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Blundstone Thermal 566 Review

This good looking Chelsea-style boot combines lush comfort with protection from the elements
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $225 List | $224.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Plush sheepskin comfort, good fit for a slip on, decent traction
Cons:  Low flood height, limited usefulness for hiking
Manufacturer:   Blundstone
By Andy Wellman and Ryan Huetter  ⋅  Nov 4, 2020
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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

Our reviewers have worn slip-on boots before, but none as comfortable as the Blundstone Thermal 566. With a high-quality waterproofed leather outer, these stylish boots provide excellent weather protection for their low cut height. The real calling card of the Thermal 566, however, is their unbelievably plush sheepskin footbed, which makes you feel like you are walking on pillows. This removable footbed also translates into warmth, and our feet always felt toasty and warm while wearing these boots. They are a great choice for heading outside to grab wood for the warm fire inside, walking to the corner store in a winter storm, or sloshing through puddles on the way to the office.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

There are many makers of slip-on style boots, but few rise to the top to provide the kind of fit and comfort we expect, especially sans laces. The Blundstone 566 sets the bar high with ultra-comfortable, durable leather, good looks, and proven performance. If you love the idea of staying warm and dry while also looking impeccably stylish, this may be your new favorite boot.

Performance Comparison


For a short hike around Lake Mary in early winter conditions  the Blundstone Thermal 566 boots were easy to put on and comfortable to wear.
For a short hike around Lake Mary in early winter conditions, the Blundstone Thermal 566 boots were easy to put on and comfortable to wear.

Warmth


By using Thinsulate insulation in the upper of the Thermal 566, these Blundstone boots can keep the warmth generated by the foot trapped inside. With a medium weight merino wool hiking sock, we experienced no cold foot issues, even when standing around in the snow splitting wood or walking to the bus stop to get to the ski area.


The sheepskin footbed of this boot is not only delightfully comfortable, but it also provides additional insulation between the TPU outsole and your foot. The full leather outer is not made of breathable synthetic fibers, so it does not breathe very well, causing sweaty feet in milder (over 40 degrees F) temperatures. If you love the look of this boot but live in a milder climate, you may want to consider getting a non-thermal version.

Even after standing around in the snow on frozen ground  our feet did not get cold
Even after standing around in the snow on frozen ground, our feet did not get cold

Water Resistance


The waterproof leather upper on the Thermal 566 sheds snow, slush, and rainwater with ease, and we found no leaking through the leather or along the seam which joins the sole. The leather does require long-term maintenance in the form of oiling or waxing to maintain this level of water resistance, as is typical for leather boots.


For sloshing through icy puddles, these Blundstone boots performed well, though they have a low flood height of just over 3 inches. The low depth to which they can be submerged (before water leaks into the boot) is the lowest in our review. This means they are less useful should you encounter deep puddles often. However, if you don't tend to have to navigate terrain like this, it shouldn't be much of an issue. These boots are warm and water-resistance up to that 3 inches, so if you see a deep puddle or icy stream, plan to find a path around it.

The Thermal 566 boots are very waterproof  but they have a low usable flood height - only about 3 inches.
The Thermal 566 boots are very waterproof, but they have a low usable flood height - only about 3 inches.

Fit and Comfort


Ahh, slipping our feet into the soft embrace of the sheepskin-lined Thermal 566 makes us think of curling up in front of the fire while a winter storm rages outside. These boots received top marks for their comfort, thanks to a lush footbed and soft elastic ankle support. These features allow the feet to easily articulate, and the full-grain leather upper has been treated and conditioned so that it is soft and pliable when walking.


As a slip-on, this boot has no laces, which means a proper fit is quite important. We achieved an excellent fit with a variety of different socks, though nothing as secure as a lace-up boot, especially for longer walks. If you're planning to order online, we recommend reading through all the sizing info provide on Blundstone's FAQ page.

Ah  the soft sheepskin footbeds. We would like to see these in every winter boot.
Ah, the soft sheepskin footbeds. We would like to see these in every winter boot.

Ease of Use


The Thermal 566 boot was among the easiest to use in our review. With two tabs to aid in donning the slip-on boot, it is easy to slide your feet in, even when wearing thick wool socks.


The pull-on tabs are big but not huge, making it possible to operate with gloved hands, though not as easy as with a pair of Bogs, which have large handles. Stepping out of a pair of Blundstone's is a bit more difficult, as the fit is quite secure in the heel, and there is no heel counter to assist.

Tabs on the heel and the tongue allow you to quickly slip these boots on.
Tabs on the heel and the tongue allow you to quickly slip these boots on.

Traction


A below-average performer in the traction department, the Thermal 566 boots are among our least favorite when it comes to tackling firm snow or icy slopes.


The soles on these boots just don't have the purchase offered by competitors with more aggressively lugged and sharp-edged sole designs. This is not to say that you can't walk in snowy or icy conditions in these boots, they just don't provide as sure a footing as boots with superior traction like those designed specifically for winter hiking.

The low profile sole grips well  but does not have thick lugs to bite into firm snow and ice
The low profile sole grips well, but does not have thick lugs to bite into firm snow and ice

Value


This boot is in the more expensive range, more than double the price of the lowest-priced boots in our review, so they probably don't meet the needs of those on a budget. These are high-quality boots made from good materials and will last a long time, so while expensive, we feel they are worth the price you pay. With good care, these boots will have no problem lasting you a very long time.

Conclusion


The Blundstone Thermal is a comfortable and classy slip-on boot and our favorite for trips around town when the weather is cold and nasty. These boots don't offer the same weather protection or traction as others, but they are incredibly comfortable, stylish, and easy to slip on for quick trips outside when you want to look good.

A good looking boot that can handle mild winter conditions  from outdoor work to a more casual setting.
A good looking boot that can handle mild winter conditions, from outdoor work to a more casual setting.

Andy Wellman and Ryan Huetter