R.M. Williams vs Blundstone Boots: Which Brand to Choose?

different womens chelsea boots collage

Today we’ll continue with another boot brands comparison, again with two famous brands from Australia: R.M. Williams and Blundstone.

Boots are worn worldwide and have a long history, mainly for their versatility and protection. People wear boots for fashion or work.

However, despite the many boot brands available on the market to choose from, some brands stand out more than others.

In this article, we’ve put R.M. Williams and Blundstone against each other to see which company would be the better choice.

In the end, you’ll hopefully have all the needed information if you’re looking to buy your next pair of boots from one of these two.

1. R.M. Williams: History of the Brand

The rich history of R.M. Williams boots can be traced to 1932. The story begins with a young man, Reginald Murray “R.M.” Williams, who was born in Belalie North, Australia.

Born in a pioneering settler family famous for training horses, Williams grew up as an adventurous kid who started making Australian bush wear at an early age.

RM Williams womens boots official website
RM Williams Women’s Boots from the Official Website

Williams loved bush life from childhood and took little interest in attending school as his other siblings did. At only 13, Williams gave up on his academic pursuit and left home to pursue what he loved most: bush life. At 18, Williams was already working as a camel driver in Australian deserts.

Later on, R.M. came to learn leather-working skills from Dollar Mick, an Australian traveling horseman. He became so good at it that he started making saddles and horse-riding boots and selling them to locals.

His business grew and soon he needed space to set up a shop. In 1934, Williams returned home to his father who lived in Adelaide, where he set up a small shop on his father’s property.

Out of love for horses and camels, Williams focused on producing high-quality riding boots that were loved by many riders. His products were handcrafted from leather. The boots feature a single piece of leather carefully stitched at the rear side of the boots.

R.M. Williams’ boots shop, which was located at 5 Percy Street in Prospect, a suburb of Adelaide, thrived until 1988 when it was sold to Bennett & Fisher Ltd. Since then, the company has been under multiple transitions but maintained the founder’s name.

Today, a portrait of R.M. Williams hangs at R.M. Williams Outback Heritage Museum, Adelaide, R.M. Williams headquarters to date.

Read also: R.M. Williams Alternatives: 8 Boot Brands You’ll Love

Celebrating 90 Years of R.M.Williams

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2. R.M. Williams Products and Manufacturing

R.M. Williams boots use high-quality crafting techniques, many of which were used by the founder since the company’s early days.

Behind each pair of boots, there are master craftsmen that ensure all protocols are met and your new boots are an investment, not just a simple purchase.

It all starts with finding the right piece of leather. The upper part of R.M. Williams Craftsman boots features a single fine grain piece of leather that is robust to add durability and at the same time, soft enough to be comfortable.

The leather is selected by hand as it can’t be done by using a machine.

The boots have only a single visible line which is done by a precise hand, using twin needle stitching. It firmly attaches the side elastics to the boot, adding comfort and strength, and giving R.M. Williams boots their distinctive style.

R.M. Williams boots are stylish and feature their iconic tugs to help put them on easily. Different designs come in different carefully refined toe shapes and quality soles.

After adding the finishing touches, for example, the characteristic red paint on the soles of the Craftsman boots, the leather soles are signed with their iconic signature and logo.

To end the process the boots are cleaned, polished, and inspected for one last time.

RM Williams Lady Yearling Boot official website
RM Williams Lady Yearling Boot from the Official Website

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3. Frequently Asked Questions about R.M. Williams Boots

The below section addresses some of the most common questions people ask about R.M. Williams boots.

Where are R.M. Williams Boots Made?

R.M. Williams manufactures its boots in Australia since 1932, producing durable, comfortable footwear that can resist the harshest conditions. (source)

How do R.M. Williams Boots Fit? Are They True to Size?

R.M. Williams boots are designed for comfort and leisure. The boots are available in different sizes for women, men, and for unisex versions. They are also available in different foot widths. For example, for women, there are two fit types, D – regular fit, and E – wide fit. You can refer to this size guide.

So, if you measure your foot length and width correctly, you should not have any problems with sizes.

Are R.M. Williams Boots Waterproof?

R.M. Williams leather boots can be water-resistant but they’re not fully waterproof. As you probably know, leather is a natural material that is not completely waterproof. You can help increase their water resistance by routinely applying waterproofing products to your boots that will also prolong their life.

Are R.M. Williams Boots Good for Walking?

Even though R.M. Williams boots are mostly seen as designed for leisure and fashion, they’re very versatile to use in many situations. They’re comfortable and their sole design and construction make them a good choice for walking.

Are R.M. Williams Boots Good for Hiking?

Most R.M. Williams boots, including some of the most popular designs such as Craftsman, have a more laid-back look, making them best suited for pleasure, office, and business fits. They won’t be your best bet for hiking.

