Unmarked Boots Review: The Archie Monkey Boot Up Close

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Unmarked is a small brand out of Mexico and many enthusiasts talk about how you can get a fantastic deal on high quality boots from them. For one thing, you know their designs are unique. But how’s the quality?

For this Unmarked boots review, I bought their most popular boot: the Archie. I’m diving into the details so you can decide if Unmarked is right for you.

More than monkey business
Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Unmarked

Unmarked Boots

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Bottom line: I went specifically looking for a monkey-boot style and the Unmarked Archie came highly recommended. For a boot this price, I’m a bit let down at the thickness of the leather and how the lasting was done---you can see some areas where the leather was stretched imperfectly. But overall, this is a unique looking boot and the quality of the sole is outstanding.

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:

  • Unmarked makes styles that are really difficult to find elsewhere---they have a unique design sensibility and aren’t afraid to take risks
  • Their packaging is some of the best I’ve experienced
  • The Biltrite neoprene half sole offers excellent grip and the entire sole in general is exceptional for this price

Cons:

  • I can see where the leather was stretched during the lasting process---the toes on both boots aren’t perfectly rounded, and it shows just a slight misstep in the craftsmanship of these boots
  • There isn’t much communication throughout the buying process---you just buy and hope the boot show up about a month later

As a boot enthusiast, you can get so focused on new interesting styles that a funny thing starts happening…

My boots have been getting uglier and uglier. And I love it. Those are the ones I love the most. 

Well, this is at least according to my wife. But she’s not a boot enthusiast. What does she know? 

Anyway, I figured I needed a monkey boot to add to my collection—this weird and uncommon type of boot is hard to find. But then I came across the Unmarked Archie. And looking further into the brand, I figured I’d give them a try. 

Here’s what I thought.

Unmarked Boots Overview

Unmarked Archie money boots on white background

Unmarked is a small boot brand from Mexico. They’ve been around for at least 7 years and are still relatively unknown, though they pop up every once in a while on boot sub-Reddits.

They’re an adventurous brand and don’t seem afraid to make unique styles that you’d never be able to find elsewhere. 

After all, I found them after searching extensively for a well-made monkey boot (which is what the Archie I’m reviewing here is). 

The idea behind Unmarked is simple: top quality manufacturing and material quality at a relatively low cost. The cost is so low because they make the boots to order and the brand doesn’t spend on marketing. 

So they have a vibe of being a well-kept secret that only the deep boot nerds like you and me know. 

Unmarked Archie Boots

I went specifically looking for a monkey-boot style and the Unmarked Archie came highly recommended. For a boot this price, I’m a bit let down at the thickness of the leather and how the lasting was done---you can see some areas where the leather was stretched imperfectly. But overall, this is a unique looking boot and the quality of the sole is outstanding.

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Things to Consider Before Buying Unmarked Boots

Unmarked Archie boot top down leather detail

Unmarked boots don’t give much sizing advice on their site, which is a bummer. I found out the hard way that their boots fit more similarly to sneakers and dress shoes (i.e. true to Brannock sizing). 

So I’m normally a 10D in boots (a 10.5D on the Brannock). I picked up a 10D from Unmarked and they’re a touch small. They’re not so uncomfortable that I’m going to return them, but I should’ve gotten the 10.5 instead. 

Another important thing to note about Unmarked: once you buy the boots, there’s not a lot of communication. Getting the boots to your front door will take at least 15 days, but could be more like 30-45 days in some cases. 

And a lot of times if you try to contact them, they might not respond for a few days, or you may have to follow up a couple of times. 

So only get these boots if you’re pretty chill and willing to be a bit flexible on delivery time. 

Unmarked Archie Review

First Impression

Unmarked Archie on model

I got the Archie boots because of the monkey boot style. Very few brands do this style, but I think the look is awesome. 

Instead of minimizing the number of eyelets on the boot and doing a cutaway below the instep like most boots, the monkey boot has a reduced vamp and the largest leather pieces run up the instep.

It’s hard to describe the style, but it’s easy to show: 

Unmarked Archie monkey boot style detail

Unmarked claims this style is how traditional Mexican work boots were made, and it’s true that this style was a fairly common design in the early 1900’s because of its simplicity and ruggedness. 

The style tends to make your feet look stubby because of the reduced toe box, so if you want to avoid the stubbier style, this isn’t the type of boot for you.

Unmarked Archie Boots

I went specifically looking for a monkey-boot style and the Unmarked Archie came highly recommended. For a boot this price, I’m a bit let down at the thickness of the leather and how the lasting was done---you can see some areas where the leather was stretched imperfectly. But overall, this is a unique looking boot and the quality of the sole is outstanding.

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

Leather Quality and Care

model wearing Unmarked Archie boot

The leather is a glazed pull up leather from La Senora tannery in Mexico. I couldn’t find any information on that specific tannery, but the leather does have a nice sheen and feel to it. 

As a pull up leather, it’s loaded with oils and waxes, so it won’t need much care throughout its lifetime. 

It feels a bit thin. I measured the thickness of the leather and the upper came out to around 1.7mm thick. 

For most rugged boots, I expect a thicker hide—2mm is the baseline, especially for a boot this price. 

There’s a calfskin lining in the toe, but the majority of the boot is unlined. 

Unmarked Archie profile view on stairs

This is the biggest disappointment of the boot: the leather upper just isn’t thick enough. 

