Returning in 1833 – before the Mutton-Cut comic book character – Wolverine has a long history, including the development of pigskin Gloves for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Unusual methods of equestrian shell processing in soft and supple leather in the 1910s after the company introduced the Mile Boot in the 1910s. Today the boot is made from full-grain cowhide, perpetuating its status as an icon of American footwear endures.
Endurance may be the most appropriate feeling for these boots. As the name suggests and Wolverine reports directly to their site, the boot means you have to wear thousands of miles. Does the craftsmanship hold up?
- 1 WOLVERINE 1000 MILE BOOT REVIEW
- 2 COMFORT & DURABILITY
- 3 QUALITY & CRAFTSMANSHIP
Wolverine 1000 Mile First Impressions
Avowedly out of the box, those are some good-looking, ideal all-rounder boots: not too boxy, not too sleek; not too formal, not too informal; not too outdoorsy or too indoorsy.
It’s a middle ground that would make them a consecutive first pair of excellent boots that appears to be the target market. As a boot that falls pretty in the “beginner buyer” price range of $200 to $400, it seems to be pointed at ticking as many boxes as possible, and in my opinion. It makes for some shoes that aren’t especially exciting, but they sure look great.
The shaft has “Wolverine 100 mile” carved into it — a delightful taste — and the leather is a waxy-looking Chromexcel from Horween. The leather is about two millimeters deep, and it’s explicit they’re built for endurance:
There’s triple stitching all along the vamp.
- There’s a classic Goodyear welt.
- There’s a Vibram heel that can receive a beating. The sole base is leather, and I can assure you that they won’t do individually well on slippery surfaces.
There’s also no lining inside the boot, further emphasizing their “no-frills workhorse” aesthetic.
While they’re often billed as work boots, I can’t see these working all that well in heavy-duty environments, but as a casual boot, I guess these could end years.
Note that there are quality control problems: several threads were loose where the vamp attaches to the toe box and at the top of the shaft near the handy activity hooks. There was also a long scratch on the sole.
WOLVERINE 1000 MILE BOOT REVIEW
The 1000 Mile boot is Wolverine’s top jewel, and the original, beginning in the 1910s. It received its name because it was made to last for 1000 miles of wear. And let me say you, these rugged workhorses are like fine wine, just getting greater with age.
I tell I’ve had my Wolverine 1000 Mile boots for only about 3.5 years now, and while they haven’t gotten 1000 miles worth of wear, they’ve been on many treks — around the world and back. I first posted about them over three years ago. You can check out that article here.
And now, let’s talk a bit about brand history.
A BRIEF HISTORY
G.A. Krause founded Wolverine in 1883. It started as a bit of leather tannery with a handful of employees. And by 1903, Krause and Co. were presenting 300 boots a day in their Michigan factory.
Wolverine was produced in Michigan, and it’s still their home base to this day. All of the boots are handcrafted in the USA, helping American workers and manufacturing.
STYLE & DESIGN
One word to describe Wolverine boots is ‘rugged.’ Their entire collection oozes rugged masculinity. Currently, they offer insulated, waterproof, and dura shock options — and, of course, the iconic, original 1000 Mile Boot.
The pair that I own is a particular variant of the original 1000 Mile named the Adrian that I chose at Nordstrom back in September of 2017. They no longer bear this specific model, but it’s the same as Wolverine’s 1000 Mile Cap-Toe boot.
My couple is in the Havana Brown colorway, which is choosing mid-brown. It’s a stylish color with what appears to be polishing throughout.
Not only are these Wolverine boots rugged, but they’re also actually quite fashionable, in my opinion. They’re stocky (thicc as the kids would say), and some would tell it’s too bulky, but I feel they’re planned as a work boot should be. This ruggedness makes them perfect to be worn with other mountainous pieces like a field jacket and jeans.
How To Style The Wolverine 1000 Mile?
Maybe my favorite way to wear my Wolverines is with a pair of slim border denim. There’s something about the essential ruggedness of both pieces that pair together so harmoniously.
Don’t be fooled, though, and you can pull them off with a blazer or play coat, too. Only be sure that the jacket is made with a more casual fabric like tweed or corduroy. And of course, a pair of selvage jeans would be right at home with a suit like this.
Moreover, I’m a big fan of a cap toe on shoes and boots. The cap-toes on these Wolverines add structure and detail to the toe box without being overly adorned. It’s a much-welcomed design element that adds more character and style to the boot than the plain toe version IMO.
Finally, the boots have a Goodyear welt development that compliments the shape of the boot. The Goodyear welt is more familiar with a significantly more rugged appearance than a blake stitch which wouldn’t think right with a boot like these. Also, the difference stitching is an excellent decorative detail that’s noticeable and indicates a GYW construction.
All in all, in my humble opinion — the style & design of the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot is superb.
COMFORT & DURABILITY
These are rugged boots, and so it takes quite a while to break them in. The leather is rough and sturdy, especially initially. Still, after a few dozen wears, it will begin to soften up a bit.
Though it will never be as simple as a combination of Chelsea boots or my Pikolinos, heck, even the Thorogood Moc Toes give more comfort. The Wolverine 1000 Mile is a helluva hard-wearing boot that’s as rough and tough as they come.
