Blundstone 550 Review: An Upgrade, or Just More of the Same?

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

The Blundstone 550 gets a lot of praise, but does it deserve it? It’s always a smart idea to check out what others have to say before dropping some cash on a new boot.

In this Blundstone 550 review, I’m going to dive into the specifics of this boot and tell you what I like and what I don’t like so you can shop with confidence.

Does it deserve its popularity?
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Blundstone 550

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Bottom line: The Blundstone 550 is overpriced. You can find boots with better leather and a more reliable method of construction for less, but the style is unique and they’re not terrible.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Has a trendy and popular style
  • Two nylon pull tabs make these easy to slip on and off, so they’re excellent for chores and when you’re on the run
  • Very comfortable, even brand new---no break in period
  • Removable insole so you can add your own custom for more arch support

Cons:

  • Mold-injected outsole is only glued to the upper, so there’s a good chance it can become separated
  • Leather upper is made from genuine leather---not full grain---it’s easy to find better leather in a $200 boot
  • AU sizing can be confusing for US customers

I walked into my favorite coffee shop recently. It’s one of those fancy ones with plants on the wall—you know the type. 

Every single person in the shop was wearing Blundstones. I’m not exaggerating. Granted, there were only four people, but it was uncanny enough to set off alarm bells for me—after all, I’m a professional boot reviewer and I didn’t have any experience with Blundstone boots. 

I picked up a pair of Blundstone 500s for myself and a pair of 550s for my wife so we could test them out together (#couplegoals). 

After a few months of wear and tear with these boots, my verdict is in. Keep reading to get the full scoop. 

Blundstone 550 Overview

Blundstone 550 1

The Blundstone 550 is the brand’s enhanced version of the 500 Chelsea boot. To be honest, I’m not sure why Blundstone has kept the 500 around, because the 550 is only marginally more expensive and only marginally better. 

You can read my Blundstone 500 review here, or read my 500 vs 550 comparison here

It’s important to note that in this review, I’m actually reviewing my wife’s boots. I’ve been wearing the 500s, and technically, I haven’t worn the 550. But both the 500s and 550s I bought are made in the same factory in Vietnam, feature the same leather upper, and are constructed in an identical fashion.

Are Blundstones unisex?

Yes, Blundstones are unisex. Their website has a men’s and a women’s section, but that’s only to make finding the correct size easier. All their boots are built the same.

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Because of that, there’s a bit of guesswork in this review regarding the fit, sizing, and comfort. However, the 500 is comfortable, and I highly doubt the 550 is less comfortable since Blundstone has added a few extra features specifically to boost the comfort. 

The 550 has two high density foam pads in the heel, some leather lining in the shaft, and a slightly taller outsole for greater durability. 

It’s made with genuine leather, has a cemented sole construction, features a removable footbed, and has those two nifty nylon pull tabs in the front and back. 

Blundstone 550

The style of a Chelsea boot and the ruggedness of a work boot in one super comfortable package. With pull-up straps in the front and back, these are easy to slip on and wear any time.

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What’s the Blundstone Super 550?

Blundstone 550 after months of wear 1

When Blundstone first released the 550, they called it the Super 550. But a few years in, they changed the name to the Classic 550. 

There’s no difference between the Classic 550 and the Super 550 other than the name. So you don’t need to go hunting a super version down like I did for 10 minutes. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Blundstone 550 Boots

Blundstone 550 boots leather detail

I’ll get straight to my point: I think the Blundstone 550 is overpriced. The cemented sole construction is too unreliable, and for a $200+ boot, genuine leather is a disappointment. 

I can name several brands that make Goodyear welted or Blake stitched boots with full grain leather for under $200 off the top of my head. The benefit of a Goodyear welt or a Blake stitch is that there’s something other than glue holding the sole to the leather, so you’re going to get more longevity from the boot. 

Also, with a Goodyear welt, you get a lot more water resistance, and you have the option to resole the boot in a few years time when the heel eventually wears down. 

