In this unsponsored review, I’ll share how Thursday’s Explorer boots have held up after 3 months of heavy winter wear.
Here at The Modest Man, we’re big fans of Thursday Boots and their affordable, well-built footwear. Let’s dive into the review of their rugged Explorer boot…
The Explorer, Thursdays’ take on the combat boot, is a boot that can take a beating. They’ve held up really well after enduring months of extreme winter conditions.
While not ideal for deep snow and subzero temperatures, the Explorer boot is a fantastic choice for both normal everyday wear and wilderness excursions.
The Explorer Boot: First Impressions
Although I had to get used to wearing a tall-shanked boot (I almost tripped coming down the stairs the first day wearing them), the Explorers are comfortable right out of the box.
I almost immediately noticed that these boots provide me with much more traction than my Thursday Scout chukkas. Right away, I also admired these boots’ Kevlar laces. They’re sturdy long enough that I loop them around the back before tying.
Construction & Aesthetic
The slim profile and matte finish help this combat book to look less “military” and more “street style” than most other combat boots. The Explorer pairs well with black jeans and with dark-colored chinos.
I love the look of these boots. They come in three different colors — matte black, dark olive suede, and ceder. I went with the black matte finish as I tend to wear a lot of black and gray in the winter.
At first, I ordered size 10 — my size for Thursday Scout chukka boots. They were a little bit too snug, especially knowing I’d be wearing them with thick wool socks. I exchanged sizes and ended up with 10.5.
These boots are hard to take on and off. I have to loosen the laces all the way down to the sixth eyelet. This is a pain, especially since Explorers don’t have regular speed hooks. However, after a week or two, I got faster at putting these boots on and taking them off.
There is a small pull tab on the heel of the boot. I assume this was intended to help pull the boots on.
However, considering how much effort it takes to put on these boots, the little tab is pointless in my opinion.
The boots ended up stretching a bit after wearing them over two pairs of wool socks in wet weather, but that’s to be expected (In fact, that’s a common shoe-stretching method!).
Black Matte Finish
The matte black looks really cool. It’s hard to explain what the finish looks like because it looks slightly different in person than in the photos online.
At first, it kind of smudged when I touched it, but it didn’t feel greasy or oily at all.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how long the finish would last; my first guess was two months tops. Now, after three months of heavy wear in wet weather, it’s still holding up strong.
Long-Term Wear & Tear
I wore these boots for two months in Northern Europe and another month so far in Upstate, NY.
I’ve worn them dog sledding, snowshoeing, and hiking far above the Arctic Circle. They’ve weathered white-out conditions, traversed salty streets, and trekked through several feet of snow. To put it mildly, these boots have run the gauntlet.
All things considered, they’ve held up really well. After three week, I started to notice some color loss on the leather midsole/welt by the toe. After a few more weeks, the leather midsole underneath the welt was almost completely bare of dye and felt really dry.
Now, after three months, there is beginning to be a tiny bit of separation in some places between the welt and midsole.
Besides dressing the edges, I’ve conditioned them once and also treated them with a silicone-based waterproofing spray several times (but I didn’t use the spray as often as I probably should have).
Apart from the midsole drying out, the boots have a few scrapes and nicks, which are to be expected. There is some minor wear on the upper of the right boot towards the ankle. In that area, the leather feels especially soft. I’m not exactly sure what caused this wear pattern.
I’ve also noticed heavy creasing from the wet conditions. One polar night, my friend put my wet boots next to a radiator to dry.
I didn’t say anything at the time (since he thought he was helping out), but some of the creasing might have been caused by the waterlogged boots drying out so close to a direct heat source. (Never dry out leather footwear near direct heat, it can cause the leather to dry out).
I don’t really mind creases in my leather shoes and boots, so it’s not a big deal. However, I have to keep an eye on the creased areas and keep them conditioned to make sure that they don’t dry out and crack.
Thursday Explorer as a Winter Boot
If you call Thursday’s customer service, they’ll tell you that the Explorer isn’t ideal for extreme winters — that for serious winter conditions, you’ll need a true winter boot.
However, in Thursday’s product description for the Explorer, they call it the “best in its class for difficult weather.” I wanted to see just how well they’d hold up to this claim. As I already mentioned, I wore these boots out in some of the most brutal winter weather on Earth.
I have to say that I’m impressed, they performed even better than I expected.
The sole is much softer than other Vibram soles I’ve worn. Even though they’re soft, they don’t wear out quickly.
These boots give you much better traction than some of Thursday’s other boots, such as the Scout chukka. However, when walking on frozen rivers and icy streets, I strapped on a pair of crampons for extra grip.
On several occasions, my Explorers have become waterlogged. I don’t think that snow was coming in through the top of the boots since the collar fits snuggly, and I laced them tight.
I don’t think it was the Storm welt failing either. I think what happened was that snow came in through gaps on either side of the tongue of the boot.
If Thursday was to incorporate a gusseted tongue into the design of these boots, I think they’d perform even better in wet, slushy conditions.
Several times my feet have gotten very cold while wearing my Explorer boots.
Sometimes this was due to moisture that had gotten trapped inside. On other occasions, even when I was wearing three pairs of wool socks, it was just too cold outside to be wear boots without a proper insulated lining and extra space in the toe box.
As I’ve already mentioned, these boots aren’t meant for severe winter conditions. If you’re looking for a boot for extended wear in extreme winter conditions, do yourself a favor and get a big pair of insulated boots or mukluks. Your toes will thank you.
However, If I could only own one pair of boots, Thursday Explorer would rank near the top of the list.
I think that they are a great choice for those that live in an area with mild to moderate winters, especially for men who live in an urban environment. The Thursday Explorer is a rugged, year-round boot ideal for both outdoor adventures and nights on the town.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!