Fall Boot Series: Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer

Our first pair in our Fall Boot Series is an affordable American-made classic.
My Chippewa Boots are size
9.5
My other sizes are:
Allen Edmonds 10
Red Wing 9.5
Clarks Desert Boots 10
Converse Jack Purcell 10.5
Wolverine 1000 Mile 9
Thorogood 10

Every man needs a good pair of boots for fall and winter. Not only will they help keep you vertical on slippery surfaces or your feet dry in wet conditions, they also happen to look damn sharp.

Since boots are such a staple, we recommend investing a bit more than you’re used to and buying a pair that will last. Just like my Allen Edmonds Strands recommendation for dress shoes, the boots in our Fall Boot Series may cost more than your normal ‘fashion’ boots available in malls, but they’ll last much, much longer. And, all of them have the added benefit of helping to continue a long tradition of American manufacturing.

If you read style forums at all, then the Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer boot is no stranger to you. Beloved for the beauty and craftsmanship as well as the price ($137 on Amazon), you’d be hard-pressed to find many critical remarks on these Chippewa staples. Chippewa Boots was founded in 1901 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and continues to handcraft their footwear in America, unlike so many other footwear brands.

The GQ Apache Lacer is a standard blucher pattern boot. It’s built from 5.5 oz full grain leather, and features a non-slip Vibram outsole that makes the boot as functional as it is handsome. The boots are sewn with a three row stitch pattern known as the puritan stitch on the same machine Chippewa has been using for 100 years. The thread is wax coated to seal the stitches once sewn. And just like the thread to hold the boots together, the laces are waxed, which prevent slippage after they’re tied.

Comfort can be an issue for boots that can cost twice as much, but these are actually pretty darn comfortable, due partially to the included orthotic cushion. It’s removable and washable, so after putting in a few months of daily wearing you can de-funk them simply by dropping the cushion in the washing machine.

Pick up a pair on Amazon for $137

or check them out on Chippewa’s site

Primer’s Fall Boot Series

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • browneagle44 ロベルト

    I have a pair of Chippewa Service Boots in Cordovan, and they are the most well-built boots I’ve ever worn. The service boots have a hard leather insole, but a cheap pair of gel insoles fixes that pretty quickly.

    • James

      I tried out both the Chipp Apache and Service boots (in Cordovan) and ended up sticking with the service boots. I thought they looked a little sleeker. Though I’m not sure if they might be just a touch big (haven’t really worn real boots before). Might have to try some insoles or thicker socks.

      • browneagle44 ロベルト

        I went a half-size down, the same direction I went with some dress boots earlier this year. They fit like a glove, although feeling stiffly at first, but frequent wear makes them stretch and conform pretty quickly.

    • http://Batmannananana.com/ Caesar Merlin

      Are the service boots goodyear welted?

      • rogun

        This is old, but yes they’re also goodyear welted.

  • Justin

    Great boots that have been on my radar for a while now, I might have to jump on a pair.

    What jeans are you wearing in the pictures?

  • Faku

    amazon currently has a 20% off 100$ for shoes…. brings them down to 115ish

    • Dan

      i paid $117 on amazon a few weeks ago, great deal!

  • Butch_Zee

    Good looking boots…and they’ll last.

  • Glenn

    The size comparison was a great addition. The only ones on the chart that I own are Clark’s, and mine run small compared to my other shoes (9 vs 10.5/11). Is this how your Clarks and Chippewas are?

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Yeah definitely. I wear a 10.5 in Brooks running shoes.

  • Max

    Are yours the same chocolate apache color? The look much lighter in your pictures than on Amazon. How would you compare them to your Thorogoods? Trying to decide between the two.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Hey Max, Yep the chocolate apache color. I like them both, you won’t be disappointed with either. If you’re choosing now, pull the trigger on which style you like best since they’re a bit different. The Thorogoods will be up next in the series.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Regarding color: I’d say the first photo above is a pretty good reflection of the color. A few are lighter like the ones with me wearing them because the lighting changed outside.

  • Dan

    Just picked these up a few weeks ago and absolutely love them so far. 1/2 size smaller recommendation is accurate, they’re definitely roomy. They break in well, but the throat will cut into your leg a bit for a few weeks. Other than that, no complaints. Great boot and great recommendation!

  • Corey

    Did you get yours on Amazon? The Amazon pictures look like entirely different boots than the ones in your pictures. They’re super dark with an almost orange trim, rather than the lighter brown with a tan trim in your pictures. I love the way they look in your pictures, but I’d be afraid of ordering them and winding up with what they look like on Amazon.

