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Thursday Captain Boot Review: My Thoughts After 5 Years

William Barton
Expertise:

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024
17 min read

Thursday Boots talk a big game, but are they worth it? Five years ago, I picked up a pair of the Thursday Boots Captain and have worn them in nearly every weather condition imaginable.

Keep reading for my verdict and to find out whether they’re right for you.

Our favorite service boot
Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: Thursday Boot Company
Thursday Boots Captain
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Bottom line: The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Thursday's Chrome leather from Le Farc tannery (often compared to Horween Chromexcel), these boots are still holding up well after five years of wear. I like them so much, I got two more pairs recently in Arizona Adobe and the Storm King version in Tobacco leather.

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Pros:
  • Thursday’s proprietary full grain Chrome leather from the Le Farc tannery is excellent quality---it’s durable and looks great
  • Goodyear welt construction makes these more water resistant and easy to resole when needed
  • Studded rubber outsoles offer a lot of grip on rainy/ snowy days and have proved durable over four years
  • Free shipping and free returns within the US
Cons:
  • Gets heavy after a long day of walking
  • Brown colorway is more shiny than expected

I’ve been wearing my Thursday Captains for five years now. I’ve had three pairs, and I’ve put my Thursday Boot Co. Captains through over 1,000 miles of travel.

I’m a fan of Thursday Boots. But I’ve never put one of their boots through its paces quite like this, and I’m going to dive into why the Captain is at the top of my list of best boots for men

My Thoughts Overall

The Thursday Captain boot is the brand’s most popular model. When Thursday Boot Co originally launched, they had three models, and the Captain was #1. And it still is.

walking in Thursday Boots Captain rugged and resilient leather
Thursday Captain in Arizona Adobe

The Captain is the first good quality boot I ever bought. Until then, I’d never spend over $125 on a pair of boots. And this boot opened my eyes to a whole different world of quality footwear.  

The Thursday Captain is a cap-toe service boot. At the time of writing, Thursday offers 16 different leather options (if you include the Storm King sole options as well).

Thursday Boots Captain storm king in water
My Thursday Captain Storm King in Tobacco leather

You can find the Captain in standard D widths, or if you have wide feet, the brand also offers several leather choices in EE/EEE wide widths.

I’m a fan of the toe-cap, which is why I went with the Captain. It lends a little more structure to the toe box and can help prevent “leather-sagging” in the front. However, a toe-cap can make your feet look a little shorter than they are. If you have small feet and don’t want to accentuate them, the President might be a better style for you. 

I have a more detailed comparison of the Captain and President below.

Thursday Boots Captain arizona adobe walking down steps

The Vanguard is similar in style to the Captain, though it’s made with Horween Chromexcel leather (exceptional quality and tanned in Chicago) and is USA assembled. It comes with a slightly heftier price tag, but for some, the USA-build is worth it.

Spoiler alert: the Thursday Captain made the top of my best boots for men list. And that’s after reviewing over 100 boots.

This is my YouTube review of the Thursday Captain after I had them for 4 years. I’ve since recrafted them (video down below)

Things to Consider Before Buying

The Thursday Captain is widely considered the “gateway boot” into the world of high quality footwear. It features Goodyear welted construction, which has become shorthand for “good quality.”

With a Goodyear welted boot, you can resole it as many times as you want, which means that your boots technically could last you a lifetime if you really wanted to spare the expense of several recrafts.

closeup Thursday Boots Captain in arizona adobe against concrete

The Captain can handle the fall and winter months well. While the Thursday Captain isn’t technically waterproof, I’ve been caught in several rainy and snowy situations wearing my Captains, and my feet never got wet.

You really don’t need a waterproof boot, even if you live in a very rainy climate.

The most popular service boots have a similar look, but they vary in price and materials. Thursday Boot Company is the least expensive of those mentioned above, and the cost savings are found in the rubber sole and the Mexico-based manufacturing.

If you love the look of the Captain, but USA based manufacturing is a necessity for you, I recommend the Thursday’s Vanguard.

Thursday Captain

The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Thursday's Chrome leather from Le Farc tannery (often compared to Horween Chromexcel), these boots are still holding up well after five years of wear. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be getting them again.

