Blundstone, Eye on the Industry

Research and innovation by Blundstone

Close-up of a worker's feet, wearing Blundstone boots

Blundstone believes that personal safety starts with the correct footwear.

Product research and innovation are key factors in keeping workers protected and safe on site. Since 1870, Blundstone has been developing new ways to provide unmatched comfort and protection from the elements. The market leaders in safety footwear invest heavily in research, development, and technological innovation to provide wearers with the best performing safety boots.

Blundstone is known for a history of never standing still — naturally, product research and innovation is no exception. Each safety style has been designed to provide levels of protection, fit for the work of the wearer. To understand this, Blundstone engages end-users, wearers, and business representatives for health and safety to develop an understanding and greater perspective on the fit, feel and style of a new product. This provides a more detailed understanding, beyond standards, into the environments and duty requirements of different professions and highlights the key features that wearers value most.

New products are trialled with wearers in real-life situations before being released for production. This testing ensures their safety boots are ‘fit-for-purpose’ and allows direct observation of their use. The challenge for safety footwear is to fulfill a range of roles and functions simultaneously while ensuring they meet exacting standards. Accident prevention, occupational health issues, the advent of longer shifts, changing work practices and varied environments are all factors that are considered when designing safety footwear.

Close-up of a worker's feet, wearing Blundstone boots
Blundstone’s new RotoFlex range is a key example of fit-for-purpose product innovation, born from customer-driven research.

Safe Work Australia reported in their 2021 key findings that machinery operators and drivers accounted for the most worker fatalities by occupation in 2020. Additionally, the same category of machinery operators and drivers rated in the top three occupations for serious injury and disease claims, with 16,446 reports submitted. Across all work-related injuries reported, there is a median time of 6.8 weeks lost — highlighting the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety footwear.

Blundstone’s new range, RotoFlex®, is a key example of fit-for-purpose product innovation — the result of several years of consumer driven research. The research aimed to identify the true needs of safety footwear users, analysing what Australian workers expected from their footwear and the problems they were experiencing with their existing safety boots.

Key findings of the research indicated that the main concerns and priorities for wearers were:

  •  Safety and support — ankle roll/musculoskeletal injuries/avoiding trips and falls
  •  Durability — quality of componentry and materials
  •  Comfort — pain-free, all-day comfort with ankle flexibility and movement
  •  Thermal regulation with ventilation to increase airflow — reduce sweaty feet
  •  Sole — ergonomics, longevity, stability, and traction.

The #8560 Unisex Safety Boot in Wheat is the hero of the RotoFlex range. This boot, along with the entire series, combines customer-driven research with biomechanical innovation to offer a world-leading design to wearers in a range of heavy industries.

The 6-inch height of the #8560 provides heightened protection and support around the ankle, optimal for jumping in and out of earth-moving machinery such as excavators and bulldozers.

Along with this, the GripTek® sole and AirCell footbed offers durable stability and comfort for those workers faced with uneven surfaces and graded ground — helping to avoid slips, trips and falls, and reducing time lost on the job.

RotoFlex is the next step in safety footwear — put our innovation to work. Available at participating retailers now.

To learn more about the RotoFlex #8560 boot, visit: www.blundstone.com.au/rotoflex

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