Worn Out is our series of product reviews where we take an in-depth field test with many of the most sought after items. Whether it’s raw denim, shirting, footwear, outerwear, or accessories, we’re here to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly before you make your purchase.
They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes Heddels readers:
I’ve never been a boot guy. Not even a little, but Heaven knows that I’ve tried.
Before you judge me too harshly, know that on two separate occasions, with clear eyes and a full heart, I gave months (and pieces of my actual feet) to a pair of Red Wing Iron Rangers. They showed no mercy (instead of me breaking in the boots, the boots broke my feet). And this made me sad. (No, literally, they really hurt a lot.)
Like many of you, I believe that little goes better with a pair of beautifully broken-in jeans than an equally beautifully broken-in pair of boots. So I tried other brands—all the usual suspects—and only found the pain that comes from looking for love in all the wrong places. So it was with much trepidation that I kicked off my Vans and agreed to give these Thorogoods the Worn treatment. But I did, and since I’d been down this road so many times before, it didn’t take long after lacing them up for me to know how this was going to go. I took a step, and then…the clouds parted, and I swear, I swear I could hear a chorus of angels…the Dodgevilles were different! Finally, I get to be a boot guy!
While he may occasionally get all Game of Thrones on innocent footwear, our Managing Editor David Shuck also did a comprehensive assessment of some major boot brands and styles, noting the differences between their comfort and construction. It’s worth revisiting that series if you’re thinking of laying down the serious scratch that any decent pair of boots will cost you, especially these Thorogoods that lie at the pricey end of the spectrum.
The Dodgeville Boot is part of Thorogood’s 1892 Collection, “hand built in Marshfield, Wisconsin using techniques that have been perfected since the company was founded in 1892.”
It features a familiar cap toe design, made of Horween Chromexcel leather, with Goodyear welt construction, and a leather and Vibram lug outsole. All this is great, but lots of other boots I tried featured similar materials and design features, and they all put a hurt on me.
However, what’s unique to the Dodgeville is their No. 60 last, which Thorogood claims, “gives a roomy toe box for maximum comfort.” I’m no cobbler, but the immediate comfort of these boots has made me a No. 60 Last evangelist, testifying to it providing me the comfort and relief that I found nowhere else. To Thorogood, it may be No. 60, but to me it’s #1!
- Dodgeville by Thorogood, in Cognac
- Iconic style of the No. 60 Last
- Horween Chromexcel horsehide leather
- Goodyear welt construction
- Leather and Vibram lug outsole
- 100% made in USA
- Available for $375 from Huckberry
My Dodgevilles were immediately comfortable, and with subsequent wearings only got more so. I haven’t logged as many miles in these as I would have were I still living in New York City instead of Venice Beach (I can’t wait to review a pair of Heritage Brand flip-flops), but they’ve been around the block and across the sawdust strewn, beer soaked barroom floor of the legendary Hinano enough for me to know that I’m not deluding myself…this is no Stockholm Syndrome.
These boots are exceedingly comfortable, yielding to the shape of my feet and leaving no need for me to search Yelp for a well-reviewed local podiatrist. The fit, like most boots, will have you likely sizing down from your non-boots. (I’m a 12 in Vans and a 10.5 in Iron Rangers, and in these I was a perfect 11.) As for the styling, they are all I ever wanted. The cap toe is classic, and the white contrast stitching along the sole gives a nice pop, though I imagine it would have darkened with age.
We may be living in the golden age of premium leather, and I love them all for different applications, but this cognac Horween Chromexcel made for the perfect combination of comfort and durability (things can get crazy at Hinano…why do you think it was Jim Morrison’s favorite haunt?)
What’s not to like? Oh wait, the price. $375 is a steep entry point, especially when you consider they’re about $150 more than the infamous Iron Ranger (but they made me cry, so they might as well be free and I still would feel overcharged). So are these Thorogoods, a name that might be new to you, worth it? I say yes.
These beauties are made to be re-soled, so they should last at least your lifetime, and will likely end up as part of a cool window display in a Ralph Lauren store of the future. (Let’s just hope that David Shuck doesn’t see fit to start cutting off one pant leg of the denim I review, or I’m going to have to hire a lawyer.)