Are R.M. Williams Boots Good for Snow and Winter?

The single supple leather used in R.M. Williams construction will serve you in cold winter, but not for long. A good pair of thick socks will help in this case.

As for heavy snow, ice, and damp climates, the consensus from many who have tried them is that they are not your best choice.

Are R.M. Williams Boots Good for Wide Feet?

Yes, the brand offers different sizing options including wide sizes. If you need a wide size, you can choose the H fit type for men, and the E fit type for women. You can refer to this size guide for more information.

4. R.M. Williams Popular Designs

Here are two of the most popular R.M. Williams boots you’ll find on the market today from both men’s and women’s categories.

R.M. Williams Men’s Comfort Craftsman Boot

RM Williams Mens Comfort Craftsman Boot
Image: rmwilliams.com.au
Check it out at Rmwilliams.com.au

The Craftsman comes in many colors and features a chisel square toe as well as a flat heel. The outer construction is a yearling leather, a rubber welt sole, and a comfort insole. These elastic-sided boots can be worn both for pleasure and business.

R.M. Williams Women’s Erica Boot

RM Williams Womens Erica Boot
Image: rmwilliams.com.au
Check it out at Rmwilliams.com.au

The Erica Boot is crafted from yearling leather and features a comfortable rubber outsole and a comfortable insole. The boot is carefully designed to give the wearer a stylish and sophisticated urban look. The Erica boot is handcrafted in Adelaide, Australia, with the modern woman in mind.

5. Are R.M. Williams Boots Worth the Price?

R.M. Williams boots use fine yearling leather in their construction, which is carefully finished to give a fashionable urban look. The boots also feature easy-to-replace soles in case they wear out before the upper body.

If you love fashionable boots that allow you to hop from a business meeting to a weekend out with friends, then you’ll never regret spending your money on R.M. Williams boots.

6. Blundstone: History of the Brand

A pair of Blundstone Chelsea Boots
A pair of Blundstone Chelsea Boots

Blundstone boots, or Blunnies as they are famously known in Australia, have a rich history stemming from the 1870s. The Blundstone company was founded by two free settlers – John and Eliza Blundstone, a couple who had moved to Australia from England with their focus on coachbuilding.

The couple settled in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where John Blundstone worked until 1870 when he transitioned to the shoe business.

Blundstone imported and sold ready-made boots from England before setting up his manufacturing plant in Hobart’s Liverpool Street, Australia.

His eldest son, Sylvanus Blundstone, joined him in 1892, and together they formed J. Blundstone & Son. The two manufactured boots in separate outlets along Collins Street and later bought a two-story factory, built expressly for their boot-making business.

William Blundstone, John’s younger son, operated the company’s importation wing – W.H. Blundstone & Co.

The Blundstone’s shoe-making business thrived until 1901 when it was sold to the Cane family after facing financial struggles. The Canes didn’t run the business for long before selling the company again to the Cuthbertsons in 1932.

The Cuthbertson family had also moved to Australia from England and owned a shoe-manufacturing company, which they amalgamated with Blundstone. However, the Cuthbertsons retained and operated under Blundstone’s name.

But the Cuthbertsons’ operations were curtailed by the high production costs in Australia, prompting them to move most of their productions overseas.

The company still produces some boots (mainly gumboots) in Tasmania, Australia, but most productions are located in China, Mexico, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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The Blundstone Story - the origins of an iconic brand

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7. Blundstone’s Products and Manufacturing

Blundstone has more boots dedicated to hard work and outdoor activities than R.M. Williams. But it doesn’t come too far behind when it comes to casual and fashionable footwear.

Just like R.M. Williams, Blundstone is also famous for its Chelsea boots.

Their work boots are designed to last as evidenced in the carefully engineered construction. Up to 284°F (140°C) heat resistance capabilities make them ideal boots for industrial work, as they can withstand harsh chemicals and climates.

Many Blundstone designs for work have steel-toe caps to prevent your feet from any heavy or intense impacts. They use thin, breathable, and lightweight materials. The construction utilizes XRD technology to keep the boots more comfortable and shock absorbent.

The outsoles meet slip-resistance standards (AS 2210.3:2019) and are both acid/oil resistant and protect against penetration by sharp objects.

As for Blundstone casual and stylish boots, they come in different models, colors, and sizes, for women, men, and kids. They can be matched with many different outfits and used for various activities.

Their features include quality leather, comfortable and slip-resistant soles, durability, and many of the technologies we mentioned above depending on the boot design.

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8. Frequently Asked Questions about Blundstone Boots

Below, we address common questions people ask about Blundstone boots.

Where are Blundstone Boots Made?

