Patina Thunderdome Two cometh! The grand prize is a trip to Japan and a pair of Clinch boots courtesy of the beautiful maniacs at Standard & Strange! Heady boot stuff indeed.

So if you’re looking to register in either our Open category or the new Work Dome, it’s high time you start considering which pair you’ll be competing in. 

Unless you’ve got a mint pair of shoes mothballed in your closet, or you’ve already got a made-to-order pair on the way before October 1st-5th (or the late-start window of November 1st-5th), it’s time to hit up your favorite maker or retailer and get your pair. We’ve got plenty of off-the-shelf stock models to choose from with a whole lotta patina potential—and a few makers that have some quick lead times for their MTOs.

Pre-Register For The Patina Thunderdome!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for what kind of boot or shoe to compete in for the Dome, definitely take a look at the winners of our inaugural competition, or browse all sorts of leathers in the Patina Project app.

And then, keep reading for some recommendations that we think could quite possibly get you to the top of the podium…

oak street bootmakers field boot natural chromexcel

Oak Street Bootmakers Field Boot in Natural Chromexcel: $478

We know that Horween Natural Chromexcel excels at aging beautifully—it was the winning leather of the inaugural Thunderdome, after all. While some may believe that the judges might not crown another Natty CXL pair as the next grand prize winner, there’s a lot of different patina-heavy directions this leather can go in, so don’t rule it out completely. Plenty of solid boots and shoes are available in this undyed CXL, including lots of Oak Street models like the Field Boot…

whites boots cutter natural chromexcel

White’s Boots 350 Cutter in Natural Chromexcel: $670

…many models from White’s, such as the 350 Cutter…

viberg brooklyn clothing service boot unstructured toe

Viberg x Brooklyn Clothing Service Boot in Natural Chromexcel: $735

…the classic Viberg Service Boot as well, of which you can snag an exclusive unstructured-toe makeup at Brooklyn Clothing

Viberg x Lost & Found Natural Chromexcel Service Boot

Viberg x Lost & Found Service Boot in Natural Chromexcel: $737

…Thunderdome One’s GRAND CHAMPION, which is very similar to Brooklyn’s with the unstructured toe, but features brogued toe caps and darker eyelets…

John Lofgren Engineer Boot in Natural Chromexcel: $1050

…the iconic John Lofgren engineer, available in ample stock at Standard & Strange

thursday boots captain natural chromexecel

Thursday Boots Captain in Natural Chromexcel: $199

…or for the more economical play, try the Thursday Captain.

rancourt classic ranger-moc natural essex

Rancourt & Co. Classic Ranger-Moc in Natural Essex: $265

There’s certainly other undyed leathers worthy of your consideration, too! For example, Horween’s veg-tanned Essex leather, which can be found on multiple models at Rancourt, including their Classic Ranger-Moc.

viberg service boot natural dublin

Viberg Service Boot in Natural Dublin: $780

The waxed version of Essex, Dublin leather is another superb choice. There’s a few sizes still remaining of this particular makeup over at Withered Fig.

trickers daniel natural derby

Tricker’s Daniel in Natural Derby: ~$582

Going further down the Essex lineage, Derby leather is Dublin leather that has been tumbled to loosen the grain a bit and make it even softer. There are still some sizes available in this Daniel tramping shoe from Tricker’s web-exclusive ConsTruct line.

grant stone edward natural minerva

Grant Stone Edward Boot in Natural Minerva: $380

Grant Stone currently has some other great natural leathers in stock, including their plain toe Edward Boot in Natural Minerva…

grant stone ottawa natural kangaroo

Grant Stone Ottawa Boot in Natural Kangaroo: $370

…and the limited-edition Natural Kangaroo Ottawa split toe boot, which finished top 25 last year.

crockett jones division road coniston natural hurricane hide

Crockett & Jones x Division Road Coniston in Natural Hurricane Hide: $725

Wanna be a patina pioneer? This Division Road-exclusive Hurricane Hide is still pretty new, and there aren’t really any aging examples out there yet. However, DR says this Chromexcel-inspired leather will “develop a sophisticated patina,” and it could be well worth taking a chance on.

oak street bootmakers cap toe field boot black chromexcel cats paw

Oak Street Bootmakers Cap Toe Field Boot in Black Chromexcel: $512

Another good bet for maximum patina is picking a pair with teacore leather—as the outer layer ages, it reveals a rich brown color underneath. Black Chromexcel can be a great avenue for this (though keep in mind some Black CXL is struck through with black dye, so pick carefully!). There’s still plenty of stock left in these limited-edition OSB Field Boots in Black CXL.

truman black teacore upland moc toe

Truman Boot Co. Upland Boot in Black Teacore: $520 (6-8 Week Lead Time)

These teacore tallboy moc toe boots are a great solid option as well.

whites boots mp sherman olive waxed flesh

White’s Boots MP-Sherman in Olive Waxed Flesh: $670

While roughout and suede are terrific leathers that can gain a decent amount of character, you increase the patina factor at least tenfold when you add wax to them. A great choice for a waxed flesh boot would be these White’s MP-Shermans, which are available in an olive shade along with a few other kinds of waxed flesh.

