Eastland, Frye, Woolrich, & Chippewa

From left to right:

  • Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot in Dark Brown (size 13). USA. $425. Purchase.
  • Frye Logan Cap Toe Boot in Cognac (size 12). USA. $428. Purchase.
  • Woolrich Yankee in Buckskin (size 13). USA. $300. Purchase.
  • Chippewa 6″ Homestead Boot in Copper Caprice (size 12). USA. $267. Purchase.
  • Bonobos Premium Denim, Flatiron Dark Rinse, Slim Straight Jeans. USA. $145. Purchase.

Welcome to the second Lithic Goods Boot Shoot! After the immense interest in the first Boot Shoot (feat. Alden, Oak Street, Red Wing, Wolverine, and Timberland) and numerous suggestions from readers for future reviews, I couldn’t help but continue down this path. A path that runs through old industry USA, including four solid American brands: Eastland, Frye, Woolrich, and Chippewa. Eastland and Chippewa have been on my list for a while, but I believe the Frye Logan was just released for F/W 2014. While these three brands are well known in the shoe business, the Yankee is part of Woolrich’s debut line of boots, expanding their Made in the USA product offering. These boots were all chosen for their Blake/Rapid or Goodyear Welt construction and cap toe style (although obviously the Woolrich Yankee doesn’t quite match, it is the closest they make and I was curious about their new adventure).
I’m partial to the following: a true goodyear welt for resoling and longevity, cap toes to aesthetically break the length of the shoe (I wear a size 13, but for those that run a size large I ordered down as noted), a method for speedily donning the boots, clean edges (as opposed to broguing), a sole with traction since these are for NYC winter, leather lining for boot longevity & comfort, and made in the USA. Read on for a breakdown of each boot.


Eastland Monroe Cap Toe in Dark Brown

Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot Dark Brown by Blind Bully

Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot in Dark Brown (size 13). USA. $425. Purchase.

The Eastland Monroe’s fit is true to size in length and width, so order in the same size as your dress shoe (size 13 for me as shown here).

The boots are aesthetically my style, very clean and well made with speed hooks at the top and a functional pull loop that doesn’t cause heel discomfort on the inside and disappears into the pant leg on the outside. The Horween leather is excellent; thick, uniform and smooth with a beautiful finish. It holds it’s shape, but isn’t stiff and will break in fast. Four rows of stitching is probably excessive, but it’s not contrast stitching, so it doesn’t catch your eye and almost matches the width of the broguing on the toe. The broguing is minimal, but the cap toes are a good size and the edges of all the leather are cut clean. The tongue is a thinner piece of leather, but still has structure and is gusseted up to the fourth eyelet for snow, rain, and puddles. The eyelets are bronze, except for the closely-matched, patinaed, stamped steel speed hooks. I prefer flat, waxed laces, but these leather laces are about as good as leather laces can be: strong and cleanly cut in the traditional color.

The Monroe is constructed with a Blake Rapid stitch resulting in a stacked leather sole and heel complete with a rubber half sole and heel cap. This is a good waterproof sole for a winter city boot as it combines traction for the elements with a refined low profile look for fair weather days. These boots go one step further and burnish the edges of the outsole smooth as is normally done on dress shoes to achieve a very polished look. The leather ¾ length insole unfortunately uses a foam rubber backing rather than cork that would have superior molding and durability. Also note that the Blake Stitch isn’t covered in the toe box, and thus I can feel it through thin socks. This hasn’t been an issue, though I could see it offending some peoples feet, and it would have been cleaner if Eastland added a sock liner (or constructed with a Goodyear welt).

Bottom Line
Expensive for a pair of boots that are made with Blake/Rapid construction and only lined with leather inside the cap toe. That said, Eastland’s attention to exterior detail and high quality materials make them my favorite of this group.
UPDATE [12.30.2014] These boots have packed out and are now a bit large for my low volume foot. This results in a bit of an unsightly bulge at the base of the laces above my toes. Scroll down to the bottom of the Eastland series to see a photo of the bulge. Given this occurrence I recommend only buying these boots if you have a larger volume foot.

Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot Dark Brown

Worn Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot Dark Brown


Frye Logan in Cognac

Frye Logan Cap Toe Boot Cognac by Blind Bully

Frye Logan Cap Toe Boot in Cognac (size 12). USA. $428. Purchase.

