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Best Wellington boots 2021: the best wellies for muddy walks

What are the best Wellington boots for walking or getting muddy in the garden? We’ve rounded up the best wellies from Hunter, Le Chameau and more

Best Wellington boots 2021: the best wellies for muddy walks
(Image credit: Sydney Rae/Unsplash)

The best wellington boots can be hard to find. Ideally, we want a welly that’s comfortable enough for muddy February walks, will be flexible enough for digging the garden come spring, and will keep our feet warm - but not too hot - whilst we do both. What’s more, we wouldn’t mind looking as glamorous as Kate Middleton in her preferred Le Chameau as we step out into the countryside. 

As such, the Homes & Gardens team has rounded up some of the best wellington boots available this spring, from classic Hunter wellies to Aigle’s anti-fatigue rain boots and what might just be the Royal favourites. 

We've also explored the materials you should be looking out for when purchasing wellies in order to ensure longevity and make the most sustainable choice, how to care for your rain boots, and decoded the best wellington boots for your lifestyle.

The best Wellington boots for 2021

Best wellington boots 2021 - Hunter Women's Adjustable Back WelliesH&G editor approved

(Image credit: Hunter)

1. Hunter Women's Original Tall Back Adjustable Wellington Boots

Best Wellington boots; the fashion icon that's also comfortable to wear

Specifications
US size range: US 5 - 11
UK size range: UK 3 - 9
Materials: Natural rubber with polyester lining
Colours: Multiple
Reasons to buy
+Iconic brand name+Wide range of classic and fashion-forward colours+Expandable gusset and buckle for adjustable fit
Reasons to avoid
-Narrow foot so not much room for socks

Founded in 1856, British heritage brand Hunter holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and has built a reputation for high-quality long-lasting Wellington boots over its lengthy history.

Hunter’s Original Tall Rain Boots have been a core of the brand since they were first introduced in 1956, and have helped Hunter to achieve the seemingly impossible; turning the humble welly into a fashion icon.

However, on testing we found the new generation Original Tall Wellington Boots to have a very snug fit around the calf, meaning there was no chance of getting a thick welly sock inside. We much preferred the Original Tall Back Adjustable Wellington Boots which feature an expandable gusset at the back allowing for extra space around the calf. 

Crafted from natural rubber with a low heel, they're otherwise identical to the Original Tall Wellington Boots, and come to just below the knee on the average wearer offering good protective coverage on muddy walks. 

The fit is still fairly snug around the foot and ankle, but we found that when walking over long distances this was one of the best wellington boots for comfort; eliminating the chafing that a looser-fit welly can often cause over a long haul. 

Best Wellington boots 2021: Le Chameau Women's Vierzonord Neoprene Lined Wellingtons

(Image credit: Le Chameau)

2. Le Chameau Women's Vierzonord Neoprene Lined Wellingtons

Best Wellington boots for walking

Specifications
US Size range: US 5.5 - 10
UK Size range: UK 2.5 - 8
Materials: Natural rubber with neoprene lining
Colours: 3
Reasons to buy
+Anti-fatigue shock-absorbing soles+Neoprene lining provides thermal insulation comfort-tested to -15 centigrade+Expandable gusset and buckle for adjustable leg fit
Reasons to avoid
-Only 3 colour choices

Le Chameau Women's Vierzonord rain boot is ideal for rural life but will look just as stylish on the school run or around town on a rainy day. And you'll be in good company, the brand, established in 1927 in Cherbourg, France, is often seen on the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

Hand-crafted since 1965, the rubber boot is famed as the first with an adjustable, waterproof gusset. It features a tightening strap and snap-fastening buckle for a secure fit around the calf, so you should be guaranteed a comfortable fit. Meanwhile, the fast-drying neoprene lining cushions feet while keeping them warm and dry. 

Neoprene, which was originally used for diving suits, is an insulating material that prevents body heat from dissipating; these boots are comfort-rated for temperatures as low as -15°C.

As these are designed with all-day use in mind, Le Chameau has added a dual-density Cross sole to absorb shock, while the abrasion-resistant outsole gives you shoe-like comfort whatever the ground conditions.

