Anyone who knows much about British country life will be well familiar with Wellington boots – also known as “wellies”. They were originally made of leather, with the design inspired by Hessian boots and the name inspired when they were popularised by the 1st Duke of Wellington. By the early 19th century, they'd become a popular wardrobe item for middle class and aristocratic Brits living in the frequently wet and muddy countryside.
Today, most wellies are made from rubber or PVC, and they're no longer limited to standard colors like green and black. You can get them tall or short, and a variety of inserts can make them warmer or more foot-friendly. Below, we've gathered some of the loveliest wellies you'll find anywhere.
The Classic Tall Hunter Wellington Boot
We might as well begin with the classic Hunter Wellington Boot. While not particularly exciting, Hunter's wellies are known for quality and durability. Unlike cheaper knockoffs and imitations, these wellies are handcrafted from natural vulcanised rubber, and they're fully waterproof.
Those not familiar with British country life might be surprised to see gorgeous estates and cottages with a bunch of old black or green rubber boots by the door – but they're exceedingly handy in the country, and many old money types still favour the brutally plain classics. In the early 80s, it wasn't unusual to see Lady Diana in a pair of old green Hunter wellies.
Quilted Hunter Wellington Boots
For those who want something a bit different but not too flashy, Hunter also offers a variety of quilted wellies like the pair above. They're a bit more fashionable, but still very understated and neutral.
Joules Floral Wellies
In recent years, Joules has come out with a line of what they call “posh wellies”. It's become one of their most successful lines, and it's no wonder – the colorful designs are perfect for brightening up a gray British day.
American readers may not be too familiar with Joules, but it's a popular high street brand in the UK, with roughly 100 locations spread throughout the country. While I wouldn't say it has a perfect US equivalent, it's the kind of place Americans who shop at Whole Foods and Target would be likely to shop.
Navy Spring Flowers Rain Boots
Another one from Joules, this pair of rain boots has a fun botanical print – bright enough that it's not too “old lady”, with a fun red sole. They're a bit like Louboutin wellies!
Nomad Monet Waterlilies Wellies
While Joules wellies are pricey and Hunter boots are even moreso, that doesn't mean you can't get the look of classic wellies at a lower price. You'll likely take a hit in quality and longevity, but that may not be a huge concern if you don't need them for regular use. This lovely Van Gogh-inspired pair of wellies is sure to attract the attention of any nearby art lovers.
When it comes to buying less expensive, non-branded wellies, I highly recommend you feel along the seams when you receive them. The boots are intended to be waterproof, but it's often the first place to come apart in a lower-priced boot. Comfort may also take a hit, but that's really in the eye of the wearer, so you may or may not have issues with that.
Botanical Bird Wellies
This lovely pair of pale green wellies is adorned with a variety of plants and songbirds, and looks tailor-made for a spot in a beamed Cotswold cottage. The inside of the boots is lined with a red and white striped cotton fabric, and it's lightly cushioned for comfort.
If internet photos and videos have enticed you into a love affair with the sloth (and really, who doesn't love a sloth?), you might enjoy these playful sloth wellies. I can't vouch for their durability (the product reviews suggest they may be more for fun than long-term, heavy use), but they're certainly cute.
Vintage Garden Wellies
These feminine wellies feature a light pink body with a bright garden pattern that includes a variety of flowers and a plump songbird. I can't imagine many more perfectly suited to tromping through one's garden on a wet spring day.
Molly Star Gazing Wellies
These star gazing rain boots actually come in a variety of heights – but I think I like them best in the mid-height variation. They're simple and functional with just a hint of fun, but they're not so overwhelmingly decorated as to be out of place in the mud. They're also from Joules, so you know the quality is good.
Black & White Botanical Wellies
These wellies from Capelli (Capelli's wellies?) are a lovely combination of pretty and not too loud. They're a great alternative for someone who wants something fairly neutral but still a little unique. It's also a nice touch that they've added a loop on the back to help you pull them on easily.
Hunter Nebula Wellies
Lest anyone think Hunter ONLY makes boring green and black boots, we had to include their gorgeous Nebula line. These shimmery boots come in a couple different colors, and you can choose between tall or short heights. The pink-ish variety reminds me a bit of a padparadscha sapphire (a very expensive sort of pink-ish orange sapphire).
- Check prices and availability for tall Nebula wellies
- Check prices and availability for short Nebula wellies
Joules French Navy Spot Wellibobs
For those times you want just a bit of water protection without a boot halfway up your leg, there are wellibobs. These polka dotted ankle wellies from Joules are functional, but also cute and comfortable enough to wear all over the place on a rainy day.
Hunter Wide Fit Wellies
For those with athletic or thick calves, finding the perfect wellies can be a challenge – but it's not impossible to find cute ones. You can either opt for lower styles, or seek out those labelled as “wide calf”. You can also look for styles where the adjustable park actually splits open, as opposed to the ones where you can only tighten/loosen a very small amount.
The lovely green wellies above feature the larger adjustable calf (see the “Nebula” style a few entries back to compare), so they're great if you feel a bit constricted in normal wellies.
Which Wellies Are Your Favourites?
Personally, I'm a fan of the classics with a slight twist – so the Hunter Nebula boots are probably my favorite of the bunch, with the Joules floral pattern in a close second. They seem very Hyacinth Bucket to me. Which pair would you get?