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Wellington boots, also known as wellies — are a type of waterproof boot that is typically worn in wet or muddy conditions. Wellington boots are made from a variety of materials… with rubber and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) being the most common.
In this blog post — we will take a closer look at the materials used to make Wellington boots, their history, and tips for choosing and maintaining them.
Whether you’re a farmer, gardener, or simply someone who loves to spend time outdoors… you’ll want to know all about Wellington boots and why they’re a must-have for any shoe collection.
Did You Know?
- The first Wellington boots were made of leather — not rubber. It was not until the 1850s that rubber was used to make Wellington boots… thanks to the invention of the process of vulcanization.
- The Wellington boot is named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, who is credited with creating the design for the boot in the early 19th century.
- The process of making rubber Wellington boots is called vulcanization – which involves heating rubber with sulfur to create a more durable and flexible material.
- Wellington boots are not just for rainy days — they are also great for outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, and gardening as they provide protection from mud and water.
- PVC Wellington boots are a cheaper alternative to rubber Wellington boots… but they are not as durable and are not biodegradable.
- Proper care and maintenance of Wellington boots can greatly extend their lifespan — such as storing them in a cool and dry place and avoiding harsh chemicals for cleaning.
- Wellington boots are available in a wide range of colors, styles, and sizes, making them suitable for both men and women, and children.
Materials Used in Wellington Boots
Rubber: The most traditional material used in Wellington boots is rubber – which is a natural product derived from the sap of rubber trees. Rubber is waterproof, durable, and flexible… making it an ideal choice for Wellington boots. It also offers good insulation — keeping feet warm in cold temperatures.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Another common material used in Wellington boots is polyvinyl chloride (PVC)… which is a synthetic polymer. PVC boots are often less expensive than rubber boots and are often considered more durable. They also provide good insulation and are waterproof.
Comparison between Rubber and PVC:
Both rubber and PVC are popular choices for Wellington boots — but they have some differences.
- Rubber boots are often considered more comfortable and flexible than PVC boots. Rubber boots are also more eco-friendly – as they are made from a natural resource.
- PVC boots, on the other hand — are often considered more durable and resistant to chemicals.
Ultimately.. the choice between rubber and PVC will come down to personal preference and intended use.
History of Wellington Boots
Invention by the Duke of Wellington: As mentioned earlier — Wellington boots are named after Arthur Wellesley… the first Duke of Wellington, who is said to have popularized the design in the early 19th century.
He commissioned his shoemaker to create a pair of boots that were suitable for riding — but would also be waterproof and knee-high. The resulting design was a tall, soft leather boot with a curved top that was similar to a riding boot… but with a ‘V’ shape, decorated with a tassel.
Evolution of materials used: The original Wellington boots were made of soft, highly polished calfskin, but over the years — different materials have been used to make Wellington boots.
In 1856… the Scotland-based North British Rubber Company began using natural latex to create Wellington boots. Today – Wellington boots are most often made from rubber or PVC.
Popularity and use through the years: Wellington boots have come a long way since the Duke of Wellington first commissioned his shoemaker to create a waterproof and knee-high riding boot.
Today… Wellington boots are worn all over the world — by people of all ages and professions, for a wide variety of activities… such as farming, gardening, and outdoor sports.
How Wellington Boots are Made
Rubber Wellington Boots: Rubber Wellington boots are made using a process called vulcanization — which involves heating rubber with sulfur to create a more durable and flexible material.
The rubber is then shaped into the desired form… usually by pouring the rubber into a mold. The boots are then cured and finished to create the final product.
PVC Wellington Boots: PVC Wellington boots are made using a similar process to rubber Wellington boots — but instead of rubber, PVC is used as the main material. The PVC is heated and shaped into the desired form… and then cooled to create a solid boot.
Finishing Touches: Both rubber and PVC Wellington boots are then finished with various embellishments such as buckles, buttons, or zippers, depending on the design.
Quality Control: Wellington boots are then inspected and tested for quality control before they are shipped out to customers.
Care and Maintenance
- Cleaning: Wellington boots can be cleaned using a damp cloth and mild soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials – as they can damage the boots.
- Storage: Wellington boots should be stored in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or in a damp area — as it can cause the boots to degrade over time.
- Repair: If your Wellington boots become damaged… it’s best to have them repaired by a professional to ensure they continue to function properly.
What Are Wellies in England
The term “wellies” is commonly used in England and other parts of the UK – but they are also known by other names such as gumboots, rain boots, and rubber boots.
What Are The Best Wellington Boots
There are many different brands and styles of Wellington boots available on the market – so the “best” option will depend on your specific needs and preferences. However… some popular and highly-rated options include:
Hunter Original Tall Wellington Boot: These boots are made of natural rubber and are known for their durability and comfort. They feature a cushioned footbed and a traditional calendered sole for grip.
Le Chameau Vierzonord Wellington Boot: These boots are made of high-quality natural rubber and feature a neoprene lining for added warmth and comfort. They also have a reinforced toe cap for added protection.
Muck Boots Wetland Rubber Boot: These boots are made of neoprene and feature a breathable air mesh lining for added comfort. They also have a reinforced toe and heel for added durability and a non-slip outsole for added grip.
Bogs Classic High Waterproof Insulated Rain Boot: These boots are made of durable rubber and feature a 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech insulation for added warmth. They have a non-slip outsole for added grip and can be worn in temperatures as low as -40°F.
Dunlop Purofort Professional Safety Wellington Boot: These boots are made of durable and flexible polyurethane and feature a steel toecap and midsole for added protection. They are also resistant to chemicals and have a non-slip outsole for added grip
It’s worth noting that before buying, you should consider what your needs are… like insulation, durability, and grip for different weather conditions.
Wellington boots are an essential piece of footwear that provides protection and comfort in wet and muddy conditions. They are made of rubber or PVC – and have a long history dating back to the early 19th century.
The process of making Wellington boots is quite simple — starting from heating the rubber or PVC, shaping it to the desired form, and finishing it with embellishments. Proper care and maintenance can help ensure that your Wellington boots last for many years to come.