April 10, 2013

Favorite Finds: Timberland Heritage Boat Chukka

I really like shoes (particularly boots), but for some reason I was always reticent to try Timberland. Last year though, I happened upon a pair of purple suede Timberland boat shoes that I just couldn’t pass up. Those and my AllSaints pairs are the only leather shoes I have owned that were so incredibly comfortable right out of the box, no breaking-in required.

Since then, I always keep an eye on Timberland’s for a stylish multi-purpose shoe to add to my ever-growing collection. The Heritage Boat Chukka seemed to me the perfect pair, so I had to pick them up.

The Heritage Boat Chukka are a low-boot with boat shoe detailing which makes for a versatile combination that is equally appropriate with denim or chinos. They are offered in two tri-color tones, grey and earth. I went with the grey since it works better with my wardrobe than the blue-brown-sand coloring of the earth version.

A big selling point for me is the anti-fatigue footbed since I am usually on my feet, for one reason or another, for at least 10 hours a day. Shoes that don’t have sufficient support or cushioning can easily make your feet miserable, but Timberland’s anti-fatigue technology is designed to provide better comfort, shock absorption, and energy return than a normal shoe. This is something that they developed for their iconic work boots and have integrated into some of their other footwear offerings and I am really glad they did. After a full day, I can easily say that these are one of the most comfortable shoes I own, sneakers included.

Another nice thing about Timberland is that their Earthkeepers line, of which these are a part, is eco-friendly. The outsole is made from 42% recycled rubber, the leather is at least 50% from a Silver-rated tannery, and every effort is made to keep the environmental impact down. Not only can you look stylish, but you can help protect the environment at the same time.

These chukkas feature a small bootstrap on the back to help pull them on. Bootstraps, the loops on the back of a boot to help make pulling them on easier, are one of those things that I don’t realize how helpful they are until I pull on a pair of boots that doesn’t have them. The loop on these is small enough that it isn’t a defining feature (like on Dr. Martens) but big enough to get the job done.

The fit is pretty true to size. I wear a 43 EU/9 US and the size 9 fits me perfectly. The leather is soft, which provides all the flexibility I need, and the handsewn stitching is a nice bit of added detailing. The price, $120, is pretty comparable to similar offerings that are out there. It also comes in a non-boot version in 12 colorways for $100 if the chukka isn’t your thing.

Boat shoes (and their boot counterparts) may not be for everyone, but I can say that I would gladly wear these Heritage Boat Chukkas all the time. If you are someone who is on their feet a lot, I cannot recommend these enough. The comfort alone makes them worth the price and the quality, details, and styling are just major bonuses.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

Disclosure: I work for Nautica, which shares a parent company with Timberland. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

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