Blundstone 500 Review

6.7
6.7 score
[Editors rating (6.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (6.7)/10


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Editor rating: 6.7 / 10
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Sporting a water-resistant, leather upper and a PU outsole, this pair of boots fall into the general-usage category for an all-weather styling. They feature twin goring at the sides and dual pull loops located at both the heel collar and top of the tongue. The style is a Chelsea design which has undergone a lot of changes since it’s initial conception 50+ years ago. But are these changes for the better or worse? Below, we examine the available features and examine closely the result. Whether you are a longtime fan of the Blundstone 500 series (Blunnies) or are interested as a first-timer, our findings might surprise you.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Leather Upper

Dual Pull Tabs

PU Outsole

Removable, Cambrelle Footbed

Water Resistant

Cons

Durability

Overall Fit

Color

Color

With these, we receive a rather unique take on color choices. Available in black or brown tones, color variations of the previous two, such as green, pink, and etc., are showcased as a combination between the stitching and elastic goring. Not only is this a unique approach to handing us a wider range of color solutions, but the overall feel of it all does sport the potential individuality as a promising touch. Anything worn above the ankle will showcase these delightful combinations of the rainbow, per se; whereas, anything below the ankle will project the original black and brown tones. This does open up the wardrobe, as it were, for a single pair of boots.
Durability

Durability

In the past, this is a product which excels in durability. As such, the longevity factor was rather high in that these could last well into the 10+ year mark. With the changes in manufacturing and the locations, thereof, the durability element has rapidly declined. Whether it is the grade of materials, the manufacturing process, or a bit of both, the end result is the same: these do good to make it to 2+ years. We will admit that some of the reports examined are due to improper implementation of the product; basically, worn in conditions which are not rated for the item. In this, the fault does not remain with the brand. With that being stated, however, there are many reports in which the footwear fails in the ideal conditions that it has the design for. Everything from bumping into an object which rips through the upper like paper, or the outsole cracking and becoming useless, sits on the table, so to speak. As such, the durability factor is extremely low when we compare this item to itself in the years past. This is an unfortunate turn of events from a brand that seems to have prided itself in this department, not so long ago.
Fit

Fit

For U.S. citizens who are new to this product, these originate in Australia. The sizing reflects this. Typically, if you are a size nine (U.S.) with a wide foot, then you would order the size 10.5, as the half size reflects the wide of nine, so to speak, and the Australia 10 reflects the U.S. 9. And although this is still true to some extent, it is not always true, anymore. Because of manufacturing located in various parts of the world (i.e. Thailand then Vietnam, China, India, Romania, and Mexico), sizing is quite an issue, as there seems to be a lack of serious consistency from the original status of the brand. We find this to be frustrating, to say the least. Add to this, the more than occasional bouts with one shoe not fitting like the other (mismatching), and we are left just staring and gawking about the whys and hows. The fit is terrifyingly offputting because of the potential for this disastrous scenario. With that being stated, however, the company is rather good at making exchanges to compensate for what should never be in the first place.
Key Features

Key Features

One of the key features of this item falls into the water resistance area. The upper is treated and it performs well, within this regard. Next, shock absorption is not too bad, either. Claimed by the company to alleviate up to 33% of the shock gained while walking, these can be worn for a full day’s work after the break-in period is over; at least, as long as you do not have high arches. For high arches, we recommend purchasing a separate insole to accommodate. After which, you, too, can benefit from the shock-absorbent technology, as it is was meant. Thirdly, the upper is made of leather. Only two millimeters thick, the overall weight becomes lower than some of the others of this same type on the market. This reduces fatigue in the long-run and allows for a better feel, overall. Lastly, is the molded, reinforced heel. Unfortunately, heel slipping does seem to occur. It is frequent enough that the company sells a separate insole to counter this oversight. But instead of giving you something to help alleviate this problem, they sell it to you. Moreover, the company’s solution does not perform in a desirable fashion.
Model

Model

What once was an invaluable collection to a casual work boot, because of the wonderful fit and performance, thereof, has become somewhat of a disappointment during the present years. The easy on-and-off feature only applies to those with low-volume feet. Those with higher volume struggles with this attribute, even after 1+ year of usage. Moreover, those with lower volume feet and ankles may receive the on-and-off feature as a wonderful benefit, but the room inside is too spacious; a pick-your-poison type of scenario, so to speak. The reinforced heel should cup and prevent slipping while performing casual work duties. Regrettably, this seems to be the exception more than it is the norm. Because of this, rubbing at the top of the foot increases, thereby reports of rawness and blistering is on the rise from what it would have been years ago. As for the overall fit, the product falls rather short in this area; a painstaking disappointment to what once was a great item.
Notable Features

