Thorogood Cork Filler Explained
The filler is one of the most important areas on a boot. This is often one of the areas where boot brands will cheat you because you can’t see this area unless you tear the boot apart.
Below, you can see the location of the cork filler in relation to the other boot parts:
When the boot is lasted, the leather is pulled down and hammered into place as the bootmaker creates the shape of the boot. When the leather is wrapped around and hammered onto what will be the bottom side of the boot, a cavity is created in the middle (with that leather surrounding it).
Because this cavity is below your foot, it is important that boot companies use quality materials to fill in this cavity. These materials need to help hold shape and provide comfort (this material is called the “filler”). These Thorogood 1957 Boots use cork as the filler for this cavity.
Cork has long been used as a premium filler in both boots and dress shoes. It is popular because it is lightweight, easy to break in, and forms to the shape of your foot.
Here is a close-up look at the midsole section and the cork filler of my Thorogood 1957 Boots:
Some cheaper boots will use bad foams or even cardboard-like material in this area, which quickly loses its shape and provides poor comfort. Cork is much more resilient, and makes for a longer-lasting, comfortable fit.
For example, pictured below is the internal parts of a cheaper brand of boots I bought for $99:
If you look above, these cheaper boots are using a gray-colored cheap foam as the filler. Here is a close-up of that cheap foam:
I show you this to give you a better idea how these Thorogood 1957 Boots separate themselves from cheaper boots. These cheap internal foams become paper-thin within months. The cork used in the Thorogood 1957 Boots holds its shape much longer than cheap foams (while also forming to the shape of your foot).
And, again, this is often an area where boot brands try to cheat you because you can’t see this area from the outside of the boot. These Thorogood 1957 Boots are using quality cork (as they should in this price range).
Does Thorogood Cork Filler Hold Up Long Term?
Yes, Thorogood cork filler holds up over the long term. The resiliency of cork is one of the things that makes it very popular as a filler material.
However, it’s important to understand that even cork will eventually wear thin once you put enough miles on your boot. Below is a comparison of my new Thorogood 1957 Boots compared to my used Thorogood 1957 Boots:
As you can see, the cork has lost some of its shape over extended use. The good news is the cork is still pretty evenly distributed (it hasn’t clumped up), and it certainly has not smashed as thin as cheap foams do.
Thorogood Cork Filler Conclusion
Thorogood cork filler forms to the foot and is more resilient than cheap foam materials that other work boots use. Cork is lightweight, flexible, and easy to break in.
But my advice is to still consider having a cobbler replace the cork at some point if you intend to use these boots for 3-5 years (but take price into consideration versus a new boot). Some cobblers will use hot paste cork and iron it into place, while other cobblers will just use sheet cork. Both are acceptable.
If you to watch the full review of my Thorogood 1957 Boots, I put the video below: