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Blundstone Thermal - Women's Review

A stealthy and warm winter boot that is great for everyday wear and winter chores in moderate conditions.
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Price:  $215 List | $179.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, waterproof, easy to pull on, don't look like a winter boot
Cons:  Not breathable, poor traction, short height
Manufacturer:   Blundstone
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2018
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 14
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weather Protection - 20% 4
  • Comfort & Fit - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Traction - 15% 3
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Want to keep your feet warm without the look or bulk of a winter boot? The Blundstone Thermal looks just like any other Blundstone — think leather Australian work boot — but is packed with warming features like Thinsulate lining and the coziest sheepskin-lined footbeds that we've ever felt. And they are waterproof! With a pull-on design they are easy to use, but being short they have definite limits for puddles and wet weather. We love these toasty boots for everyday wear but left them home on the gnarliest winter days.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Blundstone Thermal is a heater in disguise. Much warmer than you would think by looking at the sleek black leather, this boot kept us warm on very chilly days. Its style is basic, which suits this workhorse of a boot— always up for chores and everyday wear. Due to it's short upper and less than optimal traction, however, we don't recommend it for super snowy or slippery days.

The Blundstone boot is great for winter chores.
The Blundstone boot is great for winter chores.

Warmth


We were surprised when the Blundstone did incredibly well in our ice bath tests, losing only 12.3 degrees after 20 minutes of being submerged in freezing water. And our experience in the field backed up the finding that these rather plain leather boots do a great job of keeping feet warm.


The Blundstones are lined with thermal Thinsulate inside the rugged leather upper. Additionally, the soles are thick enough to keep out cold from the frozen ground. But the magic here is in the removable sheepskin-lined footbeds, which feel like mini heaters under the feet, and are oh-so-cozy.

While its an incredibly warm boot, the insulation is fairly thin and the open cuff does not hold in heat. In the coldest temperatures, over the course of a day, they may not have the firepower to keep your feet comfortable. They are warmer than one would expect from a boot that only comes up over the ankle but definitely not as warm as a pac boot like the Sorel Caribou. For the lack of bulk, however, the warmth is exceptional.

In fact, because the boots aren't very breathable, we found our feet were too warm in temperatures over about 40 degrees. If you want a more breathable boot that is also toasty warm, take a look at our Editors' Choice for winter hiking, the Oboz Bridger Insulated boot.

The coziest footbeds ever!
The coziest footbeds ever!

Weather Protection


The Blundstone's quality was apparent during the waterproofness tests, where skeptics may have expressed concern about the stretchy fabric on the sides. We found the boots to be completely waterproof to the top of the cuff, in 7 inches of water. While that may not seem like much, several taller boots, including the Ice Maiden, our top pick for those on a budget, are waterproof to roughly the same level since water creeps in at the tongue gusset.


Puddles aside, the boots' modest height may leave you wanting in terms of protection from the elements. Drifted snow, for example, easily enters the top of the boot. So while this boot is excellent for wet and cold conditions, for super gnarly or deep pow days, there are better options.

If you are looking for more protection in your winter boot while still keeping a low profile, check out the Editors' Choice winner, the North Face Shellista II Mid featuring a low-bulk leather upper and excellent protection from both water and snow.

Testing the waterproofness of the Blundstone boots. It is bomber!
Testing the waterproofness of the Blundstone boots. It is bomber!

Comfort & Fit


Because there are no laces or adjustments on the Blundstone it is important to get the right size. It does run true to size and is a good fit for narrow to medium width feet. The heel doesn't slip much, but depending on the sock and shape of your foot, it may not be as secure as a boot that can be adjusted.


Those amazing sheepskin footbeds are very comfortable underfoot, and the entire inside of the boot is soft to the touch. We found the leather extra stiff, however, making the boot feel bulkier than it is. Also, testers with high-volume feet found that the leather doesn't give, creating pressure on top of the foot, even with a thin sock. Women with a higher-volume foot may want to size up to have more space in the shoe.

For a more flexible boot that is equally cozy, there are many options, including the Ice Maiden II, and the North Face's Shellista II and Shellista III.

Pulling on the Blundstone is a piece of cake  with two pull tabs for easy adjusting.
Pulling on the Blundstone is a piece of cake, with two pull tabs for easy adjusting.

Ease of Use


With no laces, zippers or anything else to slow you down, the Blundstone is one of the easiest boots we tested to get in and out of.


Two fabric tabs help you yank it on and off and the flexible fabric on the sides allows the opening of the shaft to stretch to accommodate a foot. However, the boots have a precise fit, and the leather is fairly stiff, so it takes more than a kick to get them off.

With minimal lugs the Blundstone was below average on our traction tests.
With minimal lugs the Blundstone was below average on our traction tests.

Traction


With below average performance in our traction tests, the Blundstone is not our boot of choice for slippery conditions. With street-style soles, it lacks the shape and depth of lugs that make other boots more successful on icy patches. On frosty trails and stickier snow, however, they perform well, and they are certainly a great choice for everyday wear in cold weather.


While we happily wore this boot on light hikes and around town, for more technical terrain in serious winter conditions you can't beat the grip of the Columbia Bugaboot IV, our top pick for traction.

Pairing the Blundstone boot with the boyfriend jean for a casual urban look.
Pairing the Blundstone boot with the boyfriend jean for a casual urban look.

Style


The Blundstone is the stealthiest winter boot we tested. It looks like a plain leather boot, and we love it with jeans for everyday wear. However, they seem like a unisex style, and lack the flair or detailing that we often associate with a women-specific shoe. One tester said they look utilitarian and we all agreed that they are more no-nonsense than fancy. The pull tabs, while functional, are a little awkward when paired with skinny jeans, especially the tab in the front.


While we wouldn't pick these for a fancy night out, they are a perfect choice for someone who enjoys a basic, classic boot. If you want an urban-style boot with a little more color, check out the very cute Keen Elsa II which pairs quilted, colored fabric with leather for a more playful look.

Best Applications


We continually reached for the Blundstone when we were running outside for firewood, to walk the dog, or performing any chore in cold weather. These boots are durable and cozy, and surprisingly ready to face the elements.

While the traction is not great for icy days, we recommend it for everyday wear when it's cold and wet.

The high-quality construction and timeless look make the Blundstone a classic boot that will serve you well for years.
The high-quality construction and timeless look make the Blundstone a classic boot that will serve you well for years.

Value


The quality of these boots is evident in the stitching and materials and they will likely last many years of use, making the $215 price tag a little easier to manage. The price may seem steep, but the timeless style and incredible functionality make them a good value.

Conclusion


The unassuming Blundstone boot surprised us with its warmth and waterproofness, and we love the footbeds!! Its style is very basic and the traction leaves something to be desired, but if you need a high-quality, durable boot for everyday use in cold weather, this pair will be there for you for many winters to come.


Laurel Hunter