When it comes to unlikely style icons, the Blundstone 500 has to be up there. Traditionally the footwear of choice for Australian laborers, these days you're just as likely to find the hulking rubber boots on the feet of art school kids in trendy neighborhoods such as New York's SoHo, Berlin's Kreuzberg, and London's Shoreditch. And why not? The 500 ticks just about every box. Comfort? Check. Durability? Check. Versatility? Check. All that, plus they look dope.

There's no single reason behind the 500 or the 550's headway into the fashion realm. Rather, it has been caught up in a perfect storm. For some people, the sneaker business has started to feel like a rat race — an endless cycle of frivolous hype dictated by people more concerned with Instagram likes than they are true style. It can be exhausting, and impossible to keep up with. In reaction, the disillusioned have turned to legacy brands, companies known for perhaps one strong, unchanging, high-quality product.

Names such as Dr. Martens, Clarks, Birkenstock, and Blundstone all cut through the noise by letting their history do the talking rather than chasing the social media dragon. Throw in affordability, accessibility, and the fact they simply look good, and their uptick in success is pretty much self-explanatory.

This year, the Blundstone 500 celebrates its 50th year. We caught up with Blundstone CEO Steve Gunn to discuss the enduring success of his brand's classic Chelsea boot.

Steve, why has the 500 boot been so successful among younger people in recent times?

Young people today want to support authentic brands that have a story to tell and a genuine organic following. The boot’s understated unisex style has propelled it to cult status among creatives, adventurers, and tastemakers around the world.

Initially, the 500 appealed to farmers, builders, and workers due to its rugged charm. The current fashion landscape has shifted to prioritize practicality over style. The utilitarian traits combined with all-day comfort and practicality have broadened its appeal, allowing the 500 to be incorporated into a range of wardrobes and styles.

And why do you think it's such an enduring shoe?

The 500 sits at the core of Blundstone design, highlighting comfort and practicality. 50 years have gone by and the original design has adapted to an ever-changing environment, remaining an authority within the unisex boot market. When you own a pair of Blundstones, you own them for life.

how-the-blundstone-500-became-the-cool-kids-favorite-boot-03
Highsnobiety / Julien Tell
how-the-blundstone-500-became-the-cool-kids-favorite-boot-02
Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Where is the 500 most popular?

All over, but particularly [Australian island] Tasmania, Japan, Canada, the US, and Israel.

When did you notice it start to gain traction in the fashion world?

Our presence in the fashion sphere has only come about within the last 10 years or so. In 2015, our international sales outstripped our home market volume, with the elastic-sided Chelsea products becoming the clear favorite the world over. Today, you can see the boots' distinguishable double tabs on the L train in Brooklyn to the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Would you ever consider doing a collaboration with another brand on the 500?

At this stage, the Original 500 is just that — original, unique, and one of a kind. We have partnered with fashion brands to feature the 500s and enhance their seasonal presentation, rather than trying to collaborate or change a boot that has remained timeless.

What do you make of fashion giants like Prada biting the style with the Brixxen boot?

For a boot that was developed 50 years ago in Tasmania to be gaining attention from high fashion brands shows how iconic we have become since the brand’s inception in 1870.

What do you think is the best way to style the 500?

I’ve seen the 500s styled in so many ways and I’m probably not the best person to ask, since I pretty much live in mine. I’ve seen them paired well with anything from jeans and a button-down to outdoor activewear ensembles and even dresses and skirts. Whatever the 500 is paired with, it adds a hint of ruggedness and classic style that, in my opinion, can only enhance the overall outfit.

Browse the latest range of Blundstone 500 styles here.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    This Slinky Dress Was Literally Sprayed Onto Bella Hadid's Body

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Knee-High Socks Have Been Bella Hadid-Approved

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Bella Hadid: From Tighty-Whities to Formal Wear

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Can Bella Hadid Make Wearing Tighty-Whities in Public a Thing?

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Converse's Chuck Taylors Runs Into ​A-COLD-WALL* Again

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    The North Face Urban Exploration Does a Lot With a Little

    Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.