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Hutton Boots Review: My Experience with Playtime Chukka

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Hutton
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Bottom line: Hutton’s Playtime chukkas are making a resurgence. After becoming an iconic favorite in mid-century English style, these boots disappeared for decades. Their latest rendition is back on the market, turning heads with quality material and dedication to reviving an old-school design. Playtimes are a fun addition to any wardrobe, but be ready to pay a premium price for these chukkas.

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:
  • Refined English chukka style at its finest
  • Cashmere soft reverse calf suede is luxurious
  • Extremely comfortable with no break in period
Cons:
  • Price will be a barrier to entry for most
  • Unlined suede runs risk of losing its shape over time

It’s hard to think of a boot more aptly named than the Playtime. Put on these classic chukkas, and the world is your oyster. High end leather, quality Italian construction, zero break-in. I wore the Playtimes to find out if they’re worth the high cost of entry to play in the sandbox.

What is Hutton Boots?

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If I know one thing about mid-century English blokes, it’s that these guys knew how to dress. The Beatles were rocking Chelseas on stage. Sean Connery brought iconic James Bond style to the big screen. And Hutton of Northampton was consistently building out a classic banger with their high quality chukkas.

In the 50s and 60s, Hutton’s refined style was catching the attention of the hard working everyman to celebrities alike. Notably, they were the footwear of choice for Steve McQueen, who very visibly wore the Playtime in a number of the films he starred in (pro tip: google pictures of McQueen if you want wardrobe inspiration that will change your life).

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Hutton had a 60 year run before an economic slowdown and the cyclical nature of fashion caused the English shoe business to shut down operations in 1990. 

New Huttons were not made for 25 years.

Thankfully, one of the factory workers in the 60s brought the business back in 2015, retaining a mission of reviving a classic design without cutting corners.

My Experience with the Playtime Chukka

First Impression

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My boots arrived from overseas in a plain brown shoe box marked by the Hutton logo on the top. Included alongside the chukkas were a simple gray boot bag and an extra pair of shoe laces. I was a bit surprised by the no frills presentation, especially at their high price point.

But the main attraction of the Playtime boots did not disappoint. They are lightweight, yet clearly made of solid construction and superior material. 

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The Italian cashmere soft reverse calf suede that made up the upper leather is breathtaking. Impossibly soft yet firm. It’s obvious Hutton took great pride in their leather selection for the Playtime.

Simple and elegant double stitching connects the two pieces of the uppers and the heel counter. There is a “Made in Italy” stamp imprinted on the backside of the tongue. 

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The tan crepe sole and chunky crepe foxing with the dark brown leather welt adds to the distinguished look of the design.

I slipped on the boots, and woahhhh. Seriously, this boot is about as comfortable as they come. The chukkas are unlined, meaning there is no material separating your body from the luxuriously smooth grain side of leather.

Hutton Playtime

Hutton’s Playtime chukkas are making a resurgence. After becoming an iconic favorite in mid-century English style, these boots disappeared for decades. Their latest rendition is back on the market, turning heads with quality material and dedication to reviving an old-school design. Playtimes are a fun addition to any wardrobe, but be ready to pay a premium price for these chukkas.

Check Price

Leather Quality and Care

I love this leather. The English Tobacco suede not only looks high end, it feels lavish both inside and out. 

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When it comes to suede, there are two schools of thought: suede for looks and suede for luxury and comfort. The unlined uppers clearly show Hutton designed this with the latter in mind.

Unfortunately the Hutton website does not specify the exact tannery they use for the leather uppers, so it’s hard to nail down more specifics on the origins of the suede.

Suede is also notorious for its susceptibility to water damage. Hutton says its high quality leather has been treated during tanning to have some water repellent qualities. Their website lists a number of ways to keep this shoe’s specific leather clean.

Sole

This natural crepe sole is a real pleasure to walk in. It adds a comfort factor that makes you think, “am I wearing slippers?” 

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Crepe soles arrive crisp and clean, but they naturally darken and wear down as you put in miles. The rough and blackish crepe that develops over time can age in a cool way. It can also be a source of annoyance to those who like to keep their boots pristine, especially since the thick foxing will also pick up dirt. 

