This drop is live again right now with 8 days left. I was one of the guys who joined the very first drop last year so I thought I’d do a quick write-up of my experience with them. For those who don’t know what Massdrop is, it is basically a group buy/made-to-order type setup. A drop appears for a limited time and the more people join, the cheaper it becomes. Usually the orders don’t start getting made until the drop finishes, so the trade-off for a lower price is that you can sometimes wait for weeks to months for your goods to arrive.
Anyway, the shoes. I received my order in early January (I think the drop ended in October so it was a decent wait, longer I think because I am in Australia), and my first impression was the richness of colour and softness of the suede. I had been tossing up between the chocolate brown and the snuff, but the drop ended at like 4 am or something and I was too lazy to set an alarm so by the time I woke up, all the limited run chocolate browns were gone so that made my decision for me (FYI the chocolate browns are available at the time of writing). The suede comes from Charles F. Stead & Co, which is a super-famous tannery in England well known for their suede. I’m telling you, it is buttery soft, there is no other way to describe it. My initial thought was that it would be really delicate but this is actually full-grain reverse suede so you can see the grain on the inside of the shoe. The leather is unlined so it is very floppy and has not much structure apart from the toe. The QA seems to be good, the stitching is straight, the heel isn’t slightly eschewed like on my Chippewa boots, and so far they are holding up nicely.
The chukka is built on Allen Edmond’s 511 last, which is a little bit shapely to be dressy but not so much that it can’t be paired with jeans or chinos. I have worn mine with chinos, flannels, cords, jeans, basically everything except a suit and that’s just because I don’t usually wear one. Size-wise I am a brannock size 9D and it fits true to size. For comparison I wear a 8.5D in Alden’s Barrie last and width-wise I find the Aldens to be slightly tighter. This may just be due to the lacing configuration or the stiffer lined leather though.
I’ve been used to breaking in full-grain leather shoes, but out of the box these chukkas have been super-comfortable and has only become more comfy as the time went on. My only gripe is the single sole is not as supportive as some of my chunkier double-soled shoes, but then the thinner sole adds to the dressier aesthetic of the shoe. I have more than 15 pairs of shoes and I would say these get worn more than any other shoe I own. You can see what my chukkas look like now from the picture below (took this last week). These are also extremely low maintenance. You definitely don’t need to baby these or keep them out of the rain. More on suede care here.
Needless to say I love ’em and think they are probably the best value for money new shoes on the market at the moment at $240 US. I am seriously contemplating getting the chocolate brown ones as well since they are arguably even more versatile than the snuff and the only thing stopping me is the opportunity cost…
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Massdrop or Allen Edmonds. I just love these chukkas.