Wolverine is a heritage company, born in the USA. For over 135 years they’ve been producing purposefully built, hard wearing boots that are meant to last for the long haul.
In this in-depth Wolverine 1000 Mile boot review, I’m going to cover a brief history of the brand, touch on the quality & craftsmanship, comfort & durability, shoe sizing, price to performance, the pros & cons, how they’ve held up over 3 years of wear, and talk about some viable alternatives.
Let’s jump in!
WOLVERINE 1000 MILE BOOT REVIEW
The 1000 Mile boot is Wolverine’s crown jewel and the original, first introduced in the 1910s. It got its name because it was built to last for 1000 miles of wear. And let me tell ya, these rugged workhorses are like a fine wine, only getting better with age.
I’ve had my Wolverine 1000 Mile boots for just about 3.5 years now and while they haven’t quite gotten 1000 miles worth of wear, they’ve been on many treks — around the world and back. I first posted about them over 3 years ago. You can check out that article here.
Hit the play button below if you prefer to watch the video review.
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And now let’s talk a little bit of brand history.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Wolverine was founded by G.A. Krause in 1883. It started as a small leather tannery with a handful of employees. And by 1903, Krause and Co. were producing 300 boots a day in their Michigan factory.
Wolverine was born in Michigan and it’s still their homebase till this day. All of their boots are handcrafted in the USA, supporting American workers and manufacturing.
“We’re not good because we’re old. We’re old because we stayed good.”
STYLE & DESIGN
One word to describe Wolverine boots is ‘rugged’. Their entire collection just oozes a rugged masculinity. Currently they offer insulated, waterproof, and durashock options — and of course the iconic, original 1000 Mile Boot.
The pair that I own is a special variant of the original 1000 Mile called the Adrian that I picked up at Nordstrom back in September of 2017. They no longer carry this specific model, but it’s identical to Wolverine’s 1000 Mile Cap-Toe boot.
My pair is in the Havana Brown colorway which is like mid-brown. It’s a rich color with what appears to be burnishing throughout.
Not only are these Wolverine boots rugged, they’re actually quite stylish in my opinion. They’re chunky (thicc as the kids would say) and some would say it’s too bulky, but I feel they’re designed as a work boot should be. It’s this ruggedness that makes them ideal to be worn with other rugged pieces like a field jacket and jeans.
How To Style The Wolverine 1000 Mile
Perhaps my favorite way to wear my Wolverines is with a pair of slim selvedge denim. There’s something about the inherent ruggedness of both pieces that pairs together so harmoniously.
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Don’t be fooled though, you can pull them off with a blazer or sport coat too, just be sure that the jacket is made with a more casual fabric like tweed or corduroy. And of course a pair of selvedge jeans would be right at home with a fit like this.
Furthermore, I’m a big fan of a cap toe on shoes and boots. The cap-toes on these Wolverines adds 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 construction that really compliments the shape of the boot. The Goodyear welt is thicker with a much more rugged appearance than a blake stitch which wouldn’t feel right with a boot like these. Also, the contrast stitching is a nice decorative detail that’s noticeable and clearly indicates a GYW construction.
All in all, in my humble opinion — the style & design of the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot is superb.
COMFORT & DURABILITY
Truth be told, these are really rugged boots and so it takes quite a while to break them in. The leather is rough and sturdy, especially in the beginning, but after a few dozen wears it will begin to soften up a bit.
Though it will never be as comfortable as a pair of Chelsea boots or my Pikolinos, heck even the Thorogood Moc Toes provide 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 long lasting, hard wearing leather, it’s hard to top the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
How Durable Are They?
I remember while I was traveling in Europe for several weeks lugging around a massive backpack and a checked bag up and down stairwells (while hungover) constantly banging my luggage against the boots and scraping the leather along the concrete. Happy to report that the scrapes and scars did not damage the leather, instead it gave it more character.
And therein lies the beauty of these boots, the longer you wear them and the more you give them hell, the better they look. No need to baby these boots!
If necessary, you can pick up replacement insoles directly on their website. These replacement insoles are made with space age technology for extra comfort and shock absorption.
Finally, it’s super helpful that every pair of Wolverine boots comes with a 30 day Comfort Guarantee which gives you 30 days to make sure you’re satisfied with your purchase. If not, you can send them back for a full refund.
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QUALITY & CRAFTSMANSHIP
All Wolverine boots, including the esteemed 1000 Mile are handcrafted in the USA with either premium Horween leather or full-grain Chromexcel leather from the famous Horween Leather Company in Chicago, Illinois.
My pair is made with full-grain Chromexcel leather and is lined with a suede like napped leather. There’s some minor loose stitching throughout the boot, but it’s no biggie with a rugged boot like these.
Additionally the Goodyear welted construction adds to the rugged nature of the boots and look great IMO. I often take care of my footwear and don’t really like to scuff them up, but my Wolverines have taken a beating and the leather looks even better now than it did before.
1000 Mile Boot Construction
I was happy to find out that my Wolverines sports a Vibram rubber heel for grip and a flexible rubber forepart for extra traction. These boots just wouldn’t feel right without the rubber outsole, not to mention they’d be impractical too.
