Boots have a long history dating back to around 1000 BC. People initially wore them for protection from harsh environmental conditions, but their popularity became more fashion-related over time.
Today, some people wear boots for practical reasons, while others wear them purely for style. When paired with the right outfit, boots can add a sleek urban feel or a rugged country look to anyone’s style.
Blundstone and R.M Williams are household boot brands that you’re sure to come across when looking for a new pair.
This article will dig into each brand’s history, including the manufacturing materials and process. We also answer popular questions about these brands and give you our recommendations to help you make an informed decision on which brand is better.
If you live anywhere in Australia or really love boots, you’ve probably heard of Blundstone, famously referred to as Blunnies. The giant footwear manufacturer has a history dating back to the 19th century.
Blundstone started selling footwear in 1870 in Australia. Two free settlers set up the Blundstone company, selling high-quality shoes and boots from England.
Over the decades, Blundstone dominated the footwear industry, producing high-quality boots for men and women.
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History of the Brand
Blundstone Footwear Official Website
The story of Blundstone starts with two emigrants, John and Eliza, who arrived in Tasmania, Australia, from Derbyshire, England, in 1855.
John worked as a coachbuilder until 1870 when he started importing high-quality English shoes and boots to Australia.
Later, as the business grew, it began to manufacture boots on Liverpool Street, Hobart City, in Tasmania, Australia. Blundstone’s first footwear was lace-up work boots.
In 1892, John teamed up with his eldest son, Sylvanus Blundstone, to form J. Blundstone & Son. The two operated on Collins Street, manufacturing boots in two parallel outlets. Later, they bought a two-story building along Campbell Street and moved all operations.
William Blundstone was John’s younger son in charge of the company’s importation wing at W.H. Blundstone & Co.
The Blundstone companies prospered until the late 1890s when they faced financial difficulties. The Cane family bought J. Blundstone & Co in 1901. Later, in 1909, the sister company, W.H. Blundstone & Co., also went bankrupt.
It didn’t take long for the Canes to face financial turmoil, which saw the company sold again in 1932 to James and Thomas Cuthbertson, whose grandfather was also an English settler who owned a shoe-making company in Hobart.
The two brothers amalgamated the two companies but retained the name Blundstone for its South Hobart’s tannery and Moonah, Tasmania headquarters.
In 2007, due to high production costs in Australia, Blundstone announced it was moving its operations overseas but vowed to continue producing at least 200,000 boots every year at its headquarters in Tasmania.
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Materials and Manufacturing
Blundstone offers many work boots designed to offer comfort, stability, and maximum safety. The construction design features advanced technologies and carefully selected materials for a durable, stylish work boot.
For instance, the XRD technology used in Blundstone boots features a lightweight and highly breathable material designed for maximum shock absorption and comfort.
Blundstone work outsole designs can withstand temperatures up to 284°F (140°C) and meet the AS 2210.3:2019 slip resistance standards. (source)
The steel toe cap guarantees safety against cuts and other injuries, and the Blundstone soling is acid- and oil-resistant with sharp-object penetration resistance.
The bamboo lining ensures your feet are cool, dry, and comfortable over long periods.
Blundstone also offers lifestyle and casual boots which are designed to help the foot breathe, offer excellent comfort, reduce fatigue, and be easy to wear.
The brand is famous all over the world for its Chelsea boot designs.
A pair of Blundstone Chelsea boots
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Our Favorite Blundstone Pairs
Now let’s take a look at two pairs of our favorite Blundstone men’s and women’s boots.
Blundstone #585 Men’s Classics Rustic Brown Chelsea Boots
Image Source: Blundstone.com
The Men’s #585 Rustic Brown Chelsea Boot is an easy-to-maintain Chelsea boot that pairs well with jeans and comes in many different sizes.
These are weather-ready and made from premium leather with an outstanding shock absorption rate for maximum comfort on intense impacts.
Blundstone #1316 Women’s Classics Black and Red Chelsea Boots
Image Source: Blundstone.com
The Women’s #1316 Black and Red Chelsea Boot is a stylish boot designed to make a statement. It combines supple leather, colorful stitching, leather lining, and shock absorption for enhanced comfort.
Blundstone Boots FAQs
Blundstone has undergone a series of managerial and production changes since its inception in the 1870s.
Below we answer two common questions about Blundstones’ current manufacturing location and whether you should spend your money on Blundstone boots.
Are Blundstone Boots Worth the Money?
Despite moving its production overseas from Tasmania, Australia, Blundstone has maintained its boots quality.
The company still offers a wide variety of stylish yet durable boots for men and women across the globe. Blundstone boots should last for several seasons without wearing out, and in our opinion, you won’t regret investing in a pair.
Where Are Blundstone Boots Made?
Blundstone announced it was moving its production overseas in 2007 due to high costs in Australia. However, the company maintained that its Tasmania headquarters would continue to produce at least 200,000 pairs every year.
