Thursday Boot Co, makers of some of our favorite boots — and now sneakers — on the market, don't really do the whole "collab" thing. They just make really good shit, and price it remarkably well. That being said, when your company founder is friends with someone like Rande Gerber — serial entrepreneur of Casamigos fame, former model and husband to the equally prolific Cindy Crawford — good ideas are bound to present themselves.
For Thursday's first collaboration product, company co-founder Nolan Walsh teamed up with Gerber on an awesome new motorcycle-style boot, the Casa Moto Café Racer. Said Gerber, "When my friends at Thursday Boots asked me to partner with them to design the ultimate boot, I took all my favorite boots and combined those details into the Casa Moto Café Racer. Made with the highest-quality, softest leather to ensure ultimate comfort, but rugged enough on your favorite ride. I’m sure they will be your go-to boots."
Walsh was kind enough to sit down and give us the skinny on the new boots, working with Gerber, and the incredible value passed on to the customer in a pair of Thursday Boots. (The new Casa Moto Café Racer costs just $235, and is available now in two colors.)
Can you tell us a bit about Thursday Boot Co. — what inspired the founding of the company, and what you specialize in?
Sure! Thursday Boot Company started as the ultimate passion project. After a particularly long winter, my co-founder Connor Wilson and I had discussed how neither of us were able to find the perfect boot. We both felt that there was a "Goldilocks problem." From a style perspective it seemed like everything was either too bulky and bulbous or too trendy and delicate. From a price perspective it felt like everything in my price range was liable to start falling apart after a couple of wears, and ponying up $400-plus for a pair of quality boots was too intimidating on a student budget.
We decided to turn our passion into a career when we launched Thursday Boot Company in 2014 with the mission of providing people with the highest quality boots at honest prices. The name Thursday comes from the versatility we aim to achieve with all of our products. Thursday is the day we work hard, but it’s also the unofficial start of the weekend. We specialize in making boots — sneakers and shoes now as well — that bridge the gap between work and play. Whether you are running around town, in a business meeting, exploring nature, or out at a bar with friends — we want you to be able to stand comfortably and confidently in a pair of Thursday Boots.
What characterizes your boots and differentiates you from the competition?
I have a deep appreciation for things that have longevity — timeless styles, built to last. I also love the classic Americana aesthetic. I think those preferences come across in the heritage and handcrafted feel to a lot of our products. From a purely technical perspective, I genuinely think we offer the highest quality boots at the lowest mark-up in the industry.
Nearly every component is our boots is custom made and rigorously tested — from the leather uppers, to the specifics of the cork used in our cork bed midsoles, to our custom designed eyelet washers. We really sweat every detail. Since we started, every month I have read through all negative feedback from customers and consistently strive to give customers a great value and 100 percent satisfaction. We want to create products and a company built to last.
What attracted you to the idea of working with Rande Gerber on a boot and what were the inspirations behind the new Casa Moto Café Racer?
I have always admired Rande’s casual “effortless” style with an impeccable attention to detail. One day I complimented him on a shirt he was wearing and we went into all the details about the fabrics, buttons and how he custom-makes all of his shirts. He started talking about the pair of Thursday Boots he was wearing and how he thought it would be awesome if we tried to make something a little more distressed and with a zipper — "something to wear when hanging out with the guys from the Rolling Stones"— then one thing led to another.
We started making samples with a goal of getting the semi-distressed, rock and roll feel right. This collaboration was particularly exciting because of the back and forth we had throughout the process. There was no target launch date or restrictive business deal, and we both felt comfortable scrapping our work and redoing samples to get the lines perfect at a 1-2mm level. The first samples we made look nothing like the finished product, we just kept trying different design tweaks until we landed on something we were excited to wear. Almost every material, from the outsoles to the upper leather and laces, was a new custom development for this boot specifically. Aside from all the digital mock-up revisions, we made 40 to 50 samples over the course of a year before we got it right.
Can you tell us a bit about where and how they’re made, and what makes them special?
There’s a lot that makes these boots special. I’d start with the super-soft semi-distressed uppers, which is much different than most of our current styles. The leather and lining are a really nice veg-tanned, Nappa leather that is hand-distressed (read: crinkled up) at the end of the process to create a premium semi-distressed look. The laces on the Black boot are made of 100 percent recycled plastic with a recycled plastic matte black tip, while the Café color sports our classic super durable Kevlar blend.
The outsole is a new custom-developed lug outsole, and the most unique feature is probably the collar padding. Similar to a technical motorcycle riding boot, there are two sections of padding to support the foot and give some structure to the boot. All of the materials come from North America with the exception of the recycled plastic laces (Taiwan), and the boots are handcrafted in Leon, Mexico, which is widely considered the footwear and leather capital of North America. We also do some manufacturing in the USA, Spain and Portugal — we make a good portion of our styles here, have an office with 14 team members, and it’s where I am doing this interview right now.
Are there more Thursday Boot Co. collaborations in the future?
We’re still a pretty small team, and we don’t actively seek out collaborations, to be honest. There are a few people like Rande who I bounce ideas off of and who share their ideas with me, but I’m not sure if those ideas ever turn into something. I much prefer to let collaborations happen organically. With COVID-19 and work from home in NYC, I spent most of 2020 at our factories working on product development. While we don’t have any collaborations on the schedule, we have a lot of new products I am excited about in the pipeline for 2021.