Blundstone and Dr. Martens are two brands that design boots which have become famous practically all over the world.
The number of people who chooses them, preferring these products to numerous others, continues to increase.
This is because of the passion, attention to detail and the endless pursuit of quality, which has brought Blundstone and Dr. Martens to the top of the footwear industry.
Yet, when it comes to choosing between the boots of these brands, many doubts always arise, and various questions.
So, today, in this comparison review, we will try to understand if Dr. Martens is better than Blundstone or the opposite.
As usual, we will start with the history of each brand, their materials, production and prices, and at the end we will give you our opinion as to which one we think is the better choice.
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1. Dr. Martens
A Short History of the Brand
If you want to understand the real quality of this brand, you can’t help but take a dip in its history.
The Dr. Martens brand began its adventure in 1901 in a small town in the English Midlands, more precisely in Wollaston, Northamptonshire.
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Passionate about everything related to the production of boots of various kinds, at the time the company of the Griggs family was growing and earning the reputation of a solid and high quality company.
This brand was not immediately called Dr. Martens. This name was attributed to the brand in 1945 because of a soldier, Dr. Klaus Maertens.
During a convalescence because of a broken foot, in Munich, Germany, he thought of creating a special sole with a type of air cushion, to help speed up his recovery. This was revolutionary at the time.
Later, Dr. Maertens made a first prototype of a shoe and showed it to a friend. They began producing the shoes and had a successful business for a decade.
In the 1960s, the Griggs company (R. Griggs Group Ltd.) noticed these innovative shoes and after acquiring the license and making a few key changes, started the industrial production in the UK.
The boots had the brand name “Airwair”, and on April 1st, 1960 the first eight-holed 1460 Dr. Martens boot was launched. It took the name from the date of its inception.
The following decades brought other changes and numerous evolutions. New ideas and innovations marked the changes in the look and materials of Dr. Martens’ boots.
At first they were worn by simple workers and postmen, and later they spread as a symbol of the working class.
Next, they became also an element of self-expression and a cultural icon of the young generation in the 1960s and 1970s.
Today the style has changed, but the tradition remains the same. Dr. Martens boots represent products linked to one’s identity, self expression and personal style.
Materials and Manufacture
The main material used to make Dr. Martens boots is genuine leather, as can be easily seen in many iconic products of the company. But they also use canvas and other materials in some models.
The AirWair technology, which made the brand famous is still being used to this day. The air-cushioned soles with this technology are not only very comfortable, but some of them are also slip resistant.
Another distinctive feature of these boots is their iconic yellow stitching, that is usually accompanied by a simple design.
The general style that distinguishes them is very young, “rocker” and even a little “aggressive”. Not surprisingly, these boots became an icon of punk and rock music in the past.
Overall, the general quality of the boots is excellent. They are beautifully crafted, durable and last for many years.
Now let’s answer some frequent questions we have seen people make about Dr. Martens boots:
Where are Dr. Martens boots made?
A small number of their boots is still made in England, mainly in Northamptonshire, with the rest being produced in Asia, with the same quality standards.
As you can see in the image below, our pair of Docs (1460’s Pascal) is made in Vietnam:
Are Dr. Martens true to size? How do they fit?
If you search online, you will find many sites stating that, in general, Dr. Martens are true to size. You will also find that some models run slightly wider and the recommendation is to go a size (or a half-size) down.
But, our experience has been a little different, as we ordered one size higher for the 1460 unisex leather pair that you can see in the images in this article (above).
They fit well at this size, even though a bit uncomfortable at the upper and ankle part. Anyway, you should also consider that the boots will break in and soften as you wear them in.
Also, you will likely wear them in Autumn and Winter with thick socks, so getting one number higher may prove to be a good choice.
At the end of the day, the best advice is to try a few pairs on at a local store to get a better idea, especially if this is the first time you are trying this brand.
To make a fair comparison with Bludstone boots, this time we have picked two Chelsea-style models by Dr. Martens:
Dr. Martens 2976 Leather Chelsea Boot (Unisex)
Among the most popular Dr. Martens’ products, the unisex 2976 Chelsea boot stands out. It is made of leather, with an AirWair sole, and the product itself is very durable.
Great for walking, the leather stretches and starts to loosen up over time, which along with the bouncing soles, increases comfort. It comes in 4-5 available colors to choose from.
Dr. Martens Women’s Flora Leather Chelsea Boot
Another bestseller is the Flora Chelsea Boot for women, made of Arcadia leather, a high shine type of leather.
The iconic air-cushioned sole is great for comfortable walking. It comes with an elastic gusset and a two-tone effect.
Dr. Martens offers a wide range of prices which start at around $80 and can go up to $200, depending on the type of shoe, materials, design, etc.
Usually, there is not a big difference in price between their men’s and women’s boots.
Are Dr. Martens Boots Worth the Price?
Even if the prices are a bit high for some people, the quality is very good, just like the style, the comfort and the overall design.
If we also take into consideration the durability of these products, in our opinion they are worth it. Of course, if you like the style, which is not for everybody.
