When a pair of Blundstone’s new #984 Unisex Zip Up series boots landed at the office for review, some research made it clear a lot of highspec materials and design had gone into these safety gems.
Winter’s setting in, so it won’t be long before the premium leather of the waterresistant upper is keeping feet dry and warm in muddy conditions on worksites around the country. The leather is treated to keep the moisture and mud out, and that helps keeps the warmth in. The flip side is the top-of-therange, thermal-regulating bamboo lining will keep feet cool and dry on hot, sweaty days when everyone’s flat chat at work.
Other benefits of the bamboo lining are that it deodorises, is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, breathable, and quick drying.
TEST #1: COMFORT
The comfort test is always an easy one.
It’s essential to make sure a boot is comfortable from the first wear through to the last. My size 14 foot slid easily down into the boot straight out of the box, and the luxury PU footbed instantly felt great. The soft polyurethane that makes up the ultimate comfort arch did a great job offering support and comfort, and the well-positioned open zipper allowed easy access.
So far, so good.
I’ve been wearing the #984s pretty much four days a week, on average 4-6 hours a day, on worksites doing activities like carrying camera gear, walking around filming and crouching and kneeling in various positions. The flexibility of the rubber outsole (which is rated to 300ºC) and the quality of the leather upper provided excellent comfort in a wide range of positions. When I’ve worn average work boots in the same conditions, I typically feel pain in my feet and lower back by the end of the day as the boots hadn’t offered the correct support. But my back, legs and feet all felt great on both the first time out and every other work day over the past two weeks.
TEST #2: SAFETY
A broad-fitting steel toecap provides the highest level of resistance to impacts, punctures and cuts and resists rolling side compression. Having torn ankle ligaments on several occasions in my younger days, ankle support is a massive concern so the 150mm height was a real standout for me. I’m happy to mention that there was plenty of support and padding around the ankle area.
To test the safety, I had three days of climbing in and around excavators of various sizes ranging up to 30 tonnes, along with the different rock-breaking and digging attachments used in conjunction with those machines. My ankles and feet never for a second gave me any reason for concern during this project. I felt safe, solid, and comfortable for the duration.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
There’s plenty of good – and even great – about these Blundstone #984s. My wife loved the fact they didn’t stink the house out after a long day on my feet (I love that bamboo lining), and I loved that because they are so comfortable after a long day, I still felt like going to the gym or for a surf because my back wasn’t hurting. That’s a win and the sign of a great work boot in my book.
Very nice work, Blundstone.