmakers came online in 2019. The company is the creation of Kevin Wilson, a motivated boot designer with a taste for modern and sleek takes on classic boots. 

The company has been through the ringer: notably starting business on the precipice of a global pandemic. Still, Wilson persisted through a tough startup climate and is coming out swinging with a handful of new boot options that are turning heads. 

Caswell markets their boots in the same price point as competitors like Grant Stone and Parkhurst. In my opinion, this is the tier where things get interesting.

Things to Consider Before Buying from Caswell

Caswell Shaw 12

Caswell is a modern boot company for the modern man. If you work in a business casual office, are hitting up the local brewery after your 9-5, or grabbing a Friday night dinner with cocktails where the tab hits more than 150 bucks, I’d argue Caswell is right up your alley. The options of their leathers provide a jump in quality you can both see and feel. 

These boots are not for someone who is working in tough environments. The oiled latigo leather, although beautiful, nicks easily. It’s a boot that screams, I live my life in the city and enjoy a nice night out on the town. 

These boots do not say, I live in an isolated wood cabin and keep a hatchet next to my whiskey. If you’re looking for that rugged mountain man look, JK Boots or Red Wing Shoes may be more your vibe.

Caswell Boot Company Shaw

The Shaws are comfortable with an easy break in period and are an outfit stand out, without being flashy. If you’re in the market for something special that no one else in the office is wearing, Caswell might be the secret sauce.

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My Review of the Shaw Boot

First Impression

Caswell Shaw 22

I received my pair of size 9.5 D Shaws in early November. They arrived in a solid black box marked by their slogan “Quality Leather Goods.” 

Each boot was packaged in an individual tweed boot bag. There was also an extra pair of shoe laces and a simple thank you note signed by the brand’s owner inside.

I could feel the quality of the product as I pulled the boots out of each sleeve. They had a good feeling of heft in my hand that I typically associate with solid construction. I received a model made from Wickett and Craig chestnut-oiled latigo leather. 

Caswell Shaw 2

This is a premium American-made leather that is also featured in options for Wesco’s Mr. Lou boots and a variety of styles from Nicks Boots. The smooth oil dipped material was just as pleasing to the touch as the deep, rich tones were to the eyes. 

At first lookover, I knew these boots would fit right in with my day-to-day Fall outfit choices.

When I slipped on the boot, my feet sat snug between the stiff leather as it was clearly built true to size on a Brannock Device. The Shaw has a higher toe box than previous designs by Caswell, which personally is a big plus for me because I have toenails on my big toes that have an upward trajectory and are sometimes irritated by the ceiling of small toe boxes. I’m sorry you had to visualize this, but it’s a curse I must live with.

Caswell Shaw 3

I cuffed my jeans to appreciate the boots in their entirety. It’s a plain toe service boot with seven low profile brass eyelets that give it a simple yet elegant design. 

Clean chestnut colored double-stitching ran along the seams, with a subtle bit of flair from a single tan stitch along the goodyear welt. I could tell my outfit had immediately been taken to the next level.

Leather Quality and Care

Caswell Shaw 18

The leather is really where this boot shines. The Wickett and Craig oiled latigo is featured in some of the best boots on the market, and honestly, I’d like to be wrapped in it on my deathbed. 

It’s marketed by the Pennsylvania tannery as being “hot dipped in a special mix of oils, waxes and tallows” and is said to stand strong in the face of bad weather. Admittedly, living in southern California I haven’t experienced any rain while testing out this boot yet, so I can’t speak to how it holds up against the storm. 

Although, it’s worth noting that this particular leather runs a risk of color leaching onto your socks and skin if the boot is wet due to its high concentration of oils. The leather is also prone to scuffs and nicks.

Caswell Shaw 10

After one month of wear, the formation of natural creases in the leather around the toe box and shaft are setting the stage for a boot that will age like a fine wine.

Sole

Caswell Shaw 23

The Shaw features a rubber Dainite Sole. Dainite is a British solemaker that’s been in the game since 1894. The benefit of this sole is a comfortable low profile bottom to the boot that adds to its sleek overall presentation. I’ve been mostly walking on these in carpeted offices, and it’s been a comfortable ride. 

