Grant Stone Chelsea Boot Review: Goodyear Welted Goodness

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Grant Stone has a reputation for quality, but does that extend to their Chelsea boots? When you’re dropping a few hundred bucks, it’s important to get all the information you can before hitting “buy.”

In this Grant Stone Chelsea Boot review, you’ll see what mine look like after several months of wear, and you’ll get the scoop on how they fit compared to other Grant Stones and other brands.

An everyday stomper
Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: Grant Stone

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

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Bottom line: The Grant Stone Chelsea Boot is an excellent “everyday” Chelsea. The construction and materials make it a total tank, and I think the lug sole is a better option (rather than the stud sole) because it matches the rugged aesthetic better.

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:

  • C.F. Stead waxed roughout leather (Dark Oak Roughout color) is outstanding
  • 3mm vegetable tanned leather insole and Goodyear welted construction make for a traditional and durable boot
  • The lug outsole makes this a unique and versatile option if you tend more toward rugged style than sleek style

Cons:

  • It’s built on a different last than other Grant Stone boots, so make sure you read the sizing section to note the differences before buying

A few years ago, I picked up my first pair of Grant Stone boots. 

At the time, the Brass Boot was the best-made boot I’d ever worn. After several months of wearing the Brass, I picked up the Diesel. I couldn’t be more happy with that boot. 

And just a few months ago, I was looking for a Chelsea boot that I could wear every day: something that was more rugged but wasn’t so big and bulky that it looked like a work boot. 

Naturally, after a few great experiences, I checked out Grant Stone and found their Chelsea Boot in Dark Oak Roughout

So is their Chelsea Boot on par with the rest of their stuff? Keep reading and find out. 

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot Overview

Grant Stone Chelsea leather detail on leather 1

The Grant Stone Chelsea Boot has a few things in common with other GS boots and a few major differences. 

First, the Grant Stone Chelsea is built on the brand’s UK last, which is wider and longer than their Leo last (Diesel) and their Floyd last (Brass). 

This means there are a few considerations to make to ensure you get the right sizing (I have everything you’ll want to know down in the “sizing” section). 

Grant Stone Chelsea on steel stair background 1

Grant Stone has also started making these Chelseas with a few different outsole options. The standard Chelsea has a studded sole, similar to a Dainite. 

But I picked up the lug sole version (at the time of writing, the only available lug sole is the Dark Oak Roughout).

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

If you’re all about value-for-money and you’re looking for a high end Goodyear welted Chelsea boot for everyday wear, then the Grant Stone Chelsea is the boot for you.

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Things to Consider Before Buying the Grant Stone Chelsea

model wearing Grant Stone Chelsea boots walking with sun in background 1

Every time I make a Grant Stone video for the BootSpy YouTube channel (you should check it out here), I get several commenters saying they don’t like that Grant Stone is made in China. 

To me, country of origin isn’t a huge priority: I place more value in the style, material quality, and construction quality. 

If country of origin is a super important factor to you and you want a boot that’s made in the USA, then I’d say the closest comparable brand in quality and style is Alden. You may also want to look into Oak Street Bootmakers, which sources almost entirely American and crafts everything just outside of Chicago. 

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot Review

First Impression

model sitting on concrete wearing Grant Stone Chelsea 1

The style of the Grant Stone Chelsea is exactly what I was looking for: an “everyday” type boot that’s rugged looking but not so big and bulky that it doesn’t match well with a pair of slim fit jeans and an Oxford shirt. 

I opted for the Dark Oak Roughout leather with a heavier lug sole (opposed to the studded sole that most GS Chelseas have). The lug sole definitely changes the style of the boot overall, and I personally like it better than the more tame studded sole. 

The UK last is a bit wider at the “waist” of your foot, and it’s quite long. I’ll discuss more about how that affects the fit below, but in terms of style, the extra length helps balance out the rugged look of the leather and sole. I’d never call this boot dressy, but the shape offers a nice counterpoint for a slimmer contemporary style.

Leather Quality and Care

Grant Stone Chelsea boot roughout leather detail closeup 1

I opted for the Waxed Roughout leather from C.F. Stead in Dark Oak. One of the most popular versions of the Grant Stone Chelsea is in the Earth colorway, which is waxed suede. While they look similar initially, they actually age quite differently. 

In my experience, the Dark Oak Waxed Roughout loses its waxy appearance fairly quickly (at least in the areas that crease) and leads to a really dynamic leather where some parts are smooth and others are knapped. 