The best Wellington boots for men: Aigle Parcours 2 Vario Rubber Boots

(Image credit: Aigle)

3. Aigle Parcours 2 Vario Rubber Boots

Best Wellington boots for men

Specifications
US size range: US 6 - 16
UK size range: UK 9 - 14.5
Materials: Mainly natural rubber, lining polyamide
Colours: 4
Reasons to buy
+Smart looks+Anti-fatigue shock-absorbing soles+Waterproof gusset, adjustable to all calf sizes

French brand Aigle has been in business since 1853, but our choice of its Parcours 2 boot is much younger and launched in 2012.

This hand-made boot has a tri-density chunky rubber sole and shock-absorbing cushion, designed so you can walk further without fatigue, while the shaping around the ankle keeps your foot securely in place. The design features an adjustable strap and gusset, so the boot fits your leg perfectly. It also looks incredibly stylish, with the appearance more akin to a knee-high leather boot than a wellie boot.

The Parcours 2 boot is crafted mainly from natural rubber and is lined with quick-drying polyamide, to keep you dry in the wettest conditions. It may be pricey, but we think its sleek look and long-lasting quality build are worth the money.

Best wellington boots 2021 - Best short wellington boots for gardening - Joules AshbyH&G editor approved

(Image credit: Joules)

4. ASHBY RUBBER LACE UP CHELSEA BOOTS

Best short Wellington boots for gardening

Specifications
US size range: 5 - 11
UK size range: 3 - 9
Materials: Natural rubber
Colours: 3
Reasons to buy
+A waterproof natural rubber Chelsea boot+The lace-up design is practical and stylish
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly narrow fit; not much room for thick socks

A shorter welly boot is a great option for warmer days when you don't want the full leg protection of a tall Wellington boot, or if you need some extra flexibility to move freely, such as when you're gardening. 

These short Wellington boots from Joules have a stylish laced-up design, yet the foot area is entirely sealed in natural rubber so no water is going to penetrate through the lace holes. 

Available in three colour options, they're a great choice for getting muddy in the veg plot or for combatting spring showers whilst out on a walk.

Best Wellington Boots - Best Printed Wellies - Joules

(Image credit: Joules)

5. Joules Printed Rain Boots with Back Gusset

Best printed or patterned Wellington boots

Specifications
US size range: US 5 - 11
UK size range: UK 3 - 9
Materials: Natural rubber
Colours: 5
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Adjustable back gusset+Variety of pattern designs

British clothing brand Joules is synonymous with rural living and working. Tom Joule set up the brand in 1989 and initially sold his range of clothing, which married the practical and functional with bright colors and style, on a stand at a country show in Leicestershire.

Known for their use of print and colour, Joules have extended their design ethos down to your feet with a range of brightly coloured and patterned women's and children's wellies. 

These patterned rain boots will definitely cheer you up on a rainy day and help you stand out from the crowd, whether at a muddy festival or on the farmyard.

Best Wellington boots for walking: Barbour Wilton Chelsea Wellington Boots

(Image credit: Barbour)

6. Barbour Wilton Chelsea Wellington Boots

Best Wellington boots for dog walking

Specifications
US size range: US 5 - 11
UK size range: UK 3 - 8
Materials: Rubber, cotton lining
Colours: 6
Reasons to buy
+Short Chelsea-style+Stylish and available in 6 color options+Pull-on
Reasons to avoid
-Wipe clean only

Barbour is well-known for their quilted jackets and tartan clothing, but who says they can't manufacture high-quality shoes, too? These short wellies are great for dog walks – they are wipeable and stylish.

With a rubber construction and a cotton lining, these Chelsea-style Wellington boots are great for rainy summer days and muddy winter walks. They are also waterproof and slip-resistant, as well as pull-on for convenience.

These short Barbour wellies come in six color options – from black to navy, olive, and even a burnt red. They also feature the Barbour logo by the ankle at the front, so that other dog walkers can see your sense of style. 

Best Wellington boots 2021 - smart Wellington boots - Regatta

(Image credit: Regatta)

7. Women's Fleetwood Casual Wellington Boots

The best Wellington boots for wearing about town

Specifications
UK size range: 3 - 8
Materials: Polyester, Rubber, Polyurathane
Colours: 2
Reasons to buy
+Smart enough to wear about town+Warm textile lining+Plenty of room for thick socks
Reasons to avoid
-Textile upper will get dirty on muddier walks and wet in rain

If you want a waterproof boot that is smart enough to wear to the shops, then this textile and rubber Wellington from Regatta is a useful compromise. 

