Blundstone Thermal - Men's Review
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Blundstone Thermal - Men's
|Price||$249.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking all day, convenient on and off||Great traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordable||Weather resistant, easy to slip on and off, durable||Relatively inexpensive, great performance across the board||Great traction, very comfortable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not warm, low maximum puddle depth, leather scratches easily, expensive||Other boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance height||Expensive, loose fit, clunky, poor traction||Clunky, style isn't the best, questionable construction quality||Not that warm, fabric eyelets, low height|
|Bottom Line||A stylish and comfortable boot for urban users and those who don’t commonly need to work or hike in deep snow and slush||These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair price||These easy-to-use boots are protective and durable, perfect for winter chores or quick jaunts into snowy weather||These affordable boots nearly match the performance of the best models but without straining your wallet||This very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, making it perfect for winter walks and treks|
|Rating Categories||Blundstone Thermal...||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Weather Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Blundstone Thermal...||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking||3.25"||8.5"||13"||8"||6.5"|
|Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft)||7"||11"||13"||10.5"||7.5"|
|Measured Weight (per pair, size 13)||2.84 lbs||3.86 lbs||5.09 lbs||3.69 lbs||2.74 lbs|
|Appropriate Activity||Town, errands||Town, errands||Chores||Hiking, town, chores, errands||Hiking, town|
|Fit Details||True to size||True to size||Roomy||True to size||True to size|
|Lining/Insulation||Sheepskin wool footbed||400g Heatseeker Eco||Fleece, 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene||200g synthetic||200g M Select|
|Upper Material||Waterproof leather||Waterproof leather & suede||Rubber||Waterproof leather||Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh|
|Toe Box||Ergonomically engineered toe spring||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber|
|Outsole||Dual density TPU||Surface Control rubber||MS-1 molded rubber||Omni-Grip Rubber||Rubber|
|Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating||Not listed||Not listed||-40 F||Not listed||Not listed|
|Animal Products?||Yes, leather||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Sizes Available||7 - 12||7 - 14||5 - 15||7 - 17||7 - 15|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Blundstone Thermal is a classic urban winter boot that stands out for its style. It provided decent performance in our other testing metrics, but if you need a burly boot for deep snow and cold temperatures, this isn't the one for you.
The Blundstone doesn't have any insulation in the upper part of the boot except for a thin fleece liner, so there is little more than one layer of thick leather between your foot and the winter cold. However, there is a fuzzy sheepskin footbed liner and a thick sole to keep the bottoms of your feet warm. These boots are cozy enough for cold winter days in most urban locales. But if you venture into frigid climates where winter temperatures are regularly below freezing, you'll need to find other footwear for extended outdoor work or winter hiking.
The outside of the Blundstone is made with genuine leather treated with a waterproofing agent to prevent them from absorbing moisture. For this reason, they are quite effective at keeping your feet dry in slush and shallow puddles. This is necessary for an effective winter boot because wet feet are cold feet. Each side of the foot has an elastic panel for easy on and off. This elastic is treated to be water-resistant and generally repels light moisture. But when we held the boots under the faucet for a few minutes, the elastic soaked through, and we could feel the moisture on the inside. The boot is waterproof up to this height, just 3.25 inches off the ground. The full shaft height checks in at just seven inches, which is also fairly low for a winter boot and means that snow can sneak in at the ankle. This is a major reason we recommend the Blundstone for city use, where trudging through deep water or deep snow is less common than in the mountains or country. Over time, if the leather starts to absorb water, it is possible to reapply an aftermarket coating, just as you would with any leather footwear.
Comfort and Fit
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 almost entirely of leather, we have been very pleasantly surprised that they require no break-in period and are perfectly wearable for long walks in the city 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.
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 Vibram rubber compounds on other models. Notably, these boots also don't feature any 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. 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 the 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 Blundstone Thermal is a leather boot that is susceptible to scratching and staining all over the exterior. The stitching between leather panels is redundant, and the pull-tabs are solidly attached. The leather upper also feels solidly attached to the rubber sole, and the elastic panel is tightly woven. Our main concerns for durability come from the susceptible nature of leather to scratching, cutting, and staining.
Should You Buy the Blundstone Thermal?
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 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. As you might expect with high-quality construction and genuine leather material, these are not the most budget-friendly boots. That said, if you are in the market for Chelsea boots, these are the best out there, and if they are within your price range, we think they are worth it. They are solid boots that you will be happy to wear for many years.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
With a high price tag and limited usefulness outside city sidewalks, the Blundstone is not the best winter boot for most uses. If the cold weather has you outdoors for chores or fun, then The North Face Chilkat V 400 is a better bet and can keep you drier, warmer, and with more money still in your wallet. If your winter needs lean more toward chores and outdoor work, then the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid is a potential option with impressive comfort and easy slip-on design with a lower price tag. If you want to save money and anticipate winter hiking in your future, then the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid might be more your speed. And if you want more warmth and weather protection, but don't want to sacrifice style, the UGG Butte is your best option.
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