Grant Stone, Initial Impressions, Service Boots, Stitched Footwear

Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu: Casual Cap Toe

Price: $370

Why Buy?

The Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu is comfortable, well built, and the perfect mix of casual and formal in a post-pandemic world.

Why Avoid?

The Grant Stone Forest Kudu Cap Toe isn’t really formal and isn’t really casual – if you’re looking for something to wear with a suit or on a job site, this isn’t it.


ModelCap Toe
Size12 D
Weight968 g / 2 lb 2.1 oz
MaterialsKudu / Leather / Rubber
ConstructionGoodyear Welt
Country of OriginChina


Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu
Grant Stone Cape Toe in Forest Kudu

The basic history of Grant Stone is a story worth telling – though we’ve told it here before. Instead, I’d like to talk a little bit about how Grant Stone is different today than it was in the past.

What’s changed since the founding? Well, Grant Stone has clearly started to go out of their comfort zone a bit. From originally focusing exclusively on conservative patterns – Wingtips and Bluchers, mostly – to making things like Ostrich boots and Field boots, it’s clear they want to try and spread their wings

What started this transition? Well, I think it might be this very pair of boots we are reviewing today – the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu. Sure, it’s still a very classic pattern, but it’s freaking green and made of actual kudu.


This is the boot that showed it was OK for Grant Stone to try something new. That the customers supported their efforts. Where they could have a bit of fun and didn’t need to wear a tie in their blog posts anymore.

Of course, all that sounds great for Grant Stone, but what about you? Is this boot a transitional relic that is trying to do too much, or is it a boot that perfectly threads the needle? Let’s dive in and find out.



Kudu Leather
Kudu Leather

When it comes to the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu, you need to start with the leather. Perhaps most importantly, this is real kudu. Where some manufacturers use “kudu” to describe their oiled calf leather – a description I’ll never understand – Grant Stone uses it to describe leather that comes from, well, a kudu.

This type of leather is quite a bit different from cow leather. Perhaps most importantly, it is not going to be a plain, smooth finish. This is from a wild animal and it shows. Scars, stretchmarks, and color variation are to be expected. Indeed, it’s what makes this leather special.

Next, this leather is incredibly textured. Not just from the natural creases – though that is noticeable as well – but all over. When wearing it, you almost want to treat it like suede or rough out when thinking of what to pair it with.


Finally, this leather patinas like crazy. Being slightly oily to the touch, even just brushing along something can leave a white spot as oils are removed from the service. It picks up marks and scars and wears them like a badge of honor. 

It’s decidedly casual, and a great pick for this boot for reasons I’ll get into later.


Kudu Scuffs
A beautiful forest green – notice the oils coming through on the toe after a brief scuff

In contrast to the leather, the upper on the Grant Stone Forest Kudu Cap Toe is decidedly formal. At least, as formal as you can get in a service boot pattern. On the back of the boot, there is no unnecessary stitching or decoration. You get a single piece back stay/support, a single line of stitching on either side of the laces, and a double line where the shaft meets the vamp. And you only get two there because you want it for extra durability. Nothing too showy.

The only non-functional addition on the upper is the cap toe, but this is added on in a way more similar to your business-focused oxfords than anything else. Single layered, only the stitching needed to ensure it will stay in place long-term. Finishing off the more formal design is the smaller eyelets and matching hooks.

All of the stitching matches the formality of the rest of the upper – clean and even, both inside and out. The fully lined interior will make sure that everything keeps it shape, and I need to highlight the curve around the heel. A lot of makers will get a great boot and then leave the back straight up and down like a 1980’s Nike basketball sneaker. You don’t need to worry about that here.


Mid- and Outsole

Leather Heel Caps
Leather Heel Caps

When you take a look at the bottom half of the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu, it’s all classic Grant Stone. This pair features their storm welt on a 360* construction. It isn’t dainty, though this pair does appear to be sanded down a bit closer than some of their more “work boot” designs. Not a bad thing, in my opinion.

The leather on the welt and midsole is dyed a natural color – which works really, really well with the Forest Green upper. It makes me think of my favorite color scheme for a sports car – British Racing Green over Tan. Maybe it’s just that I’ve had posters of cars with this make up since I was a kid, but to me, it’s perfect.

Studded Rubber Outsole
Studded Rubber Outsole

Contrasting with the natural leather is the black rubber outsole and heel cap. This is Grant Stone’s proprietary pattern, and the little nubs are much shallower than competing brands, adding to the more formal look.

