I’m on my second pair of Junkard boots so that should say something about how I feel about the quality this company produces. They offer a fully made-to-order shell cordovan boot for less than $500. I don’t know how long this pricing
will last but if it stays this way I will continue to recommend these as a good entry-level boot, for those that don’t already have a pair of Viberg or Truman boots. If you do you’ll probably be disappointed with these. That said, I still think Junkard makes a great pair of boots. It’s just hard to go back to driving a Jeep Wrangler after you’ve gotten used to the Range Rover.
On first inspection, everything about these boots is solid. The stitching detail and construction is perfect all around. The only strange thing was some wax on the boots that they probably applied to help shine them up for instagram photos before shipping to me. I just wiped it off and brushed them up, so no biggie there. I couldn’t find a single detail out-of-place, except that the leather itself isn’t as heavy as Horween’s shell cordovan. Last note on construction, I’ve had first quality Allen Edmonds with lesser construction quality than these (which I of course exchanged).
The MTO Wait Time and Delivery
These arrived about 6 weeks after I ordered them, which is very fast for a MTO boot. They state 4 week turnaround time on their site, but there was some holidays during my build time, and they had to wait for the leather to come from Italy. I’m more than happy with the turnaround time considering, I’ve participated in many MTO orders in the past that took more than 3 times as long.
The boots come in standard shoe box wrapped in plastic and mucho packing tape. Inside there’s include shoe bags, extra laces, some stickers, and the boots individually wrapped in plastic ziplock bags with those silica gel moisture packets.
Italian Shell Cordovan
When most people think of shell cordovan, they think of Horween’s leather. This shell comes from an italian tannery called Rocado. You can learn more about them here. I’ve had several pairs of boots and shoes in Horween shell, and one pair in Comipel shell, and this italian shell does not disappoint in comparison. It has a lot of the same qualities as Horween. The only thing is it’s slightly thinner, and doesn’t have the same color depth in the creases. Each brand has different qualities that others may appreciate, so it kinda depends on your preference. Below is how I feel about each:
- Horween – most color depth, doesn’t creases, heavy thickness, proven history
- Rocado – doesn’t crease, thinner than horween, can’t speak to longevity
- Comipel – micro creases look almost similar calf, leather feels too thin
- Shinki – no creases, closest to horween thickness but the color depth is almost non-existent, I don’t own any shoes in shinki (just belts and wallets)
This is where my experience with other brands like Viberg and Truman boots make it hard for me to keep these in rotation. Everything from start to finish on these boots is quite excellent, but once you know how comfortable boots can be, it’s hard to go back to a “just ok” fit. Now, again this is very subjective because the Junkard Company last could be the perfect fit for some. I can only explain why it doesn’t work for me.
- They don’t have a size between 10 and 11, and I feel like I would land right in between. The 11 allows a sliding movement, which makes the back of my heel rub since it lifts out a bit when walking. The 10 just feels too tight after wearing them for a while.
- It’s hard to explain, but it feels like the top part from 4th eyelet up doesn’t hug my ankle. This is of course in comparison to my Trumans and Vibergs.
Overall I think they’re still a new company working on their lasts and boot patterns. I have a feeling over time they’ll refine their articles based on client feedback, so I can see their fit and size offerings getting better in the future.
Shell Cordovan Care
I have a few pointers for anyone that may be new to Shell Cordovan. Most of the time, all you’ll need is some buffing with a soft cloth to keep the shine going but if it happens to get dull, I suggest Venetian Cream. It helps to wipe the entire shoe down with a wet cloth before conditioning them. You just work the cream into the leather, let it dry for a few minutes, and buff to a shine. Below is a before and after shot of my pair after walking through some snow and rain storms.
When Shell Cordovan gets wet with a sprinkle of water, they form these spots that look like welts. This usually freaks people out but don’t worry, they go away after they dry out. If you ever get a bunch of welts that don’t go away, just wet the entire boot (or go walk out in a downpour). I find that the welts don’t form if the leather is wet evenly. After the leather is wet, it starts to look dull and will need to be buffed up again.
Please note, my cleaning suggestions are not for Alden Shell Cordovan Shoes. They recommend only using paste wax, and never any neutral cream cleaners. This is because, even though they use the same Horween Shell, they apply a glaze and finish the leather differently. If you use cream cleaners, it can strip this off and you could lose that famous Alden shine. For other brands that don’t apply this glaze, my instructions will produce the beautiful results you see in the before after photo below.
Junkard Company has my vote. I’m excited to see this company evolve and scale up in the future. The quality of the shoes they’re producing is excellent, and for the price is a steal. They have some ready to wear options on their site, but I would recommend the MTO options. I’m hoping I can really nail the fit on a future order, or if they come out with a new last.
For ordering your best bet is to direct message them on Instagram. They’re in Indonesia, so you’ll have to DM them at odd times, but they’re very responsive. Just be very clear with exactly what you want, since things can get lost in translation. I did all the MTO interaction on DM, and they sent me an invoice to approve once all the options were discussed. You can find more info on them at the links below:
- Styleforum thread – to see what other people are saying
- JunkardCompany.com – their website
- ShellCordovan.com – the leather provider they use for their shell cordovan
- Junkard Company Instagram – Their instagram feed
I didn’t go much into the ordering process and what the available options are, but there’s a ton of info on that at the styleforum thread. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, or DM me on instagram.