Hobart, Tasmania – 153 year old iconic Tasmanian brand Blundstone has been flagged as the boot brand to watch this year by the New York Times.
The New York Times recently published a 1000-word article asking their readers, Have You Clocked These Boots?’, along with the question, ...will Blundstone’s Chelsea boots be the defining style of the early 2020s?
The Tasmanian family-owned brand is not new for Australians, who have been wearing the boots since the company started in the 1870’s. But in recent years, the brand has become the boot of choice internationally, with the New York Times journalist commenting that on a recent flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, three people in his row (including him) were wearing Blundstone boots.
So what is it about this humble brand that has seen its business triple in the previous five years in the US alone, and now available in more than 70 countries around the world?
Blundstone’s Joint-CEO Adam Blake says the current fashion landscape has shifted to prioritise functionality over style, and he believes this shift, along with the genuine connection wearers have with their brand, and the word-of-mouth way in which fans have shared their love of the boots, has seen them grow organically around the world in recent years.
“We often hear people say that Blundstone is not trying to scream for attention. It's just there, reliable, timeless and making durable, comfortable boots”, says Blake. “We are not chasing fashion, we are who we are, and our consumer relates to us for that”.
While work and safety boots still make up around 90% of Blundstone’s sales in Australia, internationally, it’s their iconic Chelsea boot from their lifestyle range that is their bestseller, a boot that has been a part of the brand since the late 1960’s and continues to use the original pattern.
“When Blundstone launched its original Chelsea boot over 50 years ago, they were worn by farmers, builders, and anyone else who needed footwear that could handle a hard day’s work”, says Blake. “Today, these boots are loved by everyone from everyday workers to people seeking adventure and functional fashion wearers”.
Blake says that while Blundstone has seen significant growth globally in the past five to ten years, the strength of their brand is built on their heritage as the original work boots, and this heritage remains incredibly important to the brand.
Tasmania is known for its vast, rugged wilderness and Blundstone boots are built tough, directly reflecting the place they’re from. “There is hidden technology in the soles of our boots that offer wearers ultimate comfort and support”, says Joe Carfora, Blundstone’s Global Range Manager for Leisure. “Our lightweight, thin and breathable cushioning material in our footbed is engineered for repeat impact and shock absorption”. “That’s why we are renowned for our comfort and durability”.
The brand says that there is no doubt that women are key drivers today in the global growth and popularity of Blundstone. “In most markets, the 24–35-year-old female segment is showing the fastest growth for both awareness and purchasing behaviour of our brand,” says Carfora.
This led to Blundstone launching their Women’s Heel range in 2019, which the brand said sold out in all markets before they had even reached the peak selling season. “We wanted to offer wearers the same quality and comfort they have come to expect from our brand, but with the features of a Cuban heel and a slimmer fitting upper than our original Chelsea boot range”, says Carfora.
Blundstone says their vegan range, which the brand launched in 2021, has also seen a strong response in markets, particularly with female wearers.
“While it isn’t new for brands to offer vegan ranges”, says Carfora, “We took our time in product development and testing as we wanted to be confident that every element of the range was fully verified as vegan, while still giving our wearers the same comfort, quality and durability they expect from our brand”.
“Our purpose has always been to enable people to walk life their way”, says Blake. “With 153 years of stories behind us, we know that whilst our boots won’t change the world, the people that wear them just might”.
Founded in Tasmania, Australia in 1870, Blundstone is renowned for durability, quality, craftsmanship and understated style. Best known for their iconic elastic-sided Chelsea boot, their boots can now be found on the feet of adventurers, thrill-seekers, farmers, chefs, tradies, fashionistas, creatives and makers in over 70 countries across the globe. Throughout its history, Blundstone has put boots on the feet of Australian soldiers and Everest expeditioners, miners and musicians. Blundstone holds itself to the highest standard and is proud of the company’s Every Step Better program which encapsulates its commitment to ethical and responsible business management.