New York-based Thursday Boot Co. just released its first sneaker that delivers top quality details for a radically affordable price. The Premier Low Top features top-tier leather uppers, Vaquetta leather insoles, 2mm EVA cushioned insole covers and dual density rubber outsoles — all for just $129.
The minimalist design shows the natural beauty of the leathers — sourced from the legendary Horween and Carpanese tanneries — devoid of superfluous stitching details. These are some of the best premium sneakers available and cost a fraction of price of the competition. To learn more about the style and what makes them stand out, we talked to Thursday Boot Co. CEO and co-founder Nolan Walsh.
What was the impetus to expand from boots to sneakers?
At first I was pretty resistant to the idea of expanding into sneakers because I was not confident we could do something additive to what was already on the market. After tabling the idea to pursue sneakers, late one night I was voicing my hesitancy to my friend/CMO, Zach Jacobs, and he asked me "then which sneakers on the market do you think are perfect?"
I didn’t have an answer, so I started to look around more closely. I couldn’t find any perfectly clean sneakers with top tier materials at what I would consider a reasonable price point, so we set out to do the same thing with sneakers that we did with boots five years earlier. Make the highest quality, most comfortable, timeless sneaker possible, and sell it at the lowest sustainable markup possible.
How did you choose the silhouette of the Premier Lop Top?
I love a minimalist aesthetic, particularly when it comes to men’s fashion. High quality materials, impeccable technical construction and comfort are all necessary for the smart, effortless style that I most appreciate. When I was looking around before starting the sneaker project, I was amazed I couldn’t find a single sneaker that was pristine, and perfectly clean — if you don’t trust me, look for yourself.
Every sneaker I found had some unnecessary pattern or stitch work. As the true shoe dogs know, adding stitches and pattern work allows for lower quality materials and are typically easier to produce because it is easier to hide flaws. With big pattern pieces, there is nowhere to hide the flaws. Doing the cleanest visible pattern forces us to have every technical element of the construction perfect, that challenge is what got me excited about the project.
How did you make the sneaker better?
We sweat all the details: every millimeter of the last, custom outsole molds in every half size so that the fit is perfect — very atypical — and even densities of every element. The easiest example from a pattern perspective is the collar foam. As you probably know, most brands have some heel and collar stitchwork or overlay pieces to keep the collar foam in place and looking consistent as opposed to doing the R&D to make the perfect collar foam for their specific last. To maintain a clean look and optimize comfort we tested countless types of foam with different thicknesses densities and cutting shapes before settling on our low density high rebound foam cut in a, somewhat-difficult-to-explain ¾ cylindrical, ¼ angled edge shape.
What makes these sneakers stand out from others at this price?
Well, I must concede that everyone is going to say their sneakers are well made and that their fit is perfect, so I think the easiest differentiator for a potential customer to look at is the material composition. Our sneakers feature rich leather uppers from the finest tanneries in the USA (Horween) and Italy (Carpanese), buttery soft sheepskin lining, dual-density natural rubber outsoles and Vaquetta leather insoles.
Furthering the point, our insole leather supplier appreciatively told us that we are the only client he’s ever had in his two decades in business who did insole leather density testing and receiving insole leather cuts in a specific custom density range. I don’t think people need to simply take us on our word when we say our sneakers are a great value. Try finding another sneaker less than $130 using leathers from our tanneries partners, and you’ll see that we are serious about our low markup philosophy.
What about the upper leathers?
We didn’t just want to do the run of the mill leather sneakers. It was important to us that the sneakers tie into our boot collection. While I love white and black sneakers and felt they were necessary evergreen colorways, the more difficult choices were the 3 other colorways. We’ve been working with Horween since we started Thursday and their leathers have a unique heritage Americana aesthetic. We went with Essex, Chromexcel (Natural) and Waxed Flesh Roghout (Cacao) — three very different tannages — to give a sense of texture to the line while staying true to the Heritage Americana aesthetic we love.