Last updated on October 8th, 2019 at 11:00 am
In this guide:
- What are Wellington boots?
- Where do wellies come from?
- How should a Wellington boot fit?
- What are the best wellies?
- How do I wear and style wellies?
- How do I take care of wellies?
Wellingtons are perfect for wet weather – keeping your feet warm, dry and clean when you’re busy enjoying the outdoors. But they’re a little different to regular footwear. Not only do wellies need to be cleaned differently, they can be a little trickier to blend into your day-to-day style.
Here are all the answers to your top questions about wellies – so you can make the best of the British weather and choose the best wellington boots for you.
What are wellington boots?
Wellingtons are waterproof boots usually worn for casual outdoor activities like walking the dog, playing outdoors, short walks, farming, some sports such as horse riding, and traditionally hunting. They’re most commonly worn on wet or muddy ground or in rainy or snowy conditions, which is why they’re sometimes known as ‘rain boots’. They’re typically made from rubber, Polyvinyl Chloride or Halogenated Polymer.
Welly boots usually come to just below the knee – but there are ankle-length varieties, too. Knee-high Wellingtons are generally more popular because they offer greater protection against splashes of mud and water, while providing a snug fit.
Where do wellies come from?
- The first pair of rubber gumboots were made in 1853, in France, by a company now known as AIGLE. The company still sells Wellington boots to this day.
- The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, was the first public figure to popularise wellies, making them a hunting and outdoor-wear staple for the British aristocracy in the early 19th
- During the First and Second World Wars, rubber boots were supplied to the soldiers. By 1946, the Wellington boot became popular among families.
The term ‘gumboot’, another word for Wellingtons, originated in New Zealand in the 19th It was believed to come about because the boots were made from gum rubber.
How should a Wellington boot fit?
Wellington boot sizes are the same as regular footwear sizes. If you’re planning to wear several pairs of thick socks for extra warmth in snowy conditions, maybe get one size up so your wellies fit better.
Wellies are supposed to be tight enough to prevent your feet slipping out. They should also be loose enough to accommodate thick socks, without pinching any part of your feet or legs.
Don’t try to stretch your rubber boots if they don’t fit – this could damage the rubber.
What are the best wellies?
Choosing the right wellies depends what you’re using them for.
- If you’re going to a summer festival, some brightly coloured, patterned Wellingtons would be great.
- If you’re on a walk in the countryside, you may want to get some boots with a little more grip on the sole.
How do I wear and style wellies?
It can be a challenge to style wellies with an overall look. However, here are some pointers from us.
- Jeans with wellies. If you’re wearing straight or boot cut jeans, make sure they fall to around ankle height. If you’re tucking your jeans into your wellies to keep your legs cleaner, folding your jeans can prevent them rolling up inside. Fold them at the ankle to bring the bottom hem further up your calf.
- Tights and a skirt with wellies. Putting thick socks on over your tights will keep your feet warm and protect them from rubbing and blistering. Skirts can go with both long wellies or ankle wellies.
If you’re wearing your wellies all day, why not make them the statement of your outfit?
How do I take care of wellies?
It’s important to properly maintain your wellies to get the most use out of them. Wellington boots will generally last longer if you care for them correctly. Here’s some guidance on:
When cleaning your wellies, don’t put wellies into a washing machine or a tumble dryer as it may damage the rubber. Instead, you should follow the below tips:
- Clean the outside using a rag soaked in hot soapy water.
- To clean the soles, use a soft-bristled scrubbing brush or an old tooth brush to remove any mud.
- To clean the inside, dip a clean rag into hot soapy water with either laundry liquid or washing up liquid and run it over the inside of the boot a few times. Dip the rag in clean, non-soapy water to rinse the soap out of your wellies afterwards.
- If your wellies start to smell, mix a spray bottle full of a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, and apply it inside the boot.
Also, check out these hacks for winter proofing your footwear, which could see you through the colder months.
While wellies should always be air-dried, stuffing old newspaper into them is an effective way of soaking up moisture. If the boots are still wet after a few hours, repeat the process.
Never dry wellies by putting them into direct sunlight, as it can damage the rubber and cause the colours to fade.
Wellies are a great footwear staple for all the family. When unexpected snow comes around, or you have a muddy walk ahead, wellies are a God-send. Plus, they come in so many patterns and colours to suit you and your closet. Are you ready to jump in some puddles?