I'll answer the title question immediately: TAFT has been amazing company to order from, contact, and engage with on social media. If I had a question, they'd get back to me via email or Live Chat right away. If I posted something on Instagram or Twitter, they'd reply or re-post. And the best (worst for my wallet) thing? Getting discount codes that only last 48 hours via text or getting another discount code because I posted a review on their website! The company really does a great job of being there for their customers... (And giving them excuses to buy more of their shoes!)
The quality of the leather (from tanneries in Europe), no matter the style, seems to be top notch. I would rank their leather ahead of my President Boots by Thursday and my Evans 1000 Mile Boots by Wolverine. That is quite the statement considering most of Thursday's leather comes from the well known Mexican tannery, Le Farc, and Wolverine uses Horween's Chromexcel. Now, none of these boots have yet to be put through a Midwest winter and I will be sure to do an update after six months, but as it stands, my TAFT boots have the most durable leather. Of course, my boot addiction has led me to order custom boots from Undandy and Pigeon Tree Crafting's collaboration boot with Santalum, which are both in the works and will arrive sometime this fall! (So we will see how the leathers are those boots fair!)
The Rome Boot (in black) is a full-grain, vegetable tanned leather. The upper is mostly pebbled leather with a smooth toe cap and counter. My reason (excuse) for getting this pair is:
See? Perfectly justifiable reasons. The boot itself is just as comfortable as it's counterpart and it is a bit better for the ever changing weather out here in the Midwest. While I do not think these boots are ideal from a snowstorm, I think they can hold up well on rainy days when I don't want to get the leather sole of my Troy Boots wet.
Both pairs of boots were comfortable right out of the box and fit my feet better than both my Thursday Boots and Wolverine 1000 Mile. That maybe due to the fact that TAFT does not offer half sizes and recommend you size down (which is unusual) if you fall into that category. My first two boots are 10.5 so I got the Troy in 10 based on what they suggest and it turned out to be a perfect fit for my feet! Upon holding them up against my other pairs sole to sole, the TAFT boots are a little slimmer in the toe and maybe slightly shorter.
The better fit might also be why I think the leather is better as creasing is not as noticeable on these boots. Now, for reference, the quality of leather does not always mean more or less creasing, just ask the Shoe Snob or Horween themselves. Many different variables can play into why a shoe creases, from the shape/design of the last to the very shape of a person's foot. However, creasing isn't the only difference I've noticed, as TAFT's leather doesn't seem to scuff and scratch as much. We will see how these boots hold up compared to my other ones as time goes on, especially the suede on the Troy Boots.
The weight of both boots is something else that is noticeable right away. Both of these pairs are light as a feather! (Okay, maybe a bit heavier than a feather...) I was especially surprised by the Rome Boots, as opposed to my Thursday Presidents, being such a lighter weight as those pairs are easiest to compare in terms of their style.
Another issue for some, not me, is the fact that these boots are Blake Stitched (more common in Europe) as opposed to the Goodyear Welted Style (more common in North American & the U.K.). Here is a link that describes the differences and the pros and cons between the stitching methods. As of right now for me personally, the Blake Stitch is better as they do not require much, if any. break in period and seem just as durable in rain as their Goodyear counterparts.
My TAFT Boots, on a limited sample size, seems to be my favorite out of my small collection. I highly recommend them in both customer service and overall boot quality. These Direct-to-Consumer shoe companies are becoming more popular and for good reason! Check them out! -Stylin' Asian