Check Price

My Hands-On Review

Author William Barton from BootSpy wearing Thursday Kingmaker last Captain
My most recent pair of Thursday Captains with their new Kingmaker last

I now own three pairs of Thursday Boot Co. Captains (can you guess how I feel about them?). Throughout this review, you’ll see what my first pair look like after five years of hard wearing.

The old beat up boots are in Thursday’s Brown leather. The newer, nicer looking Captains are in the Rugged and Resilient Arizona Adobe leather.

And toward the bottom of the review, you can see what I think about the Storm King version of the Captain boot.

First Impression

Thursday Boots Captain outfit
My Thursday Captains in Arizona Adobe

I’ve had my first pair of Thursday Captains for five years now, so I can only say what I remember from first opening them and trying them on. 

Thursday Captain Side on Outside
My Thursday Chrome Brown Captains at year 4

I picked up the Brown leather option, and it was much more shiny than I expected. Thursday has shifted a lot more to their Rugged and Resilient leather line, so if you prefer a more muted, matte look, check out their Matte Black or Terra Cotta leathers.

As soon as you pick these boots up, it’s clear they’re solidly built. Many reputable boot brands start at around $300 for their best sellers. I remember thinking Thursday was either going to be a fantastic deal (quality boots at a discount), or a horrible rip-off (poor quality at a high price). 

Thursday Boots Captain arizona adobe rugged and resilient leather

The steel shank and solid sole give these boots heft, which took a little getting used to, but after five years of wearing, I’m glad they do.

What Are They Like After 5 Years? 

Before and After Thursday Captain Resole
The left is what my first pair of Captains looked like after 4 years. The right is after their resole.

I had my original Thursday Captains for four years before I had them re-soled. The construction was still solid, but the heel had completely worn down.

Over the first four years, I wore my Captains pretty much every day. Now I wear lots of different boots from different brands (I’ve reviewed over 100 different pairs at this point). So the Captain is probably going to be the boot I’ve worn the most my entire life.

In the image above, the Captains haven’t been conditioned in six months. You can see some scuffs around the toe, but these buff out easily with leather balm. 

Leather Quality and Care

How to Care for Thursday Boots

Thursday Boots keeps their costs down in several ways, but one of the most notable is with their proprietary leather. 

Known as Thursday Chrome leather, Thursday’s custom leather is comparable to Horween’s Chromexcel. 

Thursday Chrome leather is less expensive primarily because the Le Farc tannery where it’s made is in Mexico, whereas Horween is based in Chicago. 

It’s part vegetable tanned, part chrome tanned. The vegetable tanning gives it great durability, flexibility, and the natural oils will help it develop a beautiful patina as these boots continue to age. The chrome tanning gives it structure and shine. 

Thursday Chrome leather is easy to care for. Because it’s so packed with natural oils, it really doesn’t need much regular care at all. But if you’ve put your boots through something like I did, it’s easy to restore them.

My full guide on how to clean and care for Thursday’s leather

First, brush off any dirt with a clean rag. I use Venetian Imperial Leather Balm (my favorite leather conditioner), but Saphir makes an excellent balm, too. Work the balm into the boot, especially focusing on creases to make sure you’re covering the entire upper. When you’ve done that, buff with a brush, and you’re all set. 

Venetian Imperial Leather Balm

After testing 10 of the most popular leather conditioners, Venetian came out as my top pick because it nourishes leather, doesn't change the color, and actually adds a decent amount of weather resistance as well.

Check Price Watch Our Comparison on YouTube

Thursday recommends you recondition your boots every two months, but I’ve reconditioned twice in five years and my Captains still look great. 

I’m a fan of the rugged, semi-roughed up look. If you want them to keep looking as good as new, reconditioning every month or two is a good idea. I personally couldn’t wait to get some scuffs and scratches on mine. 

I put together a comprehensive guide on how to clean Thursday Captains. It covers how to clean and care for Thursday’s Rugged & Resilient, Chrome, and WeatherSafe suede proprietary leathers.

Sole

Thursday captain boots on wet ground

The Captain has a variety of materials in the sole designed to reduce the amount of impact you feel when walking and make these boots truly comfortable (the same sole is on the President, and a very similar one for the Vanguard). 

The Poron insoles are great for absorbing shock, and the material is antimicrobial, so you won’t get as much foot-stink here. Thursday has also outfitted these boots with a cork midsole and a steel shank—these boots will eventually form to your foot as the cork compresses. 

