The history of Wellington Boots

The History of Wellington Boots


The famous Wellington boots date back to 1817. The first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley had returned from a battle after defeating Napoleon. He wasn’t satisfied with his Hessian boots and instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James' Street, London, to design new boots for him with calfskin leather. Once the boots were out, the troops started wearing them and found them to be extremely comfortable and durable at the same time. The exterior of the boots was tough and rugged. However, the boots were extremely soft from the inside and that’s what made them famous.

A Peek at the History of Wellies

Wellington Boots have a great historic significance. These boots were waxed from the outside so that they did not get wet. These boots were perfect for the battlefield and for casual wear as well. The Wellington boots remained in fashion through the 1840’s and in the 50’s, until some shoemakers started to modify them. Some of the boots in fashion at that time were calf high and some were ankle length boots. With the advancement in technology, Charles Goodyear invented a technique of vulcanising rubber. Many people started to create rubber boots which were waterproof and provided a soft grip. These boots quickly came into fashion and everyone in the United Kingdom started to wear them.

Henry Lee Norris moved to Edinburg, Scotland, where the weather used to be rainy throughout the year. He felt that making Wellington boots using rubber will be a hit in Scotland and started manufacturing in there in 1856. He started a company named British Rubber Company, where he used to design Wellington Boots. The Wellington Boots were thought to be an essential accessory for battle troops and were a choice of warriors in World War. A great number of armed forces started using Wellington boots for war because they provided protection against water. Moreover, these boots were tough and comfortable to wear.

The Fashion Statement

Wellies also became a prominent part of fashion and men would wear them to attract females. These boots were seen as an accessory for strong men and enhanced their overall look. In the 1800s, knee breeches went out of fashion and trousers began to gain popularity amongst men. Hessian Boots did not gel with the trousers so, Wellesley instructed his shoemaker to create something that would gel with the newly adopted fashion. The shoemaker created Wellies using calfskin. These boots looked perfect with trousers and almost every man started to wear them. Soon these boots began to be modified into much more appealing forms. These were also created in rubber by Charles Goodyear, which were a replacement for the hard and uncomfortable farmer’s wooden boots.

Wellies never went out of fashion and famous personalities like Christopher Columbus, Beau Brummel, and Princess Diana also paired these boots with their outfits.

Luckily wellies are considered to be everyday wear now, and whether used as a functional bit of footwear or as a fantastic fashion statement – make sure you stand out from the crowd!


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