When it comes to durable, hard-wearing leather, it’s hard to top the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
How Durable Are They?
While traveling in Europe for several weeks, I was lugging around a massive backpack and a checked bag up and under stairwells. (while hungover), continually banging my luggage against the boots and scraping the leather along with the concrete. Glad to report that the scrapes and scars did not lose the leather; instead, they gave it more character.
And therein lies the blossom of these boots, the longer you wear them, and the more you provide them hell, the better they look. No need for a child to wear these boots!
If necessary, you can select replacement insoles straight on their website. These replacement insoles are made with space-age technology for more pleasure and shock absorption.
Finally, it’s super effective that every pair of Wolverine boots comes with a 30 day Comfort. Guarantee that gives you 30 days to make sure you’re content with your purchase; otherwise, you can give them back for a complete refund.
- Full-grain, Chromexcel leather
- Rich color depth
- Top finish scratches easily
The 1000 Mile comes in obviously unlimited varieties: rough out, chukka, wingtip, cap-toe, Chelsea, and more. You can even customize your pair and make it a patchwork of different leathers, colors, and threads. Here I’m sticking to the essential, unique, brown, Chromexcel 1000 Mile.
Let’s discuss it a little deeper.
One of the flagship leathers from the famous Horween Leather Company in Chicago, Chromexcel has a digital-sounding name but has a rich history of engine seals on tanks during World War 2. It’s made with “a mixture of tanned leather that undergoes leastwise 89individual processes using 28 working days.”
The tanning process inspires the leather with oils, greases, and waxes — including beef fat and beeswax — and it ends with neatsfoot oil, which is performed and refined from the leg bones of cattle. All of these oils make for a lovely shiny boot, though I should make a sign that this boot isn’t as polished as another Chromexcel boot I’ve seen, like the Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill.
Chromexcel is full-grain leather, which will be good news for most people. Full-grain is usually considered the highest quality leather. While it’s not relatively as bland or as uniform in color as peak grain leather that it is often compared to, it’s more durable, and it grows better. More traditional full-grain leather is excellent for developing the lovely, rich patina that boot lovers covet.
The best thing about Chromexcel is that it’s durable, oily, and long well. Nevertheless, the top finish isn’t all that long-lasting, and it’s pretty defenseless to scratches. Now, good conditioning can leave Chromexcel looking great. Just keep in mind that if you’re wedded to that Chromexcel luster, you’ll need to condition these pretty frequently.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Leather Care
Horween suggests neatsfoot oil or Venetian boot Cream.
Wolverine recommends leather conditioners made from pine pitch and mink oil.
Wolverine’s leather dressing is available for more heavy-duty wear.
While waxes are included in the process of creating Chromexcel, it’s considered unwaxed leather, so you should steer clear of waxed polishes. A heavy leather cream could be best for conditioning. Still, suppose you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth. In that case, Wolverine has an excellent instructional video in which their V.P. of Product Development accepts you through the ins and outs of attending for the boots.
He recommends washing the leather and the sole with a wet cloth, brushing it to get rid of excess dirt, and using their leather conditioner made from pine pitch and mink oil.
Wolverine also gives a leather dressing that’s a little more heavy-duty for people who might be extra concerned about water resistance. The sauce adds beeswax to the pine pitch and mink, and you can just run it along the boot edges.
I named up Wolverine for more guidance on leather care. They assured me that they should be conditioned every two or three weeks if you’re wearing these boots regularly. I’m sure for numerous people, these are their sole pair of boots, and they get worn every day during colder months, but it’s a better idea to wear them every other day at most so that they can wind out. I also prefer to condition Chromexcel every month to minimize the chances of losing the top finish — check out my complete guide to Chromexcel care.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Fit and Sizing
- Sizes run big; order a half size down
- Widths available in D and EEE
- Pretty easy to break-in
They run big, meaning you should order a smaller size than you usually wear. I’m a lovely frustrating size 11.75, and while my Converse All-Stars are a 12, my Iron Rangers are an 11. Next, calling up Wolverine’s customer service and asking them about the fit, I decided to go with a size 11. It fits like a glove.
Particularly since many guys don’t know their precise boot size, I’d recommend trying them in-store if at all feasible. And, if not, heading to a boot store anyway to get your foot measured. In a Brannock device and try the 1000 Mile on in a store. This won’t be as difficult to do as it can be with more expensive brands since 1000 Mile is one of the most famous brands in the United States.
The boots also come in various widths: D for “normal” feet and EEE for extra wide. Those Es stand for triple extra-wide — after D, width goes E, E.E., and EEE — so we’re talking lovely wide feet here, as wide as shoemakers make them.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Break-In
The leather on these boots is lovely thick at two millimeters, but also though that’s about as deep as an Iron Ranger, I found them much, much simple to break in. Iron Rangers need different days of wear before they stop being uncomfortable to walk in.
Still, the 1000 Mile boots are acceptable to travel in straight out of the case. It’s a tiny bit hard in that you can say the leather is new, but I wouldn’t explain these as needing any break-in period. Being made from leather, the sole was easy to walk in and didn’t feel stiff — one bonus of a relatively soft sole.
