Blundstone Thermal 566 Review
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
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Blundstone Thermal 566
|Price||$224.90 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking and standing om, convenient on and off||Super traction, very convenient, fully waterproof to 16 inches||Warm, completely waterproof, comfortable, good traction, supportive||Convenient slip on design, waterproof to 11.5 inches, more affordable than competitors, customizable fit||Supportive, good traction, very warm|
|Cons||Not super warm, relatively low maximum puddle depth, traction performs below most others||Slightly sloppy fit, sorta heavy, fairly pricey||Sizing runs a bit small, expensive||Handles let in water or debris, only come in single whole sizes, not as warm as some competitors||More 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 these||With the best traction and water proofing, and an easy slip-on design, these boots can’t be beat||This model boasts a winning combination of comfort, warmth, water resistance, and traction||The most convenient slip-on model because of easy to grip handles makes these the go to for everyday use and working||A 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|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Fit And Comfort (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Andy Wellman