The rubber foot and ankle mean you can walk through puddles with confidence, whilst the quilted textile upper and faux-fur lining add plenty of warmth and is smart enough not to look out of place in an urban setting. A roomy fit also ensures plenty of space for a thick welly sock. 

The heritage of Wellington boots

Wellington boots are generally credited with having been commissioned into life by the Duke of Wellington, who, around 1815, tasked his shoemaker with crafting a mid-calf boot made from supple calfskin leather that was comfortable enough to ride in, smart enough for informal evening attire and waterproof enough to withstand the British countryside. 

Around 40 years later, at the time natural rubber was first being transformed into tyres for cars, the first natural rubber boot was designed. Highly waterproof, this footwear first became widely manufactured during World War I when it was an unfortunate essential for life in the flooded, muddy trenches. 

Post-war, plastics became widespread, and providing an inexpensive alternative - before we knew of the true cost of unsustainable materials and manufacture -  mass Wellington boot production shifted from natural rubber to using cheaper polymers or PVC.

Today the best Wellington boots are once again made from natural rubber, which lasts longer, has more flexibility and is less prone to splitting than plastic.

Are Wellington boots sustainable?

Today Wellington boots tend to fall into two camps; the best Wellington boots generally made from natural rubber and more affordable options from plastic polymers. 

Plastic polymer rain boots are generally made from unsustainable materials and manufacturing processes that are harmful to the environment. They can also be very difficult to dispose of responsibly at the end of their life cycle and are much more likely to split or crack sooner, thereby reducing their longevity and encouraging more unsustainable production and more waste. 

Natural rubber Wellington boots are made from tapping the raw latex from rubber trees, which provided it is done responsibly, doesn't harm the tree, and enables on-going sustainable rubber production. In fact with trees providing vital carbon-sequestering 'services', products made from sustainably-managed rubber tree plantations can be beneficial for a healthy ecosystem.  

The sustainability problem tends to come with the materials that may be bonded to the natural rubber to make the welly more comfortable to be worn, and when the Wellington boot reaches the end of its life and disposed of.  

Heritage brands such as Le Chameau, Hunter, and Aigle are making efforts to address these issues with the best Wellington boots in their ranges, and 2021 is seeing a surge in environmentally-responsible production and highly innovative ideas for footwear repurposing rather than waste. 

How much should you pay for the best Wellington boots?

As with most things in life, it is definitely worth paying a little more to get the best Wellington boots that are higher quality and longest lasting. 

Investing in the best wellington boots for your budget should mean you will be able to continue to wear them for years and years, and won't be adding to unsustainable landfill by throwing away cheaper boots year on year as they split. 

More expensive boots also offer more internal comfort, with carefully considered linings which make wearing them for long periods of time much more enjoyable. 

Are Hunter and Le Chameau's best Wellington boots worth the money?

For these two brands in particular, you’re paying for the name and heritage of the company, as well as the build quality. However, with the best wellington boots, you do get what you pay for in terms of comfort, durability and style.

What kind of Wellington boots does Kate Middleton wear?

The Royal's have a long history of popularising the Wellington boot. 

Sales of Hunter wellies soared when Lady Diana Spencer - the future Princess Diana - was photographed wearing a pair on Balmoral Estate during her early courtship with Prince Charles. 

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is best known for her penchant for Le Chameau Vierzonord Wellington boots in 'Vert'; which is no surprise considering the Duchess's commitment to environmentally responsible brands. 

The Hunter brand get HM the Queen and HM the Duke of Edinburgh's royal warrant, however. 

Both brands have made it onto our best Wellington boots round-up.

Why do Wellington boots split?

Wellington boots have a tough life, and are often the first thing to be flung off in a boot room or left outside in the elements, which - especially if combined with poor quality materials - can, unfortunately, lead to a shortened lifespan.

As we all probably know, buying the best Wellington boots to start with, and then taking good care of your wellies is the best way to prolong their wear. Storing boots upright or hanging upside down on a boot rack in an insulated room will help to prevent splitting and using a rubber conditioner a few times a year will also help to prolong their life.