Carmina unlined chukka boots: Review

Monday, November 9th 2020
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There is one way in which this review is necessarily unfair. The vast majority of my shoes are at a higher quality level than these Carmina chukkas, and therefore my context will be different to many potential customers.

However, I have owned cheaper makes in the past, as well as tried on and seen many similar brands.

Also, most of the points made in this article don't require experience to be established, given they are observations from simply looking at and trying on the boots.

In fact that's necessarily the case with any review that takes place this soon after receiving a pair of shoes, rather than after say a year.

So, given all that, how good are these Carmina boots?

Well the first thing you notice is the softness of the leather. It's a reverse calf from Charles F Stead and feels impressively luxurious and comfortable. I think anyone buying at this level of quality would be pleased with the touch.

(Though, don't put too much store in the tannery. All tanneries have different levels of quality - indeed, more than perhaps any other manufacturer we cover, of raw materials or finished products. Plus, it's notable that only cheaper makers shout about where the leather is from.)

The colour of tobacco suede is also perfect, something some makers (usually English) don't always get right.

If I compare the leather to my Edward Green 'Shanklin' boots  (also unlined chukkas), the feel is similarly soft but the latter has more plumpness and body. It's a tiny bit thicker, but there's also more substance to it.

That won't make much difference to the comfort or support in the short term, but I'd worry a bit about how the less substantial suede would wear in the long term.

Of course, you would expect the quality of leather on Edward Green boots to be better, given they cost twice as much (£760 rather than £378).

But one of the points I'd like to get across in this article, is you do get more - in almost every way - when you make that much of a jump between brands.

When shoes have a £100 or £150 price difference, there is a discussion to be had as to what - if anything - you get for that difference. But not with such a large price difference as this, between what are quite similar companies (manufacturers, not big brands etc).

Next point. The Carmina boots are well made, with neat stitching and no hanging threads or loose ends - as you can get on the likes of Alden, for example.

However, there is some marking on the suede where the upper meets the welt, as you can see in the image above.

Making suede shoes and keeping them clean is not easy. It's why you often see shoes lined up in factories with their uppers wrapped in plastic. It's to protect the upper while the messy stuff goes on on the bottom.

However, this kind of marking is not something you'd expect on a high-end shoe, and you don't get on my Edward Greens, for example. I also checked a few Crockett & Jones boots and didn't see that either.

Often, issues like this come through factories producing greater volumes or doing so at greater speed, to reduce costs. Making slower is more expensive, but is also one of the things customers are least willing to pay for. (Their first question might be about the leather, or the construction, but certainly not how many are made per hour.)

It's something I mentioned in a previous article that TLB seem to be doing quite well on at the moment: using fewer bells and whistles, but producing a shoe that is very cleanly made.

Talking of welts, these Carmina chukkas use what they call a Softwelt construction, where the welt is sewn directly to a cut in the sole (above).

This does make the boots flexible and comfortable, with a similar feeling my Alden chukkas, for example.

The welt is also thin, running close to the upper. From a purely style point of view, this makes them look a little dressy, which is not ideally what I'd want with this style of boot. For me a chukka this casual in colour, material and make is better with a wider welt.

(The welt is actually a little thinner than the image below suggests.)

A last point on construction is the reinforcement of the boots around the top.

Most unlined boots include a strip of extra leather running around the top line of the boot, where the ankle is. Sometimes this connects to the extra strip that is needed behind the eyelets.

These Carmina boots forego the first strip (where the referenced Aldens and EGs do not) and they do not sew down the strip behind the eyelets on all sides, relying more on glue.

I found that after a couple of wears, the inner edge of that eyelet strip started to come away slightly.

Overall, these chukkas are decently made and impressively soft: I think most people buying at this level would be pleased with both the look and feel.

It's important too, because as people dress more casually, boots such as these - suede, unlined, flexible - will I think become the core of welted manufacturers.

There are, however, a few points of coarse make that either are visible or might be over time. And while the comparisons with Edward Green only illustrate things you get with higher quality/price, some of these points are not found on brands of the same level.

This review, by the way, was requested by Carmina following coverage of some of their peers, and as ever with PS, all of the points made were communicated to and discussed with Carmina in advance of publication.

