There’s recently been a resurgence of interest in wellington boots as a fashion item, with lots of companies – traditional and new – offering all types of high waterproof boots in rubber or leather. Of course for most readers of this magazine the wellington will already be an important piece of footwear – and always has been – but less for looks and more for sound practicality.
So it’s been a big year for the not-so-humble welly boot, with new offerings from many different companies. In this round-up we look at a broad cross section of what’s available. We can’t cover every make and model – that would be a book on its own – but there should be something to suit most shooters and outdoorsmen.
We’ll kick off with one of the most famous names in the welly business – Hunter boots.
At a Game Fair last year one of the first things to catch my eye were a smart pair of Hunter wellies (worn, as it happens, by Kim from our sister publication, Shooting Sports), adorned with an attractive and botanically accurate floral pattern designed by the Royal Horticultural Society, no less. A look at Hunter’s web site reveals a fantastic range of styles and colours that shows how extensively the company has diversified into other market sectors, whilst retaining a prestige position in the shooting market with their latest Balmoral range. This is Hunter’s premium-quality range of wellingtons, which now includes leather boots in men’s ‘Hawksworth’ and women’s ‘Westerley’ styles (both £285 a pair). The Hawksworth features uppers sewn from tumbled and full grain leathers; a Sympatex lining for complete waterproof protection and breathable comfort; and contoured insoles with in both 3mm and 6mm thicknesses to allow the wearer to adjust the fit and the degree of shock absorption provided, plus “energy rebound” front and shock-absorbing rear pads. The synthetic rubber outsole has moulded treads that give excellent grip yet release mud easily, and is filled with Phylon, a light, flexible and resilient cushioning material also used by Nike.
Although outwardly similar, the Westerley differs from the Hawksworth in having a Vibram sole, weighing 300g less, and offering a more elegant profile.
There are new Balmoral rubber boots too: the top-of-the-range Sovereign (£299), the Neoprene (£115), and the intriguingly-named Bamboo Carbon (£130), are all made from vulcanised natural rubber shaped on an orthopaedic last and featuring the same footbeds as the leather models. The Sovereign and the Neoprene are also supplied with both 3mm and 6mm insoles, whilst the BC has only one set, though they are removable and additional sets are available separately. In addition, the Sovereign sports a full-length zip closure and stud fastener over a waterproof gusset, a Vibram sole, and a lining made from luxuriously soft full-grain leather. The Neoprene, meanwhile, shows a stylish sculptured boot top with contrasting red piping, a sole that is moulded from synthetic rubber and filled with blown EVA for lightness and comfort, and a lining of 3mm cellular neoprene sponge that keeps feet cosy and comfortable in cold conditions. Finally, the Bamboo Carbon is identical to the Neoprene except for its fleece lining, which ‘wicks’ moisture away from the skin and is impregnated with bamboo charcoal, whose unique micro-structure makes it particularly good at absorbing odours. The Sovereigns are the heaviest at 2,800g, followed by the Neoprenes and Bamboo Carbons at 2,050g. All three styles are available in Dark Olive, but Neoprenes and Bamboo Carbons also come in Brown.
For further details of all Hunter boots, visit their website at www.hunter-boots.com or give them a call on 01312 403 672.
A friend of mine told me about Bogs of Oregon, who’ve been a big name for boots in America for decades and are now making inroads into the UK welly market. Helping to make this happen are Gary and Julie Battrick of Country Soles, who had a stand at last year’s Midland Game Fair displaying a good part of the Bogs range. Standout items for me were the Blaze MT boot, which is available in Mossy Oak Classic or Realtree AP camo, and the dark brown Tradesman Tall MT, which has reinforced oval cutaways on both sides to help you pull them on. Both styles use Bogs’ MT (moisture transfer) system, a four-layer sandwich that combines a 100% waterproof and breathable membrane with neoprene, an air-mesh lining and a shock-absorbing nylon pad, that allows water vapour to escape whilst the boots remain 100% waterproof.
