Thorogood Moc Toe Boots are very popular work boots, but if you are working in wet conditions, you might be wondering about your best options. Does Thorogood make waterproof moc toe boots?
Yes, Thorogood makes waterproof moc-toe boots. However, the popular Thorogood American Heritage Moc Toe Boot is *not* currently offered in a waterproof version. But Thorogood does offer the 1957 Series moc toe boots in waterproof versions. The 1957 Series boots have a slightly different design than the American Heritage boots, but they are still very durable and dependable boots made in the USA.
These Thorogood 1957 Series Boots are offered in several different versions:
- Safety Toe and Soft Toe
- 6-inch and 8-inch Height
- Wedge Outsole and Square Heel Outsole
- Briar Pitstop Leather and Trail Crazy Horse Leather
- Regular Width and Wide Width
I recently purchased the Thorogood 1957 Series Waterproof Moc Toe Boots so that I could test the waterproof effectiveness and comfort of these boots by using them myself and then cutting them in half to compare the internal parts to similarly priced boots. Additionally, I purchased a heavily used pair of Thorogood 1957 Boots so I could also cut them in half to review how the boot parts wore down over time.
In this article I want to discuss the performance of these boots so you can find an option that fits your needs.
Thorogood Waterproof Moc Toe Boots (1957 Series)
As I discussed above, I recently purchase both a new and used version of the Thorogood 1957 Series waterproof moc-toe boots so that I could use them myself and examine how the boot parts wear down over time. Here are mine:
Thorogood offers these boots in two different types of leathers: Briar Pitstop and Trail Crazy Horse. Both leathers are high-quality cowhide leathers. I personally use the Briar Pitstop leather, but the Trail Crazy Horse has a slightly more distressed look than the Briar Pitstop leather and might be a better option if that’s the sort of look you prefer for work boots.
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 Briar Pitstop Boots:
Explaining the Leather
The Briar Pitstop leather is a chrome tanned leather, which is known for being a heavily-oiled leather (Thorogood Briar Pitstop Review). 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):
I measured the thickness of this 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 1957 Boots compared to the other waterproof moc toe work boots I recently tested:
|Boot||Leather Thickness (mm)|
|Carhartt WP Moc Toe||2.59|
|Irish Setter Wingshooter||2.36|
|Timberland Pro Gridstone||2.30|
|Red Wing Traction Tred 405||2.22|
|Rocky Outback Hiker||2.20|
|Chippewa Edge Walker||2.16|
|Ecco Track 25 Hiker||1.51|
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 leather is at the top of the list.
Waterproof Testing Thorogood Moc Toe Boots
It’s not enough for a boot to just have a waterproof membrane. You also need the leather itself to be water-repellent. If the leather is not water-repellent, then the leather will become soaked and water-logged in heavy rain (even if the membrane keeps your foot dry).
And if water soaks through the leather, it can become trapped between the leather and the waterproof membrane, which means it will slowly dry in there and form musty, moldy odors.
As I discussed earlier in the article, I recently tried 11 different types of waterproof moc-toe boots. Out of those 11 boots, these Thorogood 1957 Boots were one of only two boots that actually had leather that repelled water effectively.
To test the leather, I drip-tested water onto these shoes to see if it would absorb or repel away. The leather on these boots repelled away the water and had no absorption. In the photo below, I tried to capture that:
This treated leather caused the water to repel off the boot without soaking into the leather. I would suggest you watch my Thorogood 1957 Series Boots Review video at the top of this page to see the actual video of the water repelling off the leather.
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 soaking in 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 these Thorogood 1957 Boots, especially if you are working in rainy conditions. The leather is very good at repelling water.
Here is a photo I took of these Thorogood 1957 Series Boots about 2 minutes after I poured the water:
As you can see, the leather has no visible absorption and remained dry. This is one of the biggest strengths of these Thorogood 1957 Series Boots.
Submerging Boots in a Water Tank
These Thorogood 1957 Boots use an X-Stream Waterproof™ membrane that is both waterproof and breathable. The tongue on these boots is gusseted up past the third-highest eyelet so that the waterproof membrane can be lined up to this height on the boot.
Here is a look at the tongue gusset:
To be both waterproof and breathable, these waterproof membranes have billions of tiny pores that are much smaller than a water droplet (so water can’t get in), but also larger than a water-vapor molecule (so your feet can breathe).
The problem with waterproof membranes is all it takes is one manufacturing error (like a needle or nail puncturing the material) for the membrane to fail. To test the effectiveness of this membrane, I submerged my Thorogood 1957 Series Boots in a water tank (up to the second-lowest eyelet) for five minutes to see if the waterproof membrane would hold out water.
