The tradition of the American worker is a highly romanticized one, and we’ve seen a resurgence in workwear for men as a style choice in the past few years. It’s common to see young guys wearing Dickies as streetwear, and Timberlands are a go-to footwear choice for a lot of guys who enjoy wearing flannel and jeans to go with their huge hipster beards.
In fact, workwear-inspired boots have been de rigueur for a long time now, even with slim jeans and sport coats. Wolverine, a Michigan-based workwear brand, has gotten into the “heritage” game as it were, and I was fortunate to have the chance to review their Original 1000 Mile Bison Boot.
From a high level, these are well-constructed boots that are very handsome, have a lovely hand, and are quite unique-looking.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Bison Boot Review
As stated above, Wolverine is an American workwear brand, and much of their current product offering is indeed true workwear. They sell hiking boots, safety-toe work boots and sneakers, wellingtons, and the like.
Their Heritage line, of which the 1000 Mile bison boot is a part, is an upmarket workwear-inspired line. They’re definitely more geared towards an urban office worker with style as opposed to a factory worker who needs his feet protected.
What’s In The Box?
The box itself is a very handsome red with some very nice branded embossing on the lid.
The box came with a large piece of black flannel inside to protect the boots. While this is nice, it was a bit disappointing that they didn’t come with individual flannel bags, which would have made things easier in terms of both storage and travel. With a retail price of $420, I would nudge Wolverine in the direction of offering two flannel shoe bags with their Heritage shoes as opposed to one large swatch of flannel.
With that said, the embroidered branding on the flannel is a very nice touch, and any protection is better than no protection.
Materials & Construction
As you can see, this is a two-tone boot with a vamp, toe box, tongue and heel counter in a dark, stone-y brown, while the quarters are a handsome crimson-ish brown. Hitting just above the ankle, there are four regular eyelets and three lace hooks, which hearkens back to the boots’ original 1914 design.
An interesting note is that the inside of the upper is unlined. Unlined shoes tend to acquire a more comfortably worn-in look more quickly than their lined counterparts. Though you likely wouldn’t do this with a pair of boots, unlined shoes tend to wear well without socks. Again, not really applicable for boots, but keep that in mind when buying summer shoes in which you might go sockless.
Horween Winnipeg Bison & Vibram Heels
Horween is one of the most trusted names in the American leather industry, and the quality doesn’t disappoint here. Bison hide is a wonderful skin and it was a great choice to use it for the upper of this boot. It’s pebbled texture is similar to that of, well, pebbled leather, but there’s a certain suppleness to bison that you don’t often find in regular pebbled calfskin. It’s the perfect look for a casual boot such as this, and they even lined the sole with it (see below)!
The boot has a Vibram heel, which helps to add traction and stability while in motion. If you’re so inclined, you can take your shoes to a cobbler and have a Vibram sole attached for a small fee. This will add further traction, but will take away from the look of the sole (pictured below).
The soles are made of handsome leather that has a bit of a waxy feel to it. The natural highs and lows in the color of the sole are a nice touch, though most of this will go away after walking on concrete for a bit. The welt stitching is more recessed at the toe than at other parts of the sole, presumably to help protect it against the additional wear that toes see on concrete.
Goodyear Welt Construction
We’ve written at length about Goodyear welt construction, so we won’t get into a full explanation of it here. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Wolverine made a great call in constructing this boot in such a way, as it can be resoled many times over very easily by a skilled cobbler. Again, this boot retails at $420, so this adds a lot of long-term value.
The last of these shoes is very well done. The toe is rounded, which is perfect for a boot as casual as this one. Furthermore, the outsole is more or less flush against the upper, which lends a cleanliness to their look.
Some Minor Issues
Though we were generally pleased with the boot, we would be remiss if we ignored a couple of minor issues that we feel warrant attention.
There are two main issues: the degree to which the upper is flush against the sole’s heel, and some chipping at the welt.
As you can see, the boot on the left’s upper is nearly 1/4″ away from the edge of the heel, while the boot on the right’s upper is hanging off the edge of the heel by about 1/8″. Though it may have affected the fit (one boot felt larger than the other, which is atypical for me), the boots were comfortable overall and this isn’t a huge deal.
Above, you can see what appears to be chipping on the welt of the shoe. Again, this isn’t necessarily something fatal, but perhaps something quality control should have picked up on.
How The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot Looks & Fits
Overall, I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the boots. They’re a phenomenal pairing with jeans and they’re extremely comfortable. I could wear these all day.
Final Review: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
All in all, we’re pleased with the 1000 Mile Bison Boot. The two-tone design with bison leather is incredibly handsome, and this is a great example of a workwear-influenced fashion boot. It’s comfortable, fits as expected, and looks great with jeans and casual autumn trousers.
The rating is four stars out of five due to the peculiar issues we ran into. We’re sure it was an exception to the rule, and hopefully Wolverine notices these kinds of things in future production batches.
"I'm a big fan of these boots. Their comfort and look is superb, and though there were some minor aesthetic issues, the construction is solid. Recommended."Rating: 4.0 ★★★★
Note: Wolverine gave Bespoke Unit these boots to review free of charge.