Other features include removable antimicrobial insoles to prevent odour, a heel spur for easy removal, and a chemical and slip-resistant outsole with a deep self-cleaning tread. In addition, the Blaze MT uses a thinsulate lining to keep your feet warm down to -40F, natural hand-lasted rubber outer shell and a four-way-stretch inner bootie for an unbeatably snug fit.
Examples of prices for Bogs boots are; Women’s Classic High Shiny Black Boots £89.99,
Mens Blaze Hi Green Boot £115.00 and Tradesman Tall MT £99. For more details of the Bogs range, see their website at www.bogsfootwear.com or contact Country Soles (UK) on tel.01263 861127 or visit www.countrysoles.co.uk
There are two new designs from Musto, those being the Holmside (£120) and the Pelton (£150) both made to a classic pattern from 100% vulcanised rubber. In addition there’s a good solid tread, a steel shank for proper under-arch support, a 3mm Neoprene lining, reinforced toe and heel protection, and a textured finish to the uppers that gives greater resistance to scratch damage from brambles and thorns than a conventional smooth surface. Both models are moss green with chestnut welts and trim and dark green outsoles, and they carry a green Musto badge at the front. The main difference between these two models is that the Holmside has an adjustable side gusset with straps and buckle, whilst the Pelton sports a full-length plastic YKK side-zip with a rubberised securing strap that matches the rest of the boot. Both designs are smart, competitively priced, and just that little bit different.
For more information visit your local Musto dealer or go online at www.musto.com
This is another world famous brand synonymous with a great range of high quality boots, and possibly the original ‘green welly’ although more than one company lays claim to this!
New for winter 2011 is the Chasseur Fourée which combines all the craftsmanship of the original Chasseur boot with a wool lining to keep your feet warm even on the coldest days. With similar insulating properties to Neoprene, the wool lining is not only exceptionally warm and luxurious in feel, but also quick to dry. Deluxe wool combined with a full length zip make the Chasseur Fourée as comfortable and easy to slip on as your favourite shoe. Crafted from natural rubber, the boot is guaranteed to be 100% waterproof. The Chasseur Fourée is also finished with the technically advanced dual density sole. Price is around £235.
The Vierzon, Le Chameau’s best selling boot, is now available with a luxurious Italian full grain leather lining, for those who want a low maintenance leather lined boot. Leather is comfortable throughout the year and actually seems to improve with age as it gradually moulds to the shape of the users foot. The gusset and snap fastening buckle design, exclusive to Le Chameau, eases entry into the boot and ensures the perfect fit around the calf. Finished with a Le Chameau dual density sole, the Vierzon leather is the ideal boot for year round use and they cost £225.
Le Chameau are not just famous for their green wellies, as their Iris Coloured Boots are available in three fashionable colours: Violet, Red or Moss. Iris Coloured Boots are handmade from natural rubber and designed to provide ladies with exceptional comfort and elegance. The ergonomic design is shaped to fit the morphology of a ladies lower leg and the slightly raised heel provides greater stability and comfort when walking. The boot is attractively finished with a side buckle and is available in Euro sizes 36-42, priced at £70.
To locate your local Le Chameau stockist, visit their website at www.lechameau.co.uk or contact LLC Ltd (UK distributor) on 01489 557600.
This is a new name to us in shooting boots, as we would usually associate them with high quality footwear for the yachting/boating scene. So we were pleasantly surprised to see these two new leather country/shooting boots from Chatham - the Winchester and the Colt.
The Chatham Winchester is a men’s high leg leather country boot that features a bar and buckle attachment to customise the width of the boot. The boot has a fully integrated 100% water-proof membrane Chat-Ex lining, ensuring your feet will stay dry no matter what the weather. There is a full-length leather sock inside the boot for comfort, while the high density rubber randed and cleated sole is very hard wearing and gives added protection to the foot. The Winchester boots are priced at £179 and are available in UK sizes 6 – 12.
The Chatham Colt is a ladies’ high-leg field boot, built to the same high standards as the Winchester. It is robust enough for country pursuits, whilst also being stylish enough to wear around town. The RRP is £169 and they are available in UK sizes 3 – 8.