These boots have a DuraEVA Comfort strip, which is usually only found in athletic shoes. I’m a fan of the comfort strip, and I’ve found that these are much softer on the soles of my feet when compared to other boots without the Dura EVA comfort strip. 

thursday captain on train tracks 1

Last, the brand cements on a studded rubber outsole, which offers a lot of grip in the rain and snow, and it holds up well without wearing down in the heel. 

The upper and sole are Goodyear welted, which helps with weather-resistance, and it’s also easy to replace the sole when needed. 

I’ve found the sole to be durable and comfortable. It took a week to break in (which I’ll discuss a little more below), and the weight can get tiresome if you’re walking several miles. 

Thursday Boots Captain

Also, you’ll lose any foot races you take part in. For whatever reason, I’ve challenged three of my friends to races in the past year and a half, and I was wearing these boots all three times.

I lost by significant margins.

Can you resole Thursday Boots?

Yes, you can resole Thursday boots. However, the cost may not be worth it. The rubber heel cap will be the first thing to wear away, and you can get just the rubber heel replaced inexpensively. The sole and Goodyear welt usually won’t need to be replaced for over five years or more.

Just make sure the rubber heel doesn’t wear away too much and dig into the stacked leather heel. Replacing the heel costs around $50. Replacing the entire sole and welt costs more like $200. You can watch me resole my Thursday Captains here.

I resoled my Thursday Captains after 5 years.

Fit and Sizing

Thursday Boots Captain

Thursday offers a standard D width and Wide EE/EEE for most versions of the Captain. 

D-width boots are perfect for me, and I picked them up in a 10 which fit well. I have some room to wear thicker socks if needed, but even if I’m wearing thin socks, they don’t rub or feel loose. 

Over time, these have kept their shape well, and the heel slip disappeared within the first month. They were stiff at first, which is to be expected with all boots, but if you go with your standard size, you’ll likely get an excellent fit on the first try. 

I have a detailed guide on how to choose your Thursday size.

Break-in Period

These boots have a minor break in period, but definitely not the worst I’ve experienced. After two weeks, they fit like a glove, and the heel slip disappeared.

Thursday Captain Kingmaker Last closeup
Thursdays new Kingmaker last (Arizona Adobe leather)

The EVA comfort strip goes a long way ensuring that the first few days aren’t too rough. The leather is fairly stiff out of the box, but at 1.4mm in thickness, it wasn’t too resistant.

I recall minor rubbing the first two days, but afterward, they were comfortable like sneakers.

I Also Tested The Storm King

Thursday Boots Captain storm king lug sole

I also picked up the Thursday Captain Storm King, which is practically the same boot, but has a hefty rubber lug sole on the bottom.

To me, the biggest difference is with the style. Yes, the Storm King outsole gives you more traction through snow and ice, but I feel like the regular studded sole already offers plenty enough traction for me.

Thursday Boots Captain storm king sitting next to river
Wearing my Captain Storm Kings in Tobacco

Both the regular Captain and Storm King are built on the same last, feature the same 360-degree Goodyear welt, and there are similar leather options between the two. Besides the higher profile you get with the Storm King, it’s not necessarily more water resistant to the regular Captain.

I mean it when I say they’re pretty much the same exact boot.

So, if you like the taller profile and more aggressive-looking sole (with the added benefit of a little more traction), check out the Thursday Captain Storm King. If you prefer the slimmer, sleeker look, stick with the regular

Thursday Captain Storm King

The Captain Storm King is nearly identical to the classic Captain, but it has a beefy rubber lug sole for added traction. If you like the added rugged style, it's a nice addition. If you prefer the sleeker look, stick with the classic.

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What Do Other Reviewers Say?

There are thousands of reviews you can find on the Captain. I reached out to a few experts I know to get their opinion on the Thursday Captain. Here’s what they said.

View this post on Instagram

“The Captain is an excellent entry into quality Goodyear welted boots, but goes well beyond just an introduction. It’s comfortable and breaks in well, and the rugged service boot pattern has been made more sophisticated so that it’s a totally versatile boot for any outfit.

When people criticize it for whatever they see as shortcomings, they forget what value Thursday brings you for the price, and forget to see it in the context of “right tool for the right job.”

– Teik Oh, founder of the Bootlosophy YouTube channel
View this post on Instagram

“The Thursday Captain was the boot that brought me into the world of heritage footwear. Today I own boots from several notable brands, but my Thursday Captains are still in my rotation and will likely always be. My Terracotta Captains are a personal favorite, but you really can’t go wrong with any of their offerings.”