While the leather quality is good, Unmarked should really use something at 2mm or thicker, or line the entire boot to bring up the thickness. Compared to every other boot I have in this price range, the Unmarked Archie feels the least substantial and it’s because of how thin the leather is. 

Another issue I have is that you can see where the leather was stretched during the lasting process and it makes the toe a bit wavy looking. It’s not a huge deal, but I’ve never bought a pair of boots that has this effect—not even on $100 brands (or that time I bought $3 boots from Wish).

So while the craftsmanship is almost there, it’s not quite as superb as other brands in this price range. 

Sole

Unmarked Archie sole detail walking up stairs

While I feel like the leather lacks, the sole is outstanding. Unmarked uses a vegetable tanned insole and midsole with a cork filler. The heel is fully stacked natural veg-tanned leather, so you’re getting nothing but pure durable leather all the way through—it’s awesome. 

The outsole features a Biltrite neoprene non-slip half sole and a Goodyear Neolite Super Cushion heel.

Unmarked Archie biltrite sole

Neither of these products are in production anymore, so you’re getting a unique piece of boot history here. It shows the length Unmarked is willing to go to make one-of-a-kind boots.

Overall, the sole is by far the most impressive aspect of this boot. I’m used to this level of material quality on boots that cost twice as much, but not in the $300 range. 

Unmarked Archie Boots

I went specifically looking for a monkey-boot style and the Unmarked Archie came highly recommended. For a boot this price, I’m a bit let down at the thickness of the leather and how the lasting was done---you can see some areas where the leather was stretched imperfectly. But overall, this is a unique looking boot and the quality of the sole is outstanding.

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

Fit and Sizing

Unmarked Archie monkey boot on model

Unmarked does a poor job of offering sizing advice for their boots, so I’ll lay it out more clearly for you here. 

Their boots fit true to Brannock sizing. So you should order the size you would get for your sneakers or dress shoes. 

I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock and should’ve gotten the 10.5. 

Unmarked doesn’t offer wide sizes, so size up a half step if you’re normally an E width

Here are some examples: if you’re a size 10D and wear 10 sneakers, get a size 10 Unmarked. 

If you’re a size 9D and wear a size 8.5D in Red Wing, Grant Stone, or Thursday boots, get a size 9.5 in Unmarked

Break-in Period

Unmarked Archie leather close up

There’s a minor break in period with these Unmarked boots—mainly because the insole and midsole are pure vegetable tanned leather. But since the upper is a thin pull up leather, there isn’t too much trouble. 

My boots felt decently broken in after three wears, and they’ve continued to get more comfortable since. 

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

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There aren’t many reviews of Unmarked boots out there—I read through all I can find. There were some complaints about the delivery time, but I think if you’re a seasoned boot buyer, you know already that some brands just take a month or so to get delivered. I’m going to call out those reviewers as noobs. 

That said, Unmarked could do a better job of communicating with you via email throughout the making and shipping process. 

My Thoughts Overall On Unmarked Boots

What I Like

  • Unmarked makes styles that are really difficult to find elsewhere—they have a unique design sensibility and aren’t afraid to take risks.

  • Their packaging is some of the best I’ve experienced.

  • The Biltrite neoprene half sole offers excellent grip and the entire sole in general is exceptional for this price.

What I Don’t Like

  • I can see where the leather was stretched during the lasting process—the toes on both boots aren’t perfectly rounded, and it shows just a slight misstep in the craftsmanship of these boots.

  • There isn’t much communication throughout the making and shipping process—you buy and hope the boot show up a month later.

Who is the Unmarked Archie for?

The Unmarked Archie is a boot-lovers boot. If you don’t mind some minor imperfections and just want a unique style that no one else has, then Unmarked is a fantastic brand for you.

The Verdict

If the Unmarked Archie used thicker leather for their upper, I’d be able to give them a hardy recommendation.

But with a 1.7mm upper, they just don’t feel as substantial as I like boots in the price range to be. 

There’s a calfskin lining in the toe cap, and the toe feels plenty thick and sturdy. I just wish they brought that lining through the entire upper. 

That said, the sole construction and quality is outstanding. All veg-tanned leather, with rare discontinued Biltrite and Goodyear components: this is a boot lovers sole. 

I’m also bummed that Unmarked wasn’t more clear about their sizing. I went with my standard boot size (a 10D) and felt the boots were too small for me. I should’ve gotten my regular shoe size: a 10.5 (what I wear in sneakers and dress shoes). 

Overall, I like my Unmarked Archie boots, and I get a decent amount of wear out of them. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. I think the biggest reason to get them is because they’re the only brand I’ve found that does the monkey boot style at such a relatively low price. 

They’re not perfect, but they’re cool.

Unmarked Archie Boots

I went specifically looking for a monkey-boot style and the Unmarked Archie came highly recommended. For a boot this price, I’m a bit let down at the thickness of the leather and how the lasting was done---you can see some areas where the leather was stretched imperfectly. But overall, this is a unique looking boot and the quality of the sole is outstanding.

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

FAQs

How do Unmarked boots fit?

Unmarked boots fit true to size. I recommend getting your true Brannock size, or what you’d normally get with sneakers or dress shoes.

Where are Unmarked boots made?

Unmarked boots are made in Leon, Mexico.

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