It might be difficult for many readers to imagine a world where wellies are a curiosity rather than commonly-worn footwear.
In America, Wellington boots (or models similar to them) are usually called galoshes, rubber or rain boots, and worn primarily in inclement weather rather than on factory floors or into town. They’re only seen occasionally on outdoor job sites, and almost never worn “out in public” except by some teens and young adults (and naturally, by children who have been told they can’t leave the house without their galoshes on). Some designers have tried to make them fashionable in the U.S. but have never succeeded to any great degree.
In a country such as the UK, of course, waterproof wellies are a “normal” footwear choice, and not just because of our often-difficult winters. They’re seen at festivals and in the shops, on dog walkers and weekend gardeners – and safety wellies are certainly a common choice on the job. There are smart-looking pairs which will guarantee plenty of compliments as well as comfort and protection against the rain. There are also some designed for wear while hiking, fishing or crouched in a hunting blind, and toe-capped models which provide strong on-the-job protection while still looking good. You can even shop for a pair for your dog!
Different construction types and features mean that not all models are the most suitable choice for every situation. We’ve put together a list of the ten best wellington boots on the market, and broken down the pros and cons of each. That should help you determine which one is most favourable for the use you’ll be giving them and where you’ll be wearing them.
To help even more, here’s our comprehensive take on how to shop for a welly. Make sure to read to the very end to see our wellington boots reviews as well.
|Product Name||Inner Lining||Temperature Rating||Closure||Our Rating||Price|
|Neoprene||+15°C to -5°C||Buckle|
|Mesh||-30C to 10C||Slip on|
|Neoprene||+15°C to -5°C||Buckle|
|Polyurethane cushion||+15°C to -5°C||Slip on|
|Neoprene||+15°C to -5°C||Pull on|
|Polyester||-30C to 10C||Slip on|
|Mesh||+15°C to -5°C||Slip on|
|Neoprene||+15°C to -5°C||Slip on|
|Aigle Parcours 2||Polyester||-30C to 10C||Slip on|
|Knitted Nylon||+15°C to -5°C||Buckle|
Most people set out to purchase footwear knowing only their shoe size. That’s important when buying wellies, of course, but it’s also helpful to know your calf size – adding a couple of extra centimeters to allow room for your trousers – since some models will be tighter than others.
With sizing out of the way, the next important consideration is exactly how you’ll be using your wellies. Safety wellies for factory jobs or manual labour often have steel toe caps (and possibly mid-soles as well), extra support for feet and ankles, and comfortable padded inner linings. That will make them somewhat heavy, however, so they’re not the most suitable choice for puttering around the garden or walking the dog.
Those who are buying wellingtons for sport or for more casual, everyday wear will likely prefer ones which are lightweight, warm, stylish – or all three. Leather wellies will usually be the most fashionable choice, but more traditional rubber (heavier but sturdier and more flexible) or synthetics like PVC (lighter and less comfortable, but cheaper) can still look good and will stand up better to the elements and serious abuse over the long term. Many synthetics are prone to keeping heat inside the boot, though, so you’re more likely to experience discomfort from perspiration when wearing them for hours. Pay attention to design elements like mesh inside the boot, which can minimize the sweaty foot problem.
The proper choice of liners inside your wellies can help with perspiration buildup, and will also determine how warm your feet will be in extreme cold. A leather lining will let your feet breathe while protecting to a temperature of about -5°, fur won’t do much for the sweating issue but can protect to temperatures around -15°, and newer, lightweight neoprene lined ones (made from a synthetic rubber) will keep you warm all the way down to -25° or -30°; many are also designed to breathe. Linings like cotton or polyester mesh will provide different degrees of ventilation, but neither will keep your feet warm once the temperatures drop below 0°. You might want to think about getting two different pairs for different seasons.
There are additional features on some models designed for specific types of activity. For example, they may have Vibram rubber outsoles known for their excellent grip in bad weather, first designed for mountaineering but now an outstanding choice for ones meant to be worn for riding or even dog-walking in rural areas. Wellingtons made for hunters will often have dual-density soles and added support for arches.
On the other hand you can purchase a pair created to make a fashion statement, such as models with wedge heels or offered in attractive colours and patterns – there are even lace-up or zip-up options, and many have adjustable straps or gusset fittings to accommodate wider- or narrower-than-normal calves. The height of the boot can vary as well; there are ankle-high, thigh-high and knee-high options to choose from. Many non-fashion models are designed to be unisex models, and you’ll see a number of them in featured in our reviews.
A festival-goer will want a very different type of footwear than a manual labourer, a dog walker or an upscale shopper. Read on, and you’ll find the welly boot that fits your needs perfectly.
Aigle has become known throughout Europe for its Parcours boots. Several years ago the company released its Parcours 2 model, which looks similar to the originals but are far superior with twice the gripping ability and triple-density, anti-fatigue soles to absorb shocks and bumps while increasing the overall stability. The new design is also easier to wear for longer periods of time. Like the originals the Isos are natural rubber on the outside, but neoprene lined for increased comfort and protection against the cold, plus an adjustable gusset on the side. These Parcours 2s aren’t bad looking, but more importantly they’re very well-built and extremely flexible – a dog walker’s delight and good for work, too.