A Short History of the Brand
Blundstone is an Australian footwear company founded in 1870 in Hobart, Tasmania, that has grown over the years, and today it is one of the most famous and recognizable boot brands in the world.
Founded by English emigrants, even with its increasing popularity, Blundstone continues to operate mainly in Tasmania, an island state in Australia, thus respecting its tradition.
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In fact, not many people know that the company was born there and has decided not to move, remaining firmly anchored to its origins.
The shoes produced by Blundstone have a recognizable and robust style. Their design seems refined and from the very first moments it brings to mind the Australian landscapes.
They are “universal” shoes, which can be used both for walking in rainy weather and for your everyday life in the city.
This universality has been a characteristic that has accompanied the development of the company during all its phases and today it is very accentuated.
Despite them being multi purpose boots, their style, colors and shapes change enormously depending on the models you choose.
Materials and Manufacture
Most of Blundstone boots are made of quality leather sourced from the best tanneries in the world. They are designed to provide the foot with an adequate level of protection.
This is why many of the boots from this company, especially their work and safety boots, are great at providing a high level of defense against bumps or penetrations.
Not only that: they are also resistant to cuts, high temperatures or chemicals, and come with Metguard protection. You can read more about their safety and protection features here.
Not surprisingly, they are considered as boots that can be used for all intents and purposes.
In addition, Blundstone has also lines of shoes which are lightweight and flexible, with a particular structure that helps the foot breathe, thus reducing the risk of feeling the heat while walking and making them suitable to wear in summer.
Moreover, some boots are made to perfectly recall the anatomical shape of the foot, guaranteeing excellent comfort, and with soles that provide adequate shock absorption.
In fact Blundstone soles are adequately designed to reduce fatigue and avoid possible manifestations of orthopedic problems.
The quality of the production is very high, as all products are made with the highest quality materials.
You can read more about Blundstone’s commitment to quality here.
When it comes to sustainability, the brand tries to use recycled and recyclable materials as much as possible in their manufacturing processes and packaging.
Preserving the natural environment of Tasmania is of great importance to them and this is reflected in their operations.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions:
Where are Blundstone boots made?
Blundstone leather boots are made in China, Vietnam, India and Mexico. Their gumboots are made in Hobart, Australia. In all their facilities, they make sure the quality of the final product meets their high standards. (source)
This may be a deciding factor for some people, so if this is you, keep it in mind at the moment you will make the final decision between these two brands.
Are Blundstones true to size? How do they fit?
Blundstones usually fit true to size, but this of course depends on the model and your type of foot.
For example, some customers recommend getting a half-size or one size smaller in some pairs in US sizing. Some others report that Australian half-sizes mean that there is additional width, not length.
As with most leather boots, they will fit snugly in the beginning, in this case around the ankle, and will stretch a little over time.
Most importantly, pay attention to the differences between AU, US, UK and EU sizing and the conversion between the sizes, as they usually are not the same. With some experience, we are sure you’ll figure out your right size.
Some useful pages: Blundstone size guides
Now, let’s see the two pairs of Blundstone boots that we have picked:
Blundstone Unisex Original 500 Series
This Blundstone 500 Unisex boot from the Original 500 Series, is made of leather and comes with a Polyurethane outsole which is heat resistant.
Shock protection, breathability and weather resistance are some of the other important features of this boot.
Blundstone Dress Series Chelsea Boot
Moving on to the Dress series, this Chelsea boot is made of 100% leather and comes with a rubber sole.
Very comfortable, warm and lightweight, this boot will provide protection and be a great companion for your busy days.
Blundstone boots’ prices are very homogeneous and range from about $150 to $230.
In that range you can find almost all of their models – from the iconic 500 Chelsea boot and the Active boots for warm weather, to the Thermal winter boots and the Work and Safety boots.
You will find very few models at a higher price, for example some of their high-protection work boots.
Are Blundstone Boots Worth the Price?
While at first, the cost might seem a bit high, these are comfortable boots made with the best materials and with the highest technologies.
So, we think these prices are justified, as they are durable products that will last for years.
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3. Which Brand is Better?
And now let’s get to the part you came here for: the final decision. Which of these brands is better for you and which to choose?
We’ll try to help you decide:
So, on one side we have Dr. Martens, with quality durable boots with comfortable air-cushioned soles, made in England and Asia.
On the other side, we have Blundstone, with very durable boots, comfortable soles made for long walking, and produced in Australia, Asia and Mexico.
Prices are quite similar, with Blundstone a little more expensive.
What remains? Which brand to choose?
It seems we have a draw at this point, so we’ll base our choice on design and style.
We think, we’d choose Dr. Martens for boots with a more rocker design and “daring” style, to use for everyday life in the city.
On the other hand, we’d choose Blundstone if we wanted a classic design, and if we had in plan to wear them more in the countryside.
Obviously, this is in general. If you have specific needs or are thinking about specific models from either of these brands, we’d suggest trying a few pairs in a local store if possible.
We hope this helps!
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What do you think? Have you tried any of these two brands? We’d love to read your experience in the comments below!