Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot Review: A New Ethical Standard

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

by  William Barton | Last Updated: 
Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot Review Blank Background Product Shot

Nisolo boasts an incredible mission, but do they back it up with incredible shoes? A major factor in sustainability is durability—boots at this price point should last a few years at least.

In our Nisolo review, we take a look at their Javier Chelsea boot to see what this brand is all about and whether they can thread the needle between affordability, quality, and sustainability.

More than an admirable mission?
Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: Nisolo

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot

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

Bottom line: Nisolo gets outstanding marks for their social mission, though the Javier Chelsea boot is a total beauty---especially in the Brandy leather option. The construction is solid for the price, but it’s the leather quality that really stands out on this everyday boot.

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 construction and materials are among the best you can find at this price point
  • As a certified B Corp, Nisolo has stringent wage requirements through their whole supply chain and they’re net carbon-neutral
  • Three simple leather options that are all waxy, oily, and tasty (visually, not for eating)

Cons:

  • The rubber sole isn’t super thick, so it may need to be resoled about six months earlier than a comparably priced boot

It’s not every day I come across a brand that’s taking the digital direct-to-consumer approach in a new direction.

So when I stumbled upon Nisolo, I was intrigued by their commitment to sustainability and fair living wages. 

But first and foremost, I prioritize quality.

I picked up the Javier (I have a thing for Chelsea boots), to see if Nisolo could back their message up with solid construction and materials. 

So if you’ve heard about Nisolo and you’re wondering if it’s time to pull the trigger with this eco-focused brand, I’m going to break down my experience and tell you everything you need to know before you start shopping.

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot Overview

Nisolo javier profile view

The Nisolo Javier Chelsea boot is what I consider an “everyday” boot. It sits on the more casual end of the style-spectrum, but it still packs a hefty dose of class. 

Made with rich pull up leather, a Goodyear welt, a rubber outsole (with leather midsole), and a focus on sustainability, the Javier strikes a delicate balance between style, quality, affordability, and values. 

Nisolo specializes in shoes, and they have some pretty cool options that tempted me. That said, as an official ‘BootSpy’, I have to stay true to my heart. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nisolo Men’s (@nisolomens)

They offer a few different boots: service boots, moc toe, and even a more rugged-style Chelsea boot. 

But the Javier stuck out to me because of its slimmed down and understated style.  

Things to Consider Before Buying the Nisolo Javier

Nisolo brandy leather on black background

The Nisolo Javier is competitively priced, especially considering the quality of materials, but you are paying a premium for their ethical business practices and carbon neutrality.

But it’s not like you’re paying a ton extra for that. While I don’t have access to their specific numbers, based on the boot landscape, I’d say you’re paying an extra $20-$30 to support a brand that puts a ton of effort to minimize their impact on the environment. 

I’ve seen other brands charge the same price for similar quality and construction and just pocket the extra profit—and even then, I’d say it’s a pretty fair deal. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nisolo Men’s (@nisolomens)

But if price is your first determining factor, you can find similar quality and construction for a bit cheaper. 

That said, I’m down with Nisolo’s mission, and if the boots are well built and will last several years, that extra $20 to support a B Corp is totally worth it to me. 

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot

Nisolo gets outstanding marks for their social mission, though the Javier Chelsea boot is a total beauty---especially in the Brandy leather option. The construction is solid for the price, but it’s the leather quality that really stands out on this everyday boot.

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

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot Review

First Impression

Nisolo javier chelsea boot on white background

The first test is always the sniff test. Because your new boots ought to smell good. 

Nisolo’s unboxing experience was in my top three for best smelling new boots. And yes, I keep an ongoing list. 

top 3 olfactory boot experiences

The Nisolo Javier is a classy casual boot. With the rubber sole and natural leather welt and midsole, it’s not quite a dress boot. But because of its sleek profile and more delicate materials, it’s not really a rugged boot like a Blundstone or even Nisolo’s own Cruz Chelsea boot

The Javier is more of an “everyday” boot. It’s not too precious to wear on a Tuesday to work, but the silhouette is easy to pull off on Saturday date night, even if you’re going pretty upscale. 

Leather Quality and Care

Nisolo insole top down

The leather is Nisolo’s selling point. I like that they use the same leathers across most of their footwear. This Brandy color stood out to me right away, and now I’m back looking at their Huarache sandals in the same leather. 

