The Wolverine Company was founded by G. A. Krause in 1883. Based in Rockford Michigan, it was built on Krause’s belief in the possibility of opportunity. “He dreamed of owning a shoe company and tannery that employed his values of quality craftsmanship and incessant innovation.”
By 1901 Krause organized the Rogue River Electric Light and Power Company to bring power to Rockford, allowing him and his sons to build and operate a shoe factory. When 1903 arrived they were making 300 pairs of shoes a day. They used horsehide leather that was known for it’s durability, and called them “1000 Mile Shoes.”
Krause was a revolutionary, later selling shares of the company to its own employees, becoming one of the nation’s first profit sharing plans. Wolverine’s headquarters still remain in Rockford today.
Wolverine’s Heritage Collection includes the ‘Since 1883 Collection’ as well as the ‘1000 Mile Collection.’ The boots and shoes are “inspired by archival patterns that are crafted using the same construction methods as the original. The entire collection embodies the pillars of Wolverine’s heritage- comfort, durability, function, and style.”
The 1000 Mile collection is Wolverine’s higher-end heritage boot style and looks like it’s right out of the 1800’s. To me, the 1000 Mile is a gentleman’s boot that is dressier than some in its class. They use Horween Chromexcel Leather (or Charles F. Stead Suede) and feature a stacked leather outsole with classic Goodyear Welt construction. They are meticulously designed to replicate the original. If you want these you’ll have to step up to $360-400 a pair.
New for 2015, are the Kilometer Boots. They turned out to be a great alternative to the 1000 Mile Collection – at nearly half the price. Available in brown and black, the Kilometer is made in The USA with a smooth-grain leather upper and a fully rubber Vibram outsole (which is one of the main differences between it and the 1000 Mile) and Goodyear Welt construction.
These boots are tough. Tough enough to actually work in, not just look like it. The rubber outsole made for a smooth ride, particularly if I was doing a lot of walking. The leather is firm but breaks in quickly. They have a classic weathered look right out of the box that continues with wear. If you’ve been eying a pair of 1000 Mile Boots but are wary of the price tag, consider the Wolverine Kilometer. Boot up, and beard on.
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