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Blundstone Thermal - Men's Review

A stylish and comfortable boot for urban users and those who don’t commonly need to work or hike in deep snow and slush
Blundstone Thermal - Men's
Photo: Backcountry
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $240 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking all day, convenient on and off
Cons:  Not warm, low maximum puddle depth, leather scratches easily
Manufacturer:   Blundstone
By Jeff Dobronyi and Andy Wellman  ⋅  Dec 16, 2021
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 5
  • Weather Protection - 25% 2
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 10
  • Traction - 15% 5
  • Durability - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The well-loved Blundstone Thermal is remarkable for its incredible comfort and stylish looks, taking home top accolades from our testing team for style. These leather Chelsea boots slip on and off easily, have a warm and 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 Pac boot for weekend snowshoeing expeditions. These likely won't be your one-and-only cold-weather boot, but they are a fantastic choice for everyday casual wear.

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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
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$149 List
$148.95 at Amazon
$185 List
$189.67 at Amazon
Check Price at REI
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$249.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Very comfortable, stylish, good for walking all day, convenient on and offGreat traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordableExtremely durable and weather resistant, excellent traction, easy on and offGreat traction, very comfortable, inexpensiveExtremely warm, relatively durable
Cons Not warm, low maximum puddle depth, leather scratches easilyOther boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance heightNot that warm or comfortable, baggy fitNot that warm, fabric eyelets, low heightNot waterproof above rubber shell, heavy, bulky, expensive
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 slushThese boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair priceThese slip-on work boots are protective, durable, and convenient, making them perfect for outdoor winter choresThis very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, but won't keep you dry in deep snowThese ultra-warm boots are huge, making them suitable only for those who spend lots of time in the extreme cold
Rating Categories Blundstone Thermal... The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Merrell Thermo Chil... Baffin Impact
Warmth (25%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
10.0
Weather Protection (25%)
2.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
3.0
Comfort And Fit (20%)
10.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
Traction (15%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (15%)
4.0
7.0
10.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Blundstone Thermal... The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Merrell Thermo Chil... Baffin Impact
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 3.25" 8" 13.5" 6.5" 4"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 7" 11" 13.5" 7.5" 15"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 13) 2.84 lbs 4.14 lbs 4.48 lbs 2.74 lbs 6.42 lbs
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Town, errands, chores Chores Hiking, town Chores
Fit Details True to size True to size Roomy True to size Roomy
Lining/Insulation Sheepskin wool footbed 400g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco 5mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene w/ Fleece Lining 200g M Select Removable Comfort-Fit Liner
Upper Material Waterproof leather Full-grain waterproof-leather upper 5 mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh Nylon
Toe Box Ergonomically engineered toe spring Rubber Spandura rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Dual density TPU TNF Winter Grip Rubber Vibram Arctic Grip Rubber Polar Rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not listed -40 F Not listed Not listed -148 F
Animal Products? Yes, leather Yes No No No
Sizes Available 7 - 12 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 15 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.

Performance Comparison


The Blundstone Thermal looks great in cold urban enviroments.
The Blundstone Thermal looks great in cold urban enviroments.
Photo: Sam Willits

Warmth


The Blundstone doesn't have any insulation in the upper part of the boot except for a thin fleece line, so there is little more than one layer of thick leather between your foot and the winter cold. However, there is a fuzzy sheepskin lining in the footbed 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 truly cold climates where winter temperatures are regularly below freezing, they won't be enough.


These are fashion-forward boots, and they maintain a sleek look by omitting insulation from the shaft. The thick leather upper does a great job at blocking wind and preventing the conduction of your body's heat away from the foot when contacting cold water and snow. Compared to most winter boots, these aren't that warm, but they get the job done if most of your time outdoors in the winter is spent commuting, walking, and running errands. They just aren't warm enough for extended outdoor work or winter hiking.

Most of the Blundstone Thermal's warmth comes from a sheepskin...
Most of the Blundstone Thermal's warmth comes from a sheepskin lining under the foot and thick leather uppers.
Photo: Sam Willits

Weather Protection


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.


However, 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, which is 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.

Aside from the generally low shaft height, the main weakness for...
Aside from the generally low shaft height, the main weakness for water resistance is the stretchy elastic panel.
Photo: Sam Willits

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. We should also mention that the "SPS Max Comfort" system, described by Blundstone as a spring in the heel meant to reduce wearing fatigue, seems effective. Even after hours on our feet, or many miles of walking, we felt noticeably fresh.

The Blundstone Thermals are comfortable to wear and convenient to...
The Blundstone Thermals are comfortable to wear and convenient to slip on and off.
Photo: Sam Willits

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 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 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's sole doesn't have much negative space,  making it...
The Blundstone's sole doesn't have much negative space, making it slippery whenever there is deep snow.
Photo: Sam Willits

Durability


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.


Other boots may have more durable exteriors, but the comfort and style benefits of leather are more important to the performance of this model. These boots aren't a great option for heavy-duty work and chores since those kinds of activities may expose them to more opportunities for scratching. But they are plenty durable for the average urban user or town dweller who will mostly use them for walking.

The leather exterior looks great, but is also susceptible to...
The leather exterior looks great, but is also susceptible to scratching and staining.
Photo: Sam Willits

Value


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.

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 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.

The Blundstone Thermal looks and feels great, and will protect you...
The Blundstone Thermal looks and feels great, and will protect you until winter arrives in force.
Photo: Sam Willits

Jeff Dobronyi and Andy Wellman

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