The Javier features a rich pull up leather, which means it’s densely packed with oils and waxes. This helps the boot’s water resistance, but it should also mean less maintenance. 

Nisolo brandy leather on black background

The only downside to pull up leather is that it can scuff and discolor somewhat easily. That said, it’s easy to restore and care for if you want to keep your boots looking as good as new. 

I’ll be using Venetian shoe cream on these boots as it will keep the color the same, nourish the leather, and buff out the inevitable scratches that appear over time. 

Nisolo javier brandy leather chelsea boot

If you want your boots to stay blemish free, you can treat them every five or six wears (or every month). But the leather doesn’t need that much care. To simply keep the leather in good condition, the Javier only needs moisturizing once a year because it’s already so loaded up with oils. 

Venetian Shoe Cream
Check Best Price on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The Javier also is lined with leather, though the lining seems to be a bit stiffer. Still, having a full leather liner adds a layer of comfort and helps with the durability of the boot.

Sole

Nisolo javier sole on black background

The sole is a custom rubber studded piece—similar to a Dainite sole—and is 5mm thick. The heel has a few pieces of natural stacked leather, and that matches the natural leather midsole. 

I love the two-toned look of the midsole-outsole combo, though it does take the Javier out of the dress boot category. 

Since I haven’t put in a few hundred miles with these boots, I can’t speak to the quality of the rubber used, but it’s quite shock absorbent, and I’ve worn several other boots with really similar soles and I haven’t had any durability issues. 

Based on the thickness of the rubber and how it’s worn so far, I expect these boots to go for two or three years before needing a resole, and that’s with me wearing them about two to three times a week. 

model wearing Nisolo javier chelsea boot

Because they’re Goodyear welted, your local cobbler should have no problem putting a new rubber sole on.

When you consider the leather quality and your ability to resole these boots as many times as you need, I can see these lasting for 20 years if you’re super hardcore about sustainability. 

Fit and Sizing

model wearing Nisolo chelsea boot with jeans and denim shirt

Nisolo boots are true to size, and I found that they fit closer to what my sneakers feel like. So my sneakers are usually a 10.5, but when I order boots from makers like Red Wing or Wolverine, I buy a size 10 (because boots usually run larger). 

Nisolo boots don’t run larger. I picked up a 10.5 and am happy with the fit. Even then, the Javier was a bit snug around my pinky toe until they were fully broken in.

If you have a wider foot, I would actually move a size larger than your standard. The Javier is a bit narrow, and while I still feel my sneaker size is the right fit, if your foot is wider, they’ll likely feel a bit tight at first. 

Break-in Period

Nisolo Javier Chelsea boot with denim

The break-in period was gentle, but I still developed a few blisters on the first few wears. With leather-lined boots, it usually takes a minimum of ten miles before the toe box gets a good crease and the boot forms more to your foot, and that was my exact experience here.

That said, it wasn’t super uncomfortable, and now that they’re looser, these boots fit well and I can walk several miles in a day with no troubles. But it did take two walks into town (about 10 miles total) for these to relax all the way. 

What do Other Reviewers Say About Nisolo?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Navjot Kamal | Men’s Fashion (@navjotkamal)

Reviews for the Nisolo Javier trend positive, though many folks had the same thoughts regarding the size as I did. The Javier runs just a touch narrow, so if you’re in between sizes and have a slightly wider foot, you’ll be happy with a half-size larger than what you’d get with sneakers. 

Otherwise, reviews frequently praise the comfort and style. Plus, it’s hard to beat the sustainability aspect of these boots, and that’s one of the reasons so many come back and buy multiple pairs of shoes from Nisolo

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot Alternatives

Thursday Cavalier

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nick (@ticktocknick)

The Thursday Cavalier and the Nisolo Javier have been battling it out for my favorite casual everyday Chelsea boot, and even with 20+ pairs of shoes in my closet, I’m usually deciding between these two. 

The Thursday Cavalier is also Goodyear welted, leather lined, and offers excellent value.

I like the rough wax suede look, and I choose the Cavalier over the Javier when I want a more uniform look (I have the Shadow Grey, and the leather sole is black). 

However, the Nisolo Javier beats out the Thursday Cavalier when I want a more standard classy leather look, and they pair much better with chinos because of the multi-toned sole. 

