These Boots are Made for Everything

When was the last time you fell head over heels in love with a product, not including a sex toy? Well, a few years ago, someone, I can’t remember who, showed me a pair of boots they were wearing and commenced to rhapsodize in an almost orgasmic manner about how amazing these boots were. I didn’t pay too much attention because I didn’t much like the person and found the whole display rather uncomfortable.

However, when one witnesses something particularly bizarre like that, one finds it difficult to completely put out of one’s mind the name of boots that would inspire such passion.  

Blundstone

And so the image of the apparently Fabio-esque boots remained in that special spot in back of my mind where I store all the clutter I accumulate every day that I have no immediate need for – much like that junk room, closet and/or drawer most of us have in our homes.

Years passed and I’d see the occasional person wearing Blundstones and I’d study them to see if they seemed much happier, more content, more satisfied than the average person. And you know what? I think they really did. And so I started thinking maybe there was something to this Blundstone coupling. And that maybe I was depriving myself of an essential life enhancing experience — like marriage except without the arguments and community property issues.

So I start doing a little research on these boots.  They retail for between $160- $180, which seemed pretty reasonable for a life-enhancing experience and for a good pair of boots for someone who walks a lot. And so more and more I became fascinated with what I read about Blundstones. They claim to be strong, reliable, comfortable, weather-resistant, virtually indestructible. How could I fall for such sweet-talk?

This mad Australian company who’s been building these very same boots since 1870 still only make 3 basic styles of boot (not including the steel-toes CSA safety boots) and only in black or brown – though curiously, one style comes in red, too.

I started to develop strong feelings for one particular style — #490

Aren’t they handsome? (XUP Jr. thinks they’re hideous, so I don’t mind if you think that, too)

Surreptitiously, I start checking Blundstones out in shops, searching for #490s. I couldn’t find them. But I’d gaze at the others;  touch them all, smell them, ask questions about them. I even tried a pair on once, but I never found #490s and it never seemed like the right time to boldly ask someone to have them ordered in.

Last year, whilst slumming in a second-hand shop, I came across an older pair of 510s.

They were a little big and a little brash, but they were only $10. I couldn’t walk away. I slipped on some insoles and let them have their way with me. You can see the actual pair up there in my masthead between the Dr. Martens and the gumboots.

For the last year we’ve been everywhere together – spring, summer, winter and fall. We’ve walked mile after mile through rain, sleet, slush, snow, ice; in minus 30 temperatures, on sidewalks, in fields, through the woods and on moonlit beaches.

We’ve gotten sloppy and messy together and then I’ve wiped them down with a bit of water and worn them out to dinner with a pair of tights and a skirt. They’re certainly not the height of elegance — but dressy enough for most of the places I like to go.

And my feet have never been treated better. Such comfort. Such stamina. They’ve been kept toasty warm on the coldest days and comfortably dry on the wettest days.

But…and there’s always a “but” isn’t there? While these lovely #510s have been nothing but good to me, I’ve never been able to forget about those #490s. And this past weekend I saw them, at last, in the flesh …beckoning me from inside a shop window.

The #510s and I bought them.

Oh, I know how tiresome it is to listen to someone gush about how perfect their true love is, and I know some of you probably already have a pair of Blundstones, so you can skip this if you want, but I still need to tell how amazing  Blundstones are.

  • They’re made with a 2.5 mm thickness of leather.
  • The leather folds under the sole for almost an inch for extra durability and weather-proofing.
  • The soles are “injection molded” not glued on.
  • The leather is treated with “dual-density polyurethane” so I never have to treat, spray, wax or condition my boots.
  • They came with a little pouch of wax which they said I could use if, by chance, I ever felt the need to shine my boots up a bit some time down the line.
  • They have no laces or zippers or buckles – they just slide on and off.

 I have to wonder why not all outdoor footwear can be made this well.

The Blundstone website has a page called Art to Boot which invites artists and celebrities to “art up” their Blundstones, which are then donated to raise money for various charities. Have a look at some of the gorgeous things people have done with their boots.

There’s also a page called Your Boots where you can enter a photo of you and your Blundstones and a little story of all the places you and your boots have been and gone. There are tons of  stories –funny, interesting,  crazy, charming  stories. I hope my 490s and I collect some interesting stories like this over our lifetime together.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a lot of great sensible and not-to-sensible shoes and boots in my life – a lot!  I make no apologies for my footwear sluttishness. But all those shoes and boots were only infatuations – short-term flings. Sooner or later the shine wore off my affection. The soul fell out of the relationship. I’d feel too tied down. And I’d walk out — kicking them off like an old pair of boyfriends.

But the #490 Blundstones and I? I think this is the real thing at last. I really do. And the #510s? We’re still good friends. We’ll get together for some rough-housing once in a while and maybe,  one day, I’ll fix them up with someone else would would really appreciate them.

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30 responses to “These Boots are Made for Everything

  1. I totally get ya! There is nothing like a great pair of shoes. My man sandals probably look hideous to people but I LOVE them as well as my new man Nike Air Monarchs. Yay for comfy shoes! May they take us everywhere we want to go.

