Meet the Maker – Grant Stone
Grant Stone is established in 2015 on years of experience and a limitless passion for shoemaking. Their experience plus working with some of the best leathers available on this planet are making their footwear indestructible and irresistible. Working closely with their manufactory on Xiamen, China, Grant Stone manages to sell their high-quality Goodyear welted shoes at competitive prices.
Wyatt Gilmore, founder and managing director of Grant Stone, was born and raised in a seasoned shoemaker family. Both his dad, Randy, and his grandad have been working in the Goodyear welt shoe business at renowned brands their entire careers. After Wyatt spend multiple years in the factory to learn the ropes, he decided it was time to start their own brand. Together with his father, he founded Grant Stone which started as a small, fun project in the first place. Once they started and realized their opportunities, Grant Stone started to grow steadily.
The materials & make
Since Randy had been working at a renowned brand, their mission for Grant Stone is clear and simple: Building the best footwear they are capable of while relying on their experience(s). This ambitious mission is one of their most valued goals and it has its effect on both the chosen materials as well as the manufacturing. The materials and components for Grant Stone’s footwear are selected by their outstanding quality and sourced from all over the world. The leathers, for example, are tanned by the world’s best tanneries like Horween in the USA and Badalassi in Italy.
The upper of the shoes is made of vegetable tanned leather and range from a thickness of 1 to 2.2 mm, depending on the type of leather. The inside of the shoe is lined with leather to provide comfort to the wearer’s feet and to support the upper. The insole, one of the most important parts of a pair of Goodyear-welt shoes, is made of 3.5 mm thick leather and will form to your feet over time. Other features that can be found in Grant Stone’s shoes are brass eyelets, cork filler with a steel shank, and full grain leather heel counters.
All shoes in Grant Stone’s current collection are built on, as they call it, the Leo last. A last is a plastic or wooden shape, that will create the ‘fit’ of the shoes, while the materials are formed around it. After months of adjusting classic dress and orthopedic lasts, Randy developed the Leo last that should accommodate four major foot shapes comfortably. In the future, Grant Stone will release some new lasts to offer different appearances while upholding the fit and comfort.
The factory, responsible for the production of Grant Stone’s footwear is located on Xiamen island, China. After leading productions at this factory for years, it was clear that they can produce the high-quality Goodyear welt shoes Wyatt and Randy were aiming for.
The small factory, compared to the average shoe factory, is led by a management team that has a knack for focusing on certain details and is always experimenting with different materials. This experimental and open mindset is giving Wyatt and Randy the opportunity to create new styles and to keep adjusting their products until it meets their expectations.
In the factory, there are just a handful of people working on Grant Stone’s shoes. Day in, day out, roughly 10 – 20 people are involved in the process creating the Goodyear welt shoes and boots out of raw materials. Meaning that these few people are in charge of carefully handling quite a few steps, especially when the shoe gets to the final stages.
‘Made in China’, often comes with a bad taste. But, just like in every other country, there are big differences between factories regarding the quality and conditions. The reason for Grant Stone to produce their products in China is obviously because of their extensive network, and years of experience. Producing in China gives them the opportunity to create a high-end pair of Goodyear welt shoes without cutting any corner and offering it at a competitive price.
Grant Stone is offering several different styles and the collection is subdivided into boots and bluchers. The boots are available in two styles, namely: The Diesel boot and the Ottawa boot. The Diesel boot, available in four different colors, is Grant Stone’s take on a basic plain toe boot. This boot can be worn on every occasion and is built for its strength and longevity. The Ottawa boot is the more outspoken choice. The hand-sewn moc, that breaks up the vamp nicely, is showier, but still very subtle and elegant in comparison to other moc toe boots.
The Bluchers, a low top dress shoe and similar to a derby, are offered in 13 different styles. By offering uppers in different kinds of leather and with different designs, they are offering a Blucher fitting in every wardrobe and for every occasion. Grant Stone’s current best seller is the Crimson Plain Toe blucher. It is a versatile shoe, yet very basic due to the natural leather sole, and brown upper. This is a unique shoe and hard to find elsewhere.
In the future, Grant Stone will expand their collection with some new styles. Right now, they are focusing on making a calf leather Cap Toe and an unlined penny loafer. Especially the penny loafer is promising according to Wyatt. It will have a different look and can be worn every day with just about any outfit.
Grant stone is founded and built on a congenital love for shoemaking and years of experience. The collection is extensive and impressive, and, after seeing the shoes for myself, I can honestly say that they offer great value for money. First, I was a little skeptical about their make in China, but after seeing these boots for myself I can honestly say that the quality of the leather and construction is top-notch. Head over to Grant Stone’s web store, and see their collection for yourself.