Hi, my name is Blake. I'm a friend of Ingrid's. She asked me if I could do a review of the boots I got a few months ago and of course I said yes.
These boots are my first foray into quality footwear. From the amount that I love them, I know they won’t be my last. They are simply a pleasure to the eye, the foot and the nose. (They really do smell amazing!)
These are the Wolverine 1000 Mile boots in the color cordovan. They are made of a type of leather called chromexcel which is full of oils and amazingly supple. As it wears, it becomes lighter in color (this is most evident on the tongue where the eyelets hit). One important thing to note for this type of leather is that it scuffs and scrapes easily, and these blemishes are definitely noticeable. However, rubbing them with an oily finger or conditioning them will lessen the contrast, although it definitely does not get rid of them.
The shape of the boots is what initially caught my attention. They are just the right balance of sleek and bulky. Not so sleek that they can be mistaken for dress boots, and not too bulky to seem like they belong at a construction site. They are simple and clean.
The cordovan color is rich and deep. You really need to see them in person to discern the details. The dark red hue is simply gorgeous, even though I personally have a problem with reds sometimes. The red is subtle enough to make it easy to work into an outfit, but more interesting and unique than brown. It’s a color that can work with anything.
The stitching is well-done and its colors provide for a sleek appearance. Most of the stiches offer a slight contrast to the cordovan leather, while on the back and one line on the front quarter on both sides of the boot is tan and boldly contrasts. The welt stitching on the bottom of the boot is white and also contrasts, showing its quality as a welted boot.
The only initial defect I noticed was a couple of small patches of lightly-wrinkled leather. Not bad, which is to be expected of a boot that retails for $350. And since chromexcel is known to wrinkle more than other types of leathers, it’s not going to stand out for very long. After breaking them in, the right toebox is noticeably more wrinkled than the left one. Slightly irritating, but only up-close. From a distance it really isn’t noticeable.
I put a Vibram rubber half-sole on my boots because I walk mainly on pavement and asphalt which is rough on leather soles. Therefore, I have no idea how the traction is on the leather soles or how long they will last. They do provide good flexibility however, even with the extra rubber layer glued on. They come with a rubber Vibram heel that provides traction and comfort.
I love wearing these boots because they are so comfortable. When I first put them on, I immediately noticed the arch support. They may not be the best in terms of support (I am not used to shoes with much arch support so I don’t have much to compare them with), but they definitely do provide enough for my feet. The insoles appear to be full leather. The cocoon of thick, supple leather is definitely a treat for the feet. They are comfortable enough to walk around in all day on concrete, which is very impressive coming from what is basically a retro-workboot.
I am not very rough on these boots. The most rigorous test I have put them through is a full day of walking around in LA. But it’s obvious that these boots are breaking in beautifully. They are forming a patina on the toes and molding to my feet, most impressively around the ankles. I’m not one to really enjoy completely beat up boots (I’d rather them keep their structure and have a somewhat uniform color) so I like the fact that rubbing scrapes or conditioning them lessens the contrast but still keeps them there. If you really want them to look worn in, you could always baby them less. The chromexcel will give a contrasting patina in a short amount of time if left alone.
Since they are chromexcel, you really don’t need to condition them much. I wear them about three times a week and have only conditioned them once (right before these pictures were taken) in the four months I have had them. If you are curious, I used coconut oil so that the leather would not darken. I didn’t want to make the red hard to see and I am happy with the results. They barely got a shade darker during the conditioning, and they lightened right back to their original color after an hour.
For those that are interested in buying, note that the boots do stretch in width. Not a lot, but enough that you want to pick the size that is snug.
They also come in a few variations. There is a roughout version (with a nap like suede), wingtips and moc toes.
Overall, I really love these boots. They look great and are very comfortable. The thick leather and sturdy stitching are proof that these boots will last years, if not decades (with occasional resolings and recraftings of course). The leather smell is truly delightful. I highly recommend these boots to anyone looking for a quality boot with a classic American design.
As for styling, these can be worn with a lot. Because they are a sturdy boot, they are more fitting for fall and winter. Jeans and a flannel are a great choice that I wear often. For some more options, you could wear cargo or wool pants to add some interesting visual appeal, lighter- or medium-colored chinos so the boots stand out, or dark olive chinos for a simpler look. A hefty oxford shirt matches the rugged nature of the boots. A Shetland wool sweater would also look great and add more texture. I also recommend getting thick wool socks. The wool, especially merino, makes for a very comfortable combination with the boots.
For spring and summer, these boots would look great with dark denim and a white crew neck shirt. A grey or light pastel shirt could add some color to the outfit without straying too far from the workwear aesthetic of the boots. Obviously a lighter pair of socks (I prefer cotton for hotter weather) would be appropriate.
Let me know in the comments what you think of this review and if you have any questions about the boots. I would also love to hear other suggestions on outfits. I’m always looking to grow and experiment.
And a big thank you to Ingrid for this platform. Maybe we can work together more in the future. Let me know if you want another taste of men’s fashion in your blog. Best of luck to you and your readers.