Grant Stone Brass Boot Review: Good Luck Lugging This Around

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Feb 22, 2021
Grant Stone Brass Boot Review  Black Chromexcel Brass Boot

Grant Stone has been making waves in the boot world by offering hand-built quality boots at mid-tier prices. But there are a lot of questions around their manufacturing process.

In my first experience with Grant Stone, I picked up the Horween Brass Boot to see if their quality was really as high-end as people make it out to be. Is Grant Stone good enough to try again?

The moc toe maestro
Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: Grant Stone

The Grant Stone Brass

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Bottom line: The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

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:

  • The Horween Chromexcel leather looks and feels excellent---and Grant Stone has done a great job with leather selection, so there’s no loose grain
  • The midsole is mostly vegetable tanned leather with a little cork, so it should last a very long time
  • Heavy rubber lug soles offer a ton of traction and more shock absorption than most other heritage boots
  • Build quality and overall sturdiness is in the top tier---I argue better than Red Wing, and more in the ballpark of Alden (but for much less)

Cons:

  • Horween leather scuffs fairly easily
  • They’re quite heavy, which can be tiring if you do a ton of walking

Winter swoops in and you think to yourself, whew—I’m glad the heat is gone. 

Two weeks later, you’re cursing while scraping ice off your windshield. 

But there’s a silver lining in those clouds, my friend. 

Winter boots. 

What better time to pick up a hefty pair of crispy leather stompers and hit the town? On the BootSpy YouTube channel (check it out if you haven’t already), I kept seeing the name Grant Stone come up in the comments, so I looked into the brand. 

Their Diesel boot is their flagship, but the new Brass Boot, made with Horween Chromexcel, caught my eye immediately. 

I’ve been wearing the Grant Stone Brass Boot for a while now and I’m ready to weigh in on whether or not these boots are a good buy for you.

Grant Stone Brass Boot Overview

model wearing Grant Stone Brass boot

The Grant Stone Brass Boot is a slimmed down moc-toe style with a decent amount of weight to it. 

The leather is all sourced and tanned in the USA, though the boots themselves are assembled in Xiamen Island, China. This little fact is a point of contention for many potential boot-buyers as American Heritage brands are a boot-lovers bread and butter. 

Grant Stone Brass boot made in china branding

But it’s not like Grant Stone is trying to hide anything—they proudly brand their origin into the Wisconsin-sourced full grain leather lining. 

While the Diesel is Grant Stone’s flagship boot, I went with the Brass because: one, I’ve been looking for a moc-toe that isn’t outrageously bulky, and two, the heavy rubber lug soles seemed ideal for winter conditions. 

Things to Consider Before Buying the Grant Stone Brass Boot

top down Grant Stone Brass boot with footbed detail

Grant Stone is covering a niche in the middle of the market, so it’s important to note the best options on either side of that spectrum. I’ll go into more detail in the “Alternatives” section below, but for a quick rundown:

The Grant Stone Brass Boot is similar to the Alden Indy.

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Of course, there are significant differences in the design, construction, and sole, but it’s safe to say that Grant Stone is putting their own twist on the iconic Indy. 

Grant Stone Brass boot walking on blacktop

The Brass is on par with the Alden Indy in terms of sturdiness and weight, but it’s about 60% the cost (~$580 vs ~$340). So Grant Stone is competing with the high-end bootmakers. But their prices are mid-tier, similar to Red Wing or Wolverine. 

If you want a top quality boot, Grant Stone is one of the best economical options. But if your budget simply can’t handle a $300+ boot, the Thursday Diplomat comes in at a much lower price (~$200), but still has solid build-quality (though nothing close to Grant Stone).

Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

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Grant Stone Brass Boot Review

First Impression

Unboxing the Brass Boot is a pleasure—the packaging is among the best I’ve seen, with two individual dust jackets, and a sturdy box. 

I’ve been wanting a pair of moc toe boots for a long while, but I couldn’t find anything that was sleek enough to fit my style. I’m glad I gave the Brass Boot a try because it has the masculine workwear vibe of a moc toe, but it’s built on a slimmer last and works well with slim jeans. 

Grant Stone Brass boot leaned against wall

These are definitely the heaviest boots I own. They’re tanks. And I mean that in a good way. From the heavy rubber lug soles to the thick leather construction, it’s clear these boots were built to go the distance. 

The Brass Boot is fully lined with natural vegetable tanned leather, and the added material and construction quality puts this boot into a league of its own in the $300-400 range. While Red Wing and Wolverine offer similar quality uppers, the finish of Grant Stone’s and the soft lining make the experience heaps more luxurious, and they still keep all that manly ruggedness. 

