Most menswear enthusiasts agree that a stylish pair of leather boots is one of the most vital and versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe.
Simultaneously rugged and roguish, a good pair of boots can take a modern man pretty much anywhere, from the hiking trail or the back of his motorcycle to his business casual office or post-work drinks at the bar.
The problem is that in addition to being one of your most vital wardrobe pieces, leather boots can also be one of the most expensive.
Most men’s boots start at around $100, and it’s not uncommon for well made boots to run you 400 to 500 bucks.
Even worse, it can be annoyingly difficult to tell which ones are well constructed and worth investing in, and which ones look good, but fall apart after just a few wears.
As autumn fell upon Toronto (and yes, that was absolutely meant as a pun), I recently spent a few weeks pounding the pavement in a pair of boots from Thursday Boot Co. to find out how they stack up in terms of aesthetics and quality.
Read on to learn the full results of my thorough Thursday Boots review and find out if their Captain cap toe boots lived up to the hype (and the price tag).
Overview: Thursday Boot Company
Thursday Boot Company’s founding goal is to merge function with fashion by straddling the line between well-made but clunky work boots and stylish but too-delicate fashion boots.
Its mission is to create high-quality footwear that can handle some hard pavement pounding, but also looks great and doesn’t cost a fortune—which is pretty much the perfect combo for style-conscious guys on a budget like myself.
In addition to finding the right mix between rugged and refined, Thursday’s website also boasts of their commitment to quality.
They claim that “where other brands choose to cut corners, we invest,” citing everything from the quality of their leather to the testing they do on the laces.
Where are Thursday Boots made?
While the company is based in New York City, Thursday Boots are made in León Guanajuato, Mexico, using American leather.
Thursday’s founders say that they selected their partners in León because “they had the same philosophical priorities we had in terms of ethical sourcing, fair labor, and high quality goods.”
But they source their leather from the U.S. because “there are better practices here than in other countries” and they want to be responsible manufacturers.
What’s With The Name?
So, why call it the “Thursday” Boot Company? Because Thursday kind of straddles the line between the workweek and the unofficial start of the weekend.
As their website puts it: “…no matter what you do for work, or where you go for fun, you can always stand confidently in your Thursdays.”
It all certainly sounds good, but are their boots up to snuff? Let’s take a closer look at the Captains to find out.
Thursday Boots Captain Review
One of the big reasons that Thursday Boots appealed to me is because their stated mission matches up pretty well with my own philosophy towards shoes and boots.
When I buy a new pair, I tend to judge it on three main factors.
For me aesthetics (how good they look) comes first, followed by quality (how well they’re made) and of course the price point (meaning not only how much they cost, but how much value they provide for the money).
Probably the first thing I noticed when I opened up Thursday’s Captain boot was how striking it looks.
Ordering from online shoe stores is always a bit of a crap shoot because you never know if the product will live up to the marketing pictures used on their website.
So I was both happy and a little bit relieved to learn that in real life there’s a lot to like about the Captains aesthetically, from the suppleness of the Tier 1 USA-made leather to the stitching that connects the goodyear welted sole to the upper.
Now, to be fair, a lot of boots make a great first impression in the store or fresh out of the box, then deteriorate over time, which is why I always assess quality separately.
But I have to admit I was impressed when I first laid eyes on the Captain, and eager to start working them into my wardrobe to see how they’d hold up.
Full disclosure: I never remember to take “unboxing” pictures of new products the first time I open them, so the shot featured above isn’t my own, it’s from an Amazon user named Anthony.
Fortunately, Anthony did remember to take pictures, and based on his review and his shots, it sounds like his experience mirrored my own.
Strong Toe Shape
One of my favorite details about this boot is its toe shape, which seems to perfectly straddle the line between round-toe combat boot and sharp-toe dress boot.
While other Thursday Boots, like their popular President model, have a rounder toe that evokes the kind of classic combat shit-kickers my grandfather wore in WWII, the Captains have a toe shape that’s ever-so slightly sharper.
