REVIEW: Grant Stone’s Diesel Boot – Does “Made in China” Matter?



FULL REVIEW + PICTURES:

In an industry where a lot of companies are over a hundred years old, Grant Stone is quite the newcomer. Founded by a family with a long history at Alden, it was launched in 2016 and a significant amount of production takes place in Xiamen, China. So does that lower the quality, or just the price?

FIRST GLANCE

Grant Stone says they named this the “Diesel” because “it reminds us of something which may not be flashy but is built for strength and longevity.” That’s about right: it’s sturdy but not clunky, informal but not workboot-y, it has a weather-resistant split reverse welt and the sole is relatively heavy.

The leather doesn’t have a ton of color depth like Chromexcel, but it looks like it can take a beating.

*IS IT BETTER THAN ALLEN EDMONDS? See my review:

LEATHER

Castagno veg tan has full grain, vegetable-tanned leather made from Wisconsin cows that’s tanned in Italy and assembled in China.

After wearing these boots for a few weeks I found that this leather can take a beating, but it does wrinkle kind of quickly. I had someone tell me they looked like they’d seen a lot of adventures — after I’d been wearing them for three hours.

A lot of guys can’t wait for a boot to look like it’s seen the world so if that’s you you’ll love this leather, just don’t expect it to work in dressy occasions.

LEATHER CARE

Grant Stone recommends Venetian shoe balm instead of Venetian shoe cream, though either will probably be fine to keep the upper hydrated and reduce scuffs; the shoe balm is available in brown, though, so it might do a better job of revitalizing the dark brown color.

Again, the leather is pretty thick and the split reverse welt makes it pretty tough in bad weather, and since the leather is never going to look dressy I wouldn’t worry too much about waterproofing.

SOLE

A micro studded rubber sole that’s medium density and a solid combination of grip and give.

The sole isn’t heavy but it is confident — you know you’re wearing a pair of sturdy boots. In fact, the sole does have more layers than your average boot: rubber outsole, leather midsole, cork midsole, steel shank, and vegetable-tanned leather insole.

There’s also a split reverse welt, which is a type of Goodyear welt that’s even more water resistant than your regular Goodyear welt and doesn’t need as much cleaning.

Note that what I called glue coming loose here was actually part of a plastic bag used during the production.

FIT & SIZING

Order a half size down. Only the D width is available.

There was no real break in. I didn’t get any blisters or heel slip, plus the heel has pretty decent shock absorption. The rest of the sole is kind of hard and heavy, but it’s not uncomfortable — just assertive.

PRICE

$360, only available on their website.

**A LITTLE PRICY? Take a look at these $199 boots that I adore:

PROS

More comfortable than you’d expect for new boots.
Good shock absorption.
Split reverse welt is extra water resistant.
Sturdy, but not clunky.

CONS

No other widths.
With the split reverse welt and outdoorsy leather, it doesn’t look formal.
Leather wrinkles fast.
It’s made in China so it maybe should be a little cheaper.

  1. chetan mehta says:

    Hey man you really do the best boots review. Would love to see review on Alden Shell Cordovan and see how it ages

  2. Henry Ho says:

    Financially wise, I'd rather put $265 into a pair of Thursday Boots Co made in USA line than a pair of Grant Stone $360 made in China. More options in leather and style, with a higher quality leather in my opinion. And at the same price point, Red Wing Heritage is more superior with a lot credibility.

  3. I own a pair of these and find them incredibly uncomfortable. My feet are in massive pain due to the lack of padding when compared to say RM Williams or Red Wing's Blacksmith's. These boots in Castagno have even less padding and even more stiff than Iron Rangers.

  4. ʞlocks says:

    Absolutely love your content! Its been awesome to see you grow so quickly as a channel…been here a few weeks and Ive seen you go from 150 subs to like 1,000 in that time frame, you are great man! Please dont stop doing this 🙂

  5. K Chan says:

    Really enjoy your vids mate. Keep up the great work! Any plans to review a pair of Oak Street Trench boots? There's a distinct lack of in depth reviews of them!

