Did you know the United Kingdom endures 33.7 inches of rainfall each year, with an average of 133 days experiencing rain and snow (please note as I write this from my little office in Wales, the odds are stacked slightly higher for us here). Therefore, it is no surprise that wellington boots, including those from Le Chameau, have become a staple piece of every Brit’s wardrobe.
From here in Cowbridge to the Cotswolds and even Covent Garden, they are seen in every environment. Originally worn by officers in the British Army, wellington boots have been around since the 1790s. However, it was Arthur Wellesley, more commonly known as the Duke of Wellington, who popularised the shoe in 1817. This transformed the wellington boot from military uniform to aristocrat fashion.
Born in 1769, Arthur Wellesley was a British soldier and a leading political figure in the 19th century. He won victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, became a military hero and later served twice as Prime Minister, first from 1828 to 1830 and again in 1834. As the former British ambassador to France and the governor of Mysore and Seringapatam in India, Wellesley was a wealthy man, who was appointed Duke of Wellington in 1814. He had his own shoemaker, Mr George Hoby of St James’s Street, London. In the early 1800’s the Duke asked his shoemaker in London to modify the Hessian boot by removing the tassel and using soft calfskin leather to the knee.
The new Wellington boot, named after the Duke himself, was an instant hit among British gentlemen, partly because of its practical and aesthetically pleasing design, but also because Wellesley was a war hero and other men were keen to emulate his style. Wellesley was most often portrayed in paintings wearing these boots that are now commonly known as “wellies”. Today, wellington boots are worn by agricultural professionals, countrymen, dog walkers, gardeners, those with a keen eye for fashion and everyone in between.
Le Chameau kindly sent a lovely pair my way and now we are in another lockdown, I can speak for a lot of people in saying there will be beautifully made wellies up and down the country making their debut over the next few weeks as the Spring showers make their entrance to our annual weather.
Every Le Chameau boot is constructed by one Mastre Bottier. In order to become a Mastre Bottier it takes 9 months of training before they are ready to construct their first Le Chameau boot. The Mastre Bottier carefully stretches the rubber pieces over the aluminium boot last, gradually forming the famous Le Chameau shape. Once the shape has been created, it’s time to add the trims and small details that give the Le Chameau boot its premium quality.
I can vouch for the comfort (my other wellies are Hunters and not quite as soft or warm) and they do have a fabulous variety of sizes and tasteful shades. You can dress them up or down depending on the look you are going for, from country dog walking glamour to full on country chic these boots work for every occasion.
Check out their website for more information on their fabulous boots!