The digital native brand, Thursday Boots, has been making a name for themselves for years now—you’ve probably been seeing their ads everywhere.
I first learned about Thursday after seeing a pair out in the wild. In the middle of a quiet Starbucks, I practically yelled, “where’d you get those.” After six months of quiet deliberation, Thursday broke me down with their Facebook ads.
As a teacher, I kept trying to buy a decent pair of boots under $100, but I couldn’t find anything that would last longer than half a year. So finally I went for Thursday’s Captain boot.
I’ve been wearing my Captains for a year and a half now—through rain, snow, the dry heat of summer in the desert and the humidity of the US south. These pounded pavement in Tokyo, New York, and LA.
They’ve been through their paces, and my verdict is in.
Thursday Boots Captain Overview
The Thursday Boots Captain is the online brand’s most popular service boot style.
Service boots are a throwback to what was commonly worn by servicemen in WWII. They’re made with a leather upper and rubber soles, toe-cap optional.
Almost every major boot brand has a service boot and a lot of folks like them for their stylish rugged looks and long life.
The materials and construction are identical for the Captain and President, though the Captain features a toe-cap.
I’m a fan of the toe-cap, which is why I went with the Captain. It lends a little more structure to the tip of the shoe 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.
The Vanguard is similar in style to the Captain, though it’s made with Horween Chromexcel leather (exceptional quality and tanned in Chicago) and its USA assembled. It comes with a slightly heftier price tag, but for some, the USA-build is worth it.
Things to Consider Before Buying Service Boots
Service boots add a rugged edge to a casual wardrobe. Many people get them for their style but stay loyal because of their durability.
These boots handle the fall and winter months well. While not every service boot is waterproof, most are fairly water resistant and will keep your feet dry if you’re caught in the rain during a quick commute.
There’s an enormous range of service boots to choose from, as the style is very popular. Some big names are the Wolverine 1000-mile boot, the Red Wing Iron Ranger, the Viberg Service Boot, and the Thursday Boots Captain.
The most popular service boots have a similar look, but they vary in price and materials. Thursday Boots is the least expensive of those mentioned above, and the cost savings is found in the rubber sole and the Mexico-based manufacturing.
If US based manufacturing is a necessity for you, I recommend looking at Thursday’s Vanguard.
Thursday Boots Captain Review
I’ve had my Thursday Captain’s for a year and a half, so I can only say what I remember from first opening them and trying them on.
I picked up the brown colorway, and it was much more shiny than I expected. If you like the rugged leather found on the Red Wing Iron Ranger, Thursday offers a few colorways done in weather-safe suede.
Thursday Boots also just recently launched their Rugged and Resilient line, which features a more matte pull up leather.
Because I’ve picked up a decent number of dressy shoes in the past year and a half, I’d probably get something like the Arizona Adobe colorway now, but at the time, I needed something that was more versatile. So brown it was.
As soon as you pick these boots up, it’s clear they’re solidly built. Many reputable boot brands start 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).
The steel shank and solid sole give these boots heft, which took a little getting used to, but after a year and a half of wearing, I’m glad they do.
What Are They Like After a Year and a Half?
They still look great, don’t they?
I’ve cleaned and reconditioned these boots twice since getting them. The most recent time was this past winter. Over Christmas, I got my car stuck in the snow while driving up my parents dirt road.
The family had to pile out, and I wore these boots in foot-deep snow and mud. Because we were out there for an hour minimum, the leather soaked through. To dry out the boots we put them next to the fireplace for two days.
If you’re not sure why I’m telling you this story, it’s because that sort of treatment is punishment of the highest order for leather. Soaking and quickly drying next to high, dry heat can be a death sentence for boots, but after a year, I was confident these Thursday’s could handle it.
And they did.
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
Thursday Boots keeps their costs down in several ways, but one of the most notable is with their proprietary leather.
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.
First, brush off any dirt with a clean rag. I use Venetian Imperial Leather Balm 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.
Thursday recommends you recondition your boots every two months, but I’ve reconditioned twice in a year and a half 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.
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 comfort strip.
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.
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 (read: I like to wear these boots when drinking beer, which is coincidentally when I challenge friends to foot races).
I lost by significant margins.
Fit and Sizing
Thursday don’t offer a huge variety of widths, but they do have standard D width and Wide EE/EEE.
D-width boots are perfect for me, and I picked them up in a 10.5 which fit true. 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.
Recommended Reading: How Should Boots Fit? Your Guide to Perfect Fitting Boots
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.
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.
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, and slight soreness for the week after that. But I’m sure you’ve had some awful experiences breaking in a pair of boots or shoes (the kind that makes you want to lie in bed for a week). Breaking in the Thursday Captain was nothing like that.
What do Other Reviewers Think?
It shouldn’t take long to find a ton of reviews on the Thursday Captain.
On Google Reviews, the Captain has over 11,000 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.
The biggest 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.
Thursday Boots Captain Alternatives
Oliver Cabell SB 1
I just picked up a pair of the SB 1s and I’ve been loving them, though I can’t yet say how they hold up over time.
Made with Blake stitched construction and Italian full grain leather, Oliver Cabell's SB 1 offers fantastic value. You're not going to find too many boots with this kind of quality under $300.
Red Wing Iron Ranger
The Red Wing Iron Ranger has a little more of that rugged, combat-boot style than the Thursday Captain.
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.
For a detailed comparison of the Thursday Captain vs the Red Wing Iron Ranger, check out our YouTube video below.
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.
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.
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). But if I could only wear one pair of boots for the rest of my life and it had to be a service boot, I’d go with the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
My Thoughts Overall On Thursday Boots Captain
What I Like
Thursday Chrome leather is an excellent alternative to Horween Chromexcel. It’s durable, 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.
Thursday is easy to online shop with. 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, which means these are prone to scratches and scuffs. Some like the look, but if you don’t, you’ll need to recondition your boots every month or two.
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 Thursday Captain is our favorite service boot. They have 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 that’s common with pull up leather, reconditioning every two months is recommended.
As for me, I’ve been wearing these boots several times a week for a year and half. 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 is still going strong, and when the heel finally wears down, the Goodyear welt makes for an easy swap at the cobbler.
Heavier boots like the Captain can get burdensome 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.
The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Horween leather tanned in Chicago, these boots still look great after a year of harsh wearing. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be getting them again.
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 durable?
For everyday walking, yes, Thursday Boots are durable. The leather is saturated with oils and waxes, so it doesn’t need much regular conditioning. The soles hold up well after one and a half years of use on city streets and traveling.
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.
Can Thursday Boots keep you warm?
Yes, Thursday Boots do an excellent job keeping your feet dry and warm. And if you want extra protection from the elements, throw on a thick pair of socks and you’ll have toasty toes all day.