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Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots: The Lifetime Business Model

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Would you pay $415 for a pair of boots?

Shoe company @Wolverine can attest that yes, many people will.

Making a product so high quality it will last customers a lifetime seems like a tough business model, right? You want people to continue to purchase updates and new editions… but they won’t do that if what they have still works. Wolverine looked past the ‘planned obsolescence’ many companies build into their products and decided to attract customers with a high quality, reliable brand name. With over 100 years in business, that plan seems to be working.


Their famous 1000 Mile shoe has been the same exact style since 1914. It’s made with Chromexcel Leather treated for 23 days for an innovative balance of durability and pliability. The boots are sewn with marine grade thread (the kind used on ship sails), tied with waxed laces made from short weave cotton, and finished with a fine wax from Obenauf to waterproof and protect the leather. Hence they are named the 1000 mile boot because you can supposedly walk 1,000 miles in them, they’re that excellent of quality (not to mention regarded as exceptionally dapper in men’s fashion 😉 ).

Wolverine History

Wolverine has a long history of superb craftsmanship and business operations. Founded in 1883, Gustar A Krause wanted to expand his shoemaking company, but needed electricity and a factory to do so. His solution? Organize a power company to bring power to Rockford, Michigan in 1901, where in 1903 he was able to open his own electrically powered factory. His business hurdle may not be akin to the ones we see in 2018, but it just goes to show that getting your company what it needs to grow might require a lot of back work, but in the long run be very much worth it.