Item reviewed: 80728 unlined chukka boot in snuff suede

Other items shown: White loopwheeled T-shirt by Warehouse & Co, via Clutch Cafe; chinos from The Armoury (old model); vintage Rolex GMT. 

Photography: Carmina and Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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If I were to look for a pair of Chinos most similar to the old armoury pair – anything you would recommend?

Thanks for the review on boots. I am personally inclined to go for C&J pair with rubber soles to hold up to poor weather.

I am leaning towards one of these two:

Thoughts extremely welcome!!


Really useful thanks Simon. Which are lower / higher rise and tougher between the McCoys & Blackhorse lane? Sorry – I know this article isn’t on chinos but really keen to understand !


Thanks Simon. Went for McCoys and got them today (speedy shipping!).
Will need some breaking in and hoping for a tiny bit of shrinkage in the wash (would probably wash them at 50C for that do you think).

Thank you kindly for the advice, as ever


Officine Generale chinos from Mr.Porter are outstanding and are also great value.
Nice mid rise cut, button fly and high quality finish.
The cloth is also great and washes out nicely.


Thanks Simon, i have two questions if i may:

1) Have you tried any of the C&J suede chukkas, such as the Chiltern? They are equivalent in price to these.

2) Carmina, Alden and C&J are similar in price. However, C&J are cheaper than Alden in Europe, and Alden are cheaper in the US. As you mention here, the finish of Alden’s is abit more rugged, but would you say their quality (materials and construction) is equivalent to C&J, and then how do Carmina compare?

Personally i prefer C&J and Alden to Carmina; i find the lasts of Carmina abit too pointy and stylised i.e. abit to showy. I appreciate you covering shoes in this price bracket, though.

Many thanks.

Michael K.

Price point note re: Alden. In the US, the cordovans are a bargain and well-made. The calf and the suede are competitively priced. C&J tend to have better finishing, but not enough to really justify the mark-up over here. Edward Green is very much worth the premium and at that price point, the transatlantic price differentials are much smaller than at cheaper price points. Alden — I’ve said this before on the site — are the only American-made shoes worth buying, but one needs to look very closely at the individual pair you’re buying — especially at the eyelets and backstrip and sometimes on the broguing. And over here they’re worth it for a workhorse casual shoe or a dress-down city shoe. For more formal office shoes, I’d wait to by C&J next time you’re in the UK, or save up until you can get an EG pair over here.


I have owned several pairs of the C&J Chiltern, always in the colour ‘Snuff’. They are lined and looks heavier (and are) than the Edward Green Shanklin, which I do not own, and the Alden unlined chukka, which I do. The Chiltern is my ‘go to’ footwear from October to May and I have two pairs that I wear in parallel. They are very comfortable to wear and to walk for lengthy distances.


Thanks Simon and Jonathan, extremely helpful!


Agree with this – I’ve had my Chilterns for 4 years, a bit of Saphir protector (in brown) all that is required to keep them fresh. Lovely shape, so so soft (as previously stated, thicker and more substantial than these, but still so comfy). You can walk on them for days with no issues. My go-to with blue jeans in the autumn/winter.

Ian A

Probably a better Edward Green comparison to the C & J Chiltern is the Banbury Chukka boot.


Thanks Simon for the review.
I would look at them in the window, but i would not buy them as they look a little “cheap” to me.
The points you make reveal an overall very average quality.
I prefer to pay twice as much and buy Edward Green.


Strange comment. In what way do they look cheap?


The make and the details, as Simon says.
Marking on the suede is bad.
It’s a decent pair of shoes when you are on a budget, but not first class either


I’ve had c&j handgrade. More expensive than Carmina but certainly not better quality. I think the pertinent question is, are Edward Green shoes three times better given they’re three times more expensive. I suspect not.

Malcolm B

I think the clear answer to that is no, but, as described on here in many articles, you do get incremental increases in quality at higher cost.

As the cost increases, those incremental gains may get more relatively expensive. In some cases that might be only a 20% increase in quality for a 100% price premium (although it’s unlikely you could ever be that scientific about quantifying it).

It really depends whether you want 3 ok/good or 1 excellent pair of shoes. To some extent that will be driven by your means, but also perhaps by how much you want to have that higher quality, whether you cherish quality over quantity and how much you look after your belongings.