  • Steve Gordon

    Damn, they look awesome. Shame I just bought some Clarks desert boots (which don’t look as good). And Amazon barely ships anything internationally…

  • Havabeer

    That sizing info is invaluable thanks for including it, owning 4 of those brands its really gonna help for when I finally get to order my AEs.

  • Roger

    I’ve owned a pair of these for a year now. They blasted through an Ottawa winter like smashing butter with a mallet. Now the leather is so molded to my feet it’s like wearing slippers. Half size down is perfect. (Don’t go full size or it’ll be too tight.) If you’re going to wear them in crappy conditions, make sure you seal them with a leather treatment. Atsko Sno-Seal is by far the best, and cheap. Just heat up the boots in the oven at 150 for 10 minutes, smear it all over the place (don’t be shy, and make sure you work it into the stitching along the sole), then put ’em back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the wax melts into the leather. Repeat yearly.

    http://www.amazon.com/Atsko-Sno-Seal-1330-Atsko-Sno-Seal-Original-Waterproofing-7-Ounce/dp/B00CQJDQ90/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415993632&sr=8-1&keywords=sno+seal&pebp=1415993893295

  • JS

    Are there any similar boots in this price range that come in wide sizes? That seems to be my biggest issue with boots, as well as shoes in general.

  • Nick D

    Any suggestions on a polish/oil/other for these? I’ve had mine for about a year but they look like they could use a pick me up. Thanks.

  • Steve

    Can anyone tell me how these handle in tough winters (constant snow & ice)? My Iron Rangers are a nightmare on slippery surfaces and I don’t want to bust out the Baffin -100s for marching around town.

    Thanks.

    • Nate

      Not the best. I had them last season in NYC and while I didn’t fall in NYC but had that oh #!%& slip/slide moment a couple times. There is also a version with a Vibram lug sole. It doesn’t quite have the same look but probably much better grip

  • dancinginyourhead

    Great boots, but do they have anything without the “Indian headdress” logo? That’s a dealbreaker for me.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Not that I know of, but it’s pretty high up, you can’t see it with pants on.

  • http://Batmannananana.com/ Caesar Merlin

    I’ve been looking into these for a long time. just need to find an excuse to get these for christmas

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  • http://www.joshsouzaphotos.com/ joshsouzaphotos

    Just grabbed a pair off Amazon for 93$. Can I use mink oil on these?

    • http://www.joshsouzaphotos.com/ joshsouzaphotos

      Just in case anyone reads this, they look amazing after a mink oil treatment. I did this right out of the box with Red Wing mink oil, so happy with the results.

  • Brad

    Amazon has them for $140. Cyber Monday code CYBWEEK14 dropped them to $100 with free shipping. The code works for the whole week.

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  • JBu92

    How’s the rubber on the soles? 3 of the 5 last pairs of shoes I’ve bought have had the sole wear right down in less than six months.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Seems pretty decent. Your wear seems pretty fast even for cheap shoes, are you walking long distances or sliding your heels by chance?

      • JBu92

        I wouldn’t consider it to be long distances, but I was a college student (still getting used to saying that in the past-tense), so maybe. Most of the wear was in the balls of the feet, not so much the heels. For instance, the Steve Madden boots y’all recommended a few months ago- great-looking, reasonably comfortable, but the tread in the balls of the feet wore down after about 3 months, and the upper is starting to pull away from the sole, so I had to stop wearing them when the snow started falling.
        So basically, I’m now fed up with cheap shoes and am saving up for some red wings or similar, but I dig the look of these and the price looks good, so I figured I’d see if someone who had some experience with them could tell me about the soles.

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  • http://Batmannananana.com/ Caesar Merlin

    How much should I size down if I wear size 9 in sneakers (Puma, New balance, Nike etc)

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  • Tyler Williams

    Hi Andrew! I have a pair of these shoes, but I’m not exactly sure how to care for them in a way that will let them keep their deep, slightly textured color as seen in your pictures. I use leather conditioner now and again, and gently wipe down with a lightly-dampened cloth when they get dirty of dusty. In addition, they seem to scuff pretty easily,

    How do you care for your boots? Any recommendations?

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Hey Tyler, That sounds just like my care process. They do mark, but since they’re a rugged boot, it just adds to the look.

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  • rogun

    I can confirm that the sizing chart is accurate, since I own 3 of the options listed, including the Chippewas, and wear the same sizes Andrew does. The only exception is that I size down to a 10 in Converse JP’s, since I only wear them without socks and I like a snug fit with canvas sneakers, but I have no wiggle room whatsoever.