Wolverine 1000 Mile Vs. Thursday Captain Boot – Which Boot Is Better?

I’ve been surprised by how many people have asked for a comparison of these two boots, but not that surprised. To me, this comparison seems to embody the state of the industry: old versus new, tradition versus innovation.

In one corner we have the old lion of the boot world: the iconic 1000 Mile from Wolverine, a company founded in 1883 which went on to launch this enormously popular shoe in the 1910s. Known for its durability and versatility, the “1K Mile” has been a staple in American footwear for over a hundred years and is a less in-your-face-casual than some of its competitors, like the Red Wing Iron Ranger.

In the other corner, the new kid on the block. Founded some hundred years after the 1000 Mile’s debut, Thursday Boot Company has been making serious waves in the industry since unveiling their signature Captain boot in 2014. Importantly, this is also a boot that’s trying to bridge the gap between work boot and fashion boot.

I’ve worn both boots in rain and shine, and I’ve even taken the Captains on a lengthy trip around Colombia. When they go head-to-head, which one comes out on top?

Note: We’re comparing the Captain with the Original 1000 Mile boot with a leather sole, but other versions are available, including a rubber soled version.

Wolverine vs Thursday: Who Wins?

Got somewhere to be? Both boots are resoleable and durable, but here are the pros and cons of each model so you can decide which is right for you.

Wolverine 1000 Mile Pros

  • Built for rugged wear
  • Leather sole is breathable and flexible
  • Made in USA

Wolverine 1000 Mile Cons

  • Expensive, nearing $400
  • Hard to dress up
  • Quality control is iffy; leather has loose grain and creases
  • No wide widths
100-Year-Old Classic
Wolverine 1000 Mile

Now available in a dozen versions, this classic men's boot is durable, stable, and has a classic silhouette you can wear in and wear out.

See the Classic Boot Check Other Versions
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Thursday Captain Pros

  • Incredible value at $199
  • Versatile look dresses up and down easily
  • Over a dozen leathers to choose from
  • Wide width available

Thursday Captain Cons

  • Made in Mexico
  • Thinner leather
  • Higher heel less suited for work
The Work-Dress Boot Hybrid
Thursday Boot Co. Captain Boot

A groundbreaking boot that combines dress boots and casual boots for a versatile, go-anywhere piece of footwear that's fully resoleable.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Thursday Vs Wolverine

First Glance


  • Founded in 1883
  • 1000 Mile most famous boot
  • More versatile than many work boots

The 1000 Mile has a reputation as a hardy work boot, but it’s not as heavy or overbuilt as heritage-style work boots from, say, Red Wing or Truman or other companies that make more fashionable work boots. Nor is the 1000 Mile a modern work boot designed to meet ASTM standards for electrical shock resistance or waterproofness. Wolverine is a heritage style boot, meaning it’s made the old fashioned, pre-GoreTex way.

While by no means a slim dress boot, is more versatile: no toecap, a flat leather sole, no ostentatious branding or wedge soles. It’s a boot you can comfortably wear in jeans and take to a bar, but they also convey a sense of toughness.

With that said, it’s important to take a few things into account: the flat leather sole doesn’t have great grip, and the Chromexcel leather is pretty isn’t great quality as it creased very noticeably — more on that in the “Leather” section below. 

thursday vs wolverine boots
Wolverine left, Thursday right

Thursday Boot Company

  • Founded in 2014
  • Known for value
  • The slimmer Captain intended to be hybrid of work and dress boot 

With less history and tradition attached to the name, Thursday has a little more room to innovate and the shoe they came up with is explicitly a hybrid work boot and dress boot. The idea is that it’s a blend of fashion and function, so while you’re less likely to see the Captain on warehouse floors as you are the 1000 Mile, it’s much easier to dress up.

While you’re less likely to see the Captain on warehouse floors as you are the 1000 Mile, it’s much easier to dress up.

