Hiking is a great activity to help you stay fit during the winter. However, the cold winter conditions in the mountains are completely different from the usual ones, so pleasant summer destinations can become very demanding in winter. That is why it is necessary to plan out a mountaineering hiking tour well, and above all to be well prepared, dressed, and ‘shoed’.
There are variations in the design of every hiking boot, but when it comes to hiking footwear that can be used both in the city and in the backcountry, brands like Blundstone are the ones to turn to.
Hiking boots must go over the ankles to provide support and protect the ankles from injuries, hence they sometimes might hurt a bit. The sole must be ribbed, made of quality rubber and strong, so that it can provide great stability to your every step. This is why Blundstones can hurt a bit until you break into them.
Blundstone footwear is a thing among hikers. The name is associated with a type of footwear, as the company’s best-known product is the line of their laceless, elastic-sided boots that are ankle length. This nonstandard winter type of boot is said to provide great comfort and durability, while also staying warm and modern.
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What Hides Behind the Name Blundstone?
Blundstone is an Australian footwear company that has been present for over a century. Back in 1968, the company introduced a 500 series of elastic-sided comfort boots. They grew popular because they were great protective wear when going out in the bush. It was not long when the product found its way into stores in London and New York, where it became a counterculture-style staple.
The idea behind the comfortable boot is not just the design made to be pretty. They are made firmer than necessary, reflecting where they came from. The first Blundstone boots were made in the Tasmanian bush, and even though they may have evolved in style, design, and technology, the company claims to have maintained a high-quality standard.
Now, even though the shoes are not made in Australia anymore, and are produced, as the majority of products in Vietnam, Thailand, India, China, and Mexico, it is still considered an Aussie shoe. Even today it represents a mixture of stylish, urban, and outdoor activities for all four seasons.
Blundstone Boot Design
These boots are something most people either love or hate. For example, people who are used to sleek-fitting shoes may feel a bit acquired while wearing them. They are significantly wider and may even feel chunky, with a wide toe box that some critics even referred to as a clown shoe.
However, the truth behind the wider design is very comfortable. The extra space in the toe box is planned for colder weather so you can wear warmer socks and still wear them with no trouble. The arches of the shoe are regular in height, but if they are not sufficient they can be paired with insoles.
What to Keep In Mind?
Ordering Blundstones can be tricky as the manufacturer provides half-sizes, not referring to length but rather the width of the shoe. For example, a size 7 and a size 7,5 will be the same length, but the half size up will be wider.
Hiking Shoes for Low Mountains
Walking in the low mountains requires somewhat more compact footwear. Medium-height models, just like the Blundstone, which extends over the ankle, are suitable. This height provides solid support, which is especially important when descending on some more demanding terrains.
It is desirable that the footwear is made of waterproof material, preferably Goretex or similar material, which always keeps the feet dry. The upper material must be durable, it is usually modern technical materials with a combination of leather. The sole must not be too soft, because the terrain in the hills is often very rough.
The sole must be robust enough. Some models are equipped with a special shock absorber system, which is especially useful for the descent. The rubber on the sole must enable good grip on wet terrain, but at the same time, it must be durable so that it is not damaged by impacts on rocks and sharp stones. Some models are equipped with special fastening systems, which enable tightening, and they do not have to be tied.
It is very important that hiking shoes are waterproof, which means that they have an additional membrane that does not let water into the shoe, and drains and eliminates moisture created by sweating from the inside. First of all, they must be comfortable, so it is recommended to try as many different models, which differ in width, depth, weight…
Also, it is desirable to choose shoes that will suit the specific purpose of use, or the terrain you will walk in them. For a trip in nature, when walking on a flat surface, you do not need heavy hiking shoes with a hard sole, and for high mountains, where you climb rocks and stones, more durable and deeper boots with a firm sole are a better choice.
Material is Important
Today’s hiking boots are made of modern, lightweight materials. Either they are made entirely of leather or they are made of a combination of materials. Leather shoes are definitely a little heavier, leather requires special maintenance, they need to be impregnated regularly, but with proper care, they will certainly last a long time, and their main advantage is greater durability.
Shoes made of modern, combined materials are lighter, more sensitive to sharp walls, but special materials provide great breathability of the feet, and at the same time excellent protection from moisture and water.
When trying on shoes, it is advisable to wear both shoes, because in most people the difference in the length of the feet varies from half to one number. Shoes should be tried before the end of the day when our feet are most tired and swollen because they will often be in that condition during hiking.
It is desirable to try on shoes with similar socks that you would use for hiking and only wear only one sock, not two, three, as is sometimes the case. Therefore, we pay the same attention to socks as to shoes and we choose quality socks that have a reinforced surface of the heel and toes.
Blundstone shoes are there, often described as safety shoes, as the idea of safety is integrated in the design. The models of the shoes are made for protection during hiking, with characteristics that aim to provide optimal protection from impact, as well as resilience to cuts, chemicals, heat, electrical danger, etc. There are top three traits that make Blundstone what it is today:
- Comfort as the company collaborates with world-class suppliers, innovators, and manufacturers to be able to produce the most comfortable shoe that will provide optimal absorption.
- Leather quality is also extremely important as it provides protection of the ankle and skin, and should be resilient to wear and tear for a longer time.
- Unique protection where the ideas of Blundstones designers is to reduce the pressure and orthopedic challenges in the lower part of the foot.
If Perfect, Why Are Blundstones Supposed to Hurt?
A well-designed shoe that can be used in different terrain and styled for different occasions has all the traits of a good and quality shoe. Because they are built to last, the leather and non-slip outsoles are a perfect combination for the feet. It will protect you from the ice and snow during the winter, but it can serve as a good protective layer from the Sun, as well as the other elements. This is one of the reasons why these shoes are so popular among any type of service industry worker.
With one of its traits being durability, it is the very thing that will sneak up behind a customer and hop them on the wagon for negative reviews. What’s the catch? It is quite simple really, durable shoes mean durable materials, and durable materials can not be soft and easy to manipulate as the footwear would probably not last as long. Also, wearing Blundstone boots on and off can sometimes be a bit challenging.
Buying new shoes may require some planning ahead, which is why we would never recommend buying new shoes only a few days before the hike. Buying a pair of Blundstones in advance, and wearing them while doing errands would help you break into them faster than just avoiding such experiences overall. Walk around in your trekking or hiking shoes and you will break into them in next to no time.
Wide socks, and wearing them around the house, are the most efficient and precise ways to allow the leather from the boot to break down slowly and adapt to the shape of your feet.
But in the End, Are the Rough Boots With the Time and Money?
Rarely does a brand succeed and focuses on dominating the industry, and Blundstone is a perfect example of perseverance. This brand is a safe option if you are looking for quality, but it may take some time for you to break into a pair of new shoes that comes from that brand. Is it worth the money and time is an entirely personal opinion and is based on preference? This is the question only you can answer.