One thing you should be aware of is that the heel on this boot is much lower than other brands. I think this works well with the more formal upper, but it is definitely more dress-shoe than work boot in its heel height.


British Racing Green Boot
British Racing Green and Tan!

Ever since COVID threw fashion for a loop, I’ve found that the old rules don’t apply. A smooth brown leather – while undeniably classic – has started to feel a bit formal. Even in a boot.


At the same time, we all went a bit too hard into the athleisure thing. I like my Apres pants and sneakers as much as the next guy, but you can’t get away with that today like you could in 2020.

This new world is where the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu shines. The leather is clearly casual. The marks and scars are obvious. And it’s green. Nobody is mistaking this for your Allen Edmonds Park Ave in Calf. At the same time, the formal pattern shows you put thought into your outfit. You didn’t just leave on the boots you had lying around while doing house work.

Grant Stone Outsole
Studded Outsole

This sort of dressy but casual mash up is really easy to mess up for a shoe maker. Grant Stone nailed it with this pair.

I’ve found that this sort of blend of casual and formal calls for the same in the rest of your outfit. While you can wear them with denim or pressed cotton trousers, I found that khaki-colored chinos are the perfect fit. Up top, anything from a polo or rugby up to an oxford looks great.

If you want something more formal, Grant Stone makes the Cap Toe in Brown Chromexcel. They even have a calf version if want to wear with tailored clothes. If you want something more casual, Grant Stone makes the Diesel with a Lugged Sole in this same leather (though in a burgundy).


Fit & Comfort


Size 12 D
Size 12D

As I’ve mentioned previously, the Leo last that these are built on is very similar to the Alden Barrie. That isn’t a bad thing. Not only is the Barrie a good-looking design, it’s also incredibly easy to find sizing advice online for it.

There are a few changes you should be aware of, however. The Leo last is slightly tighter in the heel and slightly wider at the ball of the foot. I find that this does a better job at holding my foot in place than the Barrie, though everyone’s foot is going to be unique.

The boot is available in three different widths, D, E, and EEE. The last is naturally wide, so if you’re in between sizes my advice would be to go with the narrower option.

One thing it does share with the Barrie is its large size. While I take it in my typical size 12D, similar to almost every pair of stitched footwear I own, I like a bit of space to wear thicker socks in my boots. If you prefer thinner socks or a tighter fit, you might want to consider sizing down a half size from your typical dress shoe size.

If you’re not sure what size fits you, Grant Stone is great at giving advice if you email them. Get the sizing wrong? While returns have a restocking fee, size exchanges are free.




The Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Green Kudu are a comfortable pair of boots. Underfoot, it’s all classic Grant Stone. Moderate arch support that fits well with this tyle of boot, and a comfortable foot bed that will take the shape of your foot with wear.

The outsole material that Grant Stone selects is on the softer side, which does a good job of absorbing some shock from walking. It also does a great job of forming to your foot. Even after just a few wears, these have a better foot-shape than my Tassel Loafers from the same brand after 100.

Where the wild card comes in is that kudu leather. Kudu, like other deer-leather, has a soft, almost fluffy, feel to it. Putting these boots on is almost similar to a padded sneaker instead of a typical leather boot. It’s really something you need to try at one point.

These all combine to a boot I wouldn’t hesitate to wear for a full day at the office or on vacation.

Materials & Construction


Clean stitching
Cleeean stitching

When it comes to the materials of the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu, there is really nothing to complain about.

We already talked about the upper, but in case a google search brought you to this specific section, the upper leather is entirely made of kudu from C.F. Stead tannery. Kudu, if you didn’t know, is a species of antelope native to Africa. It’s a softer, thicker leather and feels great here. The lining is kip leather, which is thick and feels great. Tucked between the kudu and the kip, the heel counter is a full grain leather.

The eyelets are solid brass, and the laces are waxed cotton.

Shade and Sun
In the Shade and Sun

Underneath your foot, you’ll find a veg-tanned leather insole and midsole. The storm welt, also known as a split welt, is veg tanned as well. The outsole is rubber, and between that outsole and the midsole you’ll find a steel shank set into a cork layer to fill out the void from the goodyear welting.

Almost everything here is top spec, but I will note two things. First, Grant Stone opted for a softer compound for their outsole compared to the Dainite-branded sole you might be familiar with. Most people complain that the Dainite outsoles are not comfortable, and this should fix that, but it does mean they will wear down a bit faster.