With a streamlined silhouette, sleeker toe box, and slightly thinner leather (1.8mm to Wolverine’s 2mm), it’s a much more versatile boot if you’re just wearing it casually. But there are other elements that confer serious durability: the leather is full grain, the rubber sole is much grippier, and there’s a 360-degree Goodyear welt that’s a hair more water resistant than the 270-degree welt on Wolverine.

Yes, the 1000 Mile has thicker leather and a chunkier silhouette, but I’ve worn both boots all over New York City and from a purely aesthetic standpoint, the Captain’s leather has aged better, it’s easier to wear with khakis and slacks, and the sole hasn’t worn down as much as the 1000 Mile.

But let’s take a closer look at the difference between the leathers.

Wolverine 1000 mile loose grain



  • Chromexcel from Horween
  • Combination tanned leather
  • Significant loose grain
  • Scratches easily

The older brand went with what might be the most beloved leather in all of footwear: Chromexcel. This is a combination-tanned leather from Horween Leather Company and just about every boot brand has a Chromexcel boot, even $800 Vibergs.

The production takes 28 days and results in a leather jam-packed with oils and waxes, including food grade beef tallow and cosmetic grade beeswax. “CXL” is perhaps best known for its depth of color and how well it ages.

While many different companies use this leather, it’s clear that different companies have different quality control. The extremely expensive Viberg made sure they used flawless product. And Wolverine?

Wolverine Boots

Well, you can see in these pictures that these boots wrinkled like crazy and while people assume it’s because I wasn’t using shoe trees, this happened in the first week of owning the shoes — way too soon for shoe care to have been an issue. There is a ton of loose grain along the outside of the shaft as well, something that no amount of shoe trees could have prevented.

A lot of people say that you should just expect loose grain and creasing with Chromexcel, but you don’t find these kinds of issues with Viberg and Alden. So even though Wolverine uses Chromexcel, which can be a great leather, I’m not super confident in the leather they select. Of course, this is just an aesthetic issue.

[Read more: The Complete Guide to Taking Care of Chromexcel.]

Thursday Captain Boot Beach

Thursday Boot Company

  • Thursday Chrome
  • Many similarities to Chromexcel
  • Darker, with hints for burgundy
  • 10% thinner than Wolverine

While there are some inexpensive brands that use it, Chromexcel is generally a pricy material and to maintain their low cost to consumer, Thursday went ahead and came up with their own tier 1 leather called Thursday Chrome.

Thursday Chrome is also a combination vegetable- and chrome-tanned leather that was developed with Lefarc tannery. It’s a dark brown, but you can see burgundy in it when sunlight hits it, which I quite enjoyed. If you don’t, Thursday has over a dozen other leathers available to choose from, and these days their Arizona Adobe is the most popular.

The color is more consistent than Wolverine — there are none of the undulating tones of brown that you might get in some Chromexcel — and it’s also darker, so it doesn’t crease or scratch as noticeably.

[Related: My list of The Best Boots]

I should note that I’m not really comparing Thursday Chrome to Chromexcel, I’m comparing the Captain boot to the 1000 Mile. In that regard the Captain’s leather is thinner, roughly 1.8 millimeters to Wolverine’s 2 millimeters.

This is fitting with Thursday’s approach of being more of a hybrid shoe than a true knockaround workboot. (And after all, their leather is thicker than a lot of fashion boots, which are often closer to 1 millimeter thick.)

But while it might not appear as outdoorsy, the Captain’s leather aged much better, held up to more damage than the 1000 Mile, plus it had no loose grain or any quality control issues at all. I recently took these boots all over Colombia and I was happy with how they wore.



  • Leather outsole
  • Cork midsole, fiberboard insole
  • Fiberglass shank
  • 270-degree Goodyear welt

Let’s start with this outsole: it’s leather. It has advantages: Good groundfeel, good flexibility, relatively soft, a nice sleek profile.

But while they grip sidewalk just fine, they’re slippery in the rain, on tile, and on carper, plus they wear down faster than rubber. Remember, though, that the 1k Mile is now offered with a rubber sole.

There’s a fiberboard insole here, not leather. Fiberboard is more comfortable from the get go, but it’s not as durable as a leather insole. But I like that beneath the fiberboard there’s cork filling, which compresses and conforms to the shape of your foot with time, offering what feels like a custom fit.

[Read my full review of the Wolverine 1000 Mile here!]

Thursday Captain sole

Thursday Boot Company

  • Rubber sole similar to Dainite
  • Steel shank
  • Dura EVA comfort strip
  • 360-degree Goodyear welt

Thursday came up with their own rubber for their sole and it’s very similar to Dainite, the beloved sole that’s often seen on pricier boots like the Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill and Viberg.

The Captain’s sole, like Dainite, is a great balance of flexibility, durability, shock absorption, fashion, and grip. The grip is a really big bonus here because while it’s not the most perfect sole on Earth in wet weather, it’s unquestionably more grippy and functional than Wolverine while retaining a slim, classic-looking profile.

After the rubber outsole you’ve got a leather midsole, cork filling, fiberboard, compressed cardboard, and a shock absorbing insole.  

That’s Thursday’s secret sauce: the Poron insole. Used in a lot of athletic shoes, it adds extra bounce, comfort, and shock absorption and it really is one of the coolest things about this boot. It feels a little “sandy” for the first few days but then it molds to your foot and it makes for a boot that’s closer to a sneaker than any other I’ve tried.

[Read the full Thursday Captain Boot review here!]

Wolverine 1000 Mile steps

Fit & Sizing


  • Runs about a half size large
  • Only D widths
  • Not much of a break in
  • Not great arch support

The sizes can always change but right now they run from 7 to 14 in D and EEE widths.

On a Brannock device I’m somewhere between an 11.5 and a 12 but in Wolverine I’m a size 11. It’s super common for boots to run large: I’m also an 11 in Red Wing, Viberg, Alden, and many others.

There’s not much to report as far as break in goes. Unlike Red Wing, I didn’t have any difficulty with blisters or abrasions. The main downside was the crummy grip. That said, the cork midsole and fiberboard insole did mold to my foot over time, and they’ve definitely become more “me” as they’ve aged. For all the wet weather complaints of a leather sole, its softness and flexibility makes for a pretty comfy boot.

[Read my Red Wing vs. Wolverine comparison here!]

wolverine vs thursday boots
Wolverine on the left, Thursday on the right. Note the higher heel and lower profile on Thursday.

Thursday Boot Company

  • Runs about a half size large
  • Wide width available
  • Poron insole has a “sneaker like” feel
  • Decent arch support

These run from 6 to 15 and are available in “Standard” and “Wide” widths, which accommodate D and E/EE feet, respectively. So both brands do a good job of catering to folks with wider feet and neither are great for folks with narrow feet, although you can always try sizing down if your feet are on the slimmer side.

Like the 1000 Mile, I ordered a half size down. The 1000 Mile is mostly unlined except for some pigskin by the toes, so with its buttery soft, full glove leather lining, the Captain came out ahead for comfort, especially when you take the insole into account.

As mentioned above, it took a few days for it to get accustomed to my foot but eventually it gave me a boot with great shock absorption and a nice, slightly springy insole.

Wolverine 1000 mile standing



On their official site they charge $385 for the leather soled version and $400 for the rubber sole.

100-Year-Old Classic
Wolverine 1000 Mile

Now available in a dozen versions, this classic men's boot is durable, stable, and has a classic silhouette you can wear in and wear out.

See the Classic Boot Check Other Versions
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Thursday Boot Company

At just $199 a pair, this is the best value boot I’ve ever seen. The clear winner in this category goes to the Captain.

The Work-Dress Boot Hybrid
Thursday Boot Co. Captain Boot

A groundbreaking boot that combines dress boots and casual boots for a versatile, go-anywhere piece of footwear that's fully resoleable.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Thursday Captain Boot flex

Wolverine Vs. Thursday: Who Wins?

When you look at these boots, they’re similar but different. They’re both partway between a heritage work boot and a casual city boot, but in that regard I think Thursday does a better job.