Leather Quality and Care

moc toe Grant Stone Brass boot black

I picked my Brass Boot up in black aniline-dyed Chromexcel leather from Horween. Chromexcel is a very popular leather among higher-end boots, and this is my second experience with it—I also have the Wolverine 1000 Mile in the Cordovan No. 8 Chromexcel (it’s one of the prettiest leathers I’ve ever seen). 

But from what I’ve seen and read, not all Chromexcel is created equal. It’s also up to the bootmaker to select hides with uniform grain patterns. 

Grant Stone’s leather selection is on point, and I haven’t had any issues with loose grain or irregular creasing, which is a common problem with Chromexcel. After several weeks of wear, including through some snow and rain, the leather is looking nearly as good as new. 

Grant Stone Brass boot heel counter detail

Chromexcel scuffs easier than other leathers, but even after I scuffed up both toes a bit, a little Saphir Renovateur brought the color and shine back easily. Saphir is my go to for Chromexcel, though it’s quite pricey. Still, compared to Venetian, I think it does a better job retaining the shine of Chromexcel.

Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovator: All-Purpose Leather Shoe Cleaner & Conditioner
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The black leather I picked up is also considered a tea-core leather, meaning that as it scuffs, some of the natural hide color will begin to show through, giving the boot a more dynamic patina. 

That said, I’m treating these boots every three months to keep them looking as new as possible because they’re so tasty looking out of the box.

Sole

Grant Stone Brass boot sole whie walking

The outsole is made with medium-density compound rubber and features a heavy heel and thick lugs. 

It adds a lot of weight to the boot, but I’ve been loving the traction I’ve been getting on winter days. The softer rubber and lugs add a great deal of grip on slushy asphalt, so I have tons of confidence in slippery conditions.

grant stone brass sole on snow

The sole is attached through a Goodyear split-reverse welt, which offers a bit more weather-resistance than a standard Goodyear, but still has the easy resole capabilities. 

Grant Stone Brass boot rubber lug sole

If you ever get into a muddy situation, I recommend cleaning up the split reverse welt as soon as you get home because it can gather gunk easily. And since it doesn’t take much to scratch Chromexcel, any dried mud will scuff up the sides of your fancy new boot.

The insole is made with several layers of the same vegetable tanned leather as the lining, and the midsole is a thin layer of cork. Compared to Red Wings, there’s less cork, which is a good thing for durability. Cork tends to break apart over time and spread thin, whereas leather condenses, but rarely splits (unless we’re talking 20 years). 

With the extra leather in the insole, the Brass Boot is a bit stiff on bottom to break in, but the added durability over the years is well worth it, in my opinion. 

Fit and Sizing

model wearing Grant Stone Brass boot in horween chromexcel leather black

Like many other bootmakers, Grant Stone runs a half-size larger than what you might normally get with a pair of sneakers. 

If I’m buying some Nike running shoes, I’ll get a 10.5, but with my Grant Stone’s, I picked up a 10 (same with Red Wing and Wolverine).

The Brass Boot has some extra room in the toe box, so if you’re in between sizes, you can likely get the smaller size and still have enough space for your toes. I didn’t experience any tightness around the instep or the sides of my foot, and overall, the fit is excellent. 

Break-in Period

Grant Stone Brass boot lining with numbering

Chromexcel is a fairly easy leather to break in, though the heavy vegetable tanned leather lining and insoles make things a little more tough. 

I’m happy to report that I didn’t get any blisters breaking these in, which is what really cooks my gourd. But the leather footbed takes a while to condense, and there’s very little shock absorption, so my feet are still a bit sore after walking a few miles with these. 

Grant Stone Brass boot brass eyelets and speedhook details

I had a feeling the break in would be a bit difficult as they’re so heavy and have a robust construction. It hasn’t been too bad other than general soreness. That said, I’ve probably walked 15-20 miles in the past three weeks with them, so they’ve gotten a lot of action and my feet haven’t had a ton of rest. 

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

As a new boot, the Grant Stone Brass doesn’t have many reviews, but of the two I could find on their site at the time of writing, both were 5-star. One reviewer mentioned that this was his fifth pair of Grant Stone boots, which is always a promising sign. 

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Compared to other Grant Stone models, it seems the Brass fits a bit larger because of the Floyd last. It has more room in the toe as it’s a more “rugged” build, so take that into account if you’re between sizes. 