If you’re looking for a Chelsea you can wear in a business casual setting, I wouldn’t recommend the Waxed Roughout. But I define my personal style as “slim rugged,” so this look works well for me. 

william barton wearing Grant Stone Chelsea boots 1

The upper leather thickness is around 1.6 to 1.8mm, though I couldn’t get a specific measurement. In either case, this is a decent leather thickness, especially for roughout, which has a full grain reverse. When you combine that with the vegetable tanned cow-hide lining (about 1mm), you get plenty of leather. 

Speaking of lining, the entire boot is lined with natural full grain vegetable tanned leather. To me, that makes a noticeable difference in the overall feel of the boot, and I certainly appreciate the durability. 

Caring for the leather is easy: you don’t really need to do anything to it. I’ve been considering re-waxing my boot, but I’m holding off because I’d like to see how the patina comes through after a year or so of wearing. I had some mud on the toe, and I just wiped it off with a wet rag: with waxed leathers, you really don’t need to pamper your boots at all. 

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

If you’re all about value-for-money and you’re looking for a high end Goodyear welted Chelsea boot for everyday wear, then the Grant Stone Chelsea is the boot for you.

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Sole

Grant Stone Chelsea sole on white background 1

The sole is where the Grant Stone Chelsea really shines in my opinion. I picked up the rubber lug outsole, which is probably the biggest reason I chose this over any other Chelsea. 

For an “everyday” boot, I prefer the lug sole to the studded sole. However, Grant Stone’s studded sole is great (I have the studded sole on my Diesel’s and it has plenty of traction and shock absorption). 

But the insole and construction is where the magic is at. 

Grant Stone Chelsea sole on stairs while walking 1

The insole is a 3mm piece of vegetable tanned leather, with a cork-filled leather midsole, a steel shank, and an additional piece of leather in the heel (stacked leather heel if you get the studded sole). The heel counters are also full grain leather, so it’s basically natural materials throughout, besides the steel shank. 

While the hefty leather doesn’t make for the most immediately comfortable feel, it’s also incredibly durable and feels sturdy. 

Grant Stone Chelsea sole on foot 1

I’m impressed with the insole more than any other part of this boot because it really shows Grant Stone’s sensibility: even if it doesn’t contribute to the style, they still use the best quality materials in places that don’t get a lot of attention. 

Fit and Sizing

Grant Stone Chelsea in dark oak roughout leather 1

The Grant Stone Chelsea is built on the brand’s UK last, which is a bit wider and longer than some of their other lasts. 

I picked up my Chelseas a half size smaller than I do for my sneakers. But because they’re longer and wider, you may also want to consider getting a full size smaller than your sneakers. 

I have the same size Chelsea as I do with their Diesel and Brass. I’m a size 10.5 in sneakers and I have a size 10 in all my Grant Stone boots. I also have the same size in Red Wing, Thursday Boots, and Wolverine

Grant Stone Diesel

The Grant Stone Diesel is a no-frills mid-weight boot built with superb attention to detail and materials. The quality is comparable to other boot makers who retail for $450-600, but the Diesel is much less expensive. It’s one of the better price for value buys you’ll find.

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Grant Stone Chelsea boots sitting closeup 1

But I think my feet are slightly wider (still not quite an E width), so ordering a half-size smaller than sneakers works perfectly for me. I have noticed a little more wiggle room in my Chelseas than my Brass or Diesel boots, but I usually wear hefty socks with my boots, so it doesn’t make much of a difference for me. 

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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If you have slightly narrow feet, and you sometimes get a half size smaller and other times you get a full size smaller, for the Grant Stone Chelsea, I recommend a full size down. The Chromexcel leathers and the Roughout leather should stretch a bit as you wear it. But the Waxy Commander leather option (Earth) is pre-stretched, so that’ll keep the same size. 

Break-in Period

Grant Stone Chelsea boot closeup in action 1

Because the entire insole is a thick 3mm leather, there’s a bit of a break-in period, but nothing major. 

Roughout leather and Chromexcel are fairly easy to break in so I didn’t have any issues with the upper. It just takes some time to flex the leather heel counters, crease the upper, and get some bend in the insole. 

I always wear a thick pair of wool socks when breaking in my boots for three reasons—one, it helps pad your foot and protects against rubbing. The extra volume also stretches the leather a bit faster. And finally, wool wicks moisture away from your foot and toward the leather, which helps it break in faster. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

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Grant Stone has a loyal following and gets a lot of love on Reddit because of their construction quality. 