Crepe is harder for cobblers to resole compared to traditional rubber soles, so keep that in mind when deciding how hard you want to ride these.

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Fit and Sizing

I typically wear a size 9.5D boot. These chukkas run in European sizes, so I ordered a size 43. They fit perfectly.

Hutton recommends that if you are unsure about which shoe to get, err on the side of sizing up.

Break-in Period

There is no break in period for the Playtimes. Zero. Zip. Nada. It’s pretty incredible, really.

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I’m used to bearing through working my footprint into a thick vegetable tanned sole and full grain leather uppers, so I was pleasantly surprised to have a stylish boot on my foot that felt better than most sneakers on first go around. 

That being said, the comfort comes at the cost of not having the additional support of a steel shank or leather insole.

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The unlined suede, although luxurious and comfortable as hell, does run the risk of a break-out period. That being, over the years the supple and flexible calf suede will naturally begin to stretch out and lose its original shape.

Sometimes this creates a desired look. 

For me, I’m going to be reserving these shoes for the right occasion and avoid the risk of beating them to death as an everyday driver.

Hutton Playtime

Hutton’s Playtime chukkas are making a resurgence. After becoming an iconic favorite in mid-century English style, these boots disappeared for decades. Their latest rendition is back on the market, turning heads with quality material and dedication to reviving an old-school design. Playtimes are a fun addition to any wardrobe, but be ready to pay a premium price for these chukkas.

Check Price

What do Other Reviewers Say?

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The people who get these chukkas, very clearly, are in love. A large majority of other reviewers around the internet appreciate the comfort and versatility the Playtime chukkas offer.

Wear them with jeans, wear them with corduroy, or wear them on a boat. Dress them up for a nicer night on the town or dress them down for the coffee shop.

It’s also clear that Steve McQueen’s ghost still wears these shoes because his devoted following seeks these out to appreciate the refined style of the “king of cool”.

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I found a review that took concern about the construction of the crepe foxing. It is cemented around the perimeter of the boot as opposed to sewn on. The jury’s out if this will be an issue after years of use.

It’s worth noting that reviews in 2022 priced this boot at 295 Pounds. In 2023, the price had gone up to 425 Pounds without explanation.

Hutton Boots Alternatives

The wide-world of chukkas comes with a lot of options. Some comparable styles to also consider when looking into chukkas include:

Grant Stone Tan Suede Chukka

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These chukkas also have the suede upper with crepe sole. They have a dressier and thicker look, with a goodyear welt construction. These will require a break in period. 

Grant Stone Chukka

With a 3mm piece of vegetable tanned leather for the insole, these boots should last you a decade with any sort of regular care. Plus the suede is a C.F. Stead calfskin leather, which will also stand the test of time. 

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Thursday Scout

Thursday Boot Company Scout

These are taller chukkas with more of a Western vibe to them. The Scouts use Weathersafe suede for use in rainy conditions and have additional lining to keep its shape longer.

Thursday Scout

The Thursday Scout is one of the best bang-for-buck chukkas on the market. With Thursday's proprietary leather and a stitchdown construction, this boot is hard to beat for value.

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My Thoughts Overall On Hutton

What I Like

  • These stylish chukkas bring English sophistication when dressed up or down.

  • The unlined cashmere reverse calf suede is luxurious.

  • High level comfort from the get-go feels so good on your feet.

What I Don’t Like

  • Unlined suede runs the risk of stretching out after heavy use.

  • Expensive price point.

Who is the Playtime for?

I’ve put these chukkas on a few times and thought to myself, “I should join a yacht club”. When you’re wearing high end Italian suede, your mindset changes and it’s hard to put a price on that.

The Playtimes are for those looking to sport a refined style, without being loud about it.

The Verdict

Hutton Playtimes are fun to wear and a joy to include as part of an outfit. The stitching is top-notch, the leather is unique and the design is timeless.

Hutton Playtime

Hutton’s Playtime chukkas are making a resurgence. After becoming an iconic favorite in mid-century English style, these boots disappeared for decades. Their latest rendition is back on the market, turning heads with quality material and dedication to reviving an old-school design. Playtimes are a fun addition to any wardrobe, but be ready to pay a premium price for these chukkas.

Check Price

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