I have Edward Green boots that just get better and better with age and the cost per wear is getting very low. Would I have used 3 pairs of Carmina over that same time period, maybe, maybe not. Maybe I wouldn’t have looked after the Carminas as well. Would I have enjoyed them as much? No.

Of course there is no right answer and no effective scientific measure of quality and craftsmanship vs cost, although to some extent heritage British Northampton shoemakers vs other similar Northampton makers might be as close that that as you get in clothing, with relative price fairly accurately reflecting quality of materials and make.


Interesting review. To a certain extent, I think articles like this (and, perhaps surprisingly, the Michael Browne review) reveal a lot about the benchmark quality level of Permanent Style.

Carmina seems “lower” quality because it is compared to things that cost twice as much and have similar pricing models but in reality they make shoes that would fairly be considered excellent quality by most men (who are used to spending less). In the same way, Michael Browne seems higher quality than some of his peers because he prices things in a way to allow for more fittings and greater levels of handwork, but that doesn’t change the fact that the “basic” bespoke suit on the row is also a fabulous garment and significantly higher quality than most things bought today.

I don’t think the review is unfair. It’s interesting and I think shows that great quality things can be bought at a range of prices but also reveals that there is a reason why different manufacturers cost different amounts. If Carmina was the same quality as EG then something would be wrong and although I won’t be buying Carmina shoes I would happily suggest that more financially prudent friends look at them (and read this review before they do so).

People often seem to hope that a less expensive product will be just as good as the “market leader/benchmark” for a fraction of the price but the reality is that you will always have to give something up when picking a less expensive option… it just might be something that doesn’t bother you. To be honest, I think that’s a good thing!


Ah, but there I betray where I buy most of my shoes by noticing the comparisons that mean the most to me!

I think it’s driven by a blend of optimism, people believing that better pricing is available from often shopping during sales and by brands marketing themselves as of equal quality. (When was the last time somebody said “yes GG/EG/St Crispin’s are better but we’re a lot cheaper and almost as good” in their official marketing?)


As a ignorant newcomer to bespoke and high end fashion, I can say it’s the notion that you can’t see the justification for designer brand prices. To me it feels like you’re paying for the logo, not the quality or fit of the item, and that’s before you hear what the designers’ profit margins are on their earnings calls; hence, given the prevalence of designer brands over bespoke, it’s natural for dumbos like me to assume that anything that costs a lot is inherently a rip off. Objectively, for example, £1,000 to spend on a pair of shoes is ridiculous; however, with companies that are solely focused on quality and not branding or marketing or even margins to the same extent, it’s becoming clear to me that the price can usually, just about, be justified. I can only hope that my current ignorance morphs to the ignorance of Simon and MB over the next few decades!


I think you hit the nail in the head there Simon. People have become cynical with some of the designer brands where the markup can be quite considerable with little improvement in quality.

I also think that everybody loves a bargain, so it’s in our instinct to hope we can get the same for less. Sometimes this is indeed partly possible, for example during a sale (as many of these shoe manufacturers do a few times a year).

Thanks for the review. I’ve tried their shoes at their Palma store (back in the days when one could travel) and I thought their narrower lasts were suitable to a more dressy shoe. I also liked they have quite a wide selection of cordovan shoes (unlike C&J). I would in general prefer C&J over them, unless it was a design / leather that they didn’t offer.


Carmina has like 40 lasts….it is true that their well known lasts are a bit dressy but I’d wager that whatever you look for, they’d have a last for that..


I find the opposite. I find that people who have paid 3 times as much for EG, John Lobb, G&G etc hope that the shoes they’ve paied for are 3 times better than less expensive shoes, and look for ways to rationalize and explain their exorbitant costs by nitpicking the lesser brands


I’ve about 12 pairs of Carmina. The only issue I’ve had is the issue you flagged, marked suede. I’ve found that the quality at the price point is excellent. But they do fall down on quality control. This being, I’ve found their customer service to be excellent. They’ve always sorted any issues to my satisfaction.


I’ve had two instances and they remade the shoes without question. They also included a wallet for free in one instance and a discount code to use on my next purchase with the other. But to be honest, they do need to be more careful.


ive got a couple of pairs. and agreed on customer service, its very good. quality may not be EG, but i find its good enough for me.


