There's nothing quite so vital to life in the countryside as a decent pair of wellies. Country Life's luxury editor Hetty Chidwick makes her pick of the best you can buy.
Whether it’s autumn rain, winter snow, the showers of spring or the thunderstorms of summer, we all need to invest in a quality pair of wellington boots.
You may be after the best wellington boots for walking, a pair of wellies for gardening or even something for kids — our round-up has the best pairs on the market.
Our luxury editor Hetty Lintell has picked out the pairs below, all of which offer a great blend of practicality, durability and style.
The classic Hunter wellies aren’t just for the fashion and music set at festivals throughout the summer — although the light and flexible rubber does lend them to packing into a rucksack, or wearing them solidly for a whole weekend. Hunter produce some extremely fine field wear wellingtons too, such as the Balmoral at £150.
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The Rolls-Royce of the wellington world, Le Chameau’s Vierzon boots (starting from £150, £180 if you go for neoprene lining) are the Royal choice, favoured by The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry alike.
This superbly smart pair of men’s wellies with reinforced heel and toe, cotton lining and a sole that’s designed to be both grippy and self-cleaning (presumably only from the bigger chunks of mud). And yet for all that it’s probably the contrasting desert-brown buckle and rim which really elevates these — great, good-looking wellies.
The intersection of high fashion and muddy fields is provided by these wellies which are, frankly, startling, and about as far away from the standard Paddington Bear-type wellies as darkest Peru is from the King’s Road. The heels are high, the lines are exquisite, yet they’re as practical as you’ll need too, with welly-grade waterproofing and plenty of grip from those chunky soles — whether they’re churning through Dorset mud or sploshing through puddles in SW3.
‘Always warm & dry’ is their slogan, and this is due to their neoprene lining, providing excellent insulation from +15 to -15 degrees. They also have arched supports, which are said to reduce back stress.
These Thermax Gusset Boots are an all-round style which function in winter under harsh conditions but are just as useful in spring and autumn.
I’m slightly biased, as I own a pair of these myself – gents can wear them too, but I just think they are better suited to a lady’s leg.
This Galway style, £329, is available in extra fit and slim fit and they are perfect for a long walk but stylish enough to keep on for the pub lunch afterwards. They must be cared for properly, so aim to get some leather protector and suede spray.
Perfect for slipping on before you attack the weeds in the garden, these ankle-height boots are part of the Muckboots Royal Horticultural Society collection — they make a number of different models for men and women with RHS seal of approval.
Here you’ll find very jolly designs for adults too, but I love the children’s designs. This shark attack pair will make puddle splashing even more fun.
The children’s range includes lovely nautical-themed boots for £30 for the wannabe sailor, but this is our pick of the adult’s range, made from natural rubber that claims to be self-cleaning — within reason, presumably — and tear resistant.
A simple classic for a gent who prefers navy, these Bede wellies have a Barbour tartan lining and are made from vulcanised rubber and have a ‘kick spur’ at the back to help you get them off easily.
Finally, for something very special indeed, the Le Chameau Chasseur style gets my vote. Somewhat pricey at £360, the leather lined boots are top of the range and the style is over 40 years old — the first boot to offer multiple calf sizes. Their all-terrain grip resists wear and is ever popular with the shooting crowd.