Wub­ber-ly wellies

Sporting Shooter - - Product News -

This month, I have put a pair of Hunter Field Bal­moral wellies through their paces. I have an odd in­ter­est in the his­tory of the welling­ton boot, a his­tory in which the North Bri­tish Rubber Com­pany, founded in 1856 and now known as Hunter, has played a ma­jor part. So, let’s cut straight to the ‘not a lot of peo­ple know that’ bit. The Duke of Welling­ton ad­mired hes­sian mil­i­tary boots dur­ing his cam­paigns and en­gaged his boot­maker, one Ge­orge Hoby of St James, to make some to an im­proved recipe. The first were made of leather but, later, they were fab­ri­cated in the 19th cen­tury’s new won­der ma­te­rial – ‘vul­can­ised’ rubber – to the pa­tent of Mr Goodyear. À l’Aigle (To the Ea­gle) made them in France and the North Bri­tish Rubber Com­pany in th­ese isles. Trench war in the 20th cen­tury did much for de­mand and, across the At­lantic, higher heeled welling­ton boots – still made of leather – were pop­u­lar with cow­boys.

Now, as for our boots, they fol­low in the great tra­di­tion of An­glo-French rub­ber­ware. Care­fully re-en­gi­neered, they fea­ture full neo­prene lin­ing, a snazzy wa­ter­proof zip, and be­spoke NewFlex Vi­bram com­mando soles. They are not quite top of the im­pres­sive Hunter range – that hon­our goes to the leather-lined Sov­er­eign – but they are a qual­ity prod­uct and Hunter are very proud of them.

First im­pres­sions are of an uber-boot with sleek de­sign and a stitched up­per con­struc­tion, not of­ten seen in a wellie. They are com­fort­able, though quite heavy. The boots have a pro­tec­tive rubber rand and kick spur for ease of re­moval. They are made from a new soft but durable rubber com­pound. The test pair were dark olive, though they come in black too (UK sizes 3-14) – and have an RRP of £245. You can’t fault the styling. They are ideal for the shoot­ing field. Func­tion­ally, a lot of thought has gone into them too; the zip im­presses, as does the strap, and the sole. The Hun­ters are sup­plied with 3mm and 5mm in­soles, too, to ad­just fit and ease fa­tigue. Over­all, a qual­ity prod­uct made with an eye for style and de­tail.

RRP: £245 www.hunter­boots.com

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