These fit like most boots, so order one size smaller. I wear a 13 dress shoe, but a 12 Frye boot. They’re a touch narrow. All boots have a leather smell, some more pleasing than others, but for whatever reason the Frye Logans have a particularly toxic odor that fills a room once you open the box.

The color and style of the Frye Logan’s are probably its greatest attributes. The boots are made from a mix of leathers: nice and smooth for the toe, vamp, and heel, but limp, soft and grainy for the main upper. They’re also the only boots in this review that are fully lined (except for the tongue). Oddly it feels like there is a plastic cup in the heel between the layers, but it still doesn’t capture my heel, so I have heel lift on every step. The super soft tongue sometimes gets bunched up, and doesn’t create a smooth, solid surface against the top of my foot. The tongue also isn’t gusseted, so any melting snow or rain on the laces will enter the boot. The laces are of poor quality, with bits of leather getting everywhere and they aren’t long enough to stay in the eyelets when untying, which means re-lacing every wear. Frye could learn a thing or two from Oakstreet about rawhide laces.

The rubber sole doesn’t have great snow traction, but is better than a leather sole and is both sewn and tacked on, which gives a feel of old school texas craft. This classic crafty feel quickly subsides when you notice the top layer of the outsole is a piece of plastic, over two thinner than usual pieces of leather. The insole is leather over foam, which is comfortable, but can’t make up for the slipping heel.

Bottom Line
While they look nice and have some solid features, I wouldn’t recommend these boots.

Frye Logan Cap Toe Boot Cognac


Woolrich Yankee in Buckskin

Woolrich Yankee Buckskin by Blind Bully

Woolrich Yankee in Buckskin (size 13). USA. $300. Purchase.

As with most boots, buy a size smaller than your Brannock size. These would fit me in size 12 rather than 13 (I was misinformed while ordering, so the 13s pictured here are a full size too large). I’ll update this post once I’ve swapped them out for a size 12.

The Horween leather is really high quality: smooth, well conditioned with a waxy feel and great color. Woolrich is known for their wool, so the tartan lining should wear well and be plenty toasty come winter. That said, the tongue isn’t gusseted to prevent snow from entering in between the laces and the upper so they might not be the greatest for truly snowy activity. The Yankee is well constructed with straight sewnlines, solid brass eyelets, and a nubuck heel pocket to add friction thereby preventing heel lift. The stitching on the toe is non-functional, as it doesn’t hold up the lining, but it’s fine stylistically to visibly break the toe.

The outsole is just about exactly what I’m looking for: thick stacked leather over vibram rubber commando soles. On the inside I prefer a leather footbed to wool for long term durability, but these are awfully comfortable new with a foam cushion under the wool (again cork would be preferable). The edges of the sole of the boot aren’t burnished which isn’t a big deal, but would be a nice detail.

Bottom Line
I need to have a pair that fits before I can really comment.


Chippewa 6″ Homestead in Copper Caprice

Chippewa Homestead Cap Toe Boot Copper Caprice by Blind Bully

Chippewa 6″ Homestead Boot in Copper Caprice (size 12). USA. $267. Purchase.

These fit one size down from your Brannock size, so I wear a size 12 rather than 13. They also run a little narrow. The Homestead is the only pair I’ve reviewed with a full wrap-around-the-heel welt, but I really like it and would like to see more like this.

The Chippewa Homestead has good construction for the sewn portion of the boot, but doesn’t use the greatest materials: the leather feels dry and limp and the grain shows creases from the hide. Some people like the look and feel of this leather, but I prefer to have a boot with a bit more structure. Additionally, the vamp lining appears to be the same cloth used in the Red Wing Iron Ranger, which won’t wear as well as a leather lining. It is a work boot though and thankfully the tongue is gusseted for weather protection and to keep scrap metal shavings from slipping into the boot. The waxed nylon laces should last a long time and, combined with stamped steel speed hooks, are quick to lace up. The heel is also well designed to prevent slip.