I still wouldn’t call these a “dress boot” – they look great with jeans, but would probably feel out of place with a suit – but the slightly sleeker toe shape makes them appropriate for a lot of offices, and will help you elevate your casual look.
One fall evening I took my wife out for dinner and paired the Captains with a dark pair of jeans, a white button down shirt and a tweed blazer.
And thanks in part to the slightly more dressed up toe shape, the look worked perfectly on the patio of the well-appointed-but-not-formal restaurant we went to.
Aesthetics Score: 5/5
Goodyear Welts: The Gold Standard for Boot Construction
As mentioned above, the Captains are goodyear welted.
That means that the leather upper part you slide your foot into and the soles, including the poron insole, the cork-bed midsole and the outer rubber sole are bound together tightly by “stitching a welt to the upper and a strip of preformed canvas like a ‘rib’ that runs all around,” as Wikipedia notes.
Goodyear welting is considered by many to be the gold standard for shoe and boot construction because, in addition to ensuring they stay in one piece for a long time, goodyear welting also helps make your boots water resistant.
(And it’s arguably more important for boots than for a pair of shoes, because boots tend to be worn hard and put to work in tougher conditions.)
You know those stitches that you often see on boots, running along the tops of the soles? That’s an indication the boots are goodyear welted.
But buyer be warned: a studded rubber outsole isn’t always a guarantee that the boots are goodyear welted.
A lot of people don’t realize that some cheaper brands will cut corners by fusing the uppers and the soles with glue, then adding the stitching as an aesthetic detail later, to imply that the boots are goodyear welted when they’re really not.
But as mentioned above, Thursday Boot Company puts a heavy emphasis on quality, and they seem to put their money (or in this case, my money) where their mouth is.
The Captains really are a true goodyear welt boot, and feel slightly heavier and more substantial as a result.
As Anthony put it in that Amazon review I mentioned:
“Fresh out of the box, you can tell they’re made by hand. I wouldn’t have been surprised for a loose stitch or a slightly not-dead-straight seam, but mine were perfect. The quality is not comparable to anything you’d buy at a department store. They’re simply a better product.”
The real test of their quality will come months or even years from now, as I see how well the boots hold up over time.
But as a rule of thumb you can pretty much always expect goodyear welted boots to have a lot more longevity than pairs that are only glued together.
Size Down By Half
This is something I first noticed after reading a bunch of Amazon reviews (on which more below), and I’m glad I did.
While the Amazon sales page says the fit is “True to size,” multiple reviewers mentioned that they found their standard size to be a little big, and recommend sizing down by a half.
This is something that’s always annoyed me about buying shoes, but seems to be particularly prevalent in boots.
I’m usually a pretty reliable size 9, but I have multiple size 9 boots that are just a little too long, and require insoles to make them fit snuggly.
Quality Score: 4.5/5*
- *With the caveat that the real test will come over time.
How much does the Thursday Boots Captain cost?
At $200, the Captains fall either in the middle of the pack or on the lower end of the price spectrum, depending on what you compare them to.
But it’s worth noting that neither of those boots are goodyear welted, meaning they’re more likely to start falling apart before the Captains.
Red Wing Iron Ranger boots are goodyear welted and cost $325 on Amazon, but in my opinion the Captains are a much better deal than the Red Wings, since they have both a better toe shape and a smaller price tag.
Price Score: 5/5
Thursday Boots Amazon Reviews
How do Amazon users rank the Captains?
Even before I bought the Captains, I noticed how highly they were rated on Amazon. (In fact, it’s one of the reasons I pulled the trigger.)
Of the nearly 2,000 reviews they’ve received at the time of this writing, 75% are 5-star reviews, and they have an overall rating of 4.5/5 stars.
