This Autumn, Give it a Bit of Welly!
‘The Wellington boot is a type of boot based upon leather Hessian boots. They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. This novel “Wellington” boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the British aristocracy in the early 19th century.’
First worn by soldiers, by the 1840’s they had become fashionable in the best circles and graced the feet of dandies.
Although wellington boots were originally made of leather, in 1852 Charles Goodyear had just invented the process of vulcanisation of natural rubber. A US industrialist of British origin, Hiram Hutchinson, bought the patent for footwear and moved to France to start up a company making boots – A L’Aigle – to the Eagle (to honour his country).In a country where 95% of the population farmed in wooden clogs, the invention of rubber boots to keep feet dry was a resounding success! That company is still going strong to this day as ‘Aigle’.
The first World War brought about another infamous wellington boot brand-Hunter. Then known as The North British Rubber Company, they were commissioned by the British government to make boots suitable for the trenches. And so they did.
A bit of history for you and what an interesting past for the humble welly! Wellington boots are not just for hunting or aristocrats these days although the Royal family aren’t ever far from theirs. They have become over the past few years, a fashion accessory. They have had the ultimate transformation and traveled full circle from the practical to the fashionable back to the plain, utilitarian rubber boot worn mostly by kids to splash in muddy puddles or for the avid gardener, to the preferred foot attire of top models and celebrities at ‘cool’ music festivals around the world come rain or shine. So the humble welly has never really been that humble. In fact I would go as far as saying that they are great, having done my research!
I digress, because the purpose of my piece today was to give my take on the coolest boots this season and given that this is a family blog, I have managed to find a boot for all the family! I love wellies, well, I love some wellies. I’m not one to go for the most popular and although I love the simple, traditional style, (they do some fabulous black studded ones now), my choices are a bit more unusual and I’d like to think more stylish!
My first choice for this season for me has to be Le Chameau Lady Jameson Low GTX A stunning, 100% waterproof leather boot. Almost a biker boot. As a mother of a 21 month old I can see myself out in the wet park on many an autumn and winter’s day wearing these with pride. How much more stylish and luxurious can you get for park attire?! Unlike other wellies, they have interior zips too so easy to take on and off in a hurry. I absolutely love them. Le Chameau has been around since 1927 and a firm favourite with the Royals! Kate and Harry are wearing a design from 1965 the Vierzon.