– Michael Corleone (@coleone139 on Instagram)

On Google Reviews, the Captain has over 38,000 submissions averaging to a 4.6-star rating. 

Most guys are happy with their purchase—it’s not easy finding a rugged boot with such a slim silhouette. 

As you can see, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but I noticed a few issues that come up repeatedly in the negative reviews. 

image 1
Average star rating according to Google

The biggest criticism was the tongue of the boot sliding to either side. Because of this, for some folks, the leather rubs against their shin uncomfortably. 

I haven’t had this issue with my pair, so it might be a minor inconsistency problem. But again, most reviewers didn’t have this experience. 

My Captains have been in either Arizona Adobe, Brown Thursday Chrome, or Tobacco leather. However, the most popular leather options are Matte Black, Terracotta, and Natural Rugged and Resilient leathers.

Thursday Captain vs President

Thursday Captain vs President Diagram

There are a few major differences between the Thursday Captain and the President:

  • The Captain features a toe cap. The President is a plain toe boot.
  • All Thursday Captains have speedhooks. Some versions of the President don’t have speedhooks.
  • You can get the Thursday Captain with a StormKing outsole. The Hero is similar to a President with a StormKing outsole, but there are some other differences as well.
  • There are more E/EE widths available on the Captain compared to the President.
  • There are more leather options available for the Captain than the President.
model wearing thursday president and black jeans
Wearing my Thursday Presidents in Tobacco

Overall, if you like the cap toe look, then the Thursday Captain has much more variety compared to the President.

I really like my pair of Thursday Presidents, but to me, Thursday’s best boot is the Captain.

Thursday Boots Captain Alternatives

Red Wing Iron Ranger

Thursday Captain vs Red Wing Iron Ranger Top Down Comparison
The Captain pictured here is built on the latest KingMaker last, released in mid-2023

The Red Wing Iron Ranger has a little more of that rugged, combat-boot style than the Thursday Captain. 

closeup lacing red wing iron ranger

Outfitted with nickel-plated eyelets and speed hooks, the Iron Ranger isn’t as versatile as the Captain. Iron Rangers also have a more bulbous toe-cap, which some people claim make them look like clown shoes. I disagree, but the Thursday Captain is more sleek through the toe.

Thursday Boots Captain vs Iron Ranger0
Thursday Captain boot on the right, Red Wing Iron Ranger on the left

For a detailed comparison of the Thursday Captain vs the Red Wing Iron Ranger, check out my YouTube video below.

Here’s my full breakdown of the Iron Ranger vs Captain on YouTube

Vanguard

Thursday Captain vs Thursday Vanguard Top Down Comparison

The Thursday Vanguard is like a premium version of the Captain, but there are a few key differences to note:

  • The Vanguard is made in the USA
  • The Vanguard features more premium leathers like Horween Chromexcel
  • The Vanguard has a taller tongue and leather laces
  • The Vanguard has a lighter dye on the leather heel and midsole, plus the welt is natural color with no dye. This makes it look more like a traditional heritage boot
  • The Captain is available in more widths and leather options
This is my breakdown of the Thursday Captain vs the Vanguard on YouTube
Thursday Vanguard

The Thursday Vanguard has some subtle design differences that make it more sophisticated than the super-popular Captain. Plus, the materials are next level in comparison, and the value for price is phenomenal for a USA-made boot.

Check Price Read Our Review

Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot

Like the Iron Ranger, Wolverine’s classic service boot is more on the bulky side. It’s sturdy, and you can expect a pair of these to last for several years if not decades. 

Wolverine 1000 Mile boot on rocks next to river

Like the Thursday Captain, these are Goodyear welted and made with excellent leather. The detailing is more precise, and the materials are just a notch above what Thursday uses. That said, the price is nearly double. 

If you’re looking for a super-rugged service boot to wear, the 1000 Mile boot may be your best shot. 

My full breakdown of Wolverine vs Thursday on YouTube
Wolverine 1000 Mile

The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot is like an all-star team of America’s best boot-making materials. The Horween Chromexcel leather and Vibram heel cap offer rugged durability that can easily go for 1000 miles---or a decade, whichever comes first.