Notable Features

These typically come with two removable insoles to help with spacing for varying volumes of feet and to allow air drying in instances of exposure to soggy conditions. You can use one or the other, or even both. The overall design, however, does not consider those with high arches. In these cases, a separate insole will need to be utilized as a replacement for this setup, whether it is a medical orthotic or gel insert. If not, then a lot of pain and discomfort can be expected after wearing these for a couple of hours. So much so, there are reports of people tossing these away after a couple of times of wearing them. But as we stated, simply replacing the insole, with something that supports high arches, can do wonders with this footwear and prevent tossing away an item just purchased, as it were.
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole is injection-molded, dual-density polyurethane (TPU). Back in the years of its conception, the 500 series boasted of longevity and durability, including the outsole. Unfortunately, as great as it may have been in the past, the outsole seems to have some serious manufacturing issues at times. Mainly, we find that the outsole is prone to cracking, thereby it becomes a hazard and unusable. Furthermore, because of the nature of the design as a whole, the outsole can never be re-soled. This is due to the fact that the shank and last are too close to the attachment area where the outsole is placed, and it is molded to the leather, itself. Whether the structure has been minimized to save a few bucks and cut a few corners, or it is by sheer design to get us to purchase another pair, this is a consumer’s nightmare for those of us who like to make the most of our footwear. These can never be re-soled, and as such, once the outsole cracks, it is over. And although this is not exactly a make-or-break type of attribute, by the time the leather upper is nice and worn in at 2+ years, the outsole is at high risk to take a hit.
Salient Features

Salient Features

Two pull loops decorate both the heel collar and the top of the tongue. These are for easier on and off. With the opening set to around eleven inches, this design performs well with those having low-volume feet and ankles, but for those with higher volume, not so much. The problem is that when you have a lower volume of foot and ankle spacing, the easy on-and-off feature performs impressively. But, however, the spacing, once inside of the product, becomes overly spacious. This, in turn, must be combated with thicker socks, added insoles, or a combination of both. As for the elastic goring, it does its job in a grand fashion; helping to make things easier when removing the footwear or placing it on. Furthermore, with the color choices available, the elastic goring hosts to the styling, as well.
Style

Style

The style is Chelsea which has undergone changes to remain hip and stylish to the present day in which they are served. Basically, these are classics with a modern approach. As far as style goes, these do hit the mark and look rather good doing it. We love the fact that the elastic goring and stitching is highlighted to represent varying color solutions against the brown and black tones found in the uppers. Furthermore, we can showcase these contrasting colors by wearing something above the ankles. Or, if we so desire, we can tone down to the black and brown variations by covering these contrasting elements with something below the ankles and over the boot. After it is all said and done, the style is what makes this boot stand out and the aesthetic design of the contrasting colors. Wardrobe choices open up to us which allow for a greater range of sporting our individual personality. In this, we love the style and approach, thereof.
Upper

Upper

For this product, the leather upper has a water-resistant treatment. As long as you do not submerge these to the elastic goring, your feet will remain dry. In this, the item performs well. Two millimeters thick, the leather is not considered enough thickness to fall into a tough man's category, so to speak. That is, these are rated for casual working conditions and will not suffice under the heavier conditions which may be found in occupations such as construction, ranching, heavy farming, welding, and so on. If, however, you are heading out to the garden or are going to feed the animals on a spring morning, these might do the trick, as long as there is no torrential downpour of rain or ankle-high mud. The upper can be punctured rather easily when we consider what a working boot typically is. But then again, these are rated as a casual working boot and not that of a heavy-duty styling. This is something to definitely, consider prior to purchasing; especially, if these are to be applied to working conditions.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Blunnies are renowned to those that have worn them in the past. These were the go-to pair of casual work boots, just a few years back. Recently, however, quality is at an all-time low and, seemingly, steadily dropping as time progresses. This is an unfortunate turn of events from a brand that has so much history and, therefore, a proud stake in both style and fashion. Whether it is the quality control of the manufacturing plants or material quality degradation as a whole, this item falls heavily from the grace in which it once knew. At this rate, we cannot see this item remaining as a cherished staple of Australian design. It is, sadly, obvious that quality has taken a backseat to the gain of monetary value, from the perspective of what once was but no longer exists. With that being stated, however, for those looking for a pair which can be utilized as short-term casual wear, then these might suffice. For the rest of us, on the other hand, we are left to mend the wounds of witnessing the decline of greatness.