Whether you’re pottering around the garden or allotment, working or farming, dog walking, or just a big lover of the great outdoors, we could all do with a good pair of wellies. But if you remember them as cold, stiff boots that required at least two pairs of socks, don't panic! We’re happy to report that the innovation of these humble boots has also made great strides.
This guide will cover important considerations like which to pick for wide calves and whether to go neoprene or gum, ankle or full-length. Then, we’ll show you some of our favourite options to buy on Amazon and eBay from brands such as Hunter, Dunlop and Aigle.
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Table of Contents
Full length styles refer to the traditional wellies most of you will be familiar with. They generally come to just below the knee and will keep you well protected from any slippery sludge you may find yourself stumbling across.
If you do a lot of walking in the countryside, you work in a big garden or you partake in agricultural work in general, then these are the boots we would recommend. This style can also come with added features such as steel toe caps and anti-slip treaded soles for safety whilst you're working, so look for these additions if you need extra protection.
As you can guess, half-length styles tend to be half the height of regular wellies, and will ordinarily reach just under your calf. These are great for those of us with wider calves, as it shouldn’t be an issue finding some that fit.
They’re also a good option for more casual wearers or the festival-goers out there, as they will still offer plenty of protection from the mucky fields but are easier to slip on and off when clambering in and out of a tent.
A recent addition to the welly family, the ankle boot is ideal if you just want a pair to slip on to take the rubbish out, potter around in when you’re messing with your flower beds, or if you need something you know is going to keep your feet dry when you’re walking the kids to school.
People have been spotted with these at festivals as well, but we think it's pretty brave to be so trusting of the English weather! So be careful when wearing these if it's likely to be a muddy one, as they offer good waterproof protection but aren't as successful when faced with mud.
Wellies are ordinarily made of either natural rubbers, PVC, or polyurethane, all of which are known for their waterproof qualities. Natural rubbers or gum rubbers are an agricultural product derived from the sap of trees and plants. They’re known for being flexible, sturdy and comfortable, and will appeal to those wanting a natural material.
The synthetic products (PVC and polyurethane) are generally lighter than natural rubbers, and often cheaper too. However, they do have an unwanted impact on the environment during and post-production in the shape of plastic waste which may put some of you off. They’re also slightly less supportive and sturdy.
And while you're weighing up the best gear for outdoors, why not check out our guide to Windproof Umbrellas here.
We get some pretty dismal weather in the UK, so opting for some wellies with a suitable lining to keep your feet warm is a must. Our pick of the bunch is neoprene, a breathable fabric that'll keep your feet cosy in winter but cool in the warmer months. Other than bringing extra warmth, the lining will also give you added comfort. The downside is these linings do tend to come with an inflated price, though.
Other inexpensive lining options are nylon, polyester or PVC. These will provide extra comfort and warmth, but perhaps just not as well. If you’re not planning on spending a lot of winter in your wellies, but still want to be snug, then they might be the best option.
On the other hand, you could always pick yourself up a pair for occasional use that either uses the same material as the outside of the boot or one that is unlined. These won’t provide the comfort or cosiness of their lined counterparts, but they'll most certainly be cheaper.
Gum rubber soles are by far the most common sole to be found on Wellington boots, as they're sturdy, slip-resistant, waterproof, and very hard-wearing. This makes them a solid match for strolls in the countryside, festival-goers and essentially everyone who isn’t planning on coming up against any foreign agricultural chemicals.
People often find a rubber sole to be flexible and comfortable from the very first wear. Rubber naturally has more shock absorption so they're better for your feet and back. They'll also last a longtime if maintained in the right way.
Boots with PVC soles have a lot going for them. They’re good insulators and are extremely resistant to abrasion and chemicals, so are therefore ideal if you’re working in the fields.
However, they have two major flaws – first off, their non-slip qualities are pretty poor, which isn't great if you’re walking through a sloppy field or partying (especially not after a few too many). Secondly, their ventilation isn't great, so if you’re getting these in preparation for summer then there's every chance you'll be suffering from a case of sweaty feet.
Vibram was developed in the late 1930s after lives were lost on an expedition up the Alps, partly due to incompetent footwear. By 1954 it was patented and used in the first ascent of the K2 summit (a notoriously difficult climbing expedition), so as a sole that cut its teeth taking people up mountains, we’re sure it’s going to get you to your favourite country pub or around the work warehouse without a hitch!
EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is similar to rubber in softness and flexibility, however, EVA soles are known to be much lighter. By nature, this makes them more flexible, and better at absorbing impact when walking, which in turn makes them more comfortable. Perfect for dog-walkers or those that are planning on spending significant time pounding the pastures.