Thanks Simon, as ever a considered and thoughtful review. As an owner of several pairs of EG, C&J and Carmina, whilst I agree with the general point that ‘you get what you pay for’, likewise how could we expect something to be as good when it costs significantly less, and that these clearly hold true in the specific case of the suede chukka style reviewed here, my experience is Carmina’s value proposition at a given price point does match up well. What I would also draw to readers attention is Carmina’s particular specialty in exotic skin shoes, which I find to be of both the highest quality and yet exceptional value. Clearly not to everyone’s taste but if you are in the market for alligator, crocodile or lizard (or indeed Cordovan) these are perhaps Carmina’s real forte. The dress up/down possibilities of their alligator chukka boots are many and being lucky enough to own these in a couple of colours, these are a real highlight of fall and winter dressing. Likewise their alligator double mock shoes. I also support the comment about their customer service as nothing is too much trouble, and as a family owned Majorcan enterprise they are really good people to work with.


Your GMT looks fab Simon. Was it expensive? Does it keep good time?


I agree with Glenn, I’ve got a couple of pairs of Carmina that I bought when in Barcelona – calf split toe loafers and a pair of suede Blake stitched loafers. The suede on the the Blake stitched pair is very slightly different in feel/texture between each shoe, so they are clearly not selecting both pieces from the same skin, the calf pair are perfect. I’m used to EG quality so they do seem (and are) a little bit of a step down, but certainly sit at a point somewhere between the likes of Cheaney and C&J. With better QC I’d likely rank them equal with C&J, the soles especially are better than a lot of shoes at that level. I’d also agree that the customer service in both the Palma and Barcelona stores is excellent, but neither keep enough stock – I’ve walked away empty handed once from each as they haven’t had fairly standard models in stock in my fairly standard size.


Hi Simon,
As ever balanced and interesting.
You mention several times how impressively soft you found these, and I was hoping you could explain in what ways that softness is a positive for you.
I don’t have your knowledge or experience, I just worry that a soft leather won’t last or that will lose its shape, and so prefer a solid stiff leather that will get soft with time and mould to me. Especially for a chukka boot, which both in origin and current usage should be a bit on the tough side, as you mention on the sole. For a summer loafer of course this would be very different.



You write that “as people dress more casually . . . .” Is your prediction that once the pandemic resolves, dress will remain informal, consistent with what most of us have grown used to while working mostly from home? (I miss wearing my tailored clothing and dressing for work.)


Simon, do you think the last on these boots is casual enough for denim?


On a point of style-consistency, am I alone in thinking chukka boots a little too, smart/thin-soled/delicate for thick chinos and white shirt? I am an inveterate wearer of desert boots for most things less smart than than worsted and not meriting proper boots or trainers, whereas my chukka boots don’t get that many outings.
I appreciate that there might be some terminological ambiguities in these parts, but those are definitely chukka boots.

Graham Morgan

What is your opinion of Archibald London’s dress shoes? A hand welted shoe at a the currently discounted (they cal it ‘Naked’) price of £250 – £300? Seems too good to be true?


I’ve seen that too .
would love to hear Simon’s response.
There seems to be a lot of these kin of things on the internet …always wondered our true some other claims are .

R Abbott

Does the leather in these boots have any waterproof treatment or is that something you would have to do upon purchase?

Scott H

For your first suede chukka, do you recommend buying these color boots or a darker, chocolate sort of, brown?
Thank you!


As someone with a couple of Carmina and a fair amount of shoes in this price range, this really comes off as a fair review. Simon, I took your advice and bought some higher-end shoes (Gaziano & Girling Black Cap Toe Oxfords on the GG06 last), and though I’ve mostly only worn them around the house for zoom meetings – I have to admit the difference in last shape between these and a Carmina are remarkable. Much closer to my foot all around (my Carmina Cap Toe Oxfords crease heavily over the vamp because there is a lot more room), and the leather creasing is both minimal and subdued. It’s also difficult to explain how much better the G&G hug the foot and support the arch.

All that to say that it is fair to say that you do get some “quality of life” improvements moving up to the high end, both in details and materials (I want to take a few more months with these G&G, but close to committing on buying a couple more and some EG).

