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Wellington Boots - A Buyers Guide

A buyers guide to wellington boots.

Do your wellies give you cold sore feet, or do they wear out and need replacing after only one seasons use? Quality wellies are comfortable, warm, completely dry, long lasting and suitable for all day wear and outdoor work and sports.

The aim of wellington boots is to keep your feet completely dry as possible. Wellingtons are traditionally hand made from natural rubber, but some wellingtons are now made from other materials including plastics in order to allow mass production and make them less expansive.

The best wellies are always made from natural rubber. Cheap wellies often have the main body mass produced in PVC (a polymer, PolyVinyl Chloride). PVC is used because it has the look of rubber, but can be manufactured with much less cost. PVC is made from polyerised chlorine and petroleum to create a flexible plastic like structure.

However it is the use of natural rubber that endows the boots with all of their desirable characteristics: suppleness, waterproofness, resilience and comfort.

Manufacturing Wellington boots from natural rubber involves a process known as vulcanising. Vulcanising involves a polymer of a rubber being subjected to amounts of high pressure and high temperatures to mould it into a durable and hardwearing shape. Vulcanised rubber changes the compound structure of wellington boots so that instead of having the standard capabilities of a rubber, e.g flexibility, it is able to rebound after use into a pre set shape. Vulcanised rubber ensures your wellingtons can withstand varying temperatures and pressures without breaking or warping.

Neoprene lining keeps your feet warm, especially in wet and muddy conditions.

Neoprene is a rubber, vulcanised to create a pliable material, often used in the main body of quality Wellington boots. Neoprene has closed cell construction that traps in heat, making wellingtons made with neoprene much more insulating. Neoprene also repels water, making them highly suitable for use in cold, muddy and wet conditions.

A proper walking sole

The sole should be made from vulcanised natural rubber and incorporate a firm level of tread for good grip. The best quality boots employ a sole of similar construction to a quality walking boot.


Some of the best wellingtons are manufactured using traditional methods in Europe to the European size scale. Do be aware that European sizes are not exactly equal to any UK or US size, so it is important to ascertain your correct European size fitting. Your wellies should fit your usual foot size, but consider picking a pair a half or one size up if you intend to wear them with thick hiking socks.

Care of rubber boots

Rubber boots should be washed off after every use with clean water. A hose pipe is ideal! Store upright in a clean dry place away from direct heat and direct sunlight.