Choosing Outdoor Footwear
Choosing Outdoor Footwear
By Rebecca Trant
Many people underestimate the importance technological advances have made to the humble Wellington boot. Surely a welly is just a welly? Well no - today you do not have to put up with cold, hot and sweaty or uncomfortable footwear when out in the field. Here at Farlows, our designated boot room aims to cater for all weather conditions and terrain by stocking the best brands on offer.
Whether you are going, shooting, walking, or to a festival, the good old British weather dictates that it’s essential to have a pair of waterproof boots on standby whatever the season.
An introduction to our brands
With over 150 years’ experience in manufacturing boots, Aigle have the skills and knowledge to produce some of the best boots on the market. Their boots are handmade in France in their factory in Châtellerault. Aigle staff are trained for two years to learn the crucial sixty-step process of making an Aigle boot. Each boot is then leak tested prior to leaving the factory.
Even taking into account the craftsmanship and sustainable rubber that goes into making a pair of Aigle boots, they remain competitively priced and a worthwhile investment.
Born in the late 70’s, Brasher has spent the last 33 years developing it’s prominence as the UK’s leading brand for outdoor performance footwear. They have three core values that they strive for in every boot: Brasher footwear is comfortable, lightweight and has quality feel. Even though the boots are not manufactured in the UK, they are both designed and tested here. Walkers spend a minimum of 200 hours in the British hills in order to ensure the boots provide the best quality and comfort.
The Irish city of Galway has been the home of Dubarry for 75 years. A traditional Irish brand, Dubarry has a rich heritage which it uses to create a range of products, including its famous leather boots. Dubarry was one of the first footwear brands to make a completely waterproof leather boot, bridging the gap between practicality and style.
Hunter boots were first put into production in Scotland in 1856. Since then Hunter has become a global brand with not one, but two Royal Warrants – both HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh have been fans since the late 70’s.During World War I, Hunter supplied 1,185,036 pairs of Wellington boots to the British Army, and by World War II 80% of their production was for war materials.
In 2007, record sales dictated the necessity to relocate manufacturing to Europe and the Far East. Here production has developed into a huge array of boot designs including festival boots and collaborations with top designers.
Le Chameau has been manufacturing Wellington boots in France since 1927. They are renowned for their quality (every boot is handmade) linings and fabrics, and, of course, their light green colour.
Their boots have long been a favourite in the countryside, whether fishing, riding, shooting or walking the dog. They are made from the highest quality natural products, and use the latest technologies to ensure comfort and reliability.
The Wellington boot market has developed so much over the last 10 years. Improvements are led by improved technologies, linings and soles. This is all good, but it can be confusing for the customer when faced with so many different options to keep their feet dry.
Neoprene is probably better known for being used to make wetsuits, due to its fantastic insulating properties. The neoprene lining ensures that none of the wearer’s body heat is released from the boot. This is the perfect choice of lining for very cold weather conditions or for those with poor circulation.
A leather lining inside a boot ensures the highest levels of comfort. The excellent insulation qualities, mixed with its ability to absorb perspiration and stop the feet from overheating makes leather lined boots perfect for all four seasons.
A boot with a bamboo carbon lining is great for all seasons. The lining will keep your feet warm in winter and cool in summer by acclimatising to the variations in temperature. The lining is also able to wick moisture away if feet start to sweat.
Boots with a Gore-Tex® membrane are guaranteed to be completely waterproof. Even though no water is able to enter through the fabric from outside, the membrane allows the passage of moisture vapour away from the inside of the boot. This will keep your feet dry and comfortable at all times.
Finding the Right Boot for you
Wellington boots are worn for all sorts of activities, and so it is important to understand what benefits you want from your boot. There is no point in wearing a Neoprene lined boot in the height of summer; likewise some very thick socks would be needed to keep feet warm in a cotton lined boot in the snow! Grips vary from boot to boot, and these should also be a consideration, especially if the intended use is hiking or stalking.
Other Alterntatives to the Wellington Boot
On those days when sturdy waterproof footwear is needed, but it is unnecessary to wear a full length Wellington boot, Farlows has a range of walking boots to suit your needs.
Brasher is the leading British brand for walking footwear, and we have a selection that ranges from the Countrymaster® GTX® shoe which is ideal for dog walking, to the Lithium GTX® which is a great boot for trekking.
Laksen and Le Chameau also offer an alternative to rubber boots. The Brenner boot from Laksen and the Mouflon boot from Le Chameau are completely waterproof and both have Vibram® soles for increased comfort and excellent grip. They are great for walking over rough terrain in all types of weather.
There is much to choose from – please do not hesitate to contact Farlows if you would like advice on any of the products mentioned in this article tel 0207 484 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org