R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

Updated May 22nd, 2019 – It’s no secret that Daniel Craig is a fan of R.M. Williams products. Their classic Craftsman model boots have long been a favorite, and that O-Ring woven belt still gets a lot of play. So it’s not really surprising that for a while now, one of his “go to” pair of boots has been the tobacco suede R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots.

R.M. Williams Gilchrist Tobacco Suede Chelsea Boots

 

Thanks to the diligent reporting of Instagram account What’s Daniel Wearing (@whatsdanielwearing), we saw lots of pics of the man-who-is-Bond strolling about town in them.

Daniel Craig R.M. Williams Gilchrist Tobacco Suede Chelsea Boots
All images sourced from What’s Daniel Wearing.

Unfortunately, the Gilchrists are sold out everywhere. So even if you could afford to spring for the real deals, they’re going to be very tough to find. The closest model R.M. Williams currently stocks seems to be the Blaxland in Havana color for $495.00. However, SSENSE has a very limited size run of the boot on sale for $332.00. If you want a good deal on the Blaxland, act fast!

R.M. Williams Blaxland in Tan Suede
R.M. Williams Blaxland in Tan Suede

Now, I can’t confirm that they’re they Gilchrist. But flash-sale site East Dane does have an R.M. Williams boot in Tobacco that looks a lot like it on sale for $396.00. However, they’re down to sizes 8, 10 and 11 in it.

The good news is that in the last couple of years, that Tobacco color has really taken off with other boot makers. So we have plenty of affordable alternatives to choose from!

 

Features Wanted for the Tobacco Suede R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots
  • A more rounded shape than the R.M. Williams Craftsman
  • Tobacco or reddish tan colored suede uppers
  • Dark brown elastic gussets
  • Natural colored mid-sole
  • Rubber out-sole

 

Best Option for the Tobacco Suede R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots
Clarks Clarkdale Gobi Chelsea Boot in Dark Tan Suede: $107.99/£67.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

The winner this season for a few reasons. First, in terms of color and overall style, it’s a great match for the Gilchrist. Second, it’s readily available from a number of retailers. Third, the price is hard to beat. And fourth, Clarks is usually pretty good value for the money. The links above go to Amazon U.S. and The Hut. They have the best prices right now, but only have whole sizes 8 to 13 (UK 7 to 11) in stock. If you need a half size, you’ll have to go to the Clarks’ U.S. website or UK website. The price there jumps up to $170.00 or £95.00,

 

Under $100
Crevo Men’s Denham Chelsea Boot in Chestnut Suede: $40.99 – $119.97

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

Coming to you from Amazon. Where, by the way, it has 4.4 stars out of five. Comments claim the color is a little darker than it appears online. But it does have the lighter colored outsole, which is a bit of a rarity. Amazon U.S. has sizes 8 to 13 available. And of course the price will vary depending on the size you need. ‘Cuz Amazon ….

 

Steve Madden Inland Chelsea Boot in Tan Suede: on sale for $69.97

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

The suede color is a pretty good match for the Gilchrist, even if the side gussets are a light brown. As for Steve Madden quality, we all know it can be a bit … meh. But seventy bucks seems like a decent price for what we’re getting. Nordstrom Rack has these on sale, with sizes 9 to 13 in stock.

 

Samuel Windsor Prestige Suede Chelsea Boot in Brown: on sale for £52.95/$85.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

A great alternative shared by AJB007 forum member (and master of great alternatives) Chriscoop. He actually purchased these as his alternatives and had this to say about them:

“They’re a true to size fit for me and I’m really quite impressed with the quality. I’ve had another pair of Samuel Windsor leather soled boots that were bought as a present some 12 years ago; they have been resolved twice and are still going strong.”

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots
Chriscoop’s recently purchased Samuel Windsor suede Chelseas.

The boots are handmade (they don’t say in what country) from Italian suede and the Dainite-style soles are Goodyear Welted. Which is pretty amazing at this price-point. Even better, they currently have UK sizes 5 to 14 in stock. Just note this is UK sizing. So those of you in the U.S. will need to adjust accordingly. Thanks for the recommendation, Chris!

 

Under $200
Marks & Spencer Suede Chelsea Boot in Tan: £79.00/$137.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

A slightly dressier option from the UK retailer. The darker tan color and lighter color certainly capture the aesthetics of the Gilchrist. It also looks like M&S has taken an interest in the environment (which is always welcome!). The leather they’ve used is is independently certified to LWG environmental Stewardship standards. Good to know! Sizes 6 to 12 are available on the website, but some sizes are beginning to sell out.

 

Astorflex Bitflex in Dark Khaki: $185.00/£160.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

These are my affordable alternatives. I picked mine up during a sale at Huckberry. And I really couldn’t be happier. Astorflex is a pretty cool company. It was started in the late 1800s, and the current 6th generation owners have shifted to a more environmentally friendly and ethcial shoe manufacturing process. That means vegetable tanned leathers, water-based colors, non-solvent glues, natural rubber soles and transparency from material sourcing to sales. I’m always a little wary of crepe soles. But after nearly two years of regular use, mine still look almost brand new. Sizing is very limited right now on Huckberry. However, a restock is due soon.

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots
My Astorflex Chelseas after nearly two years of regular use.

