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Thursday Boots Cavalier Review: Thursday’s Worst Chelsea?

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
9 min read

I polled my audience of over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube to see which Thursday Chelsea they thought was worth getting. Spoiler: the Cavalier came in last. But there are some important caveats that I’m going to cover in this review.

I discuss my experience with the Cavalier, how I think it stacks up against the Duke and Legend Thursday Chelseas, and whether or not it’s worth your hard earned money.

Not a pull tab in sight
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Thursday Boots Cavalier
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Bottom line: The Thursday Boots Cavalier is Thursday’s slimmest Chelsea boot, and though it features a 360-degree Goodyear welt and rubber studs on the leather sole, it still manages to trend more on the dressy side. As long as you keep boot trees in these bad boys to prevent deformation, they'll offer you the same stellar value for money that has become a hallmark of Thursday.

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Pros:
  • The Cavalier is a slim, sleek Chelsea boot designed for more dressy outfits, and because of the leather sole and lack of a pull-tab, it works well with slacks
  • The 360-degree Goodyear welt is uncommon in a boot this slim, though the construction style makes for greater water resistance and easier long-term care
  • Super versatile sizing options, from 6-15 in seven different colors
  • Free shipping and returns in the US
Cons:
  • I miss the pull-tab---while your trousers won’t get caught on the tab, the boots are more difficult to put on
  • The suede leather tends to deform a bit around the ankle, and these absolutely need shoe trees

The Thursday Cavalier Came in Last in a 1,000+ Person Poll

Thursday Boots Cavalier on model wearing jeans

The BootSpy YouTube channel has over 50,000 subscribers. Recently, I polled my audience to see if they preferred the Duke, Cavalier, or Legend.

I own all three, and I know how I personally rank them.

With over 1,100 votes, the Thursday Legend took the top spot with 495 votes.

The Duke came in second with 341 votes, and the Cavalier was last with only 264 votes.

Thursday Chelsea Boots YouTube Poll Results
The Legend is most popular. The Duke is my personal favorite. But the Cavalier is my go-to for dressy situations.

While the Cavalier is the least popular of Thursday’s Chelseas (at least amongst my YouTube subscribers), I still think it’s a great boot given a narrow set of conditions. I’ll explain more.

If you want to see my comparison of all three Thursday Chelsea’s, watch the video below:

Comparing every Thursday Chelsea boot against each other.

Things to Consider Before Buying Cavaliers

Thursday Boots Cavalier model sitting

If you’re a Chelsea and jeans kind of guy, you might be better off with the Duke. While the Cavalier does have rubber studs in the leather outsole, leather just doesn’t have the same durability a full rubber sole would.

But if you’re looking for a Chelsea boot you can pair with a suit and wear to a wedding, then I’d go with the Cavalier over the Duke all day. 

I’ll discuss this more in the fit and sizing section of my review, but it’s important to note that the Cavalier is quite narrow. It’s part of its slim, classy charm, but if you have wide feet, you might not find a comfortable size.

Thursday Cavalier

The Thursday Cavalier is Goodyear welted, leather lined, and offers excellent value. This particular Shadow Grey version is forever battling it out for the title of my favorite casual everyday Chelsea boot, and even with 20+ pairs of shoes in my closet, it's very often my go-to.

Check Price

Thursday Boots Cavalier Overview

Thursday Boots Cavalier chelsea boots on model

The Cavalier is the Thursday’s answer to the dressier styled Chelsea Boots you might find from Carmina, Beckett Simonon, or other high end boot companies. 

It’s built on a narrow and low-profile Oxford last, which Thursday actually uses for all their dress-shoes, too. 

Design features like a leather outsole and the omission of pull tabs on the back make these a trendy footwear option for more formal events. The Cavalier looks at home with a suit, though it’s not too stuffy to wear with casual jeans. 

But compared to Thursday’s other Chelsea boot, the Duke, it’s much more slim and sleek. While both look fantastic paired with jeans, the Cavalier is the more versatile of the two. 

Author William Barton modeling Thursday Boots Duke Chelsea boot
I have the Duke in Honey Suede. It looks awesome dressed down with jeans.

At the time of writing there are seven different leather options, all available in sizes 6-15 (with plenty of half-sizes, too). 

