Since many of my fellow hikers have asked me if they can use their pair of Blundstone while trekking, my team and I have decided to look into this and publish a thorough guide.
Blundstones have been used for rigorous manual labor since the 1870s. These boots are well-known for their durability and versatility, providing functionality on both urban streets and for rugged outdoor work.
In these more relaxed times, Blundstones have become more of a fashion statement, coming in many different styles, such as fur-lined, thermal, and even heeled.
However, despite their modernized designs and style, these boots are still made with premium materials, staying true to the hard times they were originally manufactured in.
That said, are Blundstones good for hiking? Let’s check out the rest of the article down below to see if this brand of footwear is really as lightweight and multi-purpose as it claims to be.
What Are Blundstone Boots?
Blundstone boots are a type of work footwear originating from Australia.
They were originally modeled after army boots and designed to be durable enough to manage farms, fields, and metalworks.
The conditions that metalworkers operate in were a significant source of inspiration, giving way to the Blundstone’s ability to withstand high temperatures and other harsh weather conditions.
In the U.S., they’re mainly known for the original 500 series model, sometimes called the 500 Chelsea boot.
All Blundstone boots are made with premium leather uppers and softly cushioned footbeds, and thanks to the thin layer of insulation to keep the feet warm, they’re also good for winter walking.
Can You Hike in Blundstones?
You can hike in Blundstones on some trails, though it isn’t recommended for several reasons. They weren’t designed with steep elevations, rain, trail debris, and jagged rocks in mind.
As a result, the non-marking rubber outsole isn’t adhesive enough to stick in most conditions you’d experience outdoors.
Additionally, Blundstones don’t have laces, preventing you from tightening or loosening the boots around your ankles based on your fit.
The only feature that makes these ideal shoes is the high-quality leather, which is treated with a water-resistant wax to reduce their exposure to moisture. Consequently, this is the same feature that makes these the wrong shoes for hiking.
The Blundstone boots don’t have mesh panels or consistent airflows like most hiking boots and hiking shoes. So, even though your feet are protected from water, the inside of the boots will trap a lot of heat after being worn on hot days and for longer outdoor hikes and activities.
Are Blundstone Shoes Comfortable?
Blundstone shoes are comfortable only after being broken in.
The leather, like most work footwear, is stiff to keep the feet protected from common field hazards.
So, there is a bit of an adjustment period where wearing the boots might not be as comfortable as you’d like.
However, Blundstones are made with arch-comforting insoles, which reduce fatigue and discomfort from orthopedic issues, and shock-absorbing linings to reduce the strain from hard impacts.
Additionally, the tabs on the back and front of the ankles allow you to conveniently slip the boots on and off at a moment’s notice. Overall, Blundstone boots seem to compensate for their break-in period with other comfort features.
Advantages of Using Blundstones for Hiking
The leather uppers are constructed to withstand contact with blunt objects and high temperatures. Additionally, if the leather is properly cleaned and maintained, these boots can be worn year-round for frequent casual use without shortening their lifespan.
For simple walks on flat hiking trails, these can substitute for most hiking boots and hiking shoes.
Blundstone boots are made with a rugged TPU outsole, with great resistance on most terrain.
Since Blundstones were originally made to accommodate war conditions and heavy manual labor, the soles have a good grip, even on wet and muddy surfaces .
While the outsole isn’t equipped to handle rocky terrain and steep elevations, it can still manage some well-maintained trails.
Disadvantages of Using Blundstones for Hiking
Unfortunately, Blundstone boots don’t have built-in arch support, or rather, the arch support isn’t that great. If you try to hike in these, or even haul something heavier than a normal backpack, you’ll find that your feet will bear the brunt of the pressure.
Fortunately, the insoles can be swapped out with some more comfortable hiking insoles, but this is a negligible change when trying to use Blundstones for anything more than a light trail walk.
Blundstone boots have an elastic side paneling, which not only makes them easy to take on and off but is also supposed to make them more breathable.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Even though the Blundstones have water-resistant uppers, versus having a membrane sewn in like other waterproof boots and hiking shoes, heat still builds up due to the lack of airflow allowed by the rugged leather.
The stiff leather uppers that Blundstones are made with give the boots a significant break-in period. However, even after the boots are broken in, the leather doesn’t conform to your feet or natural movements the way traditional hiking footwear does.
Trying to force your feet against the rigidness of the uppers could lead to discomfort early in your hike, and even damage the boot.
Do We Recommend Blundstones for Hiking?
Everything considered, no, we do not recommend Blundstones for hiking. Blundstone boots, while perfect for urban settings and physically demanding work, would be a poor choice to bring on a hiking trail.
Blundstones don’t have features like Gore-Tex liners, Vibram and Contagrip outsoles, or even the chassis systems we see in a lot of hiking footwear.
Additionally, those features are the baseline requirements for what most hiking boots and shoes should have to manage even average trails.
That said, it would probably be safer to skip Blundstones for hiking and invest in a pair of boots from another reputable brand. If you’re interested in checking out other products, then read up on the hiking boots we’ve rated as the best picks for 2023!
You can backpack with Blundstones if the trail is short and manageable. Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend Blundstones due to the discomfort they may cause after long periods on your feet, along with the stiff leather.
You can wear Blundstones every day. Blundstones can function as work boots, but they also do well as casual footwear. They can be worn to the store, parties, dinner, and any other activities that don’t have strict physical demands.
You can use Blundstones as hiking boots, but only on flat and simple trails. The outsoles of Blundstones aren’t sturdy or grippy enough to handle the changing elevations and rugged terrain you might encounter on a typical trail.
Blundstones give you blisters, but only if you try to use them for activities that they’re not really made for, like hiking. This is especially true during the break-in period. However, as casual footwear, Blundstone boots are comfortable enough to be worn without blistering.