There are two colour options for both the Colt and Winchester boots: Mid Brown or Light Brown. Chatham’s products are available on the internet at www.chatham-marine.co.uk or from chandleries, independent stores and John Lewis shops nationwide. Alternatively you can call Chatham Marine Ltd on 0845 2700 217.
Although much copied, Dubarry boots are still reckoned to be the ‘real deal’ by many people in the know. The Dubarry Wexford is their top-of-the-range knee high boot for men, with full length outside zip, hand crafted from water resistant Dry Fast-Dry SoftTM breathable leathers. They feature a push button strap fastener at the top of the zip to hold it in place when closed. When the zip is opened it exposes a concealed waterproof bellows within the side of the boot offering adjustable leg width and affording maximum foot entry – it cannot be stressed enough, how easy this makes it to put the boots on and take them off, and there’s plenty of room inside to tuck your trouser bottoms into, or for heavy duty marine socks. This leather bellows section also serves to keep mud and water out, ably aided by an insulated GORE-TEX® lining that wicks moisture away from the foot ensuring the wearer remains dry and comfortable whatever the weather conditions.
The Wexford is suitable for all outdoor pursuits including shooting, stalking and fishing. They are available in sizes 7-12 including half sizes, and cost around £349. For more information on the whole range of Dubarry boots, contact the UK Sales and Customer Service at tel.01608 677622 or visit the website at www.dubarryboots.com
French gunmaking company, Verney Carron are offering three new variations of wellington boot; the Calypso, the Farmer, and the Foxboot. Each boot boasts premium quality, hardwearing features, and surprising affordability. They are all handcrafted from natural rubber, using the latest soles and linings.
James Garland, of Verney Carron distributor Garlands Ltd. said, “Their rugged durability combined with lightweight feel and comfort means that you could quite happily wear Verney Carron boots all day long”
The Calypso is a very comfortable flexible boot with instep reinforcement, watertight gussets with the added feature of an adjustable tightening band. Available with either Jersey or Neoprene in green in Euro sizes 39-47, they are priced at £71.45 SRP.
The Foxboot is the premium boot of the range, combining durability, comfort, and high-end style. These comfortable natural rubber boots offer sophisticated features such as a Jersey lining, flexible uppers, a perfect instep fitting, plus a zip fastening with full-length watertight gussets. They come in a bronze colour in sizes 39-47 and are priced at £82.45 SRP.
The Farmer is a simple, refined, and extremely lightweight boot, yet with the durable and rugged quality of the whole range. Available in sizes 39-47, they are priced at just £43.60 SRP.
For further information and details of your nearest stockist, contact Garlands on 01827 383300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.garlands.uk.com.
Designed to give good performance in any country pursuit, the Jack Pyke Countryman Wellington Boots are a mid-weight welly made from a lightweight high-density rubber with a full 4mm spongy neoprene lining. The outside of each leg features a sturdy gusset, to facilitate putting them on and taking them off, and giving a custom fit thanks to the adjustable synthetic webbing strap that has a cam action locking buckle. The tops of the boot legs are bound with neoprene. The outer sole of the wellies has a chunky and effective tread pattern, while the inside of the sole has extra cushioning and a removable footbed.
Jack Pyke Countryman Wellington Boots come in green with a tan “welt”, in UK sizes 7-12 and cost around £45. For more information visit the JP website at www.jackpyke.co.uk or phone 01234 740327 for stockists.
So what do I wear, day in, day out? The answer is a pair of Tay wellies by Muck Boots. I got these at the CLA Game Fair back in 2006, and they’re still going strong. Though they’re very well insulated for winter use, I actually wear them all year round as their combination of light weight, comfort, and grip more than compensates in warmer weather for feeling like your feet are taking a sauna! As for looks, they were never exactly smart, but use has certainly given them character: briars and barbed wire have plucked at the nylon covering the neoprene parts, heather and brush have left their mark on the rubber soles and uppers, and each boot shows traces of a dozen different soils, from peat to clay and loam, not to mention evidence of much paunching and gralloching. There are even a couple of gaps opening up between the soles and the uppers that could probably do with a dab of Aquaseal, but as they’re not leaking yet, that’s still a job for another day. What’ll I do when they finally give up the ghost? Now that would be telling…
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates