Make a splash: How to buy the best pair of wellies | Fashion

While the rain we’re experiencing isn’t really the kind to run outside and jump in puddles, there’s nothing more comforting than a pair of wellies during this extremely wet season.

Fashion stylist Rhys Ripper says growing up on a farm found wellies so handy that he often ventured out in just socks, jocks and wellies. As long as you’re wearing wellies, he says, “you can run outside and feed the chooks or get firewood without worry.”

But not all rubber boots are the same. In order not to literally get stuck in the mud, there are a few specifics to keep in mind.

First of all, you should make sure that your rubber boots have non-slip soles and a good profile. Profile is the first thing farmer Andrew Joy looks for when judging a good boot. He says, “Hiking profiles are preferable because they offer better grip and protection.”

The next thing to consider is the length of the boot. Want Kate Moss knee high boots at Glastonbury? Or easier to style for the city, ankle-high?

Kate Moss at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2005
Kate Moss at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2005. Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images

The first thing to think about is protection. According to Ripper, knee-high wellies offer protection for your calves, but more importantly for your pants. He says “tucking in the pants is important” for fashion reasons (to show off the boots) but also to “keep the pants dry.”

The second is movement. A PVC or rubber knee high boot can affect your ability to bend your ankle. One way to avoid this is to opt for shorter boots with neoprene sidewalls. Joy says he wears a “mid-rise neoprene style as it offers better maneuverability and isn’t as stiff on the leg.”

Knee high boots can be difficult to put on and take off, and sometimes this can affect the fit around your foot. Michael Hatfield of safety footwear manufacturer Bata Industrials says you need to strike the right balance between a boot that’s big to let your foot in, yet snug enough for a comfortable fit.

Podiatrist Tanya Contis says fit is especially important because if your boots are too loose, “you will tend to clench your toes to prevent your foot from moving,” which can cause painful blisters and calluses.

When it comes to fit, she says, “Your feet are going to swell as the day goes on. So if your boots are snug in the morning, they’re probably too small by the end of the day.” Other things to consider are how supportive and structured the sole is – whether or not it provides adequate arch support and whether the shoe cushions.

Contis prefers ankle-length boots with a neoprene lining. She says the length makes it easy to get on and off, and the lining helps insulate the foot. Both are particularly important when you buy rubber boots for children.

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In terms of materials, wellies are typically made of either PVC or rubber. Natural rubber tends to be more flexible and comfortable to wear than PVC, and more durable, especially when it has undergone a hardening process known as vulcanization. However, rubber is also much heavier and more expensive than PVC.

According to Hatfield, boots made from PVC are more commonly used for protective gear and can come with features like safety toecaps and anti-puncture midsoles to protect against sharp objects piercing the sole.

Ultimately, the right pair of boots depends on what you need them for.

The farmer’s choice

For calf protection, insulation, and flexibility through the ankle, Joy recommends the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid Farm ($149.95). The boot is lined with lightweight fabric that absorbs sweat and has been tested in sub-zero temperatures so you can rest assured that your foot will stay warm and dry.

A pink bobbi wellie from Merry People
Contis recommends the Merry People Bobbi Gumboot.

The choice of podiatrist

Australian wellington boot designers Merry People have created a highly versatile ankle length boot. Contis says she’s seen the Bobbi Wellington ($149.95) worn on the farm and around town and comes in a variety of fun colors. If fit is your priority then this is a good option as these boots have arch support and a roomy profile. They are also lined with neoprene for extra warmth and flexibility. In addition, Merry People have a super cute children’s range.

The fashion selection

Ripper recommends these stylish yet functional Hunter Knee High Boots (about $225). The style originated in England in 1956 and has been worn by everyone from Kate Moss to Diana, Princess of Wales. It is made of vulcanized natural rubber and is designed to withstand rain. For slightly shorter lengths, Hunter also makes a super chic waterproof Chelsea boot.

Red, blue and white children's Penny Scallan Anchors Away wellies
Penny Scanlan wellies for children.

The choice for children

Penny Scanlan makes these kids’ short wellies ($39.95). They have a cotton lining, a non-slip sole and toe protection.

The heavy pickaxe

The Bata Steel Toe Knee Length Safety Boots ($32.50) have their features in the title. They are made of PVC, have a reinforced heel, a steel toe cap and are oil and acid resistant. Also, they are made in Australia.

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