Blundstone’s boot selection has a tendency to throw people off—they have a 500 and a 550? A Classic and an Original?
It sounds so similar, and looks nearly identical.
A quick search through Reddit shows a lot of incorrect information floating around, so I wanted to set the record straight.
Blundstone 500 vs 550 Overview
|Blundstone 500||Blundstone 550|
|Upper||Chrome Tanned Aniline Leather||Chrome Tanned, Fully Dyed Aniline Leather|
|Sole||Low density foam||Low density foam with a high density foam heel cap|
|Outsole||5mm TPU||10mm TPU|
|Check Best Price on Amazon||Check Best Price on Amazon|
The Blundstone 500 is the brand’s Original. This is the closest Blunnie to their original Chelsea boot, but is made with more modern manufacturing processes.
For a detailed breakdown of this boot, you can read my Blundstone 500 review here.
But for a short and sweet version, here you go: I don’t see any reason to get the Blundstone 500. If you’re already convinced you’re going to get a Blundstone boot, just go with the 550. I’ll lay out in more detail why a little later in this review, but if you want to get a quick answer and get on with your day: the 550 is a superior boot.
There must be quite the committee of decision-makers over at Blundstone because now they have an Original and a Classic line, as if that’s making anything less confusing for buyers.
The biggest differences you need to know about are: the 550 is leather lined in the shaft, has a little more high density foam in the heel, features a steel shank which adds arch support, the leather is dyed all the way through, and the TPU outsole is 5mm thicker.
These additions make the 550 a better boot overall—slightly more durable in the outsole,and more comfortable with the insole and leather lining.
If these boots cost $40 or 50 more, I wouldn’t recommend them, but because they’re only $10 more expensive, they’re definitely a better choice than the 500.
Want to know more? You can read my full Blundstone 550 review here.
The leathers for both the 500 and 550 are very similar, with the only difference being that the 550 leather is dyed all the way through.
Both are chrome tanned genuine aniline leather, which is sub-par for their price point. Genuine leather has a looser pore structure compared to the higher quality full grain leather—it’s not that genuine leather is bad, but I can find several boot brands that use full grain leather and still keep their boots under $200.
Full grain leather creases more gently, it retains natural oils and waxes better, and it resists abrasions and scratches more.
Overall, I don’t think there’s a noticeable quality difference in leathers between the 500 and 550. Sure, the 500 might look a little less finished around the edges because it’s not dyed all the way through, but that’s hard to notice from even two feet away.
The 550 features a leather lining through the shaft. Unfortunately, the lining doesn’t continue along the vamp and the toe-box, which would add a considerable amount of durability to this boot. Instead, the lining in the toe is fabric, which will likely wear out.
The 500 is unlined. This makes it marginally more breathable, but not enough for me to recommend over the 550.
Lastly, the Blundstone 550 features a steel shank, and the 500 doesn’t. This helps add a bit more arch support and stability in the midfoot. This can be especially helpful if you’re hiking or walking on irregular ground often.
The sole is the big difference maker between the Blundstone 550 and 500.
The insole has an additional high density foam pad in the heel for more comfort. Compared to other boots I have in the $200 range, both the 500 and 550 insoles are thin and underwhelming, but it’s true that the 550’s insole is better than the 500’s because of that added heel cap.
As for the outsole, both are made with the same materials and construction method. However, the 550 has a 10mm TPU outsole compared to the 5mm TPU outsole of the 500.
TPU is a harder rubber, so what that means is that the 550 will take longer to wear out in the heel. That’s crucial because neither of these boots can be resoled because of their cemented construction.
I don’t know that double the TPU means double the lifespan, but it certainly means the sole of the 550 will last longer than the 500.
Fit & Sizing
There’s no difference in sizing between the 500 and 550. Still, sizing can be a bit tricky with Blundstone because they use UK/AU sizing.
In the UK and Australia, boot sizes are typically one number less than US sizes.
For instance, I wear a size 10.5 in sneakers in the US. I bought the 9.5 UK/AU size from Blundstone and the fit is perfect.
To clarify: on the Blundstone site, I said I was a US shopper, so they had the size tailored to me: I ordered a 10.5 US and they shipped me the corresponding size.
I was trying to buy through Amazon before shopping with Blundstone and had a difficult time figuring out the difference. I’d order through Blundstone because they make navigating the UK/AU to US size conversion easy.
If you want to make sure you get the correct size, read my Blundstone sizing guide here.
Blundstone 500 vs Blundstone 550: Which is Best for You?
I think both of these boots are overpriced considering they both use genuine leather, have a cemented sole construction, and use a mix of fiber board and low density foam in the midsole and insole.
But thousands of people love Blundstones for their style—and I must say, the style is cool.
So if you’re set on getting a pair of Blunnies, get the 550 over the 500. The same goes for their entire “Classic” line over their “Original.”
The only case I could imagine recommending the 500 over the 550 is if you work in a climate that is always hot. There, it might be worth having an unlined boot. But even so, the 1mm leather lining in the shaft of the 550 isn’t going to insulate your foot so much that it’s sweaty all the time.
The big reason to get the 550 is because of the extra 5mm of TPU on the outsole. That’s going to extend the life of your Blunnies significantly.
Before making your choice, I recommend reading my full detailed review of the Blundstone 550 here as there are some important things to know before committing to this boot.
Are Blundstone 500s waterproof?
No, neither the Blundstone 500 or 550 are waterproof. The leather is water resistant, but because they both use a cemented sole construction, neither will do a great job keeping the water away from your socks
What’s the difference between the Blundstone Original and Classic?
The Blundstone Original is unlined and the Classic has a leather lining in the shaft. The leather lining makes a marginal difference in comfort and insulation.
Which Blundstone boot is most comfortable?
Between the Blundstone Classic and Original line, the Blundstone Classic (like the 550) is the most comfortable boot.