My Hands-On Review

First Impression

Thursday Boots Cavalier model sitting

I picked up my Thursday Cavalier’s in Shadow Grey suede. I like the extra bit of burnishing around the toe and heel, and I have plenty of standard leather Chelsea’s already.

I expected the Cavalier would have a slim silhouette, and it didn’t disappoint. Even with the 360-degree Goodyear welt, it keeps a trim profile, which is unusual. 

I love the style of these, and prefer it over more bulbous Chelsea styles (think of Blundstone’s or the Red Wing Heritage Chelsea). 

The slim style helps elongate my feet and makes my appearance more trim overall. While the leather option I chose takes this boot out of the running for any formal occasions, I think the style is killer with a slim pair of jeans. 

Leather Quality and Care

Thursday Boots Cavalier closeup shadow grey suede

The Thursday Cavalier comes in three standard leathers and four suede options. As I said, I picked mine up in the Shadow Grey WeatherSafe suede. 

Unlike traditional suede, the WeatherSafe suede isn’t velvety and smooth, but instead more roughed out and rugged looking. 

I really like the look of it, though I think it’s a bit too rough to pair with a suit (the standard leather options are a better choice for this). 

One benefit is that you don’t need to worry too much about getting these boots wet. There’s a good deal of wax on the upper, so water tends to bead up and roll off without soaking into the leather. 

Thursday Boots Cavalier grey suede

Even with the rough exterior, this leather is quite supple. It’s very comfortable, but I noticed it has a tendency to lose its shape without a pair of shoe trees. I had to give my boots a week’s rest because I’d stored them empty and I didn’t like where the shape was headed. 

So make sure you invest in cedar shoe trees to keep the Cavalier sleek and dapper looking.

Caring for the leather is quite easy—I have a full guide on how to clean and care for all Thursday’s leathers.

You can also watch a video-version where I share the best ways to clean and condition Rugged & Resilient, WeatherSafe Suede, and Thursday Chrome leathers.

Sole

Thursday Boots Cavalier leather sole detail

The sole of the Thursday Cavalier is primarily leather with rubber TPU studs. Thursday also applies their standard rubber toplift on the heel, which helps increase the longevity.

Because the Cavalier has a 360-degree Goodyear welt, you’ll have no trouble getting your boots resoled when the time comes. Though if I’m honest, I’d probably just buy a new pair of boots at the sub-$200 range. The Cavalier should have no trouble going for three to four years before needing any sort of reconstruction, and at that point, I’d feel very good about the price per wear. 

Thursday Boots are all really comfortable—it’s one of my favorite things about the brand. Some folks say they feel like sneakers, and while I wouldn’t go that far, Thursdays are much more comfortable on the footbed than Red Wing or Wolverine. 

Thursday Boots Cavalier leaning against wall

The insole is made with an EVA Comfort Strip, and is otherwise lined with leather. The Cavalier features a cork midsole, too, so the entire boot has a balance between immediate comfort (EVA foam), and long term durability as your foot will break into the leather and cork. 

The leather outsole keeps things classy, and opens the option to wear the Cavalier in more formal situations. Because I have the roughout Shadow suede, my pair isn’t suitable for formal events, but I can see wearing the sleek black or brown leather to a wedding.

Fit and Sizing

Thursday Boots Cavalier chelsea in front of door

The Thursday Cavalier is quite narrow, and that’s because it’s built on a dress last. If you have wide feet, there aren’t really any good options for you, and you might want to check out the Thursday Duke instead. 

However, I picked my Cavalier’s up in a size 10, and my usual sneaker size is a 10.5. I always size a half-step down for the best Thursday Boots fit. 

The Cavalier fits a bit more snug around the sides of my feet, but after a few miles of walking, the leather seemed to break in and my boots ceased being uncomfortable. 

If you’re not quite sure which you should go with (i.e. sometimes you’re a half size, sometimes you’re a full size), go with the larger of your two choices. I love that Thursday has an easy return policy, so even if you decide your new boots are too big, it’s no problem exchanging for the correct size. 

Check out my in-depth guide on Thursday boot sizing.

Break-in Period

Thursday Boots Cavalier on model walking

Because of the more narrow fit, I did experience a bit of discomfort for the first few miles, but the Thursday Cavalier basically had no break in period.

The leather relaxed a bit by the second time I slipped my boots on and they’ve been fitting like a dream ever since. 

I always like to go through the reviews to see how others fared with the break in and no one mentioned having any difficulty.