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Quatro Insulated Safety Welly
Boots That Come Prepared for a Weather War
Unisex Wellies With a Narrow-Fitting Ankle
An Affordable, No-Nonsense British Icon
Original Refined Slim Fit
The Hottest Name in the Game
Half-Length Boots With a Synthetic Fur Lining
Bede Waterproof Wellington Boots
Form and Function: A Love Story
Hydromaster Safety Wellington Boots and Boot Socks
Comfortable, Sturdy and Perfect for Wide Feet
Feather Light Safety Boots for Men and Women
Good Frostbite Protection
Rydal Neoprene Insulated Rubber Wellington Boots
Steel-Reinforced Toes Make These Wellies Ideal for Icy Weather
Neoprene Wellington Muck Field Boots
Cosy Ankle Boots That Are Easy to Slip On
These wellies from Skellerup have everyone covered, and that's why they take our top spot. These tanks of the terrain are prepared for anything, and are the go-to boot for farmers the world over. Made from cut-resistant rubber that's stabilised and resistant to chemicals and manure, they're a match for workers, too.
The 4mm neoprene lining should see your hooves staying toasty in temperatures as low as -25° C, as well as an ankle-locking design to aid with comfort. On top of all this, they have a sole that is not only super-grippy but releases mud, so you won't be carrying any extra weight when you're walking around.
Again, the French have come up with a range of handcrafted Wellington boots that are just phenomenal, and this time a little cheaper! They're ideal if you're going to be missioning across the meadows as they have a narrow-fitting ankle that provides support and retention. There's also an additional comfortable lining, and Softex rubber-cushioned heel.
These boots really are made for everyone, with generous unisex sizing that leaves enough space for thick socks or just a little room to let your toes breathe. Overall, we think they're good value for what you get, and should last years if looked after properly.
If you're looking for a boot that simply gets the job done, then the classic Dunlop Pricemasters are the ones for you. They're almost a British institution, with kids being sent on school trips with them for centuries, and never getting in too much trouble when they return without them.
These boots provide a surprisingly good fit too, with a defined heel cup that wraps around the Achilles tendon. A solid match for the occasional wearer or festival-goer, these are no-nonsense wellies that won't break the bank.
Hunter Original's are a statement, and one you want to make. An instant classic that looks great and performs even better, these boots are the perfect investment for anyone. The simple dark grey design means it works with nearly any wardrobe too!
The boots are lined with fast-drying nylon and function as the perfect addition to any walks in the UK, whether the weather is simply grey, a full downpour or crisply snowing. All in all, these boots work hard to keep you at your best and are even unisex.
A prime bit of festival fashion ever since Ms. Moss wore them to Glastonbury '05, Hunters have become not just the go-to wellies for music season, but for any wet and rainy one. They're incredibly flexible for hindrance-free walking, and while the Original line is made primarily for fashion and not hard wear, casual wearers will remain dry and comfortable.
These particular Originals come with a synthetic fur lining for snug feet. We've chosen the half-length for aesthetics, but if you're in the market for full-length the option is available, as well as a few different colourways such as navy and a more daring raspberry.
Sometimes female clothing can be created with the sole purpose to look good, neglecting the cause of the item's existence; but these Barbour boots sit snugly into the centre of looking great while performing well in many conditions.
The boots come in a lovely navy and give off a real autumnal look. Though, with such an elegantly simple design, these boots would look good anywhere. Bear in mind that the bow will get dirty fast if you are planning to do hard work in them.
JCB's Hydromaster wellington boots are great for anyone working or exploring in super wet conditions. These boots are practically hydrophobic, fully waterproof, and equipped with anti-static, so you are quite safe wearing these.
From unisex sizes 7-12 anyone can make use of these complete worker boots, even for hiking or other outdoor activities while looking really good. They're wide in the feet, but they come with JCB socks to wear while using the boots to make the fit that bit more snug.
The USP of these boots is that they're going to keep your tootsies warm down to -40° C – which is why they're a favourite of deepsea fisherman and freezer warehouse workers. This pair of boots should easily see you through even the harshest of English winters, too, plus they're 100% waterproof and accommodating of wide feet.
We do have a slight issue with the lack of 'comfortable' lining though, which, when worn for long periods, could see some rub marks on your calves. Another problem is the price is quite steep when compared to other selections on our list.
Lakeland Active's pair of men's rubber wellingtons are great for those looking for a minimalistic yet well designed pair of boots. Being able to withstand down to -20°, they aren't just for show. With a steel-reinforced sole, you can make sure to keep your footing even and proper.
While these boots have a great design and some wonderful features, some of the reviews mention problems with water leakage after extreme use, so maybe look for even better quality if you want to be in the thick of it.
Small on size but big on waterproofing, these ankle wellingtons from Dirt Boot are a great pick. Whether you're dealing with snow up in the hills or messy coastal wetness, the neoprene rubber design is sure to keep your feet warm. They also have pretty good traction on wet surfaces.
While the small size is easy to slip in and out of, it doesn't provide much in the form of ankle support, which means that they are not so good during treacherous icy conditions. If you need more protection, look at some other options that we have selected.
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