The front of both heels are separating from the rest of the sole, they might be glued on solidly further back, but I don’t like to see this from a brand new pair of shoes. The combination of the stiff rubber outsole with a thin vegetable tanned leather insole creates a hard footbed similar to the Red Wing Iron Ranger (RWIR), which I don’t find to be particularly comfortable when walking on hard surfaces. The shape of the outsole around the toe box appears altered by the cap toe resulting in a wavy footprint. The traction on the bottom of the sole is pretty minimal and probably not very useful in the winter compared to other soles, although it’d still be better than the RWIR sole.

Bottom Line
If you like the cap toe style & price range and don’t mind the hard footbed I’d recommend also trying on the Red Wing Iron Ranger. They are very comparable boots, with the 8111 RWIR using superior leather to this Copper Caprice and might have slightly higher construction quality (although I had a small insole issue with my pair). Or, if you like the aesthetic, the leather on the Tan Renegade boot with Cordovan cap toe might be better than the Copper Caprice. Personally I’d recommend going for a boot with a stacked leather + commando sole for superior comfort & aesthetic, unless you work in an oily machine shop, where this sole is meant to be used.

Chippewa Homestead Cap Toe Boot in Copper Caprice

30 thoughts on “Eastland, Frye, Woolrich, & Chippewa”

    1. Yeah, I wish I could have gotten them in time, but they weren’t available locally and I already had these boots. The review is probably still a week out as I’m on the road without my computer… looks like your timberlands just need a little tlc to bounce back. Check my post on cleaning Clark’s and Oliberte’s to see side by sides. Your boots would look great once you fixed them up, darker, but naturally worn.

      1. I was hoping to repair them but the stitching is failing and the leather separating. Along with needing a new sole. I may still give them a second life but couldn’t wait and I’ve ordered the 1000 mile boots. I’ll be putting some half soles on them as soon as they arrive. Any thoughts on a good subtle half sole? Should it be stitched or glued? I’m not sure if stitching is even an option.

        Also, love the blog. Any way to sign up for a newsletter or anything?


        1. Hi Derek,

          Adding half soles to the 1000 miles sounds like a good option, but I’m unsure of the best method, given they’re brand new–probably just glued on. Thanks for your interested in the newsletter, which I do have, but don’t currently have a link to. I’ll add a link in the next couple of days.

  1. Hi, thank you for the informative reviews. I actually just received my Logan cap toe in brown today before I saw your reviews. I don’t have any experience with leather and boots before. I live in Canada and there are a lot of snow and salt and temperature also gets under -10 C here. Do you think the Frye Logan will hold up for long? I really like the slim style and the look from the back but it wouldn’t be worth it if it couldn’t last. I am currently laying my eyes on the Eastland but I am not sure about the pull loop. Could you give me some recommendation on whether I should keep the Frye?

    1. Hi Dan,

      Obviously much of this is personal aesthetic preference. If we bought boots purely for utilitarian purposes we’d all be clomping around in Sorels when it’s -10°C outside. That said, we appear to be in the same camp and do consider aesthetics/style significantly when purchasing and I find these boots equally good looking in person. So, to answer your question, I believe the sole, gusseted tongue, and zero heel lift on the Eastland Monroe will provide superior performance than the Frye Logan in snow and ice. Given that they’re almost identically priced you may as well have a boot that’s right for the job…Best of luck, Jon

  2. Hello,

    I am very interested in the Frye Logan cap toe. However, I cant decide between the fryes, chippewa service (http://www.zappos.com/chippewa-service-boot-tan-renegade), or the copper rough iron rangers.

    If price didnt matter, which one would you chose?

    I dont like anything too bulbous because I am a pretty lean guy, I dont want to look like a clown.

    I chose these colors because they seem to be brown but with a hue that kind of pops. Almost orangey.

    1. My favorite color would be the timberland earthkeepers side zip burnished tan that we see online. However, they dont appear to be that light color in person…..

    2. Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for the post. I’d have to say that it depends what you’ll be doing with the boots. Nitrile cork soles are quite hard on your feet, so if you’ll be humping gear for miles then they’re probably not what you want and I’d recommend a “commando sole”. As for style, if you don’t want a cap toe for fear of the clown look (although I think the fear of the clown look is mostly a forum phenomenon), it sounds like the Chippewa Service Boot is the boot for you, given it’s the only non-cap toe mentioned. That said, the cap toes on the Homestead are a little smaller than on the Iron Ranger, so you might be more comfortable with their size. Wolverine’s feel larger in volume to me, so if you have a low volume foot I think you’re right to avoid them. And if price doesn’t matter I’d recommend a pair of Alden’s in the style of your choice in Natural Chromexcel Leather. A boot with that leather will patina really beautifully into a golden hue that I think you’ll like. Best of luck!

