Oak Street Bootmakers has been in the race only since 2009 yet gives tough competition to brands like Viberg. What started as a Windy City craftsmanship is now making hand-sewn moccasins and boots that can break the bank.
As a part of this Oak Street Bootmakers review, I went on for their three best models. Spoiler alert, I love the Trench Boot with a brown Chromexcel finish. It is so comfortable, thanks to leather soles and an ergonomic design. Though my pair has some loose threads after four weeks or so, it’s not a dealbreaker.
1. Camp Moc BROWN CHROMEXCEL
Type of Sole
Unlike Trench Boot and 5504 Chelsea Boot, this Camp Moc features a camp sole. Camp soles are better than leather and studded soles due to their featherweight footprint and comfortable nature. Hence, you’re guaranteed to feel a sense of relief wearing this pair.
However, the lighter weight doesn’t at all translate to anything fragile. Oak Street Bootmakers used a molded Brazilian rubber that is known for its long lifespan. So, these soles are on par with leather and Dainite studded ones in terms of longevity.
This pair of Camp Moc features a related material choice as compared to the rest on the list. So, you can expect a somewhat similar experience. All three pairs have Horween Chromexcel as their core material, which has a rich pull-up in full aniline. And a hand-rubbed finish makes sure scratches are less visible.
For comfort, Oak Street Bootmakers opted for a more classic New England style moccasin last. I’m talking about the 555 last that can shape to provide unparalleled comfort no matter your foot type.
While the 5504 last used on the Chelsea boot has a round yet narrow toe, 555 last has toes of medium width. As a result, you’ll experience more comfort and less fatigue during a day-long trip or date.
Oak Street Bootmakers left nothing to complain about quality control. This pair of Camp Moc can hold up great, as you won’t notice any wheeling with the stitches. Plus, there won’t be any loose grains or loose threads to bother you either.
Though the same goes for the Chelsea boots, the Trench boots might show signs of loose threads a few weeks down the line. So, Camp Moc has a slight edge.
Size and Fit
The Chelsea and Trench boots offer 9 and 7 options, respectively, whereas the Camp Moc only offers three. Even that varies only along the length while the width remains the same. Thus, fitting is a bit of a downside on the Camp Moc.
2. Trench Boot NATURAL CHROMEXCEL
Type of Sole
This pair of Trench Boot is my personal favorite as it has a leather sole for added comfort and ruggedness. Moreover, there’s this unique oil treatment that offers better flexibility. It also makes this pair highly resistant to water, making it your perfect companion during the monsoon.
Anyhow, the toughness of leather soles comes at a cost. The Trench boot is way heavier as opposed to the Camp Moc, a usual difference between leather and camp sole.
As you already know, Oak Street Bookmakers never compromise on leather. That famous Horween Chromexcel finish applies to this pair as well, providing you with an excellent hand-rubbed finish. Not to mention how rich the pull-up is in aniline.
This time they call it Natural Chromexcel, as it’s a combo of vegetable and chrome tanning that provides comfort and durability at the same time. Another thing that adds up to the overall durable nature is the 2mm thickness of the leather.
Unless you love shoes with narrow toes, this pair is your go-to everyday boot. The toe box in this pair is generous enough to give you a comfortable experience throughout the day. Also, the use of Elston last made these shoes compatible with feet of all types. Unfortunately, you won’t get such comfort on the Chelsea Boot.
The durability of these Trench boots is nothing out of this world. In fact, it loses to the other two in terms of thread quality though that’s too nitpicking.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as bad either since it has partly lining with calfskin near the toe box and triple stitches along the counter. So, it clearly doesn’t try too hard but still manages to get a good score in terms of longevity.
Size and Fit
Though fitting is somewhat a hit and miss on the Camp Moc, there’s no such issue on the Trench Boot. You get to choose from 7 different size options from 6.5 to 13 according to US measurements. So, there’s that. Meanwhile, if you’re someone who loves options, you can’t go wrong with the Chelsea Boot and its 9 sizes.
3. 5504 Chelsea Boot BROWN CHROMEXCEL
Type of Sole
The 5504 Chelsea boot features a Dainite rubber-studded sole reinforced with aluminum silicate. That allows for a timeless fashion with a top-of-the-line grip and low dirt attraction. Hence, it is ideal for all weather conditions.
On the contrary, Dainite soles aren’t nearly as soft as leather despite beating oak. Unless you can compromise on comfort in exchange for grip and weatherproofing, the Camp Moc will be better. Even the Trench boot has a higher score in comfort.
Needless to say, it has a Horween Chromexcel construction. By now, it might seem like I’m exaggerating. But the Chromexcel leather does live up to the hype. You get the same look and feel from the Camp Moc, the same rich pull-up in aniline, and the same durability. Though this material has a subtle finish, it handles scratches better than a mirror-like one.
As the name goes, this pair has 5504 last as its shaper. Unlike 555 or Elston, 5504 last is more on the narrower side for the toes. Despite a round shape, it can’t match the level of comfort its counterparts are offering. Still, you can’t overlook the sharply-contoured vamp, paired with a flat heel if you’ve got that taste.
When it comes to durability, the 5504 Chelsea boot can beat both Camp Moc and Trench boot. That is because it has a durable Dainite sole that can withstand extreme weather conditions.
Besides, the sole has triple stitches all around while being double stitched near the counter. And you won’t have any complaints regarding wheeling, loose grain, or loose threads either.
Size and Fit
I think fitting is the biggest highlight of this pair of boots. There are three color options with 9 size variants, whereas Camp Moc is offering only 3. Even the Trench boot doesn’t have as many options. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the fitting, no matter the size of your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do the Oak Street Bootmakers shoes allow recrafting?
Ans: Yes, they do. Recrafting is a bonus on all Oak Street Bootmakers’ shoes. If the soles on any of these three pairs somehow get damaged, you can easily swap them with new soles.
Q: How do I pick the perfect size from Oak Street Bootmakers?
Ans: Go for ½ size smaller of your actual measurement obtained from the Brannock device. That way, you can get a snug fit. Choose the same size, however, if you prefer a looser fit. Either way, the fit will be snug while new and loosen up a bit after a few wears.
That’s about all regarding my Oak Street Bootmakers review. Here’s one last tip if you do end up buying these boots. Always clean the shoes with a damp cotton cloth before applying any shoe cream like Meltonian. It will make them look brand-spanking new for longer.