Blundstone 550 6

As for the leather, genuine leather has a looser grain structure, so it’s more prone to irregular creasing, and it doesn’t maintain as many natural oils, making it less water resistant and more likely to crack sooner. 

I have some alternatives below that solve these issues, but there’s a big caveat: Blundstone boots have a specific shape to them that I haven’t found elsewhere. They look pretty cool, and they’re trendy and popular.

If you want a Blundstone boot because it’s a Blundstone, then you should absolutely go for it. They’re not a total rip-off or anything—they’re a decent boot. But don’t believe anyone who says they’re the best boot in the world. 

Blundstone 550 vs 585

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The Blundstone 585 is a close runner up to the 550 in terms of popularity. They’re made exactly the same, so one isn’t inherently better than the other. The biggest consideration to make when choosing between the 550 and the 585 is whether or not you like the color. 

Both Chelsea boots are very casual, but the 585 looks a little more distressed from the beginning. The 550 leather is easier to care for, and because both are made with genuine leather, I opted for the 550.

I think the 585 would pair better with light wash jeans, but the 550 is more versatile. 

Blundstone 585
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Blundstone 550 Review

First Impression

Blundstone 550 leather break in 1

I really like the look of Blundstones—I think the dual pull-tab Chelsea is cool, and I appreciate how easy these are to pull on and take off. 

What’s most unique about Blundstone Chelsea boots is the angle of the instep. They’re a chunkier Chelsea but maintain a lower profile in the toe box, which gives these boots a unique look that I haven’t found elsewhere. 

As I mentioned above, I bought the Blundstone 550 for my wife, so you’re seeing what they look like on her. I bought the 500 for myself, but they’re built on the same last and have the same exact shape. 

Blundstone 550

The style of a Chelsea boot and the ruggedness of a work boot in one super comfortable package. With pull-up straps in the front and back, these are easy to slip on and wear any time.

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Leather Quality and Care

Blundstone 500 instep detail on white background 2

The 550 features Blundstone’s Walnut Brown leather, which is a genuine leather. Genuine leather is a disappointment in a boot at this price. 

Over $180, I expect boots to feature full grain leather, which has a tighter grain structure making it more durable, and less prone to scratches. Full grain leather also creases a bit more gently and it retains natural oils and waxes better so it’s less likely to crack a year or two down the line. 

You can avoid the leather cracking by regularly cleaning and conditioning your boots, and I made a full guide on how to care for your Blundstones here if you want to learn more. 

The 550 has a leather lining in the shaft of the boot, but the lining doesn’t extend through the full length of the upper. The majority of the instep and the toe box have a cloth lining, which isn’t nearly as durable. So while the extra leather should make these boots a bit more comfortable around the ankle and heel, it doesn’t add any meaningful longevity.

Blundstone 550 on model profile view 1

The leather is fairly thick at 2.5mm, so that’s good to see. When you add the 1mm leather lining, you get a hefty 3.5mm of leather around the heel, which will keep your feet more cozy in the cold when compared with the Original 500, which has just the 2.5mm leather and no lining). 

I just wish the lining went through the entire boot, because that would definitely add a durability boost. 

Sole

model walking in Blundstone 550 boots

The Blundstone 550 uses a mold-injected TPU outsole that’s cemented onto the leather upper. This is my biggest concern with Blundstones—yes, cemented construction is cheap and fast, but if the glue fails or if it wasn’t applied perfectly, there’s a good chance the leather will separate from the sole. 

In addition to looking weird, that’ll make these boots useless in the rain, mud, and snow. And even if the sole doesn’t separate from the leather, these boots have very little water resistance, despite the fact that the upper is a weather resistant pull up leather. 

Blundstone 550 sole detail 1

You get a lot of shock absorption with the outsole, though. They’re comfortable boots, and they’re great if you struggle with low back or knee pain, or if you’re standing all day and struggle with foot fatigue. Because the sole is quite squishy, Blundstones will alleviate those issues.