Second, the metal shank will set off metal detectors. I know that for many this won’t be an issue, and the metal shank is more durable, but I go through them pretty much every single day. If you’re in a similar situation, you will need to plan time to take your shoes off in line if these will be your daily drivers.


Clean Welt
Cleeeean Welt

Grant Stone makes all of their footwear using Goodyear welting, and this Cap Toe in Forest Kudu is no exception.

If you want a more complete explanation of what Goodyear welting is, click here. The short version is that when making footwear this way, a piece of leather – known as a welt – is attached along the edge of the upper. The outsole is then sewn to the welt, rather than the upper itself. This means that the part of the boot that gets worn out during resoles is the welt rather than the upper. If that welt gets damaged, you can replace it with a new one.

Most people consider Goodyear welting to be the best overall option for making quality footwear. It offers easy resoleability, above average weather resistance, and a classic design. There are some drawbacks, though. This style of construction can take a while to break in, and both costs more and is heavier than alternatives such as stitchdown or blake construction.

Ease of Care

Kudu Leather Care
Kudu leather needs a bit of special care

When it comes to taking care of the Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu, maintenance is going to be a bit different than what you might be used to. Deer hides, kudu included, dry out quicker than typical cow hides and are more absorbent when you condition them. That means it’s easier to both under condition and over condition this leather.

This is especially true if the boot gets wet. Deer leathers have larger pores and oils can escape more easily than you might be used to.

For kudu, as opposed to larger animals like elk, standard products work just fine. I find that Bick 4 does a great job for a reasonable price, though I will flag that Grant Stone recommends Venetian Leather Balm. No matter what you pick, it’s best to opt for thinner coats applied more often to make sure you don’t accidentally over condition.

Of course, you’ll want to keep shoe trees in your boots. Grant Stone makes a pair that will look great and match, or you can get something from Amazon.

As for resoling, the good part of this style of construction is that just about any local cobbler should be able to get a new sole on there. Grant Stone does not currently offer resoles on their products directly.

Pricing & Value


Grant Stone Leo
Grant Stone’s “Leo” Last

The Grant Stone Cap Toe Boot in Forest Kudu currently retails for a price of $370. This puts it in line with most other Grant Stone boot offerings, which is surprising given that this is likely a lower-volume option. You’d expect to pay a premium for it.

Finding a comparable boot (other than the options listed in the Summary section – the Chromexcel Cap Toe and Kudu Diesel) is pretty hard. If this make up is one you love, there really much else like it out there. Perhaps the closest would be the Alden Indy in Earth Chamois, though it’s significantly more expensive at nearly $700 and doesn’t nail that mix of formal and informal quite so well.

Viberg is another comparable option – and actually offers choices in real kudu. I’d also say the Vibergs do a great job of nailing that balance. Though, prices on those pairs can easily be multiples of the Grant Stones.

The only boot that I can think of in a similar price point – that is still in production – are the Meermin option in their Waxy Green commander. These come in at a price point less than the Grant Stones, though Meermin QC often leaves a lot to be desired. Getting the right size will also likely cost you some money in shipping back and forth (unless you live in NYC).


Grant Stone Cap Toe (Cloudy Day)

It is probably no surprise that I think these Grant Stone boots offer great value. Personally, the only two things I would cross shop these with – the Viberg and Alden listed above – are around twice the price.

There is no denying that they cost more than they did a few years ago. Inflation, supply chain issues, increased demand, and more product offerings will do that to a company. However, that doesn’t do anything to dampen what I said above. They still offer a comparable option to some of the more established brands for a much lower price.

Of course, there is the elephant in the room that exists with every Grant Stone review. They are made in China. If having a boot make in the US (or Canada, UK, etc.) is something that is a must-have for you, these won’t work. However, as I’ve noted before, Grant Stone handles this very differently than just about every other brand.

While Dominican Republic-made Allen Edmonds say “Handcrafted in Port Washington” on the box, and Meermin’s Chinese-made footwear features “Mallorca” on their outsole, Grant Stone makes it clear online, and on their footwear, where they are made. They inform the consumer and let the consumer make a choice.

Wrap Up

Grant Stone Cap Toe
Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu

The Grant Stone Cap Toe in Forest Kudu is a boot that fits perfectly in today’s world. It’s a goldilocks boot that isn’t too formal and isn’t too casual. And, like all Grant Stone products, it’s well made with high quality materials.

If you’re on the fence about it, I’d seriously consider picking up a pair to try out. The pictures online – mine included – really don’t do justice to this awesome boot.