With that said, I have found Carmina to deliver a fairly priced quality. I think my TLB Artista suede oxford seem to offer a better value (and also have a nice last shape), but Carmina really does offer good bang for the buck. Before my G&G my most comfortable pair of shoes were my Carmina adelaides. I’d certainly still buy Carmina, but it would be a conscious choice to save some money and perhaps to try a new type of shoe or style.

As always a thoughtful review, that is very fair minded and gives customer more to think about.


Simon, unfortunately I have to say that this review was a bit fatuous and unhelpful.

It’s ostensibly meant to be a review of a pair of Carmina chukka boots, but you spend a large part of the review comparing the boots in question to a brand that costs twice as much, and you talk about how “you get more” when you make the jump to a brand that costs twice as much.

It just seems rather pointless. As an example, if you were doing a car review of a Toyota Camry, would you compare the Camry to a Porsche and then tell your audience that “you get more” when you make the jump to Porsche? I’d argue that you wouldn’t, and that it would be silly to do. Rather, you’d compare the Camry to models from Mazda, Nissan, perhaps Volkswagen – other cars in that class and at similar price points. To do otherwise would render the review largely pointless, as the audience wouldn’t really get an idea of how the Camry compared to similar cars. This review is similar.


Hi Simon,

I think the difficulty here (as demonstrated by Jim’s comment above and what followed below) is that people want to both (a) see how a product compares to something in its peer group, and (b) what a step up in tier of maker / price gives in terms of additional quality, value, etc. I guess the fairest thing to do would be to deal with the two points more distinctly but I would imagine (from a more casual reader’s perspective) that there’s a danger that articles get a little too dry…


Hello Jim,
I found the comparison helpful as it gave me reference points that I know, and an understanding what you get at different price points.
So most grateful to Simona for his enquiring mind and sharing his thoughts in a sober manner and bringing a perspective that I cannot find elsewhere.
I share this so that Simon does not get discouraged from providing this sort of review.


Hi Simon, Thanks for this review and all the tasteful articles.
I’ve owned and used several pairs of Carmina over the last 10 years. I wear them in turn with higher end models (JM Weston, John Lobb) or same tier (C&J mainly). I still like most of the Carminas I bought (even if taste and weather context tend to change with time). The uppers aged well for most of them. Nevertheless, with many years of walking, I can say that one of weakest point of Carmina are the leather soles. They wore quite quickly compared to other brands, especially the stitching. Carmina took them back to resole them (not for free though). They were unfortunately mistaken on the last of my favourite pair that came back in a different last. That was kind of a disappointment.


I experience the soles of my two Carmina pairs as quite durable, especially compared to other brands I have in that price range.


I think for the sake of completeness it would be helpful to review Crockett & Jones at some point – simply because that is the benchmark against which brands like Carmina, Alden and TLB should be measured.

What would be really amazing though, would be to review a pair of Crockett & Jones next to a pair of Edward Green’s in a similar style – in the same way you compared MTM to bespoke with Eduardo de Simeone. I think it would be really helpful to a lot of people (myself included) to really show the differences side by side – so that people can see exactly the things they are paying for in each of the two categories.


Hi Simon,

Interesting article.

Do you mind providing more examples and detail when you compare the Carmina to EG and say that “you do get more – in almost every way – when you make that much of a jump between brands”. Could you please specify attributes such as construction, finishing, leather quality, robustness of the shoe etc? Almost a list of the key differences (i.e. what you are incrementally paying for with regards to EG vs Carmina) would be ideal.

Also, could you please make a similar review and comparison between EG and say C&G (bench grade and/or hand grade)?



Hi, Simon:

When a review of Norman Vilalta RTW? Or the bespoke boots he made for you a couple of years ago?


Seems to me that the primary difference over time is the quality of the suede. The very light markings you point out (that are visible only upon close examination) are probably only apparent on a brand new pair of shoes and will no longer be noticeable once you wear the shoes a dozen times.