There aren’t a lot of reviews on their Chelsea boots, but nearly all the reviews I could find on their site for the Chelsea boot are 5-stars. Quality gets mentioned over and over again as the main positive. 

As for negatives, the reviews are spread out—some didn’t like the Chromexcel leather, though that doesn’t really have to do with Grant Stone—the creasing is just the nature of Chromexcel (which I personally like). 

Some people felt the Chelsea boots were a bit loose, and that’s because of the UK last. 

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot Alternatives

Thursday Boot Company Duke

Thursday Duke boots honey suede close up

There are two boots in my closet that compete for my attention as my “everyday” Chelsea: the Grant Stone Chelsea, and the Thursday Duke.

I wear the Thursday Duke when I have to do more walking and when I want something slimmer and sleeker

I wear the Grant Stone Chelsea when I want something more rugged looking or if I’m going on a trip and am looking for more durability and want to worry less about scuffing or damaging the leather. 

If price is a big factor for you, the Thursday Duke may be a better option as it’s right at $200. However, synthetic materials in the insole and midsole are going to break down faster and it doesn’t have the same strength and durability as Grant Stone. 

Thursday Duke

The Duke is Thursday’s first Chelsea boot, and it brings the brand's hallmark construction quality and value for money. This is a fantastic everyday Chelsea.

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Oak Street 5504 Chelsea Boot

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If you’re really interested in the Grant Stone Chelsea because of the material and construction quality, but you’d rather have a boot that’s made in the USA, then check out the Oak Street 5504 Chelsea Boot

It’s available in three different Horween Chromexcel leathers and all parts of the boot, including the shank, are sourced from the United States, with the exception of the Dainite sole. 

Oak Street’s Chelsea costs about 50% more than Grant Stone’s Chelsea, and the quality is comparable. But Oak Street is American, though and through. 

Oak Street Bootmakers 5504 Chelsea Boot

100% manufactured in the USA with Horween leather, Goodyear welt construction, and a Dainite sole, this wholecut Chelsea boot represents some of the top quality in bootmaking.

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My Thoughts Overall On the Grant Stone Chelsea

What I Like

  • The Charles F. Stead Dark Oak Roughout is superb—it requires very little care and develops a beautiful, dynamic patina. 

  • The 3mm vegetable tanned leather insole and Goodyear welted construction give this boot a sturdy, solid feel. 

  • I like the lugged outsole option as it trends more toward rugged style and makes for a fantastic “everyday” boot.

What I Don’t Like

  • Sizing can be a bit tricky if you have more narrow feet, but otherwise is pretty straightforward. 

Who is the Grant Stone Chelsea for?

If you’re all about value-for-money and you’re looking for a high end Goodyear welted Chelsea boot for everyday wear, then the Grant Stone Chelsea is the boot for you.

The Verdict

Grant Stone is three-for-three. 

I’ve been wearing the Chelsea more than the Diesel and the Brass. And I love those boots, too. 

What impresses me the most about the Grant Stone Chelsea is that they don’t skimp on quality in the insole and midsole. Those are the parts that can break down the fastest, but aren’t very noticeable when you’re buying. To me, that just says that Grant Stone is focused on quality, durability, and making the best boot possible for a reasonable price. 

The C.F. Stead Waxed Roughout leather is great—it doesn’t keep its waxy look nearly as long as the Earth color (C.F. Stead Waxy Commander), and develops much more fuzzy knap. This makes it more rugged looking, and while I can re-wax them, I’m going to see how the roughout patinas and will reconsider after a year or so. 

Overall, I’m really happy with the Grant Stone Chelsea and it’s one of my go-to’s because it’s so easy to slip on and the quality is superb.

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

If you’re all about value-for-money and you’re looking for a high end Goodyear welted Chelsea boot for everyday wear, then the Grant Stone Chelsea is the boot for you.

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

How do Grant Stone Chelsea Boots fit?

The Grant Stone Chelsea Boot is a little wider and longer than their other boots and boots from similar heritage-style brands. I still recommend for most guys just getting a half size smaller than your usual sneaker size. But if you have slightly narrow feet, you may be better off ordering a full size smaller.

What are the different Grant Stone lasts?

Grant Stone uses three different lasts for their boots: the Leo, Floyd, and UK. The Leo is built to be universally comfortable and balance style with versatility. The Floyd is taller and more rugged. The UK is a bit wider and longer and is designed with laceless boots in mind.