Here’s one from June 2020 that’s pretty typical of most reviews:
“Nice boots. Been wearing them all day and I can tell they’re going to get better with time. I bicycle commute and it turns out the raised heel makes riding easier. The functionality of that riding heel has returned. There’s little details that make a difference too. The laces, the insole, the grommets, the leather… all top notch. Way above expectations. They smell amazing. You’ll understand once you get a pair. Didn’t see the advice to order a half size down so I had to return the first pair. Oops. Second pair, half size down, fits like a glove. Absolutely love these boots.”
Note that this reviewer alludes to the common theme that I mentioned above, and recommends sizing down by half a size.
Thursday Boots Review Reddit
What do reddit users think of the Captains?
While Amazon reviewers were overwhelmingly positive in regard to the Captains, reddit users had a slightly less sunny disposition. (Shocking, right?)
On the sub-reddit dedicated to goodyear welts (yes, there’s a sub-reddit entirely dedicated to goodyear welted shoes and boots, because reddit), the Thursday Boots seem to be the goodyearwelt reddit is most divided over.
Back in 2015, u/gluglugs wrote wondered why Thursday had boots had gotten a bunch of negative reviews on the thread.
After reading through the responses and a bunch of other posts on the thread, I think one potential reason is clear: the guys on r/goodyearwelt are super knowledgeable, but they’re also boot snobs.
As you can probably imagine, people who spend hours on a sub-reddit dedicated to goodyear welts care a lot about how their shoes and boots are constructed, and tend to compare every new entry into the market against the best-made (and often most expensive) industry leaders.
But while r/goodyearwelt users go deep on the function, they seem to be less interested in the other side of Thursday Boot’s mission, the fashion.
Over on r/malefashion advice, on the other hand, you get the opposite side of the coin. A lot of users actually had pretty high praise for Thursday Boots, and the Captains in particular.
Redditor u/pm_your_fits posted a really positive review that gave the Captains an 8/10 for design and looks, another 8/10 for comfort and a 10/10 for comfort and durability, noting:
“The construction is definitely strong and sturdy. I have ran to classes in these boots when I was late and gone to business casual meetings. Overall, I think they are a comfortable versatile piece that is definitely worth the price.”
He particularly appreciated the price, since the Captains are one of the few goodyear welted boots you can get for $200 or less.
After doing a deep dive into reddit (which is always dangerous), my main take away is that guys who want a great-looking boot that’s better constructed than the type of cheap shit you get at places like Aldo love Thursday Boots.
But guys who want a boot that’s expertly made first and fashionable only second (if at all), tend to be think that Thursdays don’t match the quality of some of the more expensive industry leaders.
Personally I’m in the former camp, not the latter. As a style enthusiast my first concern is wearing pieces that help me look and feel my best.
Of course, I don’t want to waste my money on poor quality products that are going to fall apart immediately.
But since most of my walking/boot wearing happens on city sidewalks (as opposed to nature trails or rougher terrain), I neither need nor want to invest in boots that are constructed to live longer than the pyramids.
Total Score for the Captains: 4.8/5
After a few weeks and thousands of steps, I can say with confidence that Thursday Boots’ Captains are more than up to snuff.
I of course have to caveat my conclusion by saying that these are still early days; while I’ve worn the shit out of these things over the past few weeks, the real test will be whether they perform as well over the long haul.
But based on all the positive reviews I’ve read and the early returns from my own experience thus far, all signs seem to point to performance – these really do seem to be great boots.
The Captains are solidly constructed, comfy enough to stand, walk and hike on for hours on end, and (as a self-respecting style blogger it would be professional malfeasance for me to not to mention this again) stylish as hell.
If you’re looking for more of a good ol’ fashioned shit kicker then you might want to opt for something with a rounder toe and maybe even a thicker sole.
But for a good-looking boot that’s stylish enough to wear to work but well made enough to sustain you through shitty weather, the Captains are hard to beat – especially for the price.
But my experience with the Captains was so strong that I think I’m finally going to pull the trigger on the Scout chukkas that I’ve had my eyes on for awhile now.
If they perform as well as the one pair of Thursdays I’ve tried so far, I’ll consider it money well spent.
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