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Blundstone Thermal 566 Review

A stylish and comfortable boot that is a top choice for those who live in cities and don’t commonly need to work or hike in deep snow
Blundstone Thermal 566
Photo: Blundstone
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | $224.90 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking and standing om, convenient on and off
Cons:  Not super warm, relatively low maximum puddle depth, traction performs below most others
Manufacturer:   Blundstone
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 27, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Water Resistance - 25% 5
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 10
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Traction - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The well-loved Blundstone Thermal is remarkable for its incredible comfort and stylish looks that stand in stark contrast to the other techy or overtly work-oriented winter boots in our review. These leather Chelsea-style boots slip on and off easily, come with a soft white sheepskin liner underfoot, and are suitably water-resistant for walking through the amount of snow or slush one might commonly encounter around town. They are a clear go-to option for city dwellers who need extra winter comfort to keep their feet dry and warm but who aren't looking for a tall muck boot or weekend snowshoeing expeditions.

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Price $224.90 at Amazon
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Pros Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking and standing om, convenient on and offSuper traction, very convenient, fully waterproof to 16 inchesWarm, completely waterproof, comfortable, good traction, supportiveConvenient slip on design, waterproof to 11.5 inches, more affordable than competitors, customizable fitSupportive, good traction, very warm
Cons Not super warm, relatively low maximum puddle depth, traction performs below most othersSlightly sloppy fit, sorta heavy, fairly priceySizing runs a bit small, expensiveHandles let in water or debris, only come in single whole sizes, not as warm as some competitorsMore difficult to pull on and off, relatively complicated lacing system, break-in period
Bottom Line People who want winter protection for their feet but don’t want to draw attention to themselves with mega snow boots should consider theseWith the best traction and water proofing, and an easy slip-on design, these boots can’t be beatThis model boasts a winning combination of comfort, warmth, water resistance, and tractionThe most convenient slip-on model because of easy to grip handles makes these the go to for everyday use and workingA well made boot that is at home walking on snowy trails or out on a snowshoe hike
Rating Categories Blundstone Thermal 566 Arctic Ice Tall Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated Bogs Bozeman Tall Vasque Snowburban II UltraDry
Warmth (25%)
6
7
10
7
9
Water Resistance (25%)
5
10
9
9
8
Fit And Comfort (25%)
10
7
6
6
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
9
9
6
10
5
Traction (10%)
5
9
9
8
8
Specs Blundstone Thermal... Arctic Ice Tall Oboz Bridger 10"... Bogs Bozeman Tall Vasque Snowburban...
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 3.25 in 16 in 8.5 in 11.5 in 7.25 in
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Town, chores All activities, from chores to hiking Town, chores All activities, from chores to hiking
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Fit Details True to size Roomy Runs 1/2 size small True to size True to size
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 7 in 16 in 10 in 13 in 8.5 in
Weight (per pair, size 11) 2.9 lbs 5.4 lbs 3.6 lbs 4.4 lbs 3.4 lbs
Lining/Insulation Full Thinsulate liner 5 mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene w/ Fleece Lining 400g 3M Thinsulate synthetic fibers 7mm Neo-Tech Neoprene 400g 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation
Upper Material Waterproof leather 5 mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene Waterproof nubuck leather Rubber 1.8mm Waterproof Leather
Toe Box Ergonomically engineered toe spring Spandura rubber Rubber Rubber Durable rubber toe rand
Outsole Dual density TPU Vibram Arctic Grip Winterized Rubber BioGrip Vasque Nordic Rover outsole with ColdHold Technology
Company-claimed cold-weather rating Not listed Not listed Not listed -72 F Not listed
Animal products used? Yes, leather No Yes, leather No Yes
Sizes Available 7 - 12 7 - 15 8 - 14 7 - 14 7 - 14

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Blundstone Thermal is a classic that stands apart as the best city option, mostly because they look stylish in a way that is appropriate for almost any type of gathering or occasion. They are much less effective for daily country or mountain living than most of the other boots we've tested, but they are a fantastic addition to a hip winter wardrobe for the urban dweller.

Besides their good looks, these boots are among our favorites for comfort. They are also very convenient and easy to slip on and off, relatively light, and do well on long walks. While we tested them in the Colorado Rockies during winter, we can easily imagine walking in them daily on the streets of New York, or any other cold winter city, as we hiked over five miles at a time in them on multiple occasions in perfect comfort. The downsides are that they aren't terribly warm, despite the name, and that they aren't very effective for deep snow or overly muddy/slushy/wet conditions. Also, while the traction is adequate, there are much better options in this review for grip on ice. A prospective buyer will have to weigh the pros and cons of style and comfort versus practical daily effectiveness in very snowy or wet conditions. For those who lean towards needing a city option, these would be our primary recommendation.

Performance Comparison


The Thermal is a comfortable and stylish winter boots great for...
The Thermal is a comfortable and stylish winter boots great for wearing around town and when style still matters.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Warmth


The Blundstone Thermal is virtually the same as the Blundstone Classic, with some added features meant to increase the warmth factor for winter. Sandwiched in between the outer leather and a softer and more supple leather interior liner is a Thinsulate lining. In addition to this, there is a soft, white, fuzzy sheepskin footbed liner beneath the foot.


While these insulating features set this boot apart from its classic counterpart, the fact is that compared to most of the boots we feature in this review, they are not super warm. We tested them in snowy winter conditions on many days down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and found that we appreciated them most when paired with a thick, warm pair of socks. Basically, for working or hanging outside all day in sub-freezing temps, these boots will likely yield some chilly little piggies. For active use, such as walking, running errands, or when you aren't outside for too long at one time, they are more than warm enough for daily use.

