Blundstones are the most ubiquitous boots in the city of Toronto. Everywhere you look, you’ll find feet sporting the legendary boot, with their elastic sides and unmistakable pull-on straps. The feet could belong to a bike messenger, a world traveler, a businessperson or musician, but the boots remain the same. Sometimes it gets really annoying when a particular style becomes homogenous to the point where it seems like everyone in the entire world is wearing it, but just like indie kids can’t claim ownership over their favourite band when they hit the mainstream, why get mad about great shoes?
In the fall of 2010, I had been looking into purchasing a good pair of Chelsea boots. My search for a vintage pair was fruitless, so once I discovered Blundstones, I immediately started to fawn over them. The elastic sides were just what I wanted and it was just an added bonus that they supposedly last forever. Even though as a penniless student I was loathe to spend over $200 on a single pair of shoes, I know quality when I see it, so I bought them anyways. As soon as I slipped a pair on my feet and started walking, it was as if little cherubic angels were dancing around my feet. They were comfortable, looked good, and made me feel like a badass. Nowadays, my extensive ‘fashion girl’ shoe collection remains neglected because I wear my Blundstones almost every day.
Now, when I see other people wearing Blundstones (even when I am not), I secretly congratulate them for embracing extreme comfort into their lives while still managing to look badass. If there were a comfort Olympics, Blundstone would win the gold medal. Perhaps this is just a reflection on me (secondhand bargain hunter for life), but they were the first pair of shoes I bought that fit me perfectly. They embraced my misshapen feet like a long lost lover, instead of punishing my irregularities with blisters and blood. I love that I can just pull them on and off and be out the door instead of wasting precious minutes fiddling with pesky laces.How can you resist?
In University, I majored in Environmental Studies and I’ve fondly nicknamed Blundstones “environmentalist boots” because of the fact that I could walk into any given tutorial and note anywhere between 3-10 pairs in the room. The all black #063 chisel toe are sleek. The brown #500 Original veer dangerously close to ‘organic farmer’ territory, but they both serve the same dedicated purpose– to get the job done and look damn good while doing it. The leather is super tough and can withstand anything from biological sampling fieldwork to activist protests.
They look like a Chelsea boot but function as a work boot, which means they are specifically engineered to be stylish and tough. Some people may argue with me on the stylish factor, but I have an undeniable visual appreciation for heavy boots. Everyone’s personal style is different but every time I put on my Blundstones, I feel like a confident goddess. Perhaps not everyone into heavy-duty unisex work boots, but I like my footwear to mean serious business. I don’t beat around the bush and neither do my shoes.
Anyone who owns a pair of Blundstones will tell you they last for years. This isn’t just customer loyalty talking– the boots are actually built to last for years. The leather upper is attached to the polyurethane sole in a process called vulcanization. Essentially, you will never see the sole of the boot flapping off of the toe, because there is no glue used in the making of a Blundstone boot. Instead, the rubber sole is fused to the leather using pure heat.
In this world where electronics are designed to break so consumers must replace them every few years (you know, to keep profit margins up) it’s reassuring to know that there’s still a product out there built to withstand weather and wear. So many shoe brands are content to sell shoddy, low quality shoes that break after a few wears, that it seems like Blundstones are the only shoes on the market built to last for years of heavy wear and tear. When you consider that they last up to 8-plus years, their price tag doesn’t seem that hefty after all.
Isabel Slone is a Toronto-based fashion blogger and writer. Follow her on Twitter at @isabelslone.