Caswell Shaw 4

Dainite soles are not known for great handling in slick or steep conditions, but if you’re out hiking treacherous conditions in Caswells you should probably spend some time in a sensory deprivation tank and rethink your life.

Fit and Sizing

Caswell Shaw 5

These fit true to size on a Brannock scale. There’s some chatter online about Caswell lasts being on the narrow side. Personally, I have not experienced this with the Shaws and their new last known as the Harris.

I’ll say it again, get your Brannock size. A lot of people say this is your dress shoe or sneaker size. Caswell even references other brands on their site that you can compare your sizing to. So if you know what your size is in Grant Stone, Truman, Thursday, or many other brands, Caswell lets you know their sizing in relation, which I found really helpful. 

Break-in Period

Caswell Shaw

After first trying on my new boots, I was preparing to walk around my neighborhood to give the Shaws a short test drive. But before I left, my wife made it clear that I needed to take her and our baby out for fresh air as well. 

Unknowing to me, I was about to be breaking these new boots in on a four mile walk. Was I scared when I was two miles away from the car? Yes I was. But thankfully I found out the break in for these boots was not going to be a horror story. 

Caswell Shaw 9

The leather was tough but malleable. And by the end of the trip, I could tell the boot’s vegetable tanned leather insole was already starting to form to the natural creases in my step. The slight redness appearing on my heel told me to take a day off from the boots, but a little soreness on Day 1 was the extent of the damage from my break in period.

I’ve walked dozens of miles in these, and they are becoming more comfortable each week. I’m not experiencing any foot soreness at the end of a long day, which I can’t say the same for my Thursday President boots.

What do Other Reviewers Say?

The Shaw is new. So new that at the time of this writing, I’ve only found a few Reddit posts and Youtube videos showcasing this new design, all very positive in nature and stoked on the interesting leather options.

One took issue with Caswell’s use of a celastic heel counter, which has since been upgraded to a leatherboard heel counter in the Shaw. Also noted were problematic narrow lasts being an issue for those with wider feet, which also has changed with the new Harris last and taller toe box. 

Needless to say, owner Kevin Wilson is clearly listening to the community’s criticisms to continue building a better product.

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • Quality material and timeless design makes this a classic beauty.

  • Love the weight of the boot in my hand, feels of solid construction.

  • Shaw comes in a variety of high end leathers, such as chocolate glazed shrunken bison or Horween walnut shrunken shoulder, giving the buyer a unique variety of styles and textures to choose from.

What I Don’t Like

  • The leather nicks pretty easily. It’s not too hard to buff out because it’s oil tanned leather, but if you want to keep the pristine look, it takes some effort. 

Who is Caswell for?

Wake up, put on boots, drive to work, clock the hours, close the deal, grab happy hour, come home, take off boots, repeat. This is an everyday boot, full stop. The Shaws are comfortable with an easy break in period and are an outfit stand out, without being flashy. If you’re in the market for something special that no one else in the office is wearing, Caswell might be the secret sauce.

The Verdict

I’ve been wearing these boots for a month straight now, and here’s the business: these are fantastic boots that will continue to be a go-to grab in my wardrobe choices. 

The Shaws compliment most every outfit I drum up in the morning and have received positive notice from coworkers. Although these are not dress boots, they still seem to fit perfectly a step or two below formal occasions, particularly pairing well with collared shirts. 

As the leather continues to gracefully wear-in and crease, I’m excited to see how this boot will continue to age.

Are the Shaws fighting for a spot among the top boots in their price tier? I’d argue, yes. A pair of these run about $360, putting them competitively priced among its peers while still providing a premium top-to-bottom buildout. 

From the Dainite sole to the high-end leather options, the relatively new Caswell company is impressing with their clear commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

Caswell Boot Company Shaw

The Shaws are comfortable with an easy break in period and are an outfit stand out, without being flashy. If you’re in the market for something special that no one else in the office is wearing, Caswell might be the secret sauce.

Check Price

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