  2. When I bought my Naots a couple of years ago, I swore I would never buy cheap shoes again. I’ve always wanted to try Blundstones – I also have a friend who swears by them.
    But am curious, what is the difference between the 510s and 490s besides the style?

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. I bought a pair last spring and have worn them almost every day since then. I walked all over Paris in them without complaint and I wear them to my weekly volunteer shifts where I stand on a concrete floor for two hours serving dinner.

    A tip for those in Ottawa: I got mine at Apple Saddlery (just off Innes Road) and they were about $20 cheaper than I saw them anywhere else.

  4. I’m not a shoe slut.

    I own two pairs of shoes – red doc marten mary janes and black lands end mary janes when I want to be fancy. I’ve owned the red ones over a decade and the black ones were 3.00 at Frenchy’s. I love the red ones, the black ones and I have a business relationship.

    I have a pair of sorels for deep snow. Its a seasonal business deal, kinda like a contract to have our driveway plowed.

    and I have my much beloved Blundstones.

    Seriously, I’ll never buy another brand of boots, they are so wonderful. I think they look good with everything I own and my feet are so comfy in them. They are warm and toasty with wool socks and cool and comfy for hiking in thin hiking liners. They fit beautifully regardless of the season and sock choice too.

  5. My wife, my sister, my brother-in-law, my mom, and my dad all have blundstones. They’re pretty fantastic.

  6. I’ve actually been thinking on and off about getting a pair of Blundstones for a few years now (a former co-worker swore by them). This seals it, time to go shopping!

  7. Geewits – Yup! Our shoes may not be sexy stilettos, but our feet probably look a lot better than those that are always in sexy stilettos.

    Violetsky – The sole is a bit different on the 490s and they’re a unisex style where the 510s I have are men’s shoes. The 501s are also a size too big for me – they’re okay with an extra pair of woolly socks, but I wanted something a little more streamlined which I think the 490s are. I’ve heard good things Naots, too.

    J – I got mine at Glebetrotters and they automatically gave me a discount from what the shoes were priced at. I can’t remember the exact figures, but when she went to ring up the sale, she said, “the lowest you’ll ever see these boots on sale for is $xxxxx – we’ll sell them to you for that. I didn’t even ask. I guess you have to prove yourself worthy of the boots before they let you have them for the special secret price. The other bonus to travelling with Blundstones is that they slip on and off easily at airport security checks!

    Mudmamma – I remember your lovely Blundstones! They’re almost too good to be true, aren’t they?

    Matt – Why don’t you have any? Don’t you feel left out?

    Paul – Run, don’t walk to your nearest Blundstone dealer!! And welcome to the blog.

    Jazz – You absolutely should get a pair. They’re the only boots/outdoor shoes you’ll ever need. Then you can blog your own love letter to them.

  8. I’ve had my Blundstones for 6 years and I love them too. Comfortable, durable, and personally I think they are cool without being trendy-trendy. Love them and will never part with mine. I do have a question however, I find mine give me a bit of a rough patch on my foot to the left of my ankle on my right foot (at the top of my foot but where it bends), I swear it’s from my Blundstones. It doesn’t hurt but the skin is slightly calloused there.

    PS-have you seen the Blundstones for kids???? I would love to get my girls each a pair but they don’t like them!

  9. I love my Sorel winter boots, because they are very warm, comfy and vegan.
    BUT they have laces and like all other boots with laces, they constantly come undone. (and I end up dragging them through the muck while I run to the bus)

  10. Oh and mine are the brown 500’s They have the plain looking sole of the 510’s but the nice stitching detail of the 490’s.

    Someday I’d like to own a pair in black too.

  11. I am totally a Blundies fan. I bought some for my daughter when she was four and even at $65 for kids shoes–those little red pull-on boots were worth every penny.
    I am also a city walker–Manhattan…and city walkers truly appreciate good walking shoes–Blundstone, Echo, Arche–all worth every penny.

  12. (*Grunt*)

    Too much estrogen here.

    As a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal male, I just cannot get into a post talking about footwear.

    But I’ll take your word for it, that they’re great boots.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go chip a piece of flint for my new spear.

  13. I have 4 pairs of footwear and that is enough – winter boots, sandals, black dress shoes and runners. Why would anyone need more than that.
    Chip off a piece for me too Frair! I’ll share my mammoth.

  14. I bought my current husband a pair 13 years ago and they are still going strong. I’ve always wanted a pair myself. Maybe I should see if I’ve any vouchers left from Christmas. I’m not usually one for his ‘n’ hers…but…a pair of boots won’t turn me into Victoria Beckham will they?

  15. Betsy Mae – Yes, the kids Blundstones are so cute. I’ve been trying to convince my daughter to get some, too but she hates them. Must be one of those things that only appeals to the over 30 crowd.

    Pauline – Well, Sorels are excellent for big snow and cold, but they’re not go-anywhere boots like Blundstones. And ya, leather boots aren’t very vegan, but I’m not that hard-core.