Here I am submerging these Thorogood 1957 Boots (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots Review video at the top of the page):
My testing results were this: The waterproof membrane passed this test and *did* hold out all water. In the photo below, you can see the tissues inside the boot were still dry after submerging.
Submerging the Laces in Water
The laces are easy to overlook on boots. If you are buying waterproof boots, it certainly helps to have laces that are wax-coated to help prevent the laces from becoming water-logged.
To test the waterproofness of the laces on these Thorogood 1957 Boots, I submerged the laces in a cup of water for five minutes.
My testing results were this: The laces did become slightly water-logged. However, the absorption was not the worst I’ve seen. Overall, these laces are “fine”, but if you work in extremely wet conditions, upgrading to wax-coated boot laces may be best.
In the photo below, I am squeezing the laces just after removing them from the water. You can see moisture shining from the laces in between my fingers (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots Review video at the top of the page):
You can find waxed boot laces for about $15 on Amazon if you wish to upgrade these laces.
Breaking in Thorogood Moc Toe Waterproof Boots
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 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 This Leather Long Lasting?
Because this 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 leather on my pair of used Thorogood 1957 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:
Why the Welt Matters
One of the potential drawbacks to the Thorogood 1957 Boot is the welt. Actually, there are both good and bad things to consider here.
First of all, this shoe is built using a Goodyear storm welt. This is widely considered to be one of the best ways to construct a boot, and it makes the boot very easy to re-craft when needed. So that’s a positive.
But one of the drawbacks about Thorogood 1957 Series Boots is they are built using a non-leather welt strip. Instead, they use a synthetic welt. These synthetic welts are not as durable and as premium as leather welts.
The welt is the stripping around the bottom of the upper where the seams are sewn to connect the upper to the lower of the boot. Here is a look at the synthetic welt on my new Thorogood 1957 Boots:
Leather welts are much better at handling wet and muddy conditions (and not cracking over time). Things like rain and dried mud and salt and changing temperatures (when combined with long-term use and the stress of bending the boot) can cause synthetic welts to fracture.
Will the synthetic welts on these Thorogood 1957 boots crack easily? No, they will not. In fact, most of the time these synthetic welts perform just fine. But leather welts are considered to be the much more premium option, and so that is something to consider.
How big of a concern is this? I’d say this is a minor concern. The synthetic welts on my heavily used Thorogood 1957 Boots have *not* cracked, but they do show wear (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots video at the top of the page):
Because the welts are pretty banged up, I would likely have these welts replaced during a re-soling. Every cobbler I’ve worked with in the past has automatically recommended me to upgrade the welt to a leather welt even if my synthetic welt was not fractured.
That, of course, costs extra money (I think in the past it has cost me in the $125 range to get a new sole + welt). And the debate becomes, do you want to pay extra on a re-soling for a boot that costs ~$280? I’d say my answer is yes, but it is debatable.
The reason I’ve gotten them replaced in the past is once I get the leather welt put on, then moving forward I no longer have to worry about the welt, and just simply get a new outsole glued on when needed. The leather welt will last for a long time.
I would like it if Thorogood would start using leather welts, but I’m *guessing* this is one of the few areas on the boot they are trying to save a little on production costs so they can keep the boots priced below $300.
Overall, this is a minor disadvantage, but it is a disadvantage nonetheless.
Another thing about the Thorogood 1957 Series Boot that I like is the eyelets. Many standard 6-inch work boots have 6 eyelets and many standard 8-inch work boots have 8 eyelets. Thorogood includes an extra eyelet in both versions.
This helps you lace the boot tighter, which helps pass more control to your foot and also helps hold out water and debris. Another awesome detail is Thorogood incorporates three speed hooks, which makes the boot much easier to take on and off:
Cheaper work boots will usually only have between 0 and 2 speed hooks. Having the third speed hook is really nice and creates extra space to slip my foot in and out of the boots.
These eyelets have held up well on my used boots and not become damaged or loose:
As you can see above, the laces on my used boots have also held up nicely over time.
Comfort of Thorogood Moc Toe Waterproof Boots
In the sections below, I will review the parts under the foot inside these Thorogood 1957 Boots. Below is a graphic identifying the basic parts.
I am going to focus on the most important parts: the insole, the shank, the cork filler, the midsole, and the outsole.
The insole of the Thorogood 1957 Boot provides noticeable cushioning underneath both my toe pad and my heel.
To achieve this comfort, these insoles have a sort of gel-like material underneath the toe pad and heel. I took one of my new insoles and cut it in half so you can better see the layer of foam sitting on top of the yellow gel-like material that is beneath the heel and toe pad:
The gel material is extremely comfort and helps absorb shock.
