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In Review: The Jack Threads “Kimbo” Chelsea Boot

Jack Threads Kimbo Chelsea – $69.99 ($99)

Hat Tip to Sean D. for the tip on these boots, as well as passing along the Forbes article referenced below.

Gotta hand it to Jack Threads. They’re trying. And compared to where they were at, say, a year or two ago, they’ve made some seriously good strides.

And where were they back then? They were just another flash sale site. They leaned more hip and trendy than most, but like many other flash sale sites, most of their sales felt like goofy misfit leftovers, harvested from more mainstream retailers and then fed to new customers wrapped in a faux-feeling of exclusive access due to having to log in to see the stuff.

BUT… they realized that wasn’t working, and have since tried hard to change it. Now Jack Threads feels more like a one stop shop for that same, trendy/modern crowd. Less of a flash sale site and more of a regular shopping destination. And the introduction of their own house line of goods, available at affordable prices, is probably the highlight of this new shift.

Nice overall shape from above. Not a clunky, classically styled work boot.

This “Kimbo” chelsea looks, feels, and acts like a less fortunate man’s J. Crew Kenton Chelsea. They’re not super clunky or anything, but the lug sole is more pronounced than someone shopping for a sleek Chelsea is probably gonna like. That said, if you lean more casual in your tastes, and live in an area that sees a lot of crappy weather, that elevated tread might be plenty welcome.

Like the J. Crew Kenton, these things are made in China, and also appear to have a stitched sole. Can’t imagine it’s a Goodyear welt at this price (heck, it could just be for looks), and even if it is, the leather uppers aren’t nice enough that you’d want to save em’ for future re-soleings. But those uppers are fine enough, especially considering the price.

Some will like the extra tread. Some will think it just doesn’t look quite right on a Chelsea.

They should look just fine with jeans, an OCBD, and a sweater, but a sportcoat/blazer might be pushing it depending on how dressed up the jacket is. It’s that lug sole that sorta keeps em’ on the casual end. Rumpled cotton chino or moleskin? Sure. But wearing a smooth, wool sportcoat with these things could end up looking like you’ve slapped BF Goodrich all terrain TAs on an Audi A5 (yes, an A5… if they had laces they’d be an A4).

Fit seems true. A 10.5D fit like a 10.5D, comfortably, right out of the box. Ships and returns for free, and with their “try out” program you don’t pay anything up front. There’s no charge for that first week. But…

Leather is fine for a cheap boot. Toes might have a very slight chisel.

Look, maybe I’m a negative, pessimistic, side-eye giving jack-wagon (all true), but I’d hold off on being overly enthusiastic about how kind this “try out” thing appears to be. Retailers want to get their goods into your hands and in your home ASAP. That’s the first hurdle. And by floating the cost of an item for a week, they get to throw the word “free” around. And doing that just might help some customers get over the hump. It reduces the “cost” in our minds and increases the incentive, because we’re not immediately being charged for the good. That extra bit of distance between “click” and charge? That just might help move more stuff. Behavioral economics can be funny like that.

Yes, you can avoid the charge all together by sending it back within a week if you don’t like it, but if you usually use a credit card, and pay your balance in full at the end of the month, then it’s really no different than free shipping and free returns. You can’t take an item for a spin out on the town (and nor should you ya’ cheapskate), and the onus is still very much on you to get it shipped back in time. They do include a pre-paid shipping label with each box though, and the returns process is nice and easy.

Noticeable tread from the side.

Where were we? Oh yeah. Nice boots for the price. Wish the sole was slim/with less of a pronounced tread, but more than a few will like this hybrid of a sleeker chelsea upper with the tread of a lug sole.

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