Loved by everyone from dog walkers to allotment owners, the humble Wellington will see you through the wettest, muddiest conditions, which is why, more than 200 years since they were invented, they are still going strong.
We were after boots that were a lot more than just puddle-proof, though, and were looking for pairs that offered comfort for extended use, whether that’s a rambling weekend walk or a day in the garden.
All the boots in the line up offer 100 per cent waterproofing, but they also needed to be comfortable and easy to wear from the moment we started walking, without having to be broken in.
Warmth, the practicality of getting them on and off, and the traction provided by the outsole were all taken into consideration when testing the boots out on Dartmoor, as well as some urban adventuring.
The Wellington is the epitome of utilitarian footwear and these are the boots that will live up to the name in 2021.
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Muck boot forager
A very versatile boot with pliable, easy-to-fold rubber which means that the boot can be worn at three different heights, so you can match it to the weather and conditions. The memory foam foot bed was comfortable and warm and there’s good protection on tougher terrain with extra rubber at the toe and heel. These boots had one of the best outsoles on test, with superb traction and no problems with mud clogging up the tread. Good looks and a great price make this a real boot for all seasons.
Ariat burford insulated zip boot
This tall boot is built to perform in all conditions and is very well insulated making it a good autumn or winter boot. Shock absorption from the midsole was excellent, so we didn’t feel a thing even when we were walking over hard, stony forest trails. The comfort continues with a wicking foot bed and an outsole that really digs into any mud or loose gravel to give you plenty of confidence while walking or working outdoors. The boots have a nice classic design with a leather trimmed top and a zip that runs from heel to calf to make the boots easy to get on and off.
Aigle anti-fatigue hunting boots
The French footwear manufacturer call these “anti-fatigue” boots because they’ve beefed up the cushioning in the heel and filled the midsole with shock absorbing foam. Combined with a natural rubber upper that is soft and pliable from the box and you have a very comfortable boot that seems to mould to the foot the more you wear it. Added to this is an outsole that offers a fusion of three different rubbers for durability and protection and superb traction in all conditions and you really have a do-it-all boot with some classic styling.
Men’s balmoral field adjustable 3mm neoprene wellington boots
The boots from the well-known UK manufacturer were easy to break in and the rubber was comfortable straight out of the box. The footplate is enhanced by two thicknesses (3mm and 5mm) of moulded insole and the adjustable shaft means that you can fine-tune the fit of the boot so that your feet feel well supported even on longer walks. A durable, well-treaded Vibram outsole gave good traction and the boots were easy to get off thanks to the kick spur addition on the heel.
Le Chameau country cross neoprene homme
We found the natural rubber used in the country cross was one of the most supple and comfortable on test. The boots actually felt like someone had already walked around in them to break them in. We also liked the design of the boot which is slightly more generous around the calf for a nice roomy fit on the legs that tapers nicely to secure the feet snugly on the footplates. An excellent outsole and neoprene lining for warmth make for a quality boot that is well worth the investment.
Dunlop purofort and full safety
These boots are made from a synthetic material, not rubber, but they still offer a comfortable wearing experience and are lightweight, making them good for all-day usage. There is good support and cushioning across the foot bed but, primarily, these are a work day boot. This is why a lot of thought seems to have been put into the outsole, which was very grippy and offered traction on paths and even surfaces, while also being able to give stability when things get wet and muddy underfoot.
Bosworth navy town and country wellies
This full-length boot offers a nice, roomy fit allowing plenty of space to tuck in trousers, even when you’re wearing thick socks. An adjustable shaft means that it’s easy to customise the fit and a comfortable foot bed makes the boot easy to wear all day. Where Town and Country have really got things right with the Bosworth are with the outsole, which has got plenty of tread on the forefoot to avoid slip ups on flat surfaces, while the higher heel can really dig into mud and through water to anchor the heel as you walk.
Didriksons kornö men’s rubber boots
This short wellie is supremely easy to get on and off and is made from soft natural rubber, so you won’t have to worry about chafing on the calf or foot. The Swedish company has a history of making weatherproof gear for fishermen. This means that plenty of experience has gone into making a boot that feels as good to wear on the inside, thanks to a thin fleece lining, as it does, stable and protective on the outside.
Muck boot unisex arctic sport short boots
An easy on-and-off mid height boot, built for colder conditions with 5mm of neoprene insulation (compared to the usual 3mm on regular wellingtons) and a fleece lining that also helps to cushion and secure the foot in place on the foot bed. This is supported by another 2mm of thermal foam for added warmth and comfort. The opening stretches nicely, creating a good seal between calf and boot to keep out any materials and trap warmth within. The outsole performed well with good grip and mud release, so we didn’t have to worry about diminished traction as we walked.
Buckler BBZ6000 S5 waterproof neoprene safety wellington boot
Some wellies are created with something more heavy duty in mind than a dog walk. That is the case with the S5s, which are a safety wellie for those with a particular job of work to do. The sole is heat and slip resistant and there’s extra protection at the toe cap and midsole. All this protection doesn’t sacrifice comfort and the boot comes with detachable cushioned insoles, effective breathable lining and, as you’d expect, excellent traction and grip.
The verdict: Men’s wellies
Good looks combine with real practicality for the Muck Boot Forager, which is a real boot for all seasons, offering all day comfort and plenty of protection. It really is go-anywhere footwear that you can adapt to any conditions.
Looking for a trendy pair of water-repellent shoes? We’ve got you covered with the best men’s waterproof boots
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