Blundstone Thermal 566 Review
Cons: Low flood height, limited usefulness for hiking
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 an ultra-comfortable, durable leather contender that impressed reviewers with good looks and proven performance.
By using Thinsulate insulation in the upper of the Thermal 566, the Blundstone boots can keep the warmth generated by the foot trapped in the boot. With a medium weight merino wool hiking sock, we experienced no cold foot issues when standing around in the snow splitting wood, or when walking to the bus stop to get to the ski area. The sheepskin footbed 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 deg. F) temperatures.
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 requires long-term maintenance in the form of oiling or waxing to maintain this level of water resistance. For sloshing through icy puddles, the Blundstone boots performed well, though their Achilles Heel is a low, 3-inch flood height. 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.
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 the lush footbed and the soft elastic ankle support. These features allowed our 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 boot, there are no laces, which means a proper fit is quite important. With a variety of different socks, we found an excellent fit, though they just weren't quite as secure as a lace-up boot when taken on longer walks.
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 was easy to slide our feet in, even when wearing thick wool socks. The tabs are big but not huge, making it possible to operate with gloved hands, though not as easy as a pair of Bogs, which have large handles. Stepping out of the Blundstones is a bit more difficult, as the fit is quite secure in the heel, and there is no heel counter to assist.
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 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.
This boot is in the more expensive range and are more than double the price of our Best Buy award winners, 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.
This comfortable slip-on boot was our reviewer's favorite for trips around town when the weather was cold and nasty. These boots don't offer the same weather protection or traction as others, but are incredibly comfortable, stylish, and are easy to slip on for quick trips outside.
— Ryan Huetter