Check out TAFT’s Stitchdown Legacy Boot if you’re looking for service boots of unmatched quality.
When I was a sophomore in college, I bought a pair of service boots on sale. I’ve worn those boots well over a thousand times.
They’ve seen me through summers of landscaping and construction jobs, dozens of hikes, and countless days of inclement weather. While I still love these boots, they’re looking really rough.
So, when TAFT was kind enough to offer to give me a pair of boots for review, I knew I wanted to try and find a suitable replacement for my old tried-and-true Wolverine boots.
The Stitchdown Legacy Boot seemed like the best candidate in TAFT’s catalog.
In this review, I’ll share how they’ve handled extensive wear over the last three or four months.
Although TAFT did send me these boots for free to test out, this review is not sponsored. It is reflective of my honest, unbiased experience with the Stitchdown Legacy Boots.
If you don’t have time to enjoy the entire review, here’s a brief TLDR summary.
TAFT’s Stitchdown Legacy Boots are extremely well-made service boots crafted out of kudu leather and featuring a stitch-down construction.
Although they probably aren’t cut out for hard labor, they’re perfect for everyday wear.
First Impressions of TAFT
I’ve known about TAFT for many years, but until recently had never owned a pair of their boots.
I’ve known about Taft since I was a student at Brigham Young University. One of my professors told my class that in another period a student commented on his TAFT boots.
Then, he stood on top of a desk so the whole class could see. Evidently, a student posted a picture of him up on the desk and put it up on social media.
Someone at TAFT noticed the post and sent the professor a free pair of boots. Whenever I think of Taft, I remember how much that religion professor loves his Taft boots.
I also have friends who have worked with the brand and have highly recommended TAFT’s boots.
Suffice it to say I had high expectations, but part of me wasn’t so sure if TAFT would live up to the hype.
The Stitchdown Legacy Boot: First Impressions
Upon opening the box, I immediately noticed the boots’ quality. The upper has the best suede I’ve ever encountered, and the details are immaculate. The double-stitched welt is super clean and stitching elsewhere is incredibly fine.
I was happy to see that the boots have a fully leather-lined interior and that the rubber soles are clearly top-of-the-line.
Before even trying the Legacy Boots on, I was impressed.
The Stitchdown Legacy Boot: Colors/Finishes
The Legacy Boots come in three different colorways — Rust, Black Hatch, and Nutmeg.
The Black Hatch uses black “Horween Pioneer Reindeer leather” and has a contrasting midsole and heel stack. Unlike the other two options, the Black Hatch upper is leather rather than a suede finish.
The Nutmeg Legacy Boot has a light brown finish. While the Black Hatch is made from reindeer, the Nutmeg and Rust options have kudu uppers.
I picked the Rust colorway. TAFT’s rust is a rich medium to dark brown.
Construction & Aesthetic
As I alluded to, my first impression was that these are some solidly-built service boots that look like they can take a beating. They’ve lived up to those expectations (more on that in a moment).
These Legacy Boots wouldn’t look out of place next to a whip and a high-crowned fedora (but definitely aren’t cut out for dealing with snakes 😁).
These boots have a rough-and-tumble aesthetic that pairs well with rugged ensembles (think work pants and flannel shirts) as well as elevated smart casual looks.
While they certainly look cool, I am a bit unsettled about the use of kudu leather in their construction.
Kudu Leather Uppers
A kudu is an African woodland antelope. There are two kudu species — greater kudus and lesser kudus. I’m not sure which species was used in these boots.
Honestly, I didn’t notice that my boots were made from kudu until after testing them out for several months.
I try to avoid exotic animal goods unless I feel that I understand the market.
For instance, I have no qualms about buying reindeer products from Lapland because the reindeer are well cared for by the native Saami people. In fact, the sale of reindeer products is crucial to maintaining the Saami’s traditional way of life.
On the other hand, I feel that buying rhino ivory without the proper paperwork (showing that is not of modern origin and etc.) is never ethical. There are just scant few rhinos left and, with extremely few exceptions, ivory harvesting is the work of poachers.
Since I don’t understand kudu market, had I known these boots feature exotic leather I probably would’ve chosen another option. (It’s simply a lot of work to research until I feel comfortable with an exotic animal product).
(Note: I’ve contacted TAFT with questions about their kudu leather, but I’ve yet to hear back. Once I do, I’ll make updates with more information).
Legacy Boot Fit/Sizing
I ordered the Legacy Boot in size 10. For reference, I wear size 10.5 Nikes, and sometimes I need to size down to size 9.5 boots or dress shoes.
I’d say that TAFT’s Legacy Boots are true-to-size.
With regular crew cotton socks, they fit a bit roomy, but with thick wool socks, they’re just right.
It took me a few days to break in these boots. However, they’ve been quite comfortable ever since.
I’ve worn them on several adventures these past few months. They’ve traversed narrow cobblestone streets, rocky coastlines, and picturesque canyon trails.
They’ve held up incredibly well to the abuse they’ve sustained on my travels. There are a few battle scars, scuffed suede, and wear on the soles, mostly, but these are to be expected.
Several Legacy Boot reviewers on TAFT’s site have mentioned issues with laces breaking, but I haven’t had any trouble. I quite like their laces, actually.
These boots have served me well, and I fully expect them to last me many years to come.
However, they certainly wouldn’t be my first footwear pick for serious, multi-day hikes or for working in the trades. For that, you need hiking-specific boots or real heavy-duty work boots.
The Legacy Boots are quite structured — meaning they’re not as flexible as moc toe boots, or even my Wolverine work boots.
For that reason, when I sustained a minor running injury I put my TAFT aside for more comfortable and flexible footwear.
While I have had to shelf my Legacy Boots for a time, that’s not to say that they aren’t comfortable. They are comfortable — it’s just that they’re probably not the best choice for people with sensitive feet or for those who are looking for boots to wear to their 9-5.
If you want a “city boot” and comfort is your main priority, I’d recommend the moc-toe, wedge-soled variety.
On the other hand, if you want boots that are versatile enough for easy hikes, for some light outdoor work, and for smart-casual occasions, TAFT Stitchdown Legacy Boots might be right for you.
While I love these boots, I wish they weren’t made with exotic leather. Also, I think that the price tag of $495 is pretty steep, but not outrageous (especially considering the use of exotic materials).
All things considered, I think that TAFT Stitchdown Legacy Boots are well-made, versatile boots that are a good choice for travelers, men who live in rural areas looking for a presentable “off-the-clock” footwear option, and city dwellers who lean towards a more rugged aesthetic.
What is your favorite boot style? Are service boots your thing? Or maybe chukkas are more your speed? Let me know in the comments!