This is one of the sheepskin fleece liners that comes in the bottom...
This is one of the sheepskin fleece liners that comes in the bottom of each boot. While it's a cozy touch, we aren't really sure how much they increase the warmth of the boot, as they become compressed after being stood on for very much time. The inner liner of the boot has some Thinsulate trapped inside, but again, isn't the warmest for frigid temperatures.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Water Resistance


The outside of these boots is made with genuine leather treated with a waterproofing agent to prevent them from absorbing any water. For this reason, they are quite effective at keeping your feet dry in reasonably deep slush and shallow puddles. This is necessary for an effective winter boot, as wet feet certainly aren't warm feet. On each side of the foot is elastic to help the boot stretch around the ankle, and this elastic is also treated to be water-resistant out of the box. Over time, if your boots start to lose their waterproof coating, it is possible to reapply an aftermarket coating, just as you would with any leather footwear.


Once again, however, compared to much of the competition in this review, these were underperforming, especially when it comes to maximum puddle depth. We tested them by standing in a nearly frozen stream for eight minutes and found that standing or flowing water could enter the boots through the seams around the elastic. We measured this height at 3.25 inches above the ground, which is lower than just about any other boot. Additionally, the full shaft height checks in at just seven inches, which is again fairly low for a winter boot and means that snow can infiltrate around the ankle at a relatively benign depth. This is a major reason we recommend them for city use, where trudging through deep water or deep snow is less common than in the mountains or country.

The Thermal boots are very waterproof, but they have a low usable...
The Thermal boots are very waterproof, but they have a low usable flood height - only about 3 inches.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Fit and Comfort


Everyone we know who has tested or worn these boots raves about how comfortable they are. Their comfort comes from an excellent fit and a flexible, forgiving design. That said, those who like their comfort to come from thick, plush padding may be a bit disappointed, as that is simply not the way these are designed. Considering that they are made entirely of leather, we have been very pleasantly surprised with the fact that they required no break-in period and were perfectly wearable for long walks straight out of the box.


The fit of the Blundstone is pretty standard for a boot, which means that the length is spot on for the size, and there is a bit of extra room to accommodate thicker socks if you want. We should also mention that the "SPS Max Comfort" system, described by Blundstone as a spring in the heel that is meant to reduce wearing fatigue, seems effective to us. Even after hours on our feet, or many miles of walking, we noticeably fresh.

Our reviewers raved about how comfortable these boots are. The fit...
Our reviewers raved about how comfortable these boots are. The fit is snug enough so as not be sloppy, yet spacious enough to pair with some cozy fat socks. Here testing them while shoveling a long driveway in around 10°F temps.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Ease of Use


These are slip-on style boots, meaning there are no laces that have to be done up every time you need to get out the door. Boots of this style are typically among the easiest to use, simply because you can put them on quickly and with much less hassle than laced options.


However, these boots also lack a tongue, which means that you have to pull your foot through a narrower ankle opening to get them on. To help with this, Blundstone has added pull tabs on both the front and heel of the opening (we usually just use the heel tab) and has also included stretchy elastic on each side of the foot to help expand that opening.

Slipping the Thermal on after a session of Nordic skiing. These...
Slipping the Thermal on after a session of Nordic skiing. These boots slide on easily with the aid of the large pull tabs on both the front and back. However, the ankle opening isn't super wide, so the stretchy elastic is a necessity for fitting the foot through the opening.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Traction


The outsole of this boot is made of molded TPU rather than the more typical rubber. We found this compound to be fairly firm and durable but not overly sticky like some of the Vibram rubber compounds we compared them against. Notably, these boots also don't feature any of the exceptional ice gripping technology or rubber compounds that have started to be more prevalent on winter boots.


The lug pattern is also not very aggressive compared to most of the competition, with a primarily flat surface accented by channels cut into it. While the resulting lugs are sharp-edged, they aren't super deep and have far more surface area than negative space. We've found designs like this are good for hard surfaces and tend to be quite durable but they don't bite into snow all that well. While reasonably effective, we can admit that the traction on slippery winter surfaces afforded by this boot is a bit underwhelming.

The outsole and tread pattern of the Thermal boot, which is made...
The outsole and tread pattern of the Thermal boot, which is made entirely of TPU rather than the more common rubber. We found it to be extremely durable and quite protective, although not exactly offering the best grip on snow and ice compared to the competition.
Photo: Andy Wellman

The TPU outsole is not one of the most grippy that we have tested in...
The TPU outsole is not one of the most grippy that we have tested in soft snow, although does a decent enough job.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Value


As you might expect with high-quality construction and genuine leather material, these are not the most budget-friendly boots. In fact, they cost more than double what the least expensive options here will run you. But to be honest, if they are within your price range, we think they are worth it, as they are solid boots that you will be happy to wear for many years.

While they are by no means the warmest boots in this review, they...
While they are by no means the warmest boots in this review, they sure are comfortable for walking around in. Here on a snowy dog walk near home.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Conclusion


The Blundstone Thermal is a stylish, comfortable, and convenient winter boot that will excel for style-minded city dwellers. If you need to protect your feet from the snow and slush you may encounter on the sidewalks of your town, and prefer not to wear large, garish winter boots, then these are your best bet. On the other hand, we don't recommend them right off the bat for those who live and work in the deep winter snow every day, as they are more easily infiltrated by cold and snow than many other options.

Taking the Thermal's out for a snowy early winter hike in the Sangre...
Taking the Thermal's out for a snowy early winter hike in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. We hiked for roughly six miles on snowy packed trails and the feet feel great.
Photo: Andy Wellman

Andy Wellman