If you’ve spent any time at all looking at wellies, you know the brand Muck Boots. The company chose its name wisely, because their footwear provides outstanding performance in nasty terrain. And the MuckMaster Neoprenes are one of their top offerings. A moulded rubber shell covers a lightweight neoprene lining with a mesh covering that wicks away perspiration, so these stay cool in summer heat and keep you warm in the coldest winter weather. The gum rubber soles are thick, yet springy with terrific grip and traction. Elastic tops mean they’ll fit almost any leg and/or thickness of trouser.
You may be noticing that the models we’ve listed so far aren’t made in the UK. We’ll have a few coming up but the French have been a major producer of high-quality welly boots for more than a century, and Le Chameau is one of the forerunners in the industry. The Vierzonord is the company’s top selling line, and this ladies’ model (with a small heel) is cut for the female leg with a slim 38cm calf measurement and an adjustment strap for the waterproof gusset. There’s rubber on the outside but premium neoprene on the inside, plus rubber soles which provide a decent grip. These Le Chameaus aren’t overly stylish and you’ll pay a premium price for them, but they’re warm and very, very comfortable.
This is a stylish wellie, made from chocolate-coloured milled leather with contrasting logo patch and top section. They also have a Varidex membrane system which does a good job of keeping water out while still making the polyurethane interior breathable. The only negative is that the Toggi Quebecs can be a tight fit, so there will be a short break-in period before you can put the plasters away. The soles are made of gum rubber and designed for all terrains, and gel foam inserts add to the comfort of these Toggis which are moderately priced and a good value.
Those interested in buying a product made close to home should at the venerable Hunter Balmorals. To be completely honest, they’re not as fine a product as they were some time ago, before the company was sold and much of the manufacturing process was moved to China. They’re still a good, moderately-priced option, however. Outer rubber covers a cellular neoprene sponge, a chunky, moulded gum rubber sole provides a good grip, and shock-absorbing heel pads plus a reinforced instep provide stability and lets you wear the Balmorals comfortably throughout a long day. The side buckle fasten makes it easy to get and out of these, which aren’t the top choice on our list, but still worth a close study.
We’ve already discussed one version of the Parcours 2, the Iso. This model, the Vario, differs primarily because of the quick-dry polyester lining used instead. You’ll find that the polyester is slightly better at keeping the inside of the boot dry because it’s more breathable, but that also means your feet won’t stay quite as warm in the Vario during cold winters as it would with the Iso. The rest of the great structural Parcours 2 features remain the same, and the Vario is a bit less expensive than the Iso.
These are perfect for the woman with sense of style – as long as she doesn’t want a heel. The Arctic Adventures are made of rubber and comes with a thick neoprene and fleece interior, rubber outsoles for stability, EVA polymer midsoles for comfort and stretch-fit topline bindings that snug around the calf to provide extra warmth down to -20°. The design is flattering on its own, but what adds the extra flash is the maroon-and-black color scheme (black bootie, maroon top and accents) which will make the Arctic Adventures as striking in the city as they will be when worn on horseback or out in the snow.
The Chore series are the brand’s top selling models, with many different models available (including steel-toed Chores for workmen). Here we’re focusing on the classic Chore High, with rubber on the outside and a full 5mm of neoprene plus stretch nylon for the lining. There’s lots of support in these thanks to a steel shank for arch support, triple-reinforced rubber to caps and quadruple-reinforced rubber in the heels. The soles are durable rubber that won’t slip easily and there’s a good-sized heel as well, making these one of the best ones for walking that we’ve found. They look good, too.
The Parcours 2 is basically the no-frills version of the Vario we’ve already looked at in these reviews. They have a narrower calf size and there’s no adjustable gusset, but the major features like the shock-absorbing sole, polyester lining and comfortable wear are all the same. These are well-built, good for dog-walking or leisurely hikes, and enjoyable for all-day wear – and on the lowest rung of the company’s price scale.
As mentioned earlier, Hunters aren’t quite the same product some old-timers may remember, but these are a very good-looking tall boot with a side buckle closure available in eight colours (including the pink, or actually fuchsia, that we reviewed). With rubber outer material, a textile lined interiorw and gum rubber soles, these won’t be the right choice for arduous trekking or climbing, and they won’t be the warmest boot you’ve ever worn. They’re a nice casual choice, though.
The time for thinking is over. You now have all the information you’ll need to choose the right pair for your purpose whether you’re planning a winter excursion, a riding holiday, a weekend of work in the garden, a stroll through the fashionable areas of town, or – and we hope this isn’t the case – just another day at a messy factory or job site. And you also had a look at our wellington boots reviews!
Some of the reviewed products on our list of the best wellington boots won’t win you many style points, but will be extremely comfortable during any season of the year. Others won’t be ideal if you’re taking the dog on an extended walk, but will turn heads at a festival. However, all will be well-manufactured and durable for their price range – and as is most important for any welly, all will keep your feet nice and dry.