In 2004 film Layer Cake, Daniel Craig’s character XXXX wore a pair of R.M. Williams Chelsea boots, reportedly the no longer available Henley Model. Since then, he’s been seen on multiple occasions out and about wearing his personal pairs of R.M. Williams, including the tobacco suede Gilchrists (you can find alternatives for those in this post). Obviously, they’re some of his favorite footwear.
Although R.M. Williams is most famous for their classic (and sleeker) Craftsman model, the model that comes closest to the Henley from their current collection is probably the Comfort Turnout ($495.00 U.S.).
Features Wanted for the Daniel Craig Layer Cake Chelsea Boots
- Dark brown leather, with little to no burnishing
- Double gore style (i.e. elastic panels on both sides of the boot)
- Over ankle height
- Minimal decorative stitching; as plain and simple a design as possible
- Blunt, chisel-style toe box
- Black or dark brown outsole. To be as close to the originals as possible, ideally we’d also get a leather sole. But we may have to go with with rubber (which some people might actually prefer).
A quick note before we get to the options. Many of the alternatives are coming from Australian and UK based manufacturers. So the sizing on their websites will need to be converted to U.S. sizing. Here’s a conversion chart to help with that. Just make sure that when you’re ordering a pair, you know what sizing they’re using!
Best Option for the Daniel Craig Layer Cake Chelsea Boots
The boot shape is probably closer to the more streamlined R.M. Williams Craftsman. But (and this is the important part), they have one piece leather uppers, just like the originals. There are other manufacturers using the one-piece construction (see below). But Meermin is getting the top spot for two reasons. First, they have a rapidly growing fan base that swears by their quality for the price. Second, the 101050s are either easier to order (and return) and/or less expensive than the other options. The only downside is sizing is getting a little spotty on the website.
Mark Nason Eastwood Chelsea Boot in Red Brown: on sale for $25.00 to $40.00
Considering these are supposed to retail for about $110, the sale price makes them pretty attractive. Even if the leather is more a reddish color than we’d like. I will warn you that these aren’t the best reviewed boots. On Amazon, they only have 2 stars, and 3 to 4 stars on most other online vendors. Most buyers seem to be complaining about the sizing rather than the quality. But for occasional beaters, they could work. All sizes are in stock on Amazon U.S.
Black Brown 1826 Leather Chelsea Boot in Brown: on sale for $48.00
These might be the best deal on the list. The original price was $150 and now they’re on sale for $60. Plus, Lord & Taylor is offering an extra 20% off with the code SAVEBIG, bringing them down just under fifty bucks. But I’m not sure how long that will last. The leather uppers are probably not the greatest quality. But they do have a leather lining, which is a nice touch. Sizes 8.5 to 13 are in stock on the website.
Aigle Orzac 2 Chelsea Boots in Dark Brown: on sale for £39.28 to £89.00
Aigle is primarily known for its rubber boots and riding boots. So it makes sense they’d offer an equestrian inspired Chelsea. The Orzac 2 has a full grain leather upper, leather lining and rubber sole. And, to my eyes, the color and shape are a great match for the Henley’s. If you want to keep the price under £100, these would be a solid choice. Amazon has a good selection of sizes available. But if they’re missing what you need, you can also get the boots directly from Aigle for £84.00.
Baxter Goulburn in Brown: $191.53/£158.18
Baxter is one of the manufacturers making one piece leather uppers that I mentioned above. And it is very much an Australian heritage brand in its own right. Started in 1850 by Henry Baxter in the town of Goulburn, most of their footwear is now made in Asia. However, at least up until a few years ago, their signature Goulburn was still made in Australia. I’m honestly not sure if that’s still the case, but there’s an interesting article about the decline of the Australian bootmaking industry here that explains the challenges these heritage brands have been facing. One thing that is for sure is the boots will be shipping from Australia. Which will set you back another $25 to $50 depending on how fast you want them. But even with the extra cost, these are a heck of deal as long as you can get your size dialed in on the first try. Note that they use Australian sizing on their website!
Dukes Berkley Chelsea Boots: £175.00
Dukes is a relatively new to the UK shoemaking scene. Started in 2005 by Daisy Hare, the company is based in Canterbury, Kent, but has its footwear made in Spain. Like the Meermin Chelsea, the Berkley is a little sleeker looking than the Henley. But it is a one piece leather upper construction with a deerskin lining, leather soles, wooden heels and a very reasonable price tag. Two things to be aware of. First, Dukes does ship internationally, but they only accept payment in British pounds. Second, sizing options are getting very low on their website.
Thomas Cook Trentham: $203.00 U.S./$299.95 AUS
And another traditional Australian maker producing a one piece leather upper boot with a full leather lining. For a bit of history, Thomas Cook began producing his footwear in 1924 in Melbourne and the company has been family owned for three generations now. What sets these Chelseas apart is the use of their proprietary “Cushion-Tech” removable footbed, which they claim “is breathable, anti-bacterial and moisture absorbing”. Australian sizes 7 to 13 are in stock on their website. But you’ll need to pay for international shipping.
Last, but certainly not least, is the made in Britain Chatsworth from the venerable UK shoemaker Loake. These are not a one piece leather construction. But they are Goodyear welted and come with a Dainite rubber sole. Herring Shoes has most sizes available. But, unfortunately, they’re not able to ship Loake products to the U.S.A. But you can also check out their own Herring Coltham II Chelseas for $228.00. Those ones are hand-made in Spain. But the color and shape may actually be a better match for the original Henleys. Unfortunately, they’re also running real low on sizing options.
Have some suggestions for the Daniel Craig Layer Cake Chelsea boots? Tell us about them in the comments! You can also visit our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice and inspiration! And don’t forget to check out our Amazon Store. That’s where we’ve organized the alternatives we’ve found the massive online retailer.