Updated March 16th, 2018: For the London finale of SPECTRE, Daniel Craig’s James Bond grabbed yet another pair of suede boots from his closet. This time they were the Sanders and Sanders Playboy chukkas in Snuff suede. He wore them with his Neil Barrett trousers, N.Peal mock turtleneck sweater and John Varvatos blue suede racer jacket.
And of course there’s the whole Steve McQueen connection to this style of boot. He favored the original Playboys from Hutton of Northampton and wore them in The Blob, The Thomas Crown Affair and, more famously, snuff suede ones in Bullitt. So one pair of boots, two style icons? Sounds like a good deal!
Features Wanted for the SPECTRE Sanders and Sanders Playboy Chukkas
- Dark brown suede uppers
- Two eyelet lacing
- Thick crepe “bumper” sole in dark grey
Obviously, the truly distinguishing characteristic of the Playboys is their sole. The other interesting thing is just how many “Playboys” are out there. Basically, the boot’s bumper crepe sole was patented in 1936 by Hutton of Northhampton. They fought off imitators for decades until closing their doors in 1990. Hutton recently made a comeback under new ownership and are currently producing two new desert boots. But no Playboys.
And why is that? Well, during a period of financial difficulty in the 1970s, Hampton sold the patent for the crepe sole and trademark rights to a Swedish company. Sometime later, another company called “Playboy Footwear” bought the license and brand name from them. Playboy Footwear now has a broad range of shoes and boots. But the Original Playboy Chukkas are still front and center. However, you can’t buy them on their website. More on that below.
So who can use the “Playboy” name and the bumper crepe sole in the UK? It looks like almost anyone. Including Sanders and Sanders, who in all fairness have been producing this style of boot for decades. But also British Walkers and the Gothic Shoe Company. And we haven’t even gotten to George Cox Pop Boys yet ….
If this kind of background info interests you, then take a look at this thread on AJB007. For me, I think that’s enough history for now. On to the alternatives!
The Screen Accurate Option
Sanders & Sanders Playboy Chukka Boot in Chocolate Suede: £190.00/$220.00
Mason & Sons aren’t just limiting their Bond-connection to Sean Connery and Anthony Sinclair. They also carry a broad range of clothing from the recent films. Including the Sanders and Sanders Playboy Chukkas. Now, £185.00 isn’t cheap. But it ain’t bad compared to the pricing of some other screen accurate Bond clothing. Mason & Sons currently has UK sizes 6 to 12 in stock.
Hmmm. No reviews on Amazon yet. But they claim the uppers are genuine suede. Could be a roll of the dice. Or it could be a decent boot for under seventy bucks. Sizes are getting low. And they do recommend ordering one size down from your normal size.
Another brand using “Original” and “Playboy” in the name. British Walkers seems to be making a real effort to tap into the street-wear crowd, if the photos on their site are anything to go by. If you’re buying directly from them, just note that sizes are limited. But Amazon U.S. still has a decent selection left, with most going for the full $99.99.
I’d never heard of this company before. Apparently, they handcraft their boots in their East London factory and seem to specialize in winklepickers. But they also have a good three eyelet Playboy model. And it’s made in the UK? At that price? That’s impressive.
Fred Perry Hawley Mid Suede Chukka in Dark Chocolate: $110.61 to $223.12/£61.61 to £116.04
A new three-eyelet option from iconic British brand Fred Perry. The main differentiator with these is the “Crepe-effect” sole. Apparently the outsole looks like crepe, but they’re using a lightweight injected footbed. Not sure what that means. Amazon has U.S. sizes 7 to 13 in stock. And most sizes are running around $125.00.
Handmade in Northhamptonshire, with a full leather lining and natural crepe sole. And they’ve almost managed to make a bumper sole look sleek. But the size selection is getting a little thin. If you’re looking to invest in this style, and have problems with the fit (or possible durability) of the Sanders and Sanders, this is your best choice. Update: There have been some reports from customers that the Herring Mustang is a re-branded Sanders & Sanders boot. I’m looking into this.
Some shoe makers leverage their heritage, tracing their history back a hundred years or more to establish their credentials. George Cox is also over a hundred years old. But its modern history really started in 1970s London. That’s when Cox became the shoe maker for the city’s exploding punk rock scene. Today, they boast of collaborations with streetwear brands such as A Bathing Ape, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons. So their Pop Boy, while an iconic style, is a relatively sedate model for them. All sizes are available on the George Cox website.
The Original Playboy Chukka in Brown Suede or Cognac Suede: €229.00/$263.35
Remember that story in this post’s intro about Playboy Footwear? And how you couldn’t buy those boots from their website? Well, AJB007 forum member welshboy78 found a dealer that is a little more flexible. However, they are running very low on sizes. And what’s so great about these? Playboy Footwear states that the boots suede uppers are hand lasted to natural rubber crepe soles. The jury is still out on whether these are actually a Goodyear welt construction like the original “Originals”.
Have some suggestions for alternatives for the Bond’s SPECTRE chukkas? Leave them in the comments! I’ll continue to update this post as new options appear.