Is Thorogood Briar Pitstop Leather Worth It? [Reviewing Boot Pros & Cons]

I purchased the Thorogood 1957 Briar Pitstop Boots so that I could test the effectiveness and comfort of these boots. In this article I want to focus specifically on the quality of the Briar Pitstop leather by examining it’s thickness, water-repellency, durability, and comfort.

If you are interested in the full review of this boot, visit my Thorogood 1957 Review or watch the full-length video below. In this article I focus more in-depth on the leather.

Here is a look at the new and used Thorogood Briar Pitstop 1957 Boots I own:


Thorogood Briar Pitstop Review

The leather is my favorite thing about the Thorogood 1957 Series Boots, and the leather is what separates these boots from many other cheaper options. Not only is it thicker, more durable, and longer-lasting than most other options, it is much better at handling water.

Here I am wearing my Thorogood 1957 Series Boots:


The Thorogood 1957 Boots that I own use a Briar Pitstop leather (a chrome tanned leather) which is known for being a heavily-oiled leather. There’s a little trick you can use to see how oiled the leather is. If you bend the leather and crease it and it dis-colors, that is from the oils shifting away from the crease.

As you can see below, when I crease the leather on my Thorogood 1957 boots it dis-colors as the oils shift away from the crease (the color returns to normal as you even out the leather):


The Thorogood 1957 Boot is also offered in versions that use Trail Crazy Horse leather. Trail Crazy Horse is another heavily-oiled cowhide leather. It has a slightly more distressed look than the Briar Pitstop leather that my boots use. Both options are high-quality leathers that are heavily infused with oils.


How Does Briar Pitstop Leather Perform in Wet Conditions?

The Briar Pitstop leather on these Thorogood 1957 Boots is very good at repelling water.

I drip-tested water onto the leather of these Thorogood 1957 boots to see if the leather would absorb or repel away the water. This is obviously an important issue for waterproof boots.

The leather on these boots repelled away the water and had no absorption. In the photo below, I tried to capture that (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Review Video at the top of the page):


To be effectively waterproof, it is important that boots not only have a waterproof membrane inside the boot (which keeps your foot dry), but it is also important that the boots have treated leather that repels away water. It does you no good if the membrane protects your foot but the leather itself becomes water-logged and heavy.

I recently tested 11 different types of the most popular waterproof moc-toe boots, and I was shocked to find that only two of those boots had leather that actually repelled all water. This Thorogood 1957 Boot was one of those two boots (the other was the Chippewa Edge Walker Boots).

For comparison, below is a photo of a different brand of waterproof moc toe boots that I tested. This other brand had leather that immediately began absorbing water when I drip-tested it:


And below is another brand of popular waterproof moc-toe boots that had instant absorption:


This is a major benefit of this Thorogood Briar Pitstop Leather, especially if you are working in very wet conditions. The leather is very good at repelling water.

Here is a photo I took of these Thorogood Briar Pitstop Leather about two minutes after I poured the water:


As you can see, the leather is dry with no absorption. This leather acts as an effective first layer of protection against water.

Thickness of Thorogood Briar Pitstop Leather

I measured the thickness of this Briar Pitstop leather as 2.48mm thick.


This is a very good thickness and is thicker and more durable than cheaper boots. The thickness of the leather combined with the oil that is infused in this leather makes this a long-lasting leather.

Here is how the thickness of leather on these Thorogood Briar Pitstop 1957 Boots compared to the other waterproof moc toe boots I recently tested:

BootLeather Thickness (mm)
Carhartt WP Moc Toe2.59
Thorogood 19572.48
Irish Setter Wingshooter2.36
Carolina Ferric2.30
Timberland Pro Gridstone2.30
Red Wing Traction Tred 4052.22
Rocky Outback Hiker2.20
Chippewa Edge Walker2.16
Brunt Marin2.12
Keen Cincinnati2.02
Ecco Track 25 Hiker1.51

This gives you an idea of what you are paying up for when you buy these higher prices boots. Although there are many things that separate these Thorogood 1957 Boots from cheaper boots, the quality and thickness of the Briar Pitstop leather is at the top of the list.

Is the Thorogood Briar Pitstop Leather Hard to Break In?

Despite using thick leather, this Thorogood 1957 Boot is not hard to break in. There are three main reasons why this is the case:

  • Tumbled Leather – The Briar Pitstop Leather is tumbled which softens it and helps break the leather in before the boot is assembled.
  • Oils – The oils in the Briar Pitstop leather also help give the boot a soft, comfortable feel straight out of the box.
  • Materials Under the Foot – This boot uses cork and rubber underneath the foot instead of leather which reduces the break-in period.

Is Briar Pitstop Leather Long Lasting?

Because Briar Pitstop leather is thicker than the leather on most work boots (and also treated with more oils) it is a longer-lasting leather. The oil not only protects the leather from moisture, but it also prevents the leather from drying out and cracking.

It is important to keep the leather oiled to prolong the life of the boot (I like to oil mine about once every 4-6 weeks).

Below is a close-up picture of the Briar Pitstop leather on my pair of used Thorogood waterproof moc toe boots. As you can see, the leather is not cracking or flaking in the natural bend spots (and the seams are also holding up well):


This leather has a lot of life left in it.

One thing I like that Thorogood does with the leather when assembling this boot is they actually use a double layer of leather behind the heel. This area takes on a lot of stress, especially since many of us use this area to kick off our boots.

Many boot brands will make it look like they use a double layer of leather here, but only use one layer. Thorogood is actually using a double layer, so good for them:


How I Maintain Briar Pitstop Leather

How often do you need to re-oil your boots? This depends on how much you use them. If you are wearing them regularly for work, you will need to re-oil them once every 4-6 weeks. If you work in extremely muddy conditions, you may need to do it every 2-3 weeks.

I use boot oil, but boot wax is fine also. This is the brand of oil I use:


This shoe oil costs me $17. Thorogood also sells their own brand of boot oils.

To oil the boots, I like to brush excess dirt off my boots and then quickly hose them down and towel dry them. You want to make sure the leather is clean before you apply the oil.

Thorogood Briar Pitstop Review Conclusion

  • Thickness of Leather – I measured the thickness of the leather on my Thorogood 1957 Boots at 2.48mm, which is thicker than most types of work boots. This is one of the key factors that make this boot long-lasting. And, because this is an oiled, tumbled leather, it is not stiff despite being thick.
  • Oil-Infused Leather – The Thorogood 1957 Boots are available in two types of premium leather: Briar Pitstop or Trail Crazy Horse. Both are full-grain cowhide leathers that are deeply infused with wax and oils to make the leather soft, resilient, and extremely water-resistant. When I drip-tested water onto this leather, it performed better than all other brands of waterproof moc toes I tested. The leather on my used boots is not flaking or cracking. This is a long-lasting, durable leather and is the best feature of this boot.

To read more about this boot (including comfort under the foot), visit my Thorogood 1957 Briar Pitstop Review.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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