Video – 5 Years Later: Chippewa Boots Follow-up Review

It's easy to fall in love with a pair of boots when they're new: Looking at them in professional photos or pining over them in person. They're beautiful and match your personal style. You read reviews and watch videos and do your best to figure out if these are the best boots.

Like most nice boots however, they ain't cheap. So it becomes a mental struggle of whether these boots are the right boots to spend this kind of money on. But how can you tell if they'll end up being comfortable, sturdy, and take you as far as you need to go?

That's why I'm revisiting this 2014(!) review I did of the American-made Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer boot.

In our latest video, I discuss how they've held up. Below that, you'll find my original review which includes more information about the brand and boot as well as sizing information compared to other common brands.

Check out the boots on Zappos.

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My Chippewa Boots are size
9.5
My other sizes are:
Allen Edmonds10
Red Wing9.5
Clarks Desert Boots10
Converse Jack Purcell10.5
Wolverine 1000 Mile9
Thorogood10

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 ($180 on Zappos), 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 (update: It can now also be found under the name “Ellison”) 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 Zappos for $180

or check them out on Chippewa's site

Primer's Fall Boot Series

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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.

47 Comments

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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.

    • Reply November 13, 2014

      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.

      • Reply November 14, 2014

        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.

    • Reply January 17, 2015

      Caesar Merlin

      Are the service boots goodyear welted?

      • Reply May 25, 2016

        rogun

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

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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?

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    Faku

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

    • Reply November 13, 2014

      Dan

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

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    Butch_Zee

    Good looking boots…and they’ll last.

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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?

    • Reply November 13, 2014

      Andrew

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

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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.

    • Reply November 13, 2014

      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.

      • Reply August 24, 2017

        thomas h benton

        Do you still have these and like them? I’ve seen doubts about the durability of the Apache boot.

    • Reply November 13, 2014

      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.

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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!

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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.

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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…

  • Reply November 13, 2014

    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.

  • Reply November 14, 2014

    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

  • Reply November 14, 2014

    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.

  • Reply November 16, 2014

    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.

  • Reply November 17, 2014

    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.

    • Reply November 17, 2014

      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

  • Reply November 17, 2014

    dancinginyourhead

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

    • Reply November 17, 2014

      Andrew

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

  • Reply November 19, 2014

    Caesar Merlin

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

  • […] Fall Boot Series: Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer […]

  • Reply November 27, 2014

    joshsouzaphotos

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

    • Reply January 13, 2015

      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.

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Brad

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

  • […] Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer […]

  • Reply December 20, 2014

    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.

    • Reply December 20, 2014

      Andrew

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

      • Reply December 20, 2014

        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.

  • […] Chippewa GQ Apache Lacer […]

  • Reply January 7, 2015

    Caesar Merlin

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

  • […] Chippewa […]

  • Reply July 19, 2015

    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?

    • Reply July 27, 2015

      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.

  • […] Field Jacket: Peter Manning, $178 / Trucker Jacket: Levi’s, $68 / Flannel: Peter Manning, $85 / Slim Chinos: Peter Manning, $89 / Beanie: 21Men, $8 / Boots: Chippewa, $167 […]

  • Reply May 25, 2016

    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.

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