Born in Tasmania in 1870, the Blundstone boot can now be found on millions of feet on every continent. This year the family-owned company celebrates its 150th anniversary.
John and Eliza Blundstone arrived in the community of Hobart on the island state of Tasmania, Australia, in 1855. They had left England in a cargo ship called the Conway with 426 other emigrants, and it took them three months to travel to the other side of the world. Fifteen years later they would found the Blundstone company and pit their fortunes against no less than 350 other cobblers who lived in Tasmania at the time. Those other companies have long been lost to history but Blundstones are still standing.
Canada accounts for the third highest sales of Blundstones in the world and as we shared when we wrote our “Honest Review: 4 Sports, 1 Day, 1 Pair of Blundstones,” the boots are so ubiquitous, it’s a challenge taking home the correct pair when leaving a house party.
The Blundstones may have founded the company in 1870 but it has been the Cuthbertson family who made it a global brand. James and Maria Cuthertson, who were also very respected cobblers in Tasmania, weathered the financial depression of the 1930s better than most and were in a position to purchase the Blundstone company in 1933. The family still owns it today and continue to operate the headquarters out of Tasmania, although the actual boot making is done in six sites around the world. The company’s gumboot continues to be made in a purpose-built factory in Hobart. There are more than 35 different kinds and colours of Blundstones, from steel-toed work boots to kids boots, and this year the Limited Edition 150 boots were introduced to celebrate the company’s anniversary. This is the second time the company has created a boot to celebrate a 150th: the “Eh! Boots” were released as a limited edition leather-lined boot for Canada’s 150th birthday and featured a maple leaf. The style is now a collector’s item.
We received a pair of the Blundstone 150 limited edition boots and as with every pair of we’ve owned, we’re big fans. The colour is a deep, rich auburn, which almost looks black in certain light, and there’s a discrete “150th” stamped in the leather above the heel as well as on the tabs and inner lining.
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Blundstones
#1. John Blundstone originally imported boots from England before making his own in Tasmania from locally sourced materials.
#2. Blundstones outfitted soldiers in both World Wars. In fact, half a million pairs were supplied to the Australian Army during World War II and they were so coveted, the left and right boots had to be shipped separately to keep envious wharf labourers from snagging them.
#3. Blundstone has also made various footwear to spec for police officers, surgeons, farmers, and workers in a Tasman zinc refinery who required wooden soles on their boots so they could withstand hydrochloric acid
#4. In the 1970s, Blundstones adorned the Australian mountaineering team that tackled Mt. Everest.
#5. Blundstone was one of the first manufacturers in the world to introduce injection moulded PVC soles, which were lighter, more durable, and efficient to produce.
#6. The elastic-sided work boot that is now synonymous with the company’s style was developed in the 1960s.
#7. One advertisement campaign for the company boasted that the boots were perfect “from the roughest work to the rowdiest barbecue.”
#8. Blundstone was the second company in the world to own a Desma 12-station rubber-injecting machine.
#9. In the 1990s, Blundstones were re-purposed as tap shoes for the Sydney Dance Company’s Tap Dogs stage show, which travelled the world.
#10 We once wore a pair of Blundstones while doing 4 different sports in one day. Read our review here.
#11. Blundstone produces over 3 million pairs per year and they’re available in more than 70 countries around the world.
#12. The brand became popular in the 1990s in North America partly because of surfers who would wear them back from their forays to Australian surf spots.
#13. Harold Cuthbertson, managing director of the Blundstone company, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1983. He passed away in 1994.
#14. The company’s first lace-up range, the Mountain Master hiking boots, were introduced early this century and came with their own Lonely Planet guide.
#15. Australian athletes wore thermal Blundstones at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
For more about the 150th anniversary of Blundstone, visit blundstone150.com. And to read our review about the Blundstone Original #558, in which we wear a pair while doing four different sports in one day, visit: mountainculturegroup.com/honest-review-blundstones.
Blundstone 150 Limited Edition – The Deets
- Premium leather
- Thermo-urethane outsole resistant to hydrolysis and microbial attack
- Polyurethane midsole for comfort
- Comfort EVA removable footbed with PORON®XRD™ in the heel pad
- Extra set of footbeds for fit adjustment
- Leather lining stamped with 150th
- 150th embossed on outer heel and pull tabs
- MSRP $249.95 Cdn
- Men’s sizes: 6-14
- Women’s sizes: 5-11
Where To Buy Blundstones In The Kootenays
- Guides Hut in Fernie
- High Country Sports in Cranbrook
- Talaria in Kimberley
- Summit Footwear in Invermere
- Golden Outdoors in Golden
- Vince DeVitos in Nelson
- Touch of Fashion in Nakusp
- Universal Footwear in Revelstoke
- Out of the Cellar in Rossland