Hey Simon. As much as as I love the fact that you’ve started to review mtm suits/jackets and more affordable shoes, I can’t say I love this review. The quality difference between the suede of Carmina and Edward Green, I think is harder to define than just the level of thickness/substantialness. For people who don’t know, they would think this argument to be logical enough. I’ve also often seen this argument in other shoe reviews as well. If you were to compare split suede to reverse suede, it would make more sense, since the split suede has been split, thus weakening the total structure of the leather fibers and making it thinner. The thickness could also be due to the age of the calf it has been taken from, where older calves have thicker hides than younger ones. The age alone does not define the quality either. If you were to browse different leather swatches in bespoke, where you know everything to be top notch, you wouldn’t base the quality on thickness alone either. It’s just that different types of leather have different properties and thicknesses. This argument would be akin to saying that a 400 g fabric is better quality than a 370 g fabric, when you know there are many other factors involved. Conclusion: The argument of thickness/substantialness alone makes no sense in regards to leather quality.


Hi Simon,
From the perspective of a regular PS reader, this is a fair review.
Even though you have focused this post on a Carmina pair of chukka boots, you’ve nonetheless managed to allude to an issue worth considering when it comes to suede shoes more broadly. Please, note that the following remark is not confined to my own and unique experience.
Indeed, when it comes to suede shoes, what is striking is the sheer fact that those offered by British makers – from entry to high end level – are sturdier and thus holding their shape in the long run even if split suede are used in their making, Whereas the continental ones would rather lose theirs in a shorter time, no matter how consistently shoe trees are used to maintain their shape.
Now the wierd thing is that allegedly all these makers are supplied by the same British and European tanneries. How do you understand that?


Simon, are you wearing your trousers (jeans?) in these photos with a “temporary” turn-up (just folding up the hem)? I like this look but there’s something about its imprecision as opposed to PTUs that makes me feel like I have to decide definitively whether each pair of trousers should have PTUs or not (and then stick with it rather than turning up an uncuffed pair of trousers). What are your thoughts please on PTUs vs this more casual temporary turn-up? (Sorry I realise this may be straying into pedantry / obsessiveness…)


That makes sense, thanks! Maybe I’ll try to be more relaxed with my more casual trousers too…

Paul F

I’d give the same feedback on them. I’ve had two pairs of this exact model for 7 and 9 years. They’re good but there’s a reason why they’re cheaper than EG or even C&J.
I found them however to be much more comfortable than the latter.

Emerging Genius

Nothing wrong with those puppies. Slimmer chinos and they’d look fabm


Morning Simon,

Do you intend to take a look at the handgrade line of shoes from C&J?

Do you have any first hand experience with C&J? I know in the past you have regarded them as a good starting point for quality shoes


René _Nanterre

Good review.
I see PS is now reviewing more “mainstream” brands.
While I surely understand Carmina offers a good value regarding the price, what’s for an encore ?
These are midrange shoes after all, nothing so special in there.
So for an amateur (and expert) of top notch craftmanship like you Simon, what’s the goal of downgrading your quality standards ?
As for what i am cencerned, i do own EG Shanklin but also CJ chukka and chiltern.
They all look superior to this pair, at least for the quality of the suede.
I think your articles are more valuable when reviewing rare / high end craftmanship.
Thanks anyway


Thanks for the article, I am very impressed by Carmina they all look very stylish but I prefer a English shoe at heart. How would you rate Cheaney, is there much difference between C&J? I need something with good arch support, I’m looking at boots would you have any recommendations? Thanks

Alan T

What an insightful article, thanks Simon. I was on the fence on these and have finally made the purchase last week in the Barcelona store.

Quick question, I have never understood the difference between the following terms that are used to describe different colors in suedes by the shoe industry: snuff, tobacco, tan, polo, etc. Is there any objective definition for them or each brand uses their own interpretation? It’s very confusing and im sure im not the only one. Thank you

Ian A

Look at the difference as to what passes as Chestnut between Crockett & Jones and Edward Green. In my view the Edward Green Chestnut looks more like a Tan.

Oh well some people are colour blind I guess or lack that particular eye for detail but it is frustrating for us when trying to match up outfits and accessories.

Clifford Hall

Simon, nice article, made me think of a couple of things, Mr. Freedom T Shirts would also be a solid option, especially for folks in the U.S. Question or you, what type of jacket would you pair with the T Shirt and Chino’s.



Clifford Hall

Simon, thank you, a good challenge for our friends at Cromford maybe,? how would you think about the color suede, close to the shoe? mine are EG Tobacco or different.

Thanks again, the wax jacket is a really nice, appreciate your/team efforts on that.