I also like that the footbed is removable so you can add your own custom insert if you struggle with foot fatigue or any sort of pain. 

Blundstone 500 sole detail on white background 1

The insole in the Blundstone 550 is underwhelming—it’s a thin piece of perforated foam and has an added high density foam pad in the heel. 

Like the Blundstone 500, the 550 also has a fiber board midsole with a notch cut out in the heel and a piece of high density foam hastily glued in. 

The 550 has a steel shank, which is an improvement over the Original—the steel shank helps with arch support and adds stability into the mid-foot. 

If you read any other reviews that say the steel shank helps dig into the ground and give you greater traction, then that person has never tried on a pair of Blundstones. A steel shank isn’t an external feature: it’s on the inside of the boot and helps keep the arch of the boot from flexing too much (which can cause some folks to feel pain in their heel or on the ball of their foot). 

Fit and Sizing

Blundstone 550 profile view 1

Finding the right fit for Blundstones can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why I recommend buying through their site, because they’ve set up their online store to make it easy to find the correct size, whether you’re looking for men’s or women’s sizing. 

Blundstones come in UK/AU sizes, which are different than US sizing. For instance, I’m a size 10.5 in US sizing, which makes me a size 9.5 in AU sizing, which Blundstone uses. 

For men, finding the right size is pretty simple—just get a full size lower than you normally would in your normal sneakers or dress shoes. 

For women, it’s a bit trickier—UK sizing doesn’t have a different set of sizes for men and women, so ladies may need to find out their male-counterpart sizing, and then drop a full size from there. For instance, my wife has a size 8 women’s US shoe size. When you convert that to US men’s, you get a size 6, and when you convert that to UK/AU sizing, you get a size 5. 

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Confusing? If you’re still not sure what size you should get, check out my full guide on how to find the right size for your Blundstones here

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the fit for the Blundstone 550 is comfortable. As I said earlier, I bought these for my wife, so I’ve never worn the 550, but the 500s I own are built on the same last and have the same shape. I doubt there’s any major difference in the fit and feel. 

Blundstones are certainly comfortable, and they have plenty of room in the toe box. If you feel like your feet are wider than most, you’ll love Blundstones because they give you plenty of room around the toes and at the ball of your foot, while keeping your heel snug and secure. 

Break-in Period

Model walking in Blundstone 550 boots on concrete 1

There’s no break in period for the Blundstone 550. The leather may feel a bit stiff at first, but I doubt you’ll have any blisters or even soreness after wearing them brand new out of the box. 

I always recommend wearing your thickest pair of socks the first time you wear any new boots, because there’s always at least a little resistance. But I wouldn’t worry about bringing an extra pair of shoes for your first trek out with the Blundstone 550. They’re comfortable right away. 

Blundstone 550

The style of a Chelsea boot and the ruggedness of a work boot in one super comfortable package. With pull-up straps in the front and back, these are easy to slip on and wear any time.

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What do Other Reviewers Say?

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As you know by now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Blundstone 550. But there are thousands of five-star reviews across the web for the 550. 

These are very popular boots, and many reviewers say these are the best boots they’ve ever owned. 

A lot of people struggled finding the right size when shopping through 3rd party sites like Amazon and had to go back and forth a few times. Always check the exchange policy, especially with these because you may need to try a few times to get the right size (or just read my Blundstone sizing guide first).

Comfort comes up in most reviews, and folks get great use out of their Blunnies through hikes, chores, running errands, or just having a chill barbecue day. 

Blundstone 550 Alternatives

Jim Green Stockman

The Jim Green Stockman is an excellent alternative to the Blundstone 550, and I’m super close to just recommending it over the 550, but there’s one issue. 

From a materials and construction standpoint, the Jim Green Stockman is better in every way: it’s fully leather lined with full grain leather through the upper (for a total of 3.8mm of leather—the only other boots I have with that much leather cost over $400).

The Stockman features a double-stitched stitchdown construction, which is recraftable and much more reliable than the Blundstone 550s cemented construction. 