    Mudmamma – I think the brown ones look nicer because they have the contrasting elastic – and they’re so dark brown that they can pass for black.

    Lazy Mom – One thing I try never to skimp on is my shoes. I don’t have a single pair of heels or fancy goin’ out shoes or sexy boots, but I have some good walking shoes and sandals — because if I can’t walk in my shoes there’s no point to having them.

    Friar – Estrogen? This is the least estrogen-filled footwear discussion you’re ever going to come across. Have you looked at these boots? Do they scream “female” to you? We’re talking practical, sensible unisex boots here. Blunstone first made safety boots for pete’s sake – that construction workers wear..with steal toes. Don’t you walk, hike? Doesn’t it interest you to find boots that are comfortable and durable and warm and waterproof? Boots you can wear anywhere?

    Cedar – Gay in the feminine boy sense or gay in the butchy girl sense?

    Trashy – You don’t. These boots are going to replace a whole bunch of footwear. I don’t need winter boots anymore. I don’t need rain boots anymore. And I don’t believe you only have 4 pairs of shoes/boots. What do you wear on a rainy day in spring? Those big-assed winter boots you had on today? Running shoes?

    MisssyM – Not unless you also weigh 80 pounds and have a pouty mouth? Just get a different colour/style than hubby has. They’re so amazing you shouldn’t deprive yourself just because of Beckhamphobia

  16. Well, about boots how do you ever wear the almost red soled one in the webpage photo?My eyes always go to them and I think of a similar pair that I have. It is built for torturing feet.Must have been invented by a cab driver [to stop u from walking].I am sure ur boots are pretty respectable and not like mine.Still, I can’t ignore the uncanny resemblance

  17. I wear “Those big-assed winter boots” all year ’round, XUP!
    I get funny looks in July and August and they do stink a wee bit around that time, but hell! It’s Canada! And I HAVE seen snow in June, July AND August! better to be prepared!

  18. Thanks for telling us about these. I’m always the last to know. I like to have just a few good pairs of shoes/boots rather than a closet full of all right ones. I keep hearing great things about Glebetrotters too so thanks for reminding me about that store too.

  19. Finola, you can’t be always the last to know, because I am; I haven’t even heard of any of the shoe names that people mentioned in their comments 🙂

    XUP, you have totally convinced me, and the #490’s are cute in an ugly-sorta way. Did you find that they fit true-to-size? I’m probably gonna buy them used from ebay or some such place, and I’d hate for them not to fit and me not be able to return them.

  20. I don’t fall in love with shoes or clothes. I generally don’t go head over heels over inanimate objects (although sometimes Art moves me deeply).

    The exception was when I attended an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, entitled “The 1920s: Age of the Metropolis”. It was a fabulous collection and I walked through it in a state of art-inspired of bliss. As much as I deperately wanted to own a Tamara de Lempicka painting or any of a dozen other objects d’art on display, I was not expecting my reaction to a certain rare luxury vehicle, the Bugatti Type 41, better known as the Royale.

    Never before or since have I fallen in love… I mean completely smitten, head over heels, ga-ga in love… with a machine. And I am by no means a “car guy”. Quite the opposite, really. To me, a car is something I get into to go from my house to wherever it is I need to go. But this creation… it would be a sin to call it a “car”… took my breath away. It was heart-achingly beautiful.

    Until that moment, I never fully understood someone “falling in love” with a dress, or a piece of jewelry… or a pair of boots.

  21. Ramble – Those gumboots are definitely not meant for walking. They’re only good for standing in a muddy garden or sloshing around a flooded road or something.

    Trashy – I can’t wait to see this.

    Finola – You’re welcome. They have some lovely shoes and boots and bags in that store. And they are always very friendly and helpful.

    Skye – Oh boy – If I were you I’d go try some on in a store first because they’re in Australian shoe sizes which are totally different from North American which are different from European which are different from UK sizes. Even the online charts that convert sizes are off. I thought I would be a size 6, but turned out to be a 4 or something. Really. Go try them on first.

    Daniel – Are you still in love with this car? If you saw it today for the first time do you think you’d have the same reaction?

  22. I’ve never heard of Blundstones.
    I do like the idea of shoes that are fashionable enough to wear with a Presidential inauguration and still functional enough to hike to the North Pole.

    Since I have no need to do either I’ll probably pass on purchasing them right now but if my situation in life changes, and it may, I’ll be all over them like a blund on a stone. Or stones..

  23. Glen – If I got an invitation to a Presidential inauguration, I would put on my Blundstones and run far away where they couldn’t find me. You might consider that.

  24. Up until a couple of years ago, the Blundstone factory was a stone’s throw from my house. Then they closed it down, sacked all the Tasmanian workers and outsourced production overseas. My love affair with this style of boot has ended, although the pair of lace-up Blundstones I bought at age 17 are still going strong thirteen years later.

  25. Probably the best pair of footwear I ever bought in my life. Eventhough the stitching by the ankle is getting loose.