Johnston And Murphy Forrester Chukka Boots

About a month ago I made the decision to finally sit down and take stock of the shoe collection that’s been rapidly growing in my closet over the past couple years.

Now, I’m not one of those crazy footwear fanatics with an entire room dedicated to my shoes (…see Paul Anthony), but nevertheless I felt quite proud of my modest collection. However, upon inspection I quickly realized that something was missing…

It was clear that I had more than enough formal dress shoes and plenty of casual options to choose from, but I didn’t seem to have anything in between. No semi-formal shoes that were casual enough to wear with jeans and a tee, yet versatile enough to dress up when the occasion calls.

After a bit of research I came across Johnston & Murphy’s Forrester Chukka boots and decided to get myself a pair as they seemed to fit the bill for what I needed.

Johnston & Murphy Shoes On Railroad Tracks

Having worn these boots for just over one month now I’ve had the opportunity to properly break them in and put them to the test.

The following review covers everything you need to know about Johnston & Murphy’s Forrester Chukka boots and my experience wearing them, including:

Johnston & Murphy Forrester Chukka Boot Review

Johnston And Murphy Shoes - Forrester Chukka Boots

Overall Johnston & Murphy’s Forrester Chukkas are great boots that offer excellent value and lots of versatility.

The quality of the leather and the overall look of the shoes alone were enough to convince me of the value, not to mention how incredibly comfortable they are!

Presentation & What’s In The Box?

Johnston & Murphy Shoe Box

Let’s start with the packaging and presentation as I believe this element is too often overlooked by the average review.

It may just be me, but I believe there’s something special about opening a new pair of shoes, especially when they’re nicely packaged. Maybe it brings back nostalgic memories of Christmas mornings past? Or just a simple appreciation for the extra thought that went into the presentation?

Whatever the case may be, Johnston & Murphy has done a fantastic job when it comes to the packaging and presentation of these boots. As part of the 1850 Collection, my Forrester Chukka boots arrived in a special box featuring the J&M logo and iconic “EST. 1850” that refers to the company’s founding.

J&M Est. 1850 Collection Shoe Box

As you can see in the photo above, the box has a classic vintage look that adds to the overall experience of opening the shoes for the first time.

The shoes are also wrapped in a very cool paper featuring images of shoemakers working in one of the original Johnston & Murphy factories.

Unboxing Johnston Murphy Chukka Boots

These small details may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they are nevertheless fundamental to the overall experience of buying a great pair of shoes in my opinion.

The DetailsForrester Chukka Boot Outsole

Continue reading below for an in-depth look at some of the most prominent features of the Chukka Forresters that set them apart.

Premium Leather

The Forrester Chukkas feature an upper made from premium calfskin leather that is sourced from the Chicago-based Horween Leather Company.

Putting On Leather Chukka Boots

The superior quality of the leather was the first thing I noticed when holding the boots for the first time and became even more apparent as I wore them.

In fact, you’ll probably notice the overall quality of the leather just by looking at the boots as they hold a soft natural sheen that is reminiscent of a high-quality dress shoes.

Superior Construction

The construction method is another important aspect of a shoe that I believe is also overlooked far too often.

You’ll be happy to know that the Forrester Chukkas use a leather welt construction. For those who may not know, this method results in extra durability and means that the shoe should last longer than similar shoes that utilizes cheaper construction methods (as they can be re-soled many times without impacting / damaging the uppers).

Subtle Broguing

Contrast Stitching On Brown Leather Boots

These boots initially caught my eye when I saw the subtle broguing on the heelcap.

I think broguing can look great on a leather chukka boot, but too much of it can quickly ruin the classic design that this style of boot is so well known for.

The key is moderation and that is exactly what you’ll find with the J&M Forrester.

The heelcap features a nice brogue enclosed by single stitching on either side to secure the heelcap to the shoe’s quarter. Overall I feel like this subtle feature adds just the right amount of character and uniqueness without detracting from the classic design of the shoe.

Contrast Stitching

Brown Leather Boots On Snow

The contrast stitching used for the welt of the shoe offsets the mahogany color of the calfskin leather very nicely and really helps to showcase the construction quality.

Genuine Crepe Rubber Outsoles

These boots also feature Johnston & Murphy’s signature eco-sourced genuine crepe rubber outsole.

Beside being environmentally-friendly, these crepe rubber soles make for a very comfortable wear while also providing solid traction in the event of inclement weather.

Price & Overall Value

The Forrester Chukka boots by Johnston & Murphy retail for $185.

Considering the quality of the leather and the superior construction method used to make the Forresters, the overall value for money becomes evident.

At $185 the Forrester Chukkas are just slightly more expensive than other options in J&M’s range of chukka boots, which retail anywhere from $159 to $179.

Final Thoughts

Trevor Guilday On Railroad With Leather Chukka BootsI’ve owned more than my fair share of chukka boots and I can confidently say that the J&M Forresters carry their own weight.

When it comes to chukka boots in the $100 – $200 range you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value elsewhere.

Yes, there are plenty of chukkas out there that will cost less than the J&M Forresters, but finding a pair that offer the same level of quality for the price will be a challenge.

As always, please feel free to share any thoughts or insights below!

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Johnston & Murphy Forrester Chukka Boots
Reviewed by Trevor Guilday, on .
"These boots are incredibly comfortable! Great semi-formal option for the winter."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

About the Author:

Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.


  1. Peter November 28, 2018 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Does Leather welt mean Goodyear welt? I read that Horween only does cowhide, and not calfskin.

    • Charles-Philippe November 29, 2018 at 3:57 am - Reply

      Hi Peter,

      I actually think that the original author made a mistake here as Johnston & Murphy’s 1850 range are made from imported Italian calfskin leather.

      Apologies for the confusion.



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