But they’re quite wide and stubby in the toe, so they don’t have the more narrow shape of the Blundstone. I certainly wouldn’t call Blundstone Chelsea boots narrow, but they look sleek compared to the Jim Green Stockman. A picture is worth 1000 words, so just take a look at what I mean. 

Also, the Jim Green Stockman costs around $150, so it’s significantly less expensive than the 550. 

For many, that extra width at the toe is a deal-breaker, but if you don’t mind it, then I definitely recommend the Stockman over the 550. 

Jim Green Stockman

The Jim Green Stockman is a worthy alternative to the Blundstone 500 and 550, with thicker leather and superior stitchdown construction, all at a cheaper price.

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Red Wing Classic Chelsea

Red Wing Classic Chelsea ebony harness leather on foot

Red Wing is one of my favorite boot brands, and they do a great job at improving on the Blundstone 550 with their own Chelsea boot. But there are some key differences to note.

This Red Wing has a Goodyear welt, so it’s better in inclement weather and will keep your feet dry more so than the Blundstone 550. Also, the leather is much higher quality. 

But it has a wedge sole. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the wedge, but I think wedge soles look a bit goofy. From a style perspective, I prefer the Blundstone 550 because it has a more traditional heel and lug sole. 

That said, there’s no doubt that the Red Wing Classic Chelsea is a better boot from a materials and construction perspective. But the Red Wing is also about $70 more expensive at the time of writing.

My Thoughts Overall On the Blundstone 550

What I Like

  • The style is unique—while I have issues with their cemented sole construction, it does allow for a slimmer profile. And the two pull-tab thing is awesome. 

  • They’re really easy to put on and take off, which makes them ideal for chores, or just throwing on for a casual outing.

  • The 550 is comfortable right away. There’s no break in period, and the soft outsole makes them a good choice if you’re on your feet all day. 

  • Because there’s removable insoles, you can add your own insert for added arch support if you’d like. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The outsole is only glued to the leather upper. This means that at some point it will become separated, and that the weather resistance is poor. 

  • The leather upper is genuine leather, which is sub-par for this price point. Genuine leather is more susceptible to damage and creasing compared to full grain leather.

  • If you’re shopping in the US, the AU sizing can be a bit confusing.

Who is the Blundstone 550 for?

If you’re looking for a rugged style Chelsea boot that’s comfortable and trendy, and you want to have that classic Blundstone look, you’ll like the Blundstone 550.

The Verdict

I think the Blundstone 550 is overpriced. I’ve reviewed over 50 boots at this point, and I’m disappointed that Blundstone seems to have cut every quality corner they can. 

Cemented construction, mold-injection TPU sole, genuine leather, fiber board midsole—this boot has no strengths other than its style. 

I’d say for $130, this would be a pretty good deal. But at $210 (at the time of writing), you’re paying extra for the brand. 

That said, thousands of people have given their Blundstone 550 boots a 5-star rating and absolutely love them.

They’re comfortable, and they have a really cool, trend-setting style that’s unique to Blundstone. 

I don’t think the Blundstone 550 is a bad boot. If you choose to buy them, I’m sure you’ll still get a year or two of hard wearing out of them. 

But there’s a lot of competition coming at them, and I think there are other choices out there that deliver better value for price. 

And if you’re set on getting a pair of Blundstones, get the 550s over the 500s (or the Classics over the Originals).

Blundstone 550

The style of a Chelsea boot and the ruggedness of a work boot in one super comfortable package. With pull-up straps in the front and back, these are easy to slip on and wear any time.

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FAQs

Can you wear Blundstones in summer?

Yes, you can absolutely wear Blundstones in summer. These are the only boots I like with shorts—call me crazy, but I think the look is awesome. They feature a perforated insole which helps keep moisture away and airflow around your foot.

Do you wear socks with Blundstones?

Yes, you should wear socks with Blundstones. They’re not hard to break in, so you can wear regular crew socks if you want, but I think they look especially cool with heftier wool socks.