These Wolverine 1000 Milers feature 4 round brass eyelets followed by 3 speed hooks. They feel very solid, secure and are exceptionally durable.
Additionally, the speed hooks make it easy to quickly lace them up and makes heel lock lacing a breeze. The heel lock lace is my personal favorite way to lace up my boots or shoes while hiking because it “locks” the heel in place, preventing 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 shoe size is 7.5 and I normally size up for most brands since my feet are a bit on the wider side. Luckily Wolverine carries half sizes with their 1000 Mile model and so I opted for size 7.5 which fits like Baby Bear’s Porridge.
They definitely run true to size, so you’re safe to go with what you normally order. All of their boots come in a standard D width with some models offer wider options like 3E.
PRICE TO PERFORMANCE
I purchased this pair for $239.90 during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale a few years back. It was a good 40% off and so I had to pull the trigger.
At $385 the value is still there, but if you can get them for 25% to half off, then it’s an absolute steal. I mean, you’re getting a pair of heritage boots, made in America, Goodyear welted with leather from one of the most reputable tanneries in the country, the price to performance is hard to beat here.
PROS & CONS
- Made in America
- Rugged yet still stylish
- Goodyear welted construction allows for easy resoling
- Vibram rubber outsole adds all important grip
- 30 day Comfort Guarantee
- Only gets better with age
- Lacking boot width options
- Lengthy break in period
- Pricier than others with similar quality and build
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this Wolverine Boot review, then you’ll probably like this comprehensive guide on popular boot styles for men.
HOW HAVE THEY HELD UP OVER 3 YEARS?
Over the past 3 years I’ve traveled with my Wolverines to Europe for several weeks, worn these for hiking trips, and just your regular everyday wear. It feels like I’ve traveled 1000 miles in these boots already!
I’ve gotta say that I’m impressed with how well they’ve held up. The 1000 Mile boot is one that you don’t have to worry about keeping clean and pristine. They’re built to endure wear after wear, so don’t be afraid to beat them up, they can withstand a lot.
The Vibram rubber sole is still securely attached to the bottom of the boot with zero signs of a sole split which is often an issue with rubber soled shoes and boots.
The Chromexcel leather along the boot upper and tongue has faded into a nice patina, especially where the boot creases. It’s a beautiful crease might I add.
The leather shows no signs of cracking or breaking down, in fact it’s only gotten better with age as I’ve mentioned earlier. And the waxed laces have proven to be durable and aren’t shredded or torn apart.
In the end, I’d say that these boots are holding up quite well over 3 years and I look forward to seeing them through the next 3 and beyond.
WOLVERINE 1000 MILE ALTERNATIVES
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot, let’s talk about the Thursday President and Thursday Captain boot for starters.
The President and Captain are two of Thursday Boot Co.’s most popular boot styles, one is a plain toe while the other is a cap toe. Depending on which style you prefer, they’re both great options.
I’d say that these two are the most affordable and best value alternative to the Wolverine 1000 Mile. I’ve covered them extensively in past content and even put together a long-term review for the Thursday President, Captain and Dukes.
Here, you can read my Thursday Boot Review.
Taft is a rising boot company with celebrity and athlete investors already onboard. Just like Thursday, they’ve grown quickly in a short period of time.
I actually reviewed the Taft Rome boot last year on the blog and YouTube channel. It’s a bit more refined than the the rugged Wolverine aesthetic and so it’s not the best alternative, but Taft also carries more rugged styles like the popular Dragon Boot and Viking Boot which are the perfect (still entry level) alternatives.
Here, you can read my Taft Boot Review.
Red Wing Boots
Red Wing is an iconic American brand with just as much heritage as Wolverine, founded in 1905. The Red Wing Iron Ranger also has a similar design and style as the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
You could argue that Red Wing is the more popular option of the two. I don’t have experience with the brand, but I’ve heard time and time again about how great they are, and so I have to believe that these are the real deal. Based on looks alone, the Red Wing Iron Ranger is an ideal alternative to the Wolverine 1000 Mile.
Thorogood is an underrated boot company in my opinion. They are the quintessential work boot for sure. Their 6″ Moc Toe has been in my collection for 5 years now and it’s one of the most rugged pair of boots I’ve come across.
Just like the Wolverine 1000 Mile they’re built in America. Thorogood is so adamant about getting this across that they’ve stitched a small USA flag on the side of every boot’s leather upper.
Though they may be less stylish, they’re every bit as hard wearing as the venerable Wolverine 1000 Mile.
IS THE WOLVERINE 1000 MILE BOOT WORTH IT?
Ultimately it comes down to what you’re looking for from a work boot. If you want a pair of boots that have heritage, are made in the USA — that’s rugged, stylish and continues to get better with age, then the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot is an excellent option for you.
In my experience, the Wolverine 1000 Mile is best in class and easily one of my favorites boots to wear because of its stylishness, heritage and long lasting durability.
ONTO YOU. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WOLVERINE BOOTS?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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