Head into any town around the country (especially those in the Mountain West) and start staring at people’s feet. I bet within 30 minutes you’ll see at least a couple folks—both men and women—wearing a pair of Blundstone’s Super 550 Chelsea boots ($200).
The boots are all the rage in the United States for several reasons. People love the style, because the Chelsea’s over-the-ankle design goes well with tapered or rolled-up jeans, and the leather makes them nice enough to wear to work. Some outdoorsy types have even made them look pleasantly funky with a pair of shorts.
I’m on the Blundstone bandwagon because these boots do a lot of things really well, therefore simplifying my shoe choice. (My editor loves his 550’s, too.) Thanks to a firm but still cushy footbed, the 550’s have kept my feet happy while standing for hours at work, driving for hundreds of miles on end, and crushing multi-mile hikes. A moderately aggressive TPU sole hasn’t felt excessive on the pavement while I’m walking the dog, but it’s given me support while scrambling up rocks on Colorado passes at 12,000 feet.
I don’t usually wear my 550’s during the hottest months of the summer, because nothing—minus a pair of flip-flops—breathes well in 100-degree heat. But they’re my go-to shoes from October through May as the leather build is appropriate anywhere and from about 80 degrees to below freezing. They shrug off rain in the fall, and on cold, snowy days I match them with thick wool socks. If you want extra warmth, the brand also makes an insulated pair.
During winter, the 550’s are my favorite pre-ski footwear option, because their height keeps snow out as I brush off the car and walk to the lodge. They keep me stable in icy parking lots. After skiing, they’re easy to pull on and wide enough for my feet to rest a bit after being stuck in vice-grip plastic boots.
Like all leather products, Blundstones take on a nice patina over time. They actually look better after some scrapes, spills, and miles. In terms of durability, they aren’t going to last you a decade like a few higher-end boots, but their quality leather, double stitching, and rubber sole will withstand at least a couple years of daily wear and abuse.
My wife thinks Blundstones have become a cliché because they’re so popular. And she might be right. They’ll likely lose a few followers after the sheen wears off. But there are still many of us who will continue to love and wear them for their comfort, durability, and versatility.