This year, the Blundy 500, arguably Australia’s most iconic boot, turns 50. It goes to show that Blundstone knew the meaning of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because the 500 was originally designed in the 1960’s and since then the design remains almost unchanged. Steve Gunn, Blundstone’s CEO, says, “There would be an uproar if we changed the design too much”

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Blundstone 500

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The 500 has become a staple footwear item for Australians. Since its release, the classic Chelsea boot was built to endure the harsh realities of the Australian landscape. And it was this simple yet stylish durability that became immediately popular with farmers, builders and workers. Fifty years and twenty-five million pairs later, the boots have also grown popular world-wide with adventurers, creatives and functional fashion wearers becoming converted advocates of the 500 series boot, thanks to its simple appearance and unisex appeal.

What is the secret to the 500’s success? Well if you ask some of the staff around here who wear them pretty much every day it’s because of how comfortable they are. We sell many pairs to workers who are on their feet all day. Customers are looking for something they know is going to go with anything they wear, as a no-fuss staple they can rely on to not only look good but feel good as well. Other customers are looking for all weather, all terrain, all year-round foot wear and the 500 ticks those boxes as well.

Blundstone’s international market is growing rapidly, with business doubling within the last five years. The biggest markets embracing the boot company are the U.S. Canada, Japan and Israel, where it is believed one in three Israeli’s now own a pair of Blundstones.

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Blundstone 500

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In an interview with Forbes, Steve Gunn said that the biggest challenge in the expanding global market was manufacturing. Even though manufacturing has now moved off shore to keep up with demand, they maintain strict quality control to continue to ensure a premium product manufactured to Australian standards. “The premium nature of leather and quality of our manufacturing means we can't just walk into any old factory and say, please make our shoes. We need to spend time nurturing relationships with our supply partners. The vast majority of our shoes are made in Vietnam but we're also manufacturing in Mexico and Romania.” Steve says.

So, what’s next for Blundstone? You can expect the range specifically designed for women to continue expanding. For a long time Blundstone wanted to maintain its profile as a unisex brand, which meant boots designed for men, but women also loved wearing them. There was previously no attempt to create boots that fitted to women’s foot shape but over the next few years this will begin to change. Already this year we have seen the arrival of heeled boots for women which have been so popular they have just about sold out Australia -wide already, so we can’t wait to see what else is in store for Australian Blundy fans.

Shop the 500 series now.

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