Grant Stone Edward Maduro: Cigar Showdown?
The Grant Stone Edward in Maduro shell offers a well built shell cordovan option at (comparatively) affordable price point
Why Stay Away?
The Grant Stone Edward in Maduro shell is not cheap, and took a bit of do-it-yourself finishing to get it ready to wear
|Materials||Shell Upper / Rubber Outsole|
|Weight||946 g / 2 lb 1.4 oz|
|Country of Origin||China|
For such a young company, Grant Stone has made quite a name for themselves. In fact, if you’re into nicer footwear, you almost certainly own a pair of shoes that are older than they are. Founded in 2016, Grant Stone went from making a small number of models – mostly focused on loafers and bluchers – to offering 12 different make ups in countless leathers in just about 5 years. One of their most famous might just be this, the Grant Stone Edward.
The bread and butter of Grant Stone has always been their value proposition. Either undercutting similarly designed shoes, or outbuilding similarly priced shoes. They’ve become one of the go-to answers on forums for people asking for a good value buy.
That being said, a funny thing happened when I opened these boots. As I took them out, my wife asked “don’t you already own a pair of Indys?” At first blush, that might be considered a pretty great statement for a value-focused brand. Having someone confuse your boots for something as well loved as the Indy seems like an affirmation of their work. However, while the Alden Indy I own costs $595 dollars, this pair of boots actually costs $695.
Setting materials aside for a moment (I know, I know, shell is expensive), it still raises an interesting question. When they no longer win on price, can the Grant Stone Edward compete with the well-established brands? Let’s dive in and find out.
The upper of the Grand Stone Edward boots are made up almost exclusively of Grant Stone’s Maduro Shell. This material is actually called “Dark Cognac” by Horween, so where does the Maduro name come from? Grant Stone says that “In the cigar world, Maduro refers to a wrapper leave, the darkest of all the numerous shades of brown.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that is a jab at a certain suspiciously close shell color that is artificially limited by one of their competitors.
It is a fairly bewitching color though. A fairly typical medium brown when viewed indoors, it pops into life with hues of red and olive when you get it into the sunlight. The shell itself is well selected, with no noticeable defects.
As for the style of the upper, there isn’t much to it. A plain toe up front, with mirrored plain panels in the back. Really, the only detail, if you can call them that, are the brass eyelets and speed hooks. Even the brown laces match the upper.
One thing I did notice on this pair, though, is the heel has a much more defined curve compared to other Grant Stone boots I’ve seen. A+ Change.
Other than a small bit of frayed stitching on one boot, the only real complaint is the wax/bloom along the edges where the panels meet. Along every edge of the boot, a substantial white buildup could be found. I was able to get it all off with a q-tip, water, and 10 minutes, but it would have been nice to have them arrive cleaned up.
Inside, the boots are lined with a typical cowhide lining. A Grant Stone branded heel pad sits on top of the natural-colored insole.
Mid- and Outsole:
Keeping up the mono-tone feel, the welt and midsole of these Grant Stone Edward boots also come in a medium brown. Maybe you can find a bit more red in it if you really look close.
The stitching on the welt, again dyed brown, is impeccable. In fact, on one of the boots, you’ll be hard pressed to find the welt joint at all. Any time a brand like Viberg or Nick’s tells you that it’s only “fancy” shoes like Edward Green that have clean welt stitching, point them here.
The heel of this boot is surprisingly low. At just over a half inch from the outsole rubber to the bottom of the heel, it is the lowest of any full height boot reviewed on this website. This helps the boot fit the dressier vibe that the Edward goes for, but some may prefer something higher.
Flipping the shoe over, Grant Stone’s self-branded studded rubber outsole in black runs the length of the boot.
The Grant Stone Edward boot in Maduro shell offers a dressy take on the service boot design. Finishing overall is excellent, with the one exception of needing to clean off excess wax. If you’re trying to style this boot, you’ll definitely want to err closer to business casual. Something like an oxford cloth button down will match the design better than a t shirt.
Fit & Comfort:
While they have toned it down recently, when Grant Stone first launched, they did not hide the fact they were gunning for Alden. The fit of these boots shows that. While the heel on this Leo-lasted Grant Stone Edward is slightly tighter, and the toe is slightly roomier, these are basically on the Barrie last from Alden.
That isn’t a bad thing. First, the Barrie last is a fairly accommodating as far as dressy lasts go. Second, it’s very easy to find comparisons to the Barrie last so finding a point of reference for fit should be simple.
For me, I take the Leo in my true size. They are ever-so-slightly looser than I would like, so if you are right on the edge of sizing, it probably makes sense to go down.
One important point, you’ll often find that people recommend going down with this last, but I would urge caution before doing this without thought. It’s designed with a lot of space in front of your toes. Matching the widest part of your foot with the widest part of the boot is the most important part.
On this size 12 pair, there is a full 5.5 inches from the widest part of the boot to the end of the toe box. Since nobody has 5 inch long toes, going by toe space means you’re almost certainly not lining up the widest part.
As mentioned, I bought these boots in a size 12, and that is the correct size. For reference, I also take a size 12 in Alden’s Barrie and Trubalance, and Allen Edmonds 5 last. I typically wear a size 13 in Nikes.
If you get your sizing wrong, Grant Stone does offer free exchanges for different sizes, though returns are subject to a $10 restocking fee.
For a list of sizing for all the shoes reviewed on 100wears, click here.
If you’re looking for a quick answer, the Grant Stone Edward in Maduro is a comfortable boot. The accommodating last plays a big part here. With room to flex your toes, you don’t get the pinch points in these that you often find in other dressier boots. The Leo also has a medium-height arch, which should be about right for most people.
Further, the Grant Stone branded outsole is much softer than a comparable Dainite-branded outsole. Personally, I’ve never found Dainite to be uncomfortable, but I might be in the minority judging by what folks say on the forums. I would bet most people would consider this outsole a step up, even if that softness means faster wear down the line.
Of course, shell cordovan is a tougher leather, and isn’t nearly a stretchy as something like chromexcel. Generally, a shell boot will be less comfortable out of the box, and will take longer to break in. Of course, if that is a problem, they do offer this boot in other leather options. Hard to fault the boot too much for a choice the buyer made.
I should also mention the low heel compared to most boots in the same class. It isn’t a good or bad thing, different people will have different preferences, but just something to be aware of if you prefer a higher heel.
Materials & Construction:
As I’ve mentioned multiple times, the star of the Grant Stone Edward in Maduro is that shell cordovan. Coming from a layer just under the skin of a horse’s behind, shell doesn’t act like typical leather.
First, it will roll instead of crease. While not “better” than the way other leather creases, it gives a different look that is especially cherished by those who might already have a few pairs of cow leather shoes. Second, it is notoriously tough. At least, when it isn’t being stretched on the last. Finally, it is exceedingly expensive, costing multiple times the cost of high-quality leathers.
Moving down, underfoot you have more leather slabs – both in the insole and midsole – though these are more typical cowhide. These, combined with a cork layer, should do a great job at conforming to the shape of your feet over time. Inside the cork, Grant Stone uses a steel shank.
Finishing it off, the rubber compound of the outsole feels like it leans towards the comfort end of the comfort/durability spectrum. Something closer to the rubber compound in most commando-style outsoles.
The Grant Stone Edward is made of a 360 degree goodyear welt construction. If you’d like a more in-depth article on what that exactly means, click here. If you’re looking for the cliff notes version, the upper is attached to a piece of leather known as a welt. That welt is then sewn to the outsole.
Goodyear welt is typically considered the best type of construction for all around use. It is also the easiest to resole, with any local cobbler having the tools to do so.
Ease of Care:
When it comes to keeping the Grant Stone Edward in Maduro in good shape, it’s important to know that shell is a bit different to maintain than most leathers. First, you’ll want to use a lot less product than you might on a cowhide pair of boots. More often than not, the only thing shell needs is a lot of brushing with a horse hair brush. And, I mean a lot. Most say that it takes around 20 to 30 mins of brushing per boot before the finish stops improving.
Unless you’re really putting the boot through the ringer, you’ll probably only want to use a conditioner on them maybe once or twice a year. When you do condition, be sure to use an incredibly small amount. Then, of course, brush them until your elbow falls off.
While I typically suggest something like Bick 4 for its affordability, with shell I recommend going with Saphir. You use so little that the small bottle can last you a decade, even with multiple pairs of shell shoes and boots, and the difference is more noticeable on this leather.
You’ll also want to be sure to use shoe trees in the boots when you’re not wearing them.
For longer term maintenance, Grant Stone does not offer resoles directly. Instead, you’ll want to use a local cobbler. Additionally, if the shell itself starts to get a bit worn, a deer bone (yes, actual bone) can smooth out some of the creases and get it looking nearly new again.
Pricing & Value:
No need to build up to this one, it’s already in the introduction. The Grant Stone Edward in Maduro Shell costs $695. This is the price you should expect to pay as well. While Grant Stone does run one sale a year, the shell stuff tends to go almost immediately, so don’t expect it to be available during the sale. At time of writing they only have one single pair in a size 10 D.
When looking for competitors, it’s important to consider just how important shell is to you. Most other shell boots are going to be more expensive. Sticking with this color, Carmina’s offering is $990, and Viberg is $1,140. With that price difference, it isn’t really fair to say these boots compete.
If you want to stick in the same price point and are willing to sacrifice the shell, you’re right around the aforementioned Indys at $595 and Viberg’s chromexcel option at $760. Of course, if you don’t care about shell, you can get the Grant Stone Edward for as low as $295. Knowing that, again it’s hard to say they are competing.
When it comes to the Grant Stone Edward in Maduro, it’s important to remember that value does not always equal cheap price. Which is good for these boots, because they are certainly not cheap. However, compared to the other brands there is very little that you are giving up. Other than a bit of frayed stitching, and some clean up on arrival, there isn’t anything to complain about.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Grant Stone review if I didn’t mention China. Unlike everything else they were compared to in this review, Grant Stone manufactures all their footwear – including their most expensive shell pairs – at the same factory in China. Country of origin matters to some, not to others. It’s up to the buyer to determine what, if any, impact this has on their value proposition.
For what it’s worth, Grant Stone doesn’t try to hide it. On their “story” page, “Xiamen, China” are the 9th and 10th words on the page. They leave it up to the consumer to decide if it matters.
The Grant Stone Edward in Maduro shell does what Grant Stone has always intended to do – offers an option that provides great value. While shell doesn’t allow the same delta as their other offerings (which can often be half as much as other brands) you can still see these as saving $200 or more for a comparable boot.
These, or their more affordable brethren, should definitely be on your radar.
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