      1. Hello,

        I would totally go with alden however I only have credit as a gift to fry and zappos. Since the iron rangers are apparently too bulby, What do you think about the frye logan toe compared to the chippewa homestead? Color/potential patina, width, etc..?

  3. Apparently, all Eastland “Made In Maine” shoes/boots are made by Rancourt & Co. The Eastland Monroe is this: http://www.rancourtandcompany.com/men-s/blake-stitch/blake-boot-brown-chromexcel.html. That being said, the original Rancourt is less expensive in case your readers are interested (and customizable). I also like this boot and your review is helpful and really informative.
    I’m looking for my first pair of “nice” boots and came across your website. Obviously, there’s many options. My favorite boot is Vibergs but it’s just too expensive. Second to that look is Oak Street Trench but I have a B width foot and your review makes it sound too wide. With that, the Wolverine 1000 Miles look to have too much volume for my narrow and flat foot. So it leaves me with the Red Wing Iron Ranger and the Eastland/Rancourt. The RWIR looks like I can trash it and that’s what it’s made for. What about the Eastland? Is this considered a boot that’ll last a lifetime of hard knocks? Or will it look odd after a year of hard wearing? Any other suggestions is much appreciated, too.

    1. Hi Jed,

      The Eastlands and Rancourts are certainly similar, and both are made by Rancourt, but the soles are quite different ($100 different–I’m not sure). If your foot is narrow, I’d say that since the Eastlands are a bit wide as well, they’re probably not your best bet (unless you wear thick socks). As such, I’d recommend the Iron Rangers–although I don’t like the nitrile sole, it can be replaced by that found on the Beckman when it wears out.

          1. Bummer. I’m tempted to pull the trigger. Question. On my RW Iron Rangers I wear a 10 which is a 1/2 size down from most of my shoes. I went to a RW store and this isthee size they advised. I find mine slightly loose in thin socks though fine inwintern socks or with my super feet footbeds.

            Would you recommend I try the 9.5 in this case or does the wool lining add similar thickness like a winter sock. Of course with Amazon I could get free returns. I’ve been looking at the 1000 Mile but I like this is an “off brand” in the boot world and its sort of and a Alden Indy RW Beckman hybrid. For $226 in horween could be a winner.

          2. Hi Brian,

            I assume you’re talking about the Woolrich Yankees. I’ve still only tried on the size 13’s, which were huge, so I can’t say if the 12’s will fit me. Since half sizes stop at size 12, a 12.5 is never an option, so for me a boot that runs large requires a full size drop from 13 down to 12. As such I’m not sure in your situation if a 10 or 9.5 would be the ideal, but judging by how big mine were, you might want to start with a 9.5 and go up if they’re too small. I plan to try a pair of 12’s in January and update my post. Please let me know what you end up doing and how they fit!

  4. I have a pair of the Woolrich boots, and I have mixed feelings about them. I wear an 11 and bought an 11 and they do seem a bit large. I went with it, but might have been happier with a 10.5. They wear well enough though. Like you say, the leather is great, best thing about it. Soles are nice but I wish the leather was a bit thicker there. The toes are a bit too bulbous in my opinion. The wool lining is indeed very cozy and comes in handy living where I do (Wisconsin). I have a problem with the tongues, which are a little short and effectively prohibit you from lacing the boot up to the top. They also flop over to the side. The rivets on the speed lacing hooks (which are nice enough) aren’t properly mashed-in, so the rough edges have been tearing up my socks where the tongue slides away. There is also a little odd area where leather sucks-in around the plastic heel structure on the interior side of the boot. So it’s weird, I really love the leather, the brass hardware, the wool lining, and the sole and sole construction, but the big toe and the other stuff add up to make it seem like it wasn’t thoughtfully designed. I got them on sale for around $175 though, and feel like at that price it was worth it. Could’ve been a great boot with a few changes.

