Top positive review
120 of 126 people found this helpful
Fine quality, with a few caveats
on February 15, 2013
First, people telling you to go one full size down are correct. My size is 10.5 inches on a standard ruler, and I got 9.5 sizes boots. They are still a touch bigger in the toe than I would have expected, even one size down. My foot is narrow, so I got a D width. You want to go a full size down in length. (I also have some Alden boots, and the 9 Alden is the same size as a 9.5 Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot. I also have a size 10 Doc Marten shoe. All are exactly 12 inches long from heel to sole tip. If that helps you size things, use that as a practical guide.)
Second point, the leather is a thicker but still supple grade of leather than most modern products. The first day I put them on, the boots were comfortable. The boots did not pinch or bind. The leather was already fairly ready to wear. This kind of surprised me. I am used to thick leather being, well, thick and inflexible. But the tanning and curing process on this stuff must be more akin to better-quality leather clothing than we are used to in other products these days.
Third point, the heel is made of a vibram rubber, but the rest of the sole is a thick leather. If you live in an area of frequent rain or snow, this presents a problem, because wet sole leather is slick. Wolverine's *Courtland* 1000 Mile Boot has a rubber sole, so think about that if you are concerned about such stuff. The Alden "Indy" boot also has a rubber sole, which makes it a better sole for wet conditions. The comparable Red Wing Heritage boot has a rubber "commando" sole that is better suited for snow and wet conditions, but I have had both the Red Wing and the Wolverine boots in hand, and I think the Wolverine boot had better leather. So I went with the Wolverine product. Still, I think this is the largest flaw in the product. If I ever have a cobbler resole the boot, I will address this at that time.
Fourth point, the toe cap is *not* steel, but rather a plastic molding. If you need stout protection from something like bricks falling, this is not the boot. The plastic protects the boot's shape and look, not your toes. Similarly, the heel cup is there to keep the boot's shape. It does not feel like the sort of form that will provide protection from a crushing force. Put simply, these are boots, but not hardcore shop wear boots.
Fifth, the hooks for the boot lacings are nice features. They allow you to get the boots on and off easier than eyelets all the way up would. The Red Wing Heritage boot has eyelets all the way up. I prefer the hooks.
Sixth, I have a high natural arch. The boot seems to accomodate it well, and I may not bother with any inserts. I stand at desk all day (it is a stand-up industrial desk used for work) and my guess so far is this will not be a problem. The boot seems to be made to fit real feet. Still, some may want inserts to make the boot more like Ecco or other modern designs to "cup" the foot.
Finally, if you are looking for a full "dress boot", go up to the Alden. If you are looking for a slightly less expensive everyday boot to wear with jeans or even khakis, this will do well. If you need a daily work boot for hard conditions, don't buy either Alden or Wolverine--they are a bit too dandy.
Edit: I have had the boots for about six months now, and they still look excellent, wear well, and overall provide great footwear.