The Thursday Cavalier is bonafide comfortable from the get-go. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

At the time of writing, the Thursday Cavalier has over 1,000 reviews on its product page and sits at a near-perfect score. 

There’s a bit of contention, with some folks saying they ordered their true sneaker size, and many going with Thursday’s advice to order a half-size smaller. 

In my own experience (with four different pairs of Thursdays), order a half-size smaller than your sneaker size. It may fit a bit narrow at the beginning, but the leather gives way and you’ll likely end with a perfect fit. 

Thursday Cavalier Alternatives

Thursday Boots Duke

author modeling Thursday Boots Duke Chelsea boots

The Duke is Thursday’s first Chelsea boot, and there are a few key differences.

It’s built on a wider last, and while it’s not bulbous like a Blundstone or Red Wing Chelsea, it has a more casual vibe than the Cavalier. 

I like the leather trim around the elastic gore panel on the Duke, but again, it plants the Duke more firmly in the casual category. 

Thursday Duke vs cavalier chelsea boot comparison
Duke on the left, Cavalier on the right.

The Duke has the same insole and midsole construction (also a 360-degree Goodyear welt), but the outsole is Thursday’s classic rubber studded sole. The Duke also has nylon pull tabs in the back, which make it a lot easier to slip on.

Both myself and my co-editor Dean prefer the Duke over the Cavalier, but it’s really up to which style you prefer. Both are made with the same construction quality and materials, so you can’t go wrong either way. 

Thursday Duke

The Duke is Thursday’s first Chelsea boot, and it brings the brand's hallmark construction quality and value for money. This is a fantastic everyday Chelsea.

Check Price Read Our Review

My Overall Thoughts

What I Like

  • The Cavalier is a very versatile boot—it has a slim and sleek silhouette that works well with chinos, jeans, and can even pair with a suit.

  • It’s uncommon to find a boot this slim with a 360-degree Goodyear welt, and for a dressy boot, the Cavalier has excellent water resistance and is easy to care for long term. 

  • Thursday offers sizes 6-15 with seven different leather options. 

  • Free shipping and returns in the US, and Thursday’s exchange policy is super easy and intuitive. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I can’t decide if I like the exclusion of the pull tab—my boots don’t catch my trousers anymore, which is good, but they’re more difficult to put on.

  • This may only apply to the suede leather, but the area around the ankle seems to start losing shape quickly. You absolutely should get a pair of cedar shoe trees to keep the Cavalier in shape. 

Who is the Thursday Cavalier for?

The Thursday Cavalier is an excellent boot for you if you’re building a small footwear collection and you need a sleek boot that can work for you in a variety of styles. Yes, the Cavalier looks great with a pair of jeans, but because of its slim silhouette, it can also match up with a tailored suit, and that’s not something every Chelsea can do.

The Verdict

For under $200, the Cavalier is an excellent pick-up.

The 360-degree Goodyear welt ensures these boots have solid water resistance if you ever get caught in the rain, and the EVA Comfort Strip/cork midsole combo is easy to wear when putting in walking miles. 

If you don’t already own cedar shoe trees, pick a pair up when you buy your Cavaliers. The leather is good quality, but I’ve noticed the shape in the front wavering a bit after a few months of wear. Once I started regularly adding shoe trees in, the leather snapped back to its original sleek form. 

Thursday Boots is one of my favorite brands, and the Cavalier adds another tally in their W column.

Thursday Cavalier

The Thursday Cavalier is Goodyear welted, leather lined, and offers excellent value. This particular Shadow Grey version is forever battling it out for the title of my favorite casual everyday Chelsea boot, and even with 20+ pairs of shoes in my closet, it's very often my go-to.

Check Price

Prefer your boot reviews in video form? Then feast your eyes on my video review of the Cavalier on our YouTube channel:

FAQs

Do Thursday Boots have a shank?

Yes, most Thursday Boots have a shank. The Cavalier features a fiberglass shank, which helps with arch support and adds structure to the sole.

Are Thursday Boots resoleable?

Yes, because Thursday Boots are made with a 360-degree Goodyear welt, almost any cobbler should be able to resole them easily.

Are Thursday Boots handmade?

No, Thursday Boots aren’t handmade in the same way boots from other brands like Nick’s are. However, Thursday’s prices are vastly less expensive, and the quality is still superb.

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