    1. Hi Curtis, Thanks for sharing your experiences. I agree that the design is fairly flawed or at least could be refined before they hit production again for next year, but I was also at the 2015 Outdoor Retailer show and Woolrich had the same Yankee’s on display with their same flaws, so it doesn’t seem that they’re aware of the situation. Frequently a product name stays the same while the design is improved through iteration, but it didn’t appear to be the case, which is a shame since I think they’re 85% of the way there. They just need to fix the tongue, rivets, inconsistent sizing, and slightly bulbous toe and they’d have really quite a nice boot.

  5. Hi Jon,
    In the market for a new pair of boots and have been loving your reviews here. While I appreciate that spending more on quality pair of boots may be worth it in the long run, I’m having some trouble justifying much more than $300. I’ve come across an apparently new company, Boston Boot Company, and am intrigued by their offerings. Do you have any experience with them?

    Also came across these, which look promising: https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/shoes/boots/PRDOVR~C8869/C8869.jsp

    1. Hi Pat,

      Unfortunately I have experience with neither the Boston Boot Company nor J. Crew’s Kenton brand. The Kentons appear to be designed to look like Aldens, but for 1/2 the price (imported). It’s an aggressive move, given J Crew also sells Aldens, but I guess Alden can’t do much about it, since I’m sure the audience J Crew provides is too good for Alden to boycott. The boots you linked to aren’t copies, but the Kenton Pacer is almost identical to the Alden Indy Boot.

  6. Hello,

    In your last picture of the Eastland Monroe Cap Toe…What are the boots that you have sitting next to them on the right?


    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the post. To the right of the Eastlands is a pair of Red Wing Iron Rangers. Here is my post on those boots with a few more photos. They’re great looking boots, but I have issues with their comfort. They apparently are now available in a different sole, that should be easier on the feet and provide better traction.

  7. Love the article! I just got myself a pair of Chippewa Service Boots in Crazy Horse. What kind of socks do you wear with your boots?

    1. Hi Dex,

      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you found the article useful! I typically wear the same style of socks every day regardless of activity (with the exception of dressing up in my Allen Edmond Strands). So, 95% of days, I wear Smartwool PhD Light Weight Crew Socks in either Grey or Oatmeal, but usually grey. I use them with boots, chukkas, sneakers, Altra Lone Peak trail running/hiking shoes on 10 day trips–everywhere. They’re great because they’re not too tight, never bunch up under my foot, and are a neutral grey or khaki. I do wish they would make some with some sophisticated, simple style, but Smartwool is owned by Timberland and their patterns are typically unmatchable, “outdoorsy” nonsense.

      1. Thank you for the quick reply! I will definitely buy a pair and see how they are. I don’t wear boots often and I have a question on fitting. When I was trying on my Chippewas to see which size fit best I had a size 8 and size 8.5. The 8 fit tight and the 8.5 fit snug, at the time I just had a pair of ankle crew socks on (I should have worn some boot socks). I went with the 8.5 knowing that I would wear boot socks. Did I choose the right size?

        1. Hi Dex, you should have your foot measured in a Brannock device, for length, width, and location of the ball of your foot. It seems like you probably made the right choice, since there can be some packing out with leather boots. That said the soles are never going to change size, so you want to start with a large enough sole, which really depends on the activity. For example with hiking boots you want to to be able to fit a finger behind your heel when your toe is touching the front to prevent toe bang on downhills. I was slow to reply (been frequenting the hospital too much), but maybe by now you’ve determined if the boots feel ok? Hopefully they’ve broken in well.

  8. Given your experience with the Eastland boots, do you think going down a half size would have kept it from happening?

    My Brannock size is an 11, and I wear 10s in the Iron Ranger, but feel like they’re a little loose at times.

    1. Hi Dane, I do not. First, that’s the length of your foot, so I expect you’d run into problems with your toes at the end if you went smaller. Iron Rangers fit kind of like hockey skates, in that it’s a snug fit, much more so than the Eastland Boots. I think the Eastland boots are made on a last that’s not quite the ideal shape, leaving too much material over foot, which once the boot is broken in puffs up. A crease and small bump is correct, and that’s the result on the Iron Rangers and Trumans. Unless you have a large volume foot (which you don’t, if the Iron Rangers are feeling big even though you sized down), I wouldn’t recommend the Eastland.

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