After its acquisition by the Cuthbertsons in 1932, Blundstones operated in Tasmania, Australia, until 2007, when they moved most of their operations overseas because of high production costs in Australia.

Today, Blundstone produces most of its products in Vietnam, China, Mexico, India, and Thailand, with high quality standards. However, the company still manufactures some pairs of its boots (gumboots) in Hobart, Tasmania. (source)

How do Blundstone Boots Fit? Are They True to Size?

Blundstones are true to size. They may feel uncomfortable when you first put them on. However, they’ll fit perfectly after some time wearing them, once they’ve been broken in.

The leather stretches to conform to your foot shape for a comfortable feel.

You may need to buy a half size up if you like them wider or intend to wear them with thick socks. You can refer to the Blundstone size guide here.

Are Blundstones Waterproof?

Most Blunnies’ designs have water-resistant qualities and are not completely waterproof. The brand has also two fully waterproof series: the Gumboot and Thermal series.

Be sure to check the specifications on the Blundstone boots you’re buying, especially if you intend to use them in an extremely damp environment.

Blundstone Chelsea Boots
A pair of Blundstone Chelsea Boots

Are Blundstones Good for Walking?

Blundstones are tough boots designed for intense applications but are lightweight and breathable at the same time. Thus, they’re the best for a long day’s work or walking without feeling fatigued on the feet.

Are Blundstone Boots Good for Hiking?

Blundstone uses slip-resistant technology in some boots’ outsoles. Also, many of the boots are lightweight and have shock-absorbing qualities. But generally, Blundstones are suitable for short/casual hiking.

Are Blundstones Good for Snow and Winter?

Most Blundstone boots are water-resistant, but not completely waterproof. So, you can use them in winter but not in extremely wet conditions.

If you want good boots for winter and snow, Blundstone has the Thermal series which is waterproof and comes with Thinsulate insulation to keep your feet warm.

Are Blundstone Boots Good for Wide Feet?

Blundstones may not be comfortable boots when you wear them for the first time, especially for wide feet. The boots’ construction materials feel stiff on your first test and may need to be worn in before they fit well and feel comfortable.

However, the brand offers half sizes making its boots good for wide feet too. Just choose a half size up and you’ll not have any problems.

9. Blundstone’s Popular Designs

Below are two of the most popular Blundstone boots from men’s and women’s categories.

Blundstone Men’s Originals Chelsea Boot #500

Blundstone Mens Originals Chelsea Boot 500
Image: blundstone.com
Check it out at Blundstone.com

The Originals #500 boot for men by Blundstone is an iconic product of the brand made for comfort and durability.

It features water-resistant leather, a durable TPU outsole for optimal traction, and reinforced stitching for durability.

Blundstone Women’s Originals Vegan Boot #2116

Blundstone Womens Originals Vegan Boot 2116
Image: blundstone.com
Check it out at Blundstone.com

Vegan boots are highly popular among women. The Originals #2116 vegan boots are highly water-resistant, thanks to the vegan microfibre on the upper.

The TPU outsole for enhanced durability and a cushioned midsole for added comfort are among the outstanding qualities of these boots.

10. Are Blundstone Boots Worth the Price?

If you are a hard worker who’s looking for a boot that can work for you, Blundstone has some great options. The boots are lightweight, durable, and comfortable on the feet. They will withstand some of the most intense applications and a long day out without straining your feet.

Blundstone has also a very wide range of boots for men and women for your casual and fashionable outfits.

In the end, we think every dollar spent on a pair of Blunnies will be well worth it.

Blundstone Chelsea Boots
Blundstone Chelsea Boots

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11. Which Brand is Better: R.M. Williams or Blundstone?

R.M. Williams and Blundstone are both great boot companies from Australia. Both brands have great construction designs and are durable and very comfortable. Still, anyone can tell that each brand has its target audience, or at least they greatly vary in applications.

R.M. Williams boots are more laid-back, with an office and leisurely design. They are not the kind of boots you want to put on for hard or extreme physical tasks. People who wear R.M. Williams tend to be more concerned about leisure and fashion.

Blundstones on the other hand tend to be more of a work boot as they have many work footwear options. There’s not to say that Blundstone can’t be seen as a fashion brand, or as a brand that you can’t wear at the office or for a night out with friends. Just that they offer more designs for hard work and for activities in the outdoors.

Therefore, which brand is better between the two will depend on the intended application. R.M. Williams is a multipurpose boot for a light worker that allows you to walk into a business meeting, then straight to a party. Blunnies tend to be tough and work-oriented but are also stylish and multi-functional.

Other factors that may help you decide between the two are the price, with R.M. Williams being on the luxury side, and the fact that R.M. Williams manufactures in Australia while most Blundstones are made in Asia.

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