Urban dwellers or occasional wellie wearers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about, but my wellington boots are the most worn items of footwear in my wardrobe. I walk about 20 miles a week in them. That’s 500 miles just over the winter months, so I need decent boots.
Hunter – My welly tale begins with a pair of Hunters which I bought in 2001 and which lasted me through the extreme heat of Cyprus and the extreme cold of Canada. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that old Hunters are not the same as new ones. The firm into administration in 2006 and the newer wellies (I bought a second pair in 2012) do not have the same durability. If you start reading around online you’ll see similar reports from other Hunter owners. My second pair (ironically more expensive than the first) lasted as many months as the first pair had lasted years. It is with a very heavy heart that I had to turn my back on the wonderful selection of colours they sell in favour of something longer-lasting.
Muck Boots – Muck have been around since 1999. The boots are part rubber and part neoprene. They sell for £80 and upwards and were a close contender for my final selection, but I wasn’t convinced by how easy the neoprene part of the boot would be to keep clean.
Dunlop – Costing somewhere between £15 and £20 a pair, Dunlops are very popular, however they are unisex and I found the pair I ordered had extremely wide calves (more suited to men) and quite hard unyielding rubber. Definitely not boots I could imagine walking any distance in.
Croc Boots – Sold in bright colours and made of part rubber and part neoprene, the big failing with these wellies is that they are only waterproof up to the stitch line around the ankle which rather defeats the object of wearing wellingtons!
Lowther – Made by Hunter with a very similar look and fit (though not as much colour choice) and vastly cheaper price tag (£35) if you can’t bear to be parted from the style of Hunters these are a great bet without the fashionable price tag. Just don’t blame me if they leak after 18 months.
Joules – Come in a range of colours and designs, with a fit and grip that are similar to Hunters. I have been put off buying these because of a number of reviews I have seen online which say they have developed a leak after several weeks or months.
Aigle – Aigle are a French brand (est. 1853) and seem to have filled the void left by Hunter for high quality wellies. They were recommended by a dog walker friend and after reading countless positive reviews online I settled for a pair of Parcours 2 ISO. They fit true to size and are neoprene lined, but are pricey. Mine came from Amazon and cost £135. I also reluctantly have to admit that they are not as attractive as Hunters, but they feel wonderful to wear and are more comfortable than my slippers! UPDATE : 11/10/15 – My Aigle wellies were recently stolen from outside my house, a downside to having a desirable brand I guess. I decided against buying another pair as I found them very hard to get on and off and my socks (even hiking ones) constantly fell down in them. I am currently trialing a pair of Joules wellies and you can read about that in this post
Le Chameau – Another French wellington boot (did you guess) with a price very similar to Aigles. They come up a little big, but are also fantastically comfortable to wear. The Duchess of Cornwall has a pair, so does Prince Harry apparently.
Also worth considering are Barbour and Mallard neither of which I have any experience of.
Please leave a comment if you have anything to add on the welly debate it will help others looking for info!
PS – I wouldn’t have been able to purchase my amazing new wellies at all were it not for some fabulous good luck winning £500 of Amazon vouchers in a competition hosted by Jen at Mum In The Mad House with Two Little Fleas. So a HUGE thank you to them for allowing me to splash out on my Aigles! I know it’s not a very rock and roll thing to spend the money on, but I do love them…