The Wolverine doesn’t pull away from its roots as an outdoorsy workhorse of a boot. I’ve worked in a couple of warehouses myself, and I’ve seen a few Wolverines there.

The Captain may not be as likely to be worn by linesmen and electricians, but what Thursday has done is made a boot that looks fantastic dressed up or dressed down while managing to give it the durability of a chunkier workboot. I’m not saying it’s an invulnerable shoe, but I was surprised by how well it aged.

The Captain has a more water resistant construction. The leather is thinner, yes, but it has still aged better. The sole much gripper. Finally, while I do like the feeling of Wolverine’s leather sole, the Captain’s leather lining and EVA comfort strip ultimately make for a more comfy boot.

 I simply wear the Captains more often. They’re they’re more versatile, they slip less, they feel great, and they’re over a hundred dollars less expensive.

The following two tabs change content below.

Nick English

By day: Manhattan-based journalist with reporting experience on four continents, published in Vice, Men's Health, Popular Science, and a bunch of other places.By night: ravenous consumer of anything and everything related to high end men's boots.Stridewise is where I nurture a maniacal obsession with footwear and share my findings. Say hey: [email protected]

14 thoughts on “Wolverine 1000 Mile Vs. Thursday Captain Boot – Which Boot Is Better?”

  1. Great items from you, man. I have have in mind your stuff previous to and you’re simply extremely
    magnificent. I actually like what you’ve got
    here, really like what you are stating and the way in which in which you say it.

    You make it entertaining and you still take care of to stay it sensible.
    I cant wait to read far more from you. That is actually a terrific

  2. I can’t really agree with your less-than stellar assessment of the 1000 Miles. (I can’t disagree with your stellar assessment of Thursday – they look the business, but I don’t own them, yet)
    I bought my Wolverines in Chromexel in late November of 2018. I’ve worn them for two months now, and I have none of the crazy creasing yours have (shame on me – no shoe trees here). I find them decently comfortable, but I have somewhat odd shaped feet. Mine also have a 360 deg welt, and it looks like all the 1000 miles do now, just by looking at their pictures.
    I think they’re damn nice boots, but I will admit that it looks like the Thursdays beat them. I do like the snappy leather soles on dress shoes/boots, and wish that option was available with Thursday.

    • Hey Scott, I think Wolverines are just about the luck of the draw. I know there are a lot of freaking awesome looking ones out there, I just think the quality control isn’t amazing, you know? I’m glad yours have worked out, though!

  3. Hi Scott,
    a couple of questions.
    1) Which color did you order the thursday boots in?
    2) I am size 12 on brannock, should I order 11.5?

    Thank you for the helpful comparison.


  4. Hey Nick,
    I have a question. I am thinking of buying either Red Wing Merchant or Thursdays Vanguard.
    There is not a big difference in terms of Cost. What is your opinion on that? I would really appreciate your thoughts.

    • Hey thanks for commenting, Ganbaa. Merchants are a bit harder to dress up. Otherwise not much of a big difference, but I’d say Vanguards are more versatile.

  5. I think that Woolverine should suggest one size done not a half from athletic shoes. At least i order half zie sown and its a bit too large. If you think that the boots is made from leather i guess that they are gonna strech at least half a size. So do the math…

    • Yeah some people say that you should go a full size down in Wolverine and Red Wing. I think it’s worth noting that a lot of sneakers are a half size bigger than your “true size” though which is why it’s worth getting checked on a Brannock device.

  6. the quality control on the Captains is fantastic. Much better than Higgins Mill, which I love. And you’re right, they take a beating while being incredibly versatile and comfortable. My Higgins Mill look a year old after like 5 months. My Captains look half as old after about 7 months. Big fan of both. Have a pair of White MPs and frankly the Captain seems closer to their quality than the almost twice as expensive Higgins Mill.

    • Glad you like them, Hector! Yeah the Higgins Mill is so expensive but the QC is really not that trustworthy. That’s high praise likening them to Whites! What leather do you have on your MPs?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.