Check Price Read Our Review

For my money though, I prefer the Thursday Captain. It’s a high-quality boot but leaves room in the budget for a second pair (like a nice Chelsea boot).

My Favorite Thursday
The Basic Plain Toe Classic
Basically an Upgrade Captain
The Captain with a Thick Lug Sole

Thursday Captain

Thursday President

Thursday Vanguard

Thursday Captain Storm King

$199
$199
$265
$199
My Favorite Thursday

Thursday Captain

$199
The Basic Plain Toe Classic

Thursday President

$199
Basically an Upgrade Captain

Thursday Vanguard

$265
The Captain with a Thick Lug Sole

Thursday Captain Storm King

$199

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • Thursday Chrome leather is an excellent alternative to Horween Chromexcel. It’s durable and looks great, but it’s much less expensive due to production abroad. 

  • The Captain is a slimmed-down service boot that fits more squarely into the modern man’s casual wardrobe than alternatives. 

  • Durability of the leather and sole has been wonderful. I’ve put these boots through some rough conditions with minimal care and they’ve held up.

  • It’s easy to buy Thursday boots. They have free shipping and free returns in the US.

What I Don’t Like

  • These boots are built with premium materials which is great, but can get heavy if you’re walking more than a few miles.

  • Thursday Chrome leather is a pull up leather, meaning these are prone to scratches and scuffs. Some like the look, but if you don’t, you’ll need to recondition your boots every three months or so.

Who is the Captain for?

The Thursday Captain is a fantastic boot for anyone who wants to add a little rugged flair to their casual wardrobe. They have the raw masculinity of a service boot, but have a more refined silhouette. 

The Verdict

The Thursday Captain is my favorite boot at the $200 mark. It has a comparable build quality to boots nearly twice their price. 

Thursday Chrome leather is durable and requires very little maintenance. But if you don’t like the slightly roughed up look common with pull up leather, reconditioning every few months is recommended. 

As for me, I’ve been wearing these boots several times a week for over five years. Even when they were soaked through in a snowstorm and had to be dried next to the fireplace (really tough on leather), these held up. The sole held up for four years for me, and then I took them to a cobbler and had a new sole put on.

Since buying my first pair five years ago, I’ve picked up two more: one in Arizona Adobe, and another in Tobacco Storm King.

Quality boots like the Captain can get a bit heavy if you’re going on a several-mile jaunt, but they’re otherwise very comfortable. 

For an affordable, rugged boot that looks masculine but still has a sleek silhouette, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than the Thursday Boots Captain.

Thursday Captain

The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Thursday's Chrome leather from Le Farc tannery (often compared to Horween Chromexcel), these boots are still holding up well after five years of wear. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be getting them again.

Check Price

FAQs

Are Thursday boots good quality?

Yes, Thursday Boots are excellent quality. Their proprietary leather from Le Farc tannery is comparable to Horween Chromexcel leather, and the EVA comfort strip and steel shank make these comfortable too.

Are Thursday Boots good work boots?

Thursday Boots can be used for work, but they’re better as a rugged addition to your casual style. Yes, they have a steel shank, but many work boots are rated to protect against nails and electric charges, which Thursday Boots aren’t.

Are Thursday Captain boots waterproof?

No, the Captain boots aren’t waterproof, but they’re ok to wear in the rain and snow. If they’re in inclement weather for an extended period of time, they may become saturated, but they’ll keep your feet dry in most situations.

4 COMMENTS

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  1. I have a pair of Timberland Pro 6-inch boots. How does the Captain compare in terms of weight to those?

    • The Thursday Captain is a bit heavier because of of the leather in the heel stack (if not talking about the Storm King). That said, I wouldn’t call either boot heavy. They’re both pretty lightweight.

  2. Have you had any experience with a very strong odor from new Rugged & Resilient leather? It’s a mix of new leather and unknown chemicals, I’m guessing specific to the R&R tanning process. I’ve had my new Matte Black Stormking Captains off-gassing in the garage for a week but the smell is still too potent to wear to work. If it was just new leather that would be fine but there’s something else there that’s not entirely pleasant or endurable. Is this normal and will go away or should I contact Thursday for an exchange? Thanks, great reviews!

    • I’ve never personally experienced THAT strong of an odor from the Rugged & Resilient leather – though a lot of boots do have a pretty strong chemical smell to them when you open them up. I’d give it another week and then see how they’re doing.

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