Hi Simon I have just taken delivery of a beautiful pair of dark brown suede Carmina Tassel loafers (Model: 80289 Last: UETAM). However, my despite best efforts ordering on line they fall off (I had the same problem with a pair of Crockett and Jones Cavendish loafers). I have inserted tongue pads and had a bootmaker insert inner soles and the fit is now better ( but still not ideal). Given these changes the shoe trees no longer fit or only do so under enormous pressure. Given they are quality shoes which I intend to have for some time do you recommend I have someone shave down/plane the wooden shoe trees so they fit or simply not insert shoe trees after each wear? Also re future loafer purchases from Carmina can anyone recommend a better fit/last than the UETAM ? I take a UK 12.5 EE. Thank You


I know I’m resurrecting an old post. If the slippage is due to them being too long then the XIM last might work for you. The UETAM is quite narrow in my opinion, so you could size down .5 and go with UETAM EE. The Carmina website has a nice option to compare last, you get a side view comparison and from the top. It should be helpful in assessing, length, width and instep. Good luck!


Many Thanks Simon


Hi Simon further to my Carmina Tassel loafers (Model: 80289 Last: UETAM) Carmina have offered to resole the shoes to half a size smaller ( down from 12.5UK to 12 UK) at a cost of Euro 150. In your experience is this worth undertaking to achieve a better fit/eliminate the heel slip/shoes falling off as I lift my foot off the ground or will the improvement in same be negligible? Am I best just sticking with the inserted inner soles and heel grips, making do with this pair and ensuring I physically try on different models / lasts before I purchase my next pair of Carminas ? Thank You.


Have you tried the TLB Artista Chukkas? Any comments?


What’s the appeal of unlined chukkas as opposed to normal ones? Is it mainly a matter of comfort? I once had a pair of unlined loafers but I’ve never heard of unlined boots before. Sounds like an odd combination.

Peter Hall

With the coming of spring,I’m in the market for a new pair of chukkas. Have you continued to wear them and does your general opinion remain the same?


Following up on this thread, I like Peter am considering buying unlined chukkas for the Spring. I am between the EG Shanklins and the Alden snuff suede chukkas. Since you have both I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know your thoughts on how they compare, mostly as to style, as I of course understand that EGs are much better quality. I noticed you mention the Shanklins frequently but not so the Aldens. Have the Alden’s not been to your satisfaction?

What draws me to the Aldens is the suede color and the more casual look.


Kevin Cook

Hello Simon,
I’m looking for a pair of brown suede chukka boots for summer and I wondered what your thoughts were on the Sanders Hi-Top Polo Snuff Suede Chukka Boot, if you have any. My preferred shoe is the EG Shanklin but they’re our of my price range at the moment. I having difficulty making up my mind about the Sanders Hi-Top vs a more traditional style suede chukka.
Thanks, Kevin.


Dear Simon,

Do you believe that unlined shoes in split suede would be too flimsy and wear too fast. I imagine that it would be more comfortable though.


What do you think about Sanders Hi Top Chukkas,Simon, as worn by Mr S McQueen?


What do you think of Drake’s suede mic toe chukkas? Looks comfortable and like a relatively versatile option in terms of style. There’s a fun picture of Daniel Craig wearing them, with Connolly’s goubbino.

I have my reservations about the crepe sole. That said, I’ve never had that type of sole before.


Do you think they would work in a pinch with a casual sports cost?

As an aside, how much use did you get out of that Connolly giubbino? Do you think it will get much use this summer?

R Abbott

Thanks for this review 1 very informative and balanced. I’m looking to buy suede chukkas at about this level, which is significantly better than entry level if not as good as the top end. Aside from the Carmina, I’m considering a pair by TLB Artista:

What do you think of the design and the shape of the last? Do you like it and would you consider it similar to the Carmina? Based on your review of the TLB suede Oxfords, the quality should be at least as good as the Carmina – perhaps even a little better.

One major difference is that the TLB are lined. Does this make a big difference in terms of comfort and formality? As a practical reason, is there a strong reason to prefer unlined over lined?

Thanks as always!

R Abbott

Thanks, much appreciate the advice. Over the course of the past year, I’ve been gradually adding more and more casual pieces to my wardrobe, but hadn’t taken that steps with shoes yet. Suede chukkas seem like a good cross over piece – dressy enough to go with a sports coat but better suited to go with jeans than oxfords or derbys.