  6. Gary Taylor says:

    I really don't care in which country something is made. It's either made well or it isn't. There are good and poor craftsmen everywhere. I get that you don't want to upset anyone so you're being diplomatic but some people need to take their heads out of their arses and look at things objectively. I get that people want to support industry in their own country and that can be a good thing. However to assume something made in a certain country is automatically inferior is wrong. Still everyone is entitled to their opinion. Great objective review as always.

  7. Stridewise says:

    Sorry the sound was a bit uneven on this one, guys! I think I need new headphones…

  8. David Butto says:

    For me, I support domestic manufacturing and American made products. Boots are one of the few things I can buy American without any issue. Why in hell would you want to export your country's wealth?!?!?! The thought of sending any portion of the money to a communist country that runs a social credit system like something straight out of 1984 and constantly steals the intellectual property of other country's businesses….just ugh. Why?

  9. earthcry says:

    Nice reviews. NYC's must be pretty hot these days–Do you wear your boots in rain or shine?

  10. Daniel Brice says:

    $360 for a direct-to-consumer boot made in China ??? Wow. That’s taking corporate greed to a whole new level. Gotta be kidding. For that price you can easily find domestic AEs, Red Wings …

  11. Rev. James C says:

    Why the hell do these need to be made in China? All those materials going all around the world, yet it’s somehow ‘ethical’ to have these produced in China and sold at a similar price to Made in Europe or Made in America products. No way. This is greedy cost cutting of the worst kind. Plus it’s putting people in Europe and America out of a job. It’s a simple fact that the Chinese don’t take as much pride in the quality of their work. Hard working, but sloppy results. Make a point of buying Made in Europe and Made in America.

  12. Daniel Brice says:

    Fake Dainite sole, no CXL, wrinkles within hours of wearing, glue flaking after a few weeks and made in China for $360 msrp. What’s not to love ? 😂

  13. sparater says:

    Awesome video! Have you ever thought about expanding to include dress shoes?

  14. Eric Wynn says:

    Great review. I know there's a lot of commotion about the country where these shoes are manufactured and I get it. However, I think people should open their eyes a bit and observe that there is a world of skilled craftsmanship beyond conventional wisdom.

    I do agree that most shoes made in China do not meet the general appetite of your audience but these guys are getting it right. The leather and materials are sourced from quality vendors and the craftsmanship (sans your gluing issue), especially the stitching, are way above AE, Redwing, and Wolverine.

    I have a pair of Alden, not shitting anyone here, and I think QC has dropped in recent years from that company as the stitching was misalligned. I found this out only after a month into wearing after I started cleaning my shoe. One could only imagine the frustration and disappointment I was feeling after have spent $780.

    Anyway, China is killing it recently with smart phones (ex: Oppo and Huawei), high end audio, and now boots. There was once a time we had these negative feelings towards the Japanese on their manufactured goods.. and now we Revere and sometimes seek them out. The same could be said about Taiwanese goods and it's now happening to Chinese goods.

    I hope other makers would start paying close attention to companies like Grantstone and invest more into their craft. Perhaps go more premium if they need to rather than trying look underneath rocks to find other sources of revenue that risks diluting the brand and image.. ie. Leather belts, backpacks, sunglasses… *Cough AE *Cough

    PS. I'm a happy customer of 2 pairs from GS, including the model you reviewed, and expecting to receive more down the road

  15. These are great reviews. Do you know of any good value Brogue Boots in Oxblood with rubber, non-combat soles?

  16. seanyarman says:

    where did you order your boots from? when you go on grant stone site it says boots discontioned

  17. aerosurferlv says:

    Great review man!! I own 4 pairs of Grantstones and am absolutely in love with them. I was hesitant at first to try them, but I've found over time that I prefer the GS Leo Last over the Alden Trubalance last (which is really saying something). I love American made, however disliking these boots because they're made in China is overlooking so much that they have to offer, and in my opinion is an unfair bias. The world is shrinking and in terms of consumerism, we're going to see more companies like GS filling these niche areas of the market. I also completely agree with how fast the GS form their patina. I was astounded by how quickly my Diesel boots in natural CXL took on so much character!!

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