 

Under $300
Meermin Snuff Suede Chelsea Boots: $230.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

Lots to love with these ones. Meermin’s quality has a very good reputation. These are built on their popular Hiro last, so the fit should work for most people. The suede color is a great match for the Gilchrists and they have a lighter colored outsole. And Meermin has fixed their return policy: if you’re in the U.S. you can now return shoes to their New York showroom. Honestly, if it weren’t for the higher price and the fact that the Clarks are so affordable right now, these would probably have been the “Best Option”.

 

Bostonian Somerville Hi in Cola Suede: $255.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

Bostonian was once a very well-respected U.S. based shoemaker. That all changed in the early 1990s. Their quality definitely slipped as ownership changed hands (Clarks is the current owner) and production moved off-shore. But these seem to be a step back in the right direction. They’ve gone with a Goodyear Welted construction, a leather outsole, higher quality suede uppers and a sheepskin lining with their proprietary Ortholite footbed. All in all, it sounds like a boot worth the higher price tag. In terms of looks, it’s a great match for the Gilchrist, even with the slightly darker mid-sole.

 

The Investment 
Barney’s New York Suede Chelsea Boot in Brown: $315.00

affordable alternatives R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

A more streamlined, lower profile style than the Gilchrist. But that suede is a really nice color match. And the outsole also comes very close. Then there’s the fact that these are made in Italy (which will be a selling feature for some). Barneys has sizes 7 to 12 in stock.

 

Found any alternatives for the R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots in Tobacco suede you’d like to share? Scroll down a little and leave a comment! And head over to our Facebook,  Pinterest, and Instagram pages if you’d like to see more Bond!

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6 thoughts on “R.M. Williams Gilchrist Chelsea Boots

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  • August 11, 2019 at 7:48 pm
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    So, Chelsea boots, hmm? My Dad wore them back in the 1960s, though he had a pair of black leather dress Chelsea boots that he wore to work with his suits. He recently told me they were very comfortable and that they looked great with suits. His advice was to find a well-made pair and give them a try. If worse came to worse, and I disliked them I could always sell them on eBay, LOL.
    I really think that I was extremely fortuitous to have found my size (US 12 to 13), color and manufacturer that I trust for a pair of barely worn boots. They are a pair of Sanders & Sanders, snuff suede, Chelsea boots on eBay for $99.99 USD, plus shipping. If I were I able to post a photo of the boots I think everyone would agree that they’re well-made and look nearly the same as the RM Williams boots that Daniel Craig is sporting in the photos shown in John’s article. The snuff suede is just a shade darker than the tobacco suede in the RM Williams boots. They are as comfortable as my cowboy boots and are very well-made boots. They go with everything from jeans to slightly dressed down sports coats and chinos. So, job done.
    I found the my exact boots on the Sanders & Sanders website, here’s the link: https://www.sanders-uk.com/shop/product/frank-1440ss
    They are currently running a sale on this model, which they have named “Frank”, for whatever reason. Regardless of the name, the boots normally retail for £249.00, but are selling for £175.00, which strikes me as a good price. At the moment the Sanders & Sanders website shows these boots available in sizes 7.5 to 12, in UK sizing. They do indicate low stock in a number of sizes and single pairs left in other sizes, my own size 12 being one of the single pairs still to be sold.
    So, if you have an interest in them I suggest you hustle to their site and snatch them up, muy pronto
    A search for Chelsea boots on eBay a few minutes ago shows a staggeringly wide range of prices, colors, styles and quality. Prices ranging from around $15.99 for boots of dubious quality, all the way up to $8500.00 for crocodile skin boots. And, for all you Tom Ford aficionados, there was pair of black Tom Ford dress Chelsea boots retailing for $5750.00.
    I really think you can find a pair of well made, casual, suede Chelsea boots for about $150.00 to $250.00.
    As I said, the pair I own are very comfortable, great fitting, with excellent workmanship, just as the Sanders & Sanders chukka boots I own.
    Also, I just found this article on the GQ website about wearing Chelsea boots in the fall. The article is dated September of 2018, though I think the advice is largely still valid. Here’s the link for it: https://www.gq.com/story/the-best-chelsea-boots-to-wear-with-everything
    Happy hunting ladies and gentlemen…
    Very nice article John, truly a quality piece of work here. In fact, it was your article here that inspired me to consider buying a pair of Chelsea boots. I am a serial boot buyer too. I have a pair of John Varvatos grey combat boots that were worn in the TV series “Covert Affairs”, by the character Augie. I was able to snag a complete outfit of his which included the Varvatos boots, Diesel jeans (they’re too short for me as I’m 2.5″ taller than Christopher Gorham, LOL! Anyone wanna pick up a nice pair of Diesel jeans?) and a Varvatos long sleeve t-shirt for a real bargain. Honestly though, the Varvatos combat boots are just the coolest looking boots I own, and they get attention wherever I wear them. Then I get to tell the backstory of them being worn on TV by Christopher Gorham, LOL, which just adds to the fun. All told, I have 9 pairs of boots, some dressy pairs to wear with suits and some for casual wear, which now includes the Chelsea boots, thanks to you, John.

    Reply
  • May 24, 2019 at 6:41 pm
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    As an Aussie, I love RM’s. Just remember to try on for sizing, you will need to get smaller size than you normally wear.

    Reply
  • September 28, 2017 at 11:57 am
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    Some decent budget alternatives in the Roamers Caldwell, for around £40.

    Reply

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