Great to see a really solid, pragmatic, and detailed review online outside of the higher price point Aldens (which seem to have finally leaped the Atlantic proper but bumped up their price tag) and the upper end of the Northampton boys.

I’ve had some nice second-hand Chukkas from Alfred Sargent but they were a size too big. As luck would have it, I took a gander on eBay off the back of this review, searching for Carminas. Couldn’t find any Chukkas but I did pick up a brand new pair of penny loafers for £70 – which is not something that happens all that often these days. So thanks Simon!


Hi Simon!
Can I wear chukka boots in summer in India or would it look odd to wear a boot in summer?


Hi Simon,
What do you think of Cheaney’s Chukka Boot?

Thank you.


Dumb question, since I’m sure its simply a personal matter, but what kind of socks do you typically wear with chukkas (and chelseas and dress boots for that matter)?
Besides the length, I’m wondering what your preferences are in terms of chunkiness/weight, as well as materials?
Relatedly, do you personally wear socks, whether dress or casual, that utilize synthetic fabrics…please reference some budget-friendly options if possible. Thanks!


Thank you!

Eric Michel

I just bought a pair of Chukka boots from Carmina in Madrid. Their store is so nice and I wanted to make my own mind. I own many pairs of Crockett & Jones, some HG, EG, Corthay, Weston, Alden, Church, Aubercy… and Carmina compares nicely in term of overall appearance. First I find them quite stylish in design, closer to Corthay than C&J, and much better made than Alden which are really rough in construction. You will obviously not get the quality of EG or Corthay, but honestly who wear the same pair of shoes every day when you have more than 15/20 pairs in rotation? If you wear them occasionally, say 20/30 days every year, what is the point of buying only shoes which would last a lifetime if you wear them every day? Bottom line, Carmina is a strong choice and next time I will be in Madrid, I will have a look at their Shell Cordovan models as Alden is much more expensive for what I think is a lower quality.

Cormac Lynch

Thanks for this review, Simon.
I can see why Carmina is an excellent maker at the price. But, a lot of times, their casual style of shoes are kept little too elegant, like your review suggest. It shouldn’t take away anything from the quality but it does drive down the usage. Chukka boots this smart, most times, will appear odd in a casual outfit. Here, in this post, I find them little under matched with workwear chinos, which a decently casual chukka boot is supposed to be a great pairing for.
I wonder if you would wear this particular pair with a pale coloured tailored trousers, like you do your Saint Crispin’s?
And, on a separate note, I have seen you champion chukka boots across the board for a good casual pair of shoes. And, I want to say, it is definitely a great pleasure to wear them – they put a smile on my face when I wear them. I don’t have EGs, but Aldens.
And, as my friend and storekeeper at Alden store said, “Only issue with these shoes is you wouldn’t want to wear any other pair of shoes”, and that is true, I have found. He also said, “This shoe makes your wonder how unlined suede sewed to a leather sole, while so simple, can be so joyful”. Indeed, they are!
I resonate with you that shoes are particularly satisfying. And, chukka boots rank right in the upper echelon of providers of joy, as much as a good pair of black oxfords or a good brown loafers. Simplicity is indeed underrated and is permanently stylish.


Hi Simon, hopefully you’re doing well. I am looking for 2 pair of chukka boots probably in dark brown and tan suede that I can wear with chinos and jeans. But I am a little bit confused about the sole, I am thinking about rubber sole, what do you think? Or should I just go for crepe sole?
I feel like wearing jeans with chukka boots is going to be my signature style.


Yeah I am I like rubber soles on boots in general. Thank you once again, you helped me a lot. Have a good day


And how do you feel about leather chukka boots especially in this colour? I am thinking about getting and pair them with mid-dark blue jeans. But of course, dark brown and tan suede chukkas with rubber sole would be the safest option


I should’ve read this before buying a pair from Carmina. Not only they have mark at the bottom like you mentioned, there’s also discoloration on one side of the shoe, darker straight area that takes 1/3 part from the tongue to the toe, it’s still noticeable when I stand and very distracting to me, I’d say the price they asked is far from “value for money” most of the time with this quality control, returning seems like not worth the time spent with their customer service.