Division Road x Whites Boots 350 Cruiser Natural Waxed Flesh

White’s Boots x Division Road 350 Cruiser in Natural Waxed Flesh: $650

Another great option from White’s if you’re looking for the comfort-chonk of a Christy sole.

nicks boots overlander brown waxed flesh

Nicks Boots Overlander in Brown Waxed Flesh: $549 (8-12 Week Lead Time)

If you order these all-rounder Overlanders in brown waxed flesh—or anything in Nicks’ Quick Ship selection—by August 1, Nicks has promised you’ll have them in time for the Oct 1 official Dome start. Order them before September 1, and they’ll be ready for the Nov 1st-5th late entry period. That includes Nicks’ incredibly wide range of widths…very worth considering! 

grant stone brass boot natural waxed commander

Grant Stone Brass Boot in Natural Waxed Commander: $340

On the waxed suede front, this C.F. Stead Waxy Commander leather is a fantastic option in a natural color…

grant stone edward waxed tobacco

Grant Stone Edward Boot in Waxed Tobacco: $340

…or a dark Tobacco, just to name a couple.

red wing 1907 moc toe copper rough tough

Red Wing Heritage 1907 Moc Toe Boot in Copper Rough & Tough: $309

Unfortunately, Red Wing boot stock is lean everywhere at the moment. BUT, if you can find a pair of boots in your size in their Copper Rough & Tough oil tan leather, you’ve got a patina-ready pair on your hands thanks to this leather’s fantastic pull-up effects.

jim green razorback fudge crazy horse

Jim Green Razorback in Fudge Crazy Horse: $189

There are a few examples of this distressed leather on the Patina Project app, and we think there’s a lot of untapped potential here. Consider this contender a dark horse (sorry). Amazing price on these boots.

alden madison plain toe boot color 8 shell cordovan

Alden Madison Plain Toe Boot in Color 8 Shell Cordovan: $838

Another fantastic Horween leather to age is their Shell Cordovan, which is plentiful particularly in Alden boots and shoes. Color 8 shell tends to go from a dark burgundy to a ruby red as it gets worn in and takes in a lot of sunlight. This plain toe boot has lots of sizes available at the moment.

alden brogue shogun boot

Alden x Brogue “Shogun” Boot in Black Shell Cordovan: $855

Black shell can age quite well too, as the black dye will eventually fade into more of a brown color. Brogue’s excellent Shogun boots are well-stocked as of this writing.

carmina blucher natural shell cordovan

Carmina Blucher in Natural Shell Cordovan: $795

Carmina is also a great source for shell cordovan pairs, and natural shell like this ages magnificently. Their shell prices remain pretty darn solid!

rancourt bartlett oxford caramel shell cordovan

Rancourt & Co. Bartlett Oxford in Caramel Shell Cordovan: $725

Other light shades of Horween shell like this caramel variant may also offer up some patina evolution.

viberg hiker oak chromepak

Viberg Hiker in Oak Chromepak: $836

Horween Chromepak is high-risk, high-reward. This leather has a reputation for being stubbornly tough, and it might not give up patina easily. But, when it does…oh man. There’s still a number of pairs remaining in this Oak Chromepak Hiker over at Thunderdome sponsor Lost & Found (along with all kinds of other neat and patina-worthy makeups).

wesco jobmaster brown copy

Wesco Jobmaster in Brown Oil Tan: $485

Keep in mind that Wesco’s stock boots have some gaps in available sizes right now, but if you need a good general purpose boot for the Work Thunderdome, I have been impressed by what I’ve seen of this brown Seidel oil tan leather.

monroe heritage boots

Other Options!

  • Monroe Heritage says they are currently making pairs with only 4-6 weeks of lead time.
  • Jakkrabbits is also offering 4-6 week lead times on their MTOs.
  • Truman Boot Co. has a number of ready made boots available, some of which (i.e. teacore and waxed flesh) have a lot of patina potential.
  • Nicks Boots has various one-off makeups and seconds available to ship immediately, and again, if you order anything in Nicks’ Quick Ship selection by August 1, Nicks has promised you’ll have them in time for the Oct 1 official Dome start. Order them before September 1, and they’ll be ready for the Nov 1st-5th late entry period. 
Register For The Patina Thunderdome!