Jeansda boots, Goodyear welted ruggedness

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Sometimes really good things can come from places where you might not suspect they would come from. Take rugged leather boots, your mind probably goes to American made workwear makers like Red Wing or Thorogood. Or take quality Goodyear welted shoes and you might naturally think traditional makers in Northampton. If your thoughts then take a turn towards more reasonably priced quality footwear, you might be looking at Portugal or Spain. In this case though, the quest for a pair of solid and rugged, quality leather, Goodyear welted boots leads us all the way to Taiwan and Jeansda.

Jeansda Lancelot, a rare example of Goodyear welted footwear from Taiwan.

Jeansda Lancelot, a rare example of Goodyear welted footwear from Taiwan.

A little background

Now, much of the info I have managed to dig up regarding Jeansda has been routed through Google Translate, so there may be cases where my interpretation may not be entirely correct, but the gist of what I have gleaned makes for an interesting story. The brand Jeansda sprung from a Taiwanese denim forum and has started producing various garments since.

As the story goes a small factory was set up in Taiwan in 2006, intending to make high end shoes using the Goodyear welted method. The neccessary machinery was procured, and staff sent for training at John Lobb in the UK. John Lobb as any shoegazer knows is right at the pinnacle of high end shoemaking, so being trained there was going right to the master. By 2013 though, the factory closed down and most of the equipment was shipped to Laos. And thus ended the dream of sewing Goodyear welts in Taiwan.

Until a chance meeting between Jeansda and someone who had worked there. They got talking, it turned out there was still a production line mothballed there, and a dream was born. Now all this is a little sketchy (you can read the story here), but from what I understand they gathered up enough of the old crew to design and make the “Lancelot” boot. I’m always a sucker for the underdog and this appears to be a good example of such. Yet we live in a global society now and geography isn’t as important as it once was. If we have tweed bags made in Russia, artisan jeans in the Ukraine, why not leather boots welted in Taiwan?

Let’s take a look at them then!

The Lancelot is a boot that immediately looks right, thought it’s different to anything I already had. It’s got a bulky capped toe box, thick leather sole and quite high heel, mid height shaft and looks really rugged. The bulky toe box gives it a distinctly different look and I was surprised when I just compared them to my Alden Indy boots to find how similar they actually are in size. The Lancelot is a little taller, just a little thicker of sole, but where the Indy boots look sleek, the Lancelot have a bullish look about them. The grade of leather feels similar, though in the Lancelots the toes are better protected against being stomped.

The Horween leather has been imported from the US and is thinner than you’d expect from a pair of Red Wings, but also a lot more supple, which comfort wise isn’t a bad thing. The main sole is pure, thick leather with brass tacks. The heel is of the Cat’s Paw variety, not unusual these days, although the deadstock supply of these heels appears to be infinite. The combination of eyelets and speedhooks mean they are easy to get on and off.

Checking them over before use it’s difficult to find any real flaws in them. The only note I make is that the brogueing and seams on the cap toe don’t appear to be 100% accurate. If I wasn’t looking very very carefully I’d likely not have noticed it. The level of finish I would say is somewhere between Red Wings “is it lunch soon?” level and Aldens “let’s see if we can make this even better”. If you know the references you know what I’m on about here.

How are they in use?

In use they initially feel a bit chunky. The leather sole is actually thick and pretty stiff. I quickly got used to them though and enjoyed how different they felt from my usual boots. Different like a nice new experience, not different in a bad way. They also look great from above, which counts for something in a world where other people will rarely compliment you on how ruggedly handsome your boots are. With regards to size they fit really well.

Jeansda Lancelot, Goodyear welted, heavily soled and Cat's paw heels.

Jeansda Lancelot, Goodyear welted, heavily soled and Cat’s paw heels.

Jeansda boots, the verdict

Now the one thing I’ve not mentioned yet is the price of the boots. At 399 USD, including shipping, they come in a little higher than a pair of Red Wings, and a decent amount less than Aldens, so really somewhat less than what could be expected based on the materials, construction and quality. Not a bad deal at all.

Is there any downside? Personally I’d have preferred a full rubber sole on mine. The Cat’s Paw heel is fine, it lives up to it’s no slip promise, but I don’t get on with leather soles either from a traction point of view or feeling I can use them unless it’s dry outside. Others will have differing opinions on this, but you know my point is valid. In time though I can have them resoled with a kickass commando sole and the boots will be invincible!

Available direct from Jeansda (I found it easiest to contact them via DM on Instagram)

Jeansda Lancelot boots, ruggedly handsome in a light rain, on a tree stump in Norway.

Jeansda Lancelot boots, ruggedly handsome in a light rain, on a tree stump in Norway.

 

Liked it? Take a second to support nick on Patreon!

5 Comments

  • Richard M 02/12/2017 at 20:20

    Very nice, although that heel is a little high for my liking. Do you know if they make other models?

    Reply
    • nick 02/12/2017 at 20:28

      Just this model, though you can chose between brown, black and burgundy. The heel doesn’t feel as high as it looks, it’s mainly visual.

      Reply
  • Sungame 03/12/2017 at 21:25

    Nice looking boots! They actually look a little like Dundas boots, although perhaps not quite as heavy.

    just like you, I would much prefer a full rubber sole. As it is, though, I am still intrigued enough that I have to ask: are those toe boxes wide, or just bulbous? My feet are to wide for Red Wings, and I have a. Hard time finding decent alternatives.

    Reply
    • nick 03/12/2017 at 21:34

      Much mighter than Dundas (or William Lennon). I think it’s really only the toe box that is big, the fit otherwise is regular. Have you tried ordering wider Red Wings? I’m pretty sure they are made in several widths.

      Reply
      • Sungame 04/12/2017 at 20:02

        Thank you for the quick reply!
        I haven’t tried ordering wide (EE) Red Wings yet. The only way I know of to lay my hands on a pair would be to order directly from Red Wing USA. The European stores only seem to stock D width.

        Reply

Leave a Comment