The Heirloom Quality Work Messenger That is Actually Affordable

The Heirloom Quality Work Messenger That is Actually Affordable
Handsome. Hearty. Half the expected price.

Thanks to Thursday Boot Co. for their support in furthering Primer's mission of promoting affordable and durable style by sponsoring this article.

It took me over 20 years to finally understand the rule of thumb my Uncle shared with me.

He said when he hires someone like a contractor or a plumber, he doesn’t care how new or worn their boots are, what year of truck they drive, or how slick of a sales pitch they give. Instead, he believes the most revealing sign of their work ethic is in the way they care and carry their tools. If a craftsman shows up with a tote jumbled full of tools that he throws around versus one who shows up with a meticulously organized kit, the theory goes, it's a clear indication of their attention to detail and the quality of their finished work. It's not about judging the individual but about discerning their professional approach.

Now well into my own professional career, I’ve realized this rule of thumb applies to the modern office professional as well, who’s laptop, pen and notebook, and essential EDC have taken the place of wrenches or brushes.

Be it a plumber, designer, or a corporate executive, how we care for and carry our tools becomes telling.

An overhead view of a scene showcasing a brown leather Thursday Boots Co. messenger bag, a copy of 'Atomic Habits' by James Clear, an Apple MacBook, a mobile phone, a pen, a leather pouch, and a wristwatch, all laid out on a richly patterned rug with a plant peeking into the frame.
Thursday Boot Co. Full Grain Leather Messenger Bag

Aesthetics: Classic Meets Minimalism + Functionality

When I first came upon the Thursday Commuter Bag in the Tobacco leather color, I was drawn to its rich aesthetics. In a life filled with faster trend cycles and where almost everything is now a disposable good, finding something that feels like heirloom quality but doesn't burn a hole in your pocket is nothing short of a treasure hunt.

At first glance, the $349 Thursday leather messenger offers a blend of classic and minimalist design. The elegance of yesteryears is merged with the sleek subtlety of a more contemporary simplicity. This isn't one of those bulky, ostentatious briefcases that makes it look like you’re carrying the nuclear codes around but rather a sophisticated and understated modern tool kit.

Often, with leather goods that are marketed for their durability, you'll find leather that's so stiff it’s almost a plank of wood. This messenger is crafted with clearly substantial leather, but there’s a refined suppleness to it. Not to mention, the rich aroma of quality leather that’s bound to capture anyone when they open the box.

The messenger is available in 9 color palettes: 6 leather colors and an additional 3 canvas colors, offering enough variety to cater to a range of tastes. The 18oz canvas options are also slightly less expensive, made with material from Halley Stevensons, the same manufacturer that brands use to produce the world’s best canvas jackets and bags.

An array of bags separated into two categories. Top row: LEATHER with five different styles of leather bags in varying shades of brown and black. Bottom row: CANVAS with three different styles of canvas bags in black and beige, with the middle bag highlighted by a box
The Thursday Boot Co. Messenger Bag is available in 9 colors

Often information on nice bags focuses only on heritage or materials but not practicality. One feature in the design that I appreciated was the decision to use heavy-duty zippers instead of traditional buckles. While many higher-end leather bags use buckles because they exude a certain vintage charm in product images, they completely lack practicality. With other bags that had buckles, I (shamefully) often found myself not taking the time to buckle the bag shut, carelessly leaving a $2,000 laptop vulnerably exposed.

close up of a hearty brass zipper with leather pull

The streamlined design details aren’t limited just to leather quality and zippers: the dark, muted finish of the antiqued brass hardware blends in with the leather instead of standing out as a bright, shiny detractor, as many leather bags insist upon.

The Details of the Thursday Commuter Bag

a brown thursday boot co leather messenger bag on an ornate red rug

The Significance of Full Grain Leather

As with Thursday’s boot offerings, the bags make use of full grain leather. The term “full grain” isn't just a marketing term, it represents the highest quality of leather available. Full grain leather is derived from the topmost layer of the hide and includes all the natural grain. This means it hasn't been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections, ensuring it retains its strength and breathability. Over time, full grain leather develops a rich patina, making each piece unique and even more beautiful with age. This is the difference between a product that ages and one that looks worn out.

Dimensions and Pocket Arrangement

Interior view of an open Thursday Boots leather bag illuminated by warm light, showcasing various items including a notebook, a wristwatch, a white round case marked 'OX', a leather pouch with an embossed symbol, and electronic devices

This bag isn’t just a good-looking leather accessory. Its measurements are purposeful: 11.25″ H x 16.5″ W x 3.5″ D. These dimensions ensure ample space without making the bag unwieldy.

A top down shot of the thursday boot co leather messenger showing a thin profile

On the exterior, there's a zippered pocket on the front side that’s perfect for those immediate-reach items, be it a notepad or medication. Opposite that on the back, there’s a non-zippered pocket—great for quick access to stashables like a protein bar or documents.

Internally, the bag has two main sections. The divider is thickly padded, providing a secure cushion for a laptop up to a 16” screen size.

A leather bag open on a patterned rug, with a yellow measuring tape stretched across its width showing a measurement of approximately 14 inches
The small internal side can fit my 13″ Macbook Pro easily, whereas a slightly larger laptop would fit in the large side.

On the internal divider, there's a zippered pocket designed for passports or wallets.

Close-up view inside a leather bag showing an interior pocket with a label reading 'THURSDAY', a smartphone, and other miscellaneous items partially visible

Adjacent to this, there's a three-sectioned open-top pocket, perfect for keeping your pens, small notebook, external SSD, or perhaps a charger organized and within easy reach.

A close-up view inside a brown thursday boot co leather messenger bag reveals 3 pockets with a ssd, 2 pens, and a leather pouch, all set against the backdrop of a patterned rug.

Singular Touches Worth Noting

Surprisingly, even many more expensive leather bags are unlined. The microfiber lining adds additional dampening for electronics and keeps things from audibly banging around when on the go.

The heavy-duty hardware, from D rings to zippers, promise longevity. Even the zipper pulls, made from thick leather, echo the bag’s overall premium approach.

close up of brass hardware on reinforced leather handles

Rivet-reinforced side straps aren’t just a design flourish—they enhance durability, and four metal studs on the bottom elevate the leather from surfaces, reducing wear or contact with moisture.

Brown leather messenger bag suspended by a leather shoulder strap from a metal stand, bathed in soft light with shadow patterns on the background

As for carrying, the bag offers a removable full leather strap with a padded shoulder slide for comfort. This ensures you can carry it like a regular handheld bag or sling it over your shoulder as a messenger when you're on the move.

In Closing

With its practical size and pocket arrangement, durable build, and refined, nuanced details, it’s a bag that understands the modern professional. Whether you're a creative director in Brooklyn or a farm real estate agent outside of Boise, this messenger aims to be your long-term toolkit, a testament to a meticulousness and professional approach.

Click here to check it out

Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.