Today, most Blundstone shoe manufacturing takes place overseas in various countries, including China, Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Thailand. (source)
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2. R.M. Williams
R.M. Williams is an iconic Australian brand that manufactures and sells high-quality boots globally.
Reginald Murray “R.M.” Williams founded the company in 1932 at the tender age of 24. Over the years, the company has produced some of the most loved footwear in Australia and worldwide.
Today, you can visit R.M. Williams Outback Heritage Museum in one of its founding retail outlets in Adelaide.
History of the Brand
R.M. Williams Official Website
The story of R.M. Williams boots begins with one Australian bushman and entrepreneur, Reginald Murray “R.M.” Williams.
Williams was born in 1908 in Belalie North, Australia, to a pioneering settler family that worked and trained horses.
His family moved to Adelaide when he was only ten years old. Williams’ siblings attended school there, but he chose to pursue bush life after realizing school was not where his interests lay. He moved to the Australian deserts, where he became a camel driver.
Williams learned leatherworking skills at a tender age from a passing horseman named “Dollar Mick” Smith. Inspired by bush life, he began creating rugged Australian bush wear, such as saddles and riding boots, in Flinders Ranges and sold them locally.
After perfecting his leatherworking skills, Williams moved back to Adelaide in 1934 and set up a small shop at 5 Percy Street in the suburb of Prospect, in his father’s shed. The business grew fast as he produced high-quality products that many people loved.
Williams’ most outstanding product was riding boots handcrafted from leather. The upper boot construction used a single leather piece that made them durable and timeless. R.M Williams still uses this technique today.
After many ups and downs in his shoe-making business over the years, Williams sold the company in 1988. Since then, R.M. Williams boots company has undergone many managerial transitions but maintains the quality of the original R.M Williams brand.
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Materials and Manufacturing
R.M. Williams boots are crafted with great precision using high-quality materials.
For example, the upper body of the Signature Craftsman boot features a single piece of fine-grained leather from French veal calves. It has a refined feel that gives the boots a timeless and durable finish. (source)
R.M. Williams Signature Craftsman boots have a carefully sculpted toe shape and a lightweight leather insole. Under the back boot tug is traditional v-stitching with extra-fine stitches around the elastic.
The sole is welted with fine leather and crowned with a brass plaque to last.
These R.M. Williams boots pass through the company’s master craftsman, where each is checked and hand-signed on the sole before release.
Our Favorite R.M. Williams Pairs
Below are our favorite selections from R.M Williams.
R.M. Williams Men’s Rickaby Boots
Image Source: Rmwilliams.com
The Rickaby Boot is a lace-up boot with rugged elegance suited for the office and outdoors. This style features a heavy-duty treaded rubber sole and upper premium suede that makes it highly durable.
R.M. Williams Women’s Adelaide Boots
Image Source: Rmwilliams.com
The women’s Classic Adelaide Boot is designed with a classy woman in mind. The one-piece leather design guarantees quality. This stylish boot is the ideal choice for a feminine smart-casual style.
R. M. Williams Boots FAQs
Below we answer two common questions about R.M. Williams boots.
Are R.M. Williams Boots Worth the Money?
R.M. Williams boots are extremely durable and fashionable. The soles will not wear out quickly, but when they do, the construction design allows you to replace them and continue to wear them.
If you’re into boots, R.M. Williams is the go-to choice, and we think you won’t regret spending your money on them even if they are on the luxury side.
Where Are R.M. Williams Boots Made?
R.M. Williams was founded in Adelaide, Australia. The company has its headquarters in Adelaide and still manufactures its R.M. Williams boots in multiple outlets there.
3. Which Brand is Better?
A pair of Blundstone boots
Blundstone and R.M. Williams are both great Australian boot brands with outstanding reputations. However, the two brands have a few distinguishing features that might make you choose one over the other.
For instance, Blundstone features sturdy upper construction from different materials, such as nubuck, suede, and premium leather. We think in some designs the brand focuses more on durability than comfort. It takes longer for this sturdy material to expand and feel comfortable on the feet.
On the other hand, R.M. Williams boots use a single piece of leather with a soft and comfortable feel on the feet. Apart from comfort, the single-piece technique used in construction makes it highly durable.
R.M. Williams also has great sole technology and uses durable materials for enhanced longevity. It’s easy to replace the sole in case of wear, which is a significant difference from Blundstone, which may not allow you to replace the outsole at all, depending on the boot design.
Blundstone also tends to be more of a work boot, unlike R.M. Williams, which allows you to transition from an office to a weekend out with friends and still look great.
In our opinion, Blundstone and R.M. Wiliams are both great. However, in a side-by-side contest on which one is better, R.M. Williams boots have the edge. Of course, your choice will also depend on the price: R.M. Williams is more expensive.
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