Price-wise, the Cavalier is about $40 less expensive, but Thursday also isn’t a carbon-neutral B Corp. 

As far as quality is concerned, they’re both on equal footing, so the determining factors between these two boots are: color, and sustainability vs price. 

I own and love both. 

Thursday Cavalier

The Thursday Cavalier is Goodyear welted, leather lined, and offers excellent value. This particular Shadow Grey version is forever battling it out for the title of my favorite casual everyday Chelsea boot, and even with 20+ pairs of shoes in my closet, it's very often my go-to.

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.

Carmina 80216

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 👞 Andre Simha 🎸 (@andrel42)

The Carmina 80216 is the pinnacle of a dress Chelsea boot. The vibe is much different than the Nisolo Javier, but if you’re looking for a sleek, stunning dress Chelsea, Carmina is the way to go. 

Made with black box calf leather, the quality of the 80216 is incredible. 

Yes, the price is over double what you’re paying for Nisolo, but it’s hard to find a higher-quality set of footwear. 

If price isn’t an issue for you and you’re hoping to wear your Chelsea’s in more formal situations, check out the Carmina 80216.

Carmina Chelsea Boots 80216 Simpson

Made with black box calf leather, the quality of the 80216 is incredible. While it may take some back and forward to find the best last and size for your foot, there's no doubt that Carmina produce the pinnacle of the dress Chelsea boot.

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

My Thoughts Overall On the Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot

What I Like

  • Nisolo’s material quality and construction is excellent, and in-line with the best I’ve seen in the mid $200 price point. 

  • The construction and materials are among the best you can find at this price point.

  • They’re a certified B-Corp, meaning Nisolo ensures a good living wage throughout their entire supply chain and their operations and shipping are completely carbon-neutral.

  • All three leather options for the Javier are richly packed with oils and waxes, which not only looks great, but means it’s very easy to maintain.

What I Don’t Like

  • At 5mm, the rubber outsole is somewhat thin and may need to be replaced earlier than other boots, though it should still last two or three years before needing a resole. 

Who is the Nisolo Javier for?

The Nisolo Javier is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for an everyday Chelsea boot that’s not too precious to wear, but still looks sleek and formal enough to wear on an upscale night out to the cool new tapas place downtown on Saturday night.

The Verdict

The Nisolo Javier is an excellent boot that strikes a delicate balance between value, quality, and mission.

My favorite aspect of this boot is the Brandy leather. The Black and Brown options are similar quality, but the red hues of this leather really stand out to me. The leather is richly packed with oils and waxes, and that means the leather needs minimal maintenance. Plus, it’s just really high quality. You can see the pattern of the leather grain, and it creases nicely as the boot breaks in. 

The construction is on par with what you’d find in similarly priced boots. A Goodyear welt is expected now in the mid $200 level, and it ensures you can resole this boot as often as you’d like. This type of construction, combined with the rich pull up leather, makes for a pretty water resistant boot, though I’d still keep it out of the rain. 

But the real reason to shop with Nisolo is their mission. Yes, you’re paying a premium to ensure that everyone in their supply chain is paid a proper living wage, and yes, it’s extra to ensure carbon neutrality in their production and shipping. But it’s like $20 or $30 extra. 

Considering these boots have the materials and construction to last at least five years, that extra Jackson ($20) is well worth it to me.

Nisolo Javier Chelsea Boot

Nisolo gets outstanding marks for their social mission, though the Javier Chelsea boot is a total beauty---especially in the Brandy leather option. The construction is solid for the price, but it’s the leather quality that really stands out on this everyday boot.

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

FAQs

Is Nisolo a good brand?

Yes, Nisolo is a good brand, and I’m considering shopping with them again. The quality of their boots is on-par with some of the best I’ve seen at their price point, and their focus on sustainability is unique in the industry.

Where are Nisolo shoes made?

Nisolo owns their factory and makes their shoes in Trujillo, Peru.

Is Nisolo ethical?

Yes, Nisolo runs their company in an ethical manner. They own their factory in Peru, so they’re able to ensure their employees are paid a living wage, and many employees are receiving benefits and stable employment for the first time. Beyond that, Nisolo is carbon-neutral, meaning they pay for the protection of certain portions of the Amazonian rain forest and buy carbon-offsets to mitigate the greenhouse gases caused from shipping and production.

3 Things Every Boot Wearer Should Own

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