QUALITY & CRAFTSMANSHIP
All Wolverine boots involve the esteemed 1000 Mile, are handcrafted in the USA with each premium Horween leather or total-grain Chromexcel leather from the famed Horween Leather Company in Chicago, Illinois.
My pair is formed with full-grain Chromexcel leather and is lined with suede-like napped leather. There’s a few minor loose stitches throughout the boot, but it’s no biggie with a sturdy boot like these.
Additionally, the Goodyear welted foundation adds to the rugged nature of the boots and looks excellent IMO. I regularly take care of my footwear and don’t love to scuff them up. Still, my Wolverines have taken a thrashing, and the leather looks even more significant now than it did before.
1000 Mile Boot Construction
I was happy to discover that my Wolverines sport a Vibram rubber heel for trap and a flexible rubber forepart for more traction. These boots wouldn’t feel best without the rubber outsole, not to suggest they’d be impractical too.
These Wolverine 1000 Milers feature 4 round pinchbeck eyelets followed by 3-speed hooks. They feel excellent, secure, and are exceptionally long-lasting.
Additionally, the speed hooks make it simple to quickly lace them up and make heel lock lacing a breeze. The heel lock lace is my favorite way to tie up my boots or shoes while hiking because it “locks” the heel in space, restraining heel slippage.
- Handcrafted in the USA
- Horween Cordovan leather
- Goodyear Welt construction
- Trusted Vibram® rubber heel and forepart from Williamsport, Pennsylvania
- Smooth 3/4 leather sock insert for a premium feel
- Flat waxed cotton laces from Landrum, South Carolina
My perfect shoe size is 7.5, and I usually size up most brands since my feet are slightly on the broader side. Luckily Wolverine bears half sizes with their 1000 Mile model, so I opted for size 7.5, which fits like Baby Bear’s Porridge.
They run true to size, so you’re safe to go with what you usually order. Their boots come in a value D width, with some models offering more comprehensive options like 3E.
PRICE TO PERFORMANCE
I bought this pair for $239.90 during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale some years back. It was an excellent 40% off, and so I had to haul the trigger.
At $385, the cost is still there, but if you can get them for 25% to half off, then it’s an imperative steal. I mean, you’re taking a pair of heritage boots made in America. Goodyear welted among leather from one of the most renowned tanneries in the country, the price to performance is difficult to beat here.
WOLVERINE 1000 MILE ALTERNATIVES :
If you’re looking for an over-affordable option for the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot, let’s discuss the Thursday President and Thursday Captain boot for beginners.
The Captain and President are two of Thursday Boot Co.’s most famous boot fashion. One is a standard toe, while the other is a cap toe. Depending on which fashion you prefer, they’re both great options.
I’d say that these two are the maximum affordable and the best value choice to the Wolverine 1000 Mile. I’ve included them extensively in past content and put a long-term review mutually for the Thursday President, Captain, and Dukes.
Taft is a rising boot company with fame and athlete investors already on board. Just like Thursday, they’ve overgrown in a short period.
I reviewed the Taft Rome boot last year on the blog and YouTube channel. It’s a bit more refined than the rugged Wolverine aesthetic, so it’s not the best alternative. However, Taft also carries more rugged styles like the popular Dragon Boot and Viking Boot which are the perfect (still entry-level) alternatives.
Red Wing Boots
Red Wing is an iconic American brand including just as maximum heritage as Wolverine, established in 1905. The Red Wing Iron Ranger likewise has a similar design and fashion as the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
You could claim that Red Wing is also a popular choice of the two. I don’t have expertise with the brand, but I’ve heard frequently about how great they are, so I have to suspect that these are the real deal. The Red Wing Iron Ranger is an absolute choice for the Wolverine 1000 Mile based on looks alone.
Thorogood is a chief-rated boot company, in my judgment. They are the essential work boots for sure. Their 6″ Moc Toe has been in my stock for five years now, and it’s one of the most sturdy pairs of boots I’ve come across.
Just similar to the Wolverine 1000 Mile, they’re built in America. Thorogood is so inflexible about getting this beyond that they’ve sewed a small USA flag on the side of each boot’s leather upper.
Though they may be less stylish, they’re each bit as hard-wearing as the aged Wolverine 1000 Mile.
IS THE WOLVERINE 1000 MILE BOOT WORTH IT?
Eventually, it comes down to what you’re searching for from a work boot. Suppose you need a pair of boots that have a legacy, are made in the USA. In that case, that’s sturdy, stylish, and remains to get better with age, then the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot is an excellent choice for you.
In my judgment, the Wolverine 1000 Mile is best in class and simply one of my favorites boots to wear due to its stylishness, legacy, and long-lasting stability.
Wolverine 1000 Mile: To Buy or Not to Buy?
Finally, you’ve got about $350 to spend on a pair of boots which you can wear with a t-shirt, at a bar, or work.
I am an accomplished footwear blogger with a keen eye for style and a passion for shoes. My deep-rooted love affair with footwear began at a young age when I would spend hours perusing shoe stores, admiring the intricate designs and imagining the stories they could tell.