These Thorogood shock-absorbing insoles (in combination with the wedge outsole) really help take stress off the bottom of my foot. That’s why I recommend these boots to those of you who spend long work days on your feet on hard surfaces like concrete.
In the photo below, I tried to capture how forgiving these insoles are by compressing the gel material between my fingers (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots Review video at the top of the page):
However, I should note, (even though this is obvious) these insoles will wear down over time. This is the case with all insoles, but as you can see below, on my heavily used insole the top lining has come loose and a hole is beginning to wear through the big toe area:
Thorogood offers replacement insoles and my advice would be to buy an extra pair so you can swap them occasionally to clean them and let them dry.
Overall, because of the shock-absorbing gel pads, these insoles are very good and much better than the insoles in most work boots.
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 Thorogood 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).
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.
Overall, the cork is a good thing. It forms to the foot and is more resilient than cheap materials. 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.
Some cobblers will use hot paste cork and iron it into place, while other cobblers will just use sheet cork. Both are acceptable.
The Thorogood 1957 Series Boots use a composite shank in both the soft-toe and the steel-toe versions.
The shank provides support to the midsole and bridges the gap between the toe pad and the heel. In a wedge outsole, the shank isn’t quite as important. But for the raised heel versions, a shank provides support to that part of the boot sole that is not in contact with the ground (to help prevent it from losing shape).
Here is a close-up look at the composite shank in my Thorogood 1957 Boots:
Composite shanks are very popular in work boots, as are steel shanks and even leather shanks. The benefit of a composite shank is it weighs less than a steel shank while still providing needed support (and is non-metallic).
This composite shank is very common in work boots and is not something that separates this boot from other options.
The Thorogood 1957 Series Boots use a rubber midsole.
Rubber midsoles are not as premium as leather midsoles, but they are very common in this price range and for this type of boot. Rubber midsoles are popular in work boots because they are more flexible than leather, and easier to break in. They’re also cheaper to manufacture, which helps keep the price point down.
The midsole is the tan-colored rubber just above the outsole and below the cork. Here is a picture of the midsole in my Thorogood 1957 Boots:
Leather midsoles are more durable and over time provide better comfort by forming to the unique shape of the foot, but the rubber midsole on this boot is just fine (and again, no other boots in this price range will use a leather midsole). Leather midsoles are more common in the $400+ price range.
A cobbler will tell you that a leather midsole is the better option, not only because of durability and comfort, but because leather adheres better to the glued wedge outsole. When you get your boots re-soled, you can ask for a leather midsole if you like.
The main takeaway is the rubber midsole in in this boot is very standard for this price range and in no way damages the value of these boots, but rubber midsoles just are not as premium as leather midsoles. I would suggest you watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots Review video at the top of the page for a more thorough break down of the midsole area.
One thing I like about Thorogood is they offer many of their most popular boots in both a wedge outsole version and a raised-heel version. Which one is best for your will be determined by the specifics of your job.
I like to wear wedge outsoles because they add a bit more comfort (especially when I’m on my feet all day on concrete). Wedge outsoles evenly distribute contact stress across the entire bottom of my foot instead of localizing it on my heel and toe-pad like traditional outsoles.
Wedge outsoles also compress more than typical outsoles, which can reduce impact stress. In the photo below I tried to capture how soft my outsoles are by compressing my thumb into the outsole (to see video of this, watch my Thorogood 1957 Boots Review video at the top of the page):
But wedge outsoles won’t make sense for every job. A raised heel helps provide slip protection and can be essential for those who climb ladders all day.
Thorogood uses a unique wedge outsole. They call their outsole the MAXWear Wedge. This wedge outsole is polyurethane based instead of rubber based.
Even though this outsole is very good at absorbing shock, it isn’t quite as soft as rubber-based wedge outsoles. Yes, it is still soft, but Thorogood is positioning this outsole as being a bit more durable than other wedge outsoles (while still providing adequate comfort).
Here is a look at the outsole on my new Thorogood 1957 Series Boots:
One downside of wedge outsoles is they tend to wear out quicker than normal outsoles, so using this polyurethane-based wedge outsole can help add a bit more life to your wedge outsole. Still, with time, the outsole will begin to wear.
Here is a look at the outsole on my used pair of Thorogood 1957 Boots:
Some people claim they like wedge outsoles because they “track less mud”. In general, I have not found that to be the case with wedge outsoles. I think they’re a bit easier to clean because they don’t have the deep lugs, but I still find that all the wedge outsoles I use accumulate mud just like deeper-lug outsoles.
I used my Thorogood 1957 Boots at a muddy construction site and they did accumulate mud:
This was not surprising and it was very muddy – I just say all of this to say that I would not expect these wedge outsoles to accumulate less mud than traditional outsoles (but they are a bit easier to clean).