Otherwise, reviews for Grant Stone as a brand are almost all positive. They’re an up-and-coming brand that doles out the highest-quality boots at mid-tier prices. 

Grant Stone Brass Boot Alternatives

There aren’t many boots like the Grant Stone Brass, especially at a similar or lower price point. However, if you’re in the market for any moc toe, some good options are available. 

Thursday Diplomat

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The Thursday Boots Diplomat is similar to the Grant Stone Brass Boot in that it’s a moc toe with a low profile and slimmer silhouette. I think both are excellent options if you want that classic workwear inspired moc toe look, but your style is a little more fashion forward and less focused on bulky ruggedness. 

The biggest difference is the sole. The Thursday Diplomat has a Vibram Christy sole, which really makes it a direct competitor to the Red Wing Moc Toe rather than the Grant Stone Brass

Still, I really don’t think there are any boots quite like the Brass Boot at a sub-$400 price. But if you want a moc toe and $300+ is out of your range, the Thursday Diplomat is our top pick. 

Thursday Boot Company Diplomat

The Thursday Diplomat takes all the construction quality and durability people love about American Heritage boots and puts it in a slimmer, more stylish package. 

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Alden Indy

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The Grant Stone Brass seems to be an answer to the pricey Alden Indy. The most immediate difference between these two boots is their price: the Alden Indy is above $500 new. However, many people say the quality is comparable. 

I haven’t tried Alden, so I can’t say if there’s any truth to that, but I’ve heard it from reputable sources. 

And it’s worth noting that the Grant Stone Brass is the sturdiest build of any boot I own (more so than the Red Wing Iron Ranger, and certainly more robust than the Wolverine 1000 Mile). 

The most compelling reason to buy Alden over Grant Stone is that Alden’s are made in the USA. If USA-built is important to you, and you’re willing to spend an extra $200 for it, then the Alden Indy is the way to go. 

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But if it’s just a nice-to-have, you may be more interested in the cost savings as the quality appears to be on par. 

My Thoughts Overall On the Grant Stone Brass Boot

What I Like

  • The Horween Chromexcel leather looks and feels excellent—and Grant Stone has done a great job with leather selection, so there’s no loose grain.

  • The midsole is mostly vegetable tanned leather with a little cork, so it should last a very long time.

  • Heavy rubber lug soles offer a ton of traction and more shock absorption than most other heritage boots.

  • Build quality and overall sturdiness is in the top tier—I argue better than Red Wing, and more in the ballpark of Alden (but for much less).

What I Don’t Like

  • The Horween Chromexcel leather scuffs fairly easily.

  • They’re quite heavy, which can be tiring if you do a ton of walking.

Who is the Grant Stone Brass Boot for?

The Grant Stone Brass Boot is an excellent choice for those of you who’ve been looking at the top tier of boots like Alden’s, Viberg’s, or Truman’s, but aren’t ready to part with ~$500. If you want to break into high end boots on a Red Wing (~$300-350) budget, and don’t mind sacrificing the “Made in USA” stamp, then Grant Stone is the brand for you.

The Verdict

The Grant Stone Brass is a beast of a boot, and I’m a big fan of the slimmed down handsome moc toe style. 

The Brass is the sturdiest boot I own (my Red Wing Iron Rangers are second).

Given how much pride the boot community takes in having US-built boots, I can see why some people steer away from Grant Stone

But my experience with the Brass speaks to the brand’s commitment to quality and durability. 

I see the Brass boot as a legitimate competitor to the Alden Indy, one of the most iconic boots on the market. But the Grant Stone Brass is about 70% of the cost. It’s not the construction or material quality that makes Grant Stone more affordable—it’s really just the labor cost, as Alden boots are made here in the USA. 

It comes down to this: the Grant Stone Brass Boot is a top-level boot at a mid-level price. If you’re willing to pay an extra $200 for an American-made boot, the Alden Indy is still your best choice. But if you’re only concerned with the quality of the boot and country of origin isn’t a deciding factor for you, then the Grant Stone Brass is a clear winner.

Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

For a more visual look, be sure to also check out our video review of the Grant Stone Brass over on our YouTube channel:


FAQs

What’s better: Grant Stone or Alden?

Quality-wise, Grant Stone and Alden are on equal footing. If “made in the USA” is important to you, then Alden is the way to go. If you’re a value-based shopper, then Grant Stone is the better choice. 

Where can I get Grant Stone b-grades and seconds?

Grant Stone sells b-grades and seconds on their site, though you may have trouble finding the style and size you’d like.

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