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Wellington boots: the unexpected comeback

From American actresses to the British monarchy, everyone is crazy about Hunters

By Gigliola Franciosi

Comfortable, elegant and trendy, useful in the countryside but also a must-have in the city. I'm talking about rain boots, in particular Hunter boots! Maybe it was Lily Collins wearing a pair of yellow ones in the TV series Emily in Paris, or Timothée Chalamet, exhibiting them in the GQ cover, or even the very famous characters in The Crown, who have increased the desire to dust off the iconic brands of the royal family. Anyway, Wellington boots are cool again!

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It was 2005, when at Glastonbury, the UK's biggest (and muddiest) music festival, Kate Moss, photographed with Pete Doherty, was wearing a pair of Hunter boots in the slime, matched with a long gold top and a studded belt that highlighted her waist. In an era without Instagram, the photos went viral and Kate managed to completely change the trajectory of the famous rain-boot brand.

Wandering the streets of London, it is easy to find people wearing this type of shoe, and the generally cloudy weather works in their favor. However, few people know that the brand, now an integral part of the British way of life, was founded by an American. In 1856, Henry Lee Norris, an entrepreneur from New Jersey, landed in Scotland in search of a factory to produce rubber boots. After supplying robust and waterproof pairs to soldiers in the First and Second World Wars, the brand introduced, a century later,  the today’s famous model: the iconic Hunter Original boot.

The brand has not only spread to the British population, but has also become an integral part of the royal wardrobe. It was Princess Diana, who was one of the first to wear a pair in a pre-wedding interview with Prince Charles. Today the Hunter brand holds two awards, from Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Despite their close relationship with royalty, the “wellies” - as rubber boots are called in England, named after their first inventor, the Duke of Wellington - were not exactly desirable items. It was only thanks to supermodel Kate Moss that , the perception of wearing a pair of wellies in a cool way became significant.  Alasdhair Willis, Hunter's creative director since 2013 (and Stella McCartney's husband), said the model was able to wear them in a rock and fashion way, and at that point the brand's image completely changed.

So let's forget the high heels, because today there is a need for practicality and comfort (was it the effect of the pandemic?) and Hunter boots are now the choice of those who love fashion. Between one appointment to another, we pair them with outfits of all types: from colorful dresses to shorts and even with classic trench coats.

Many are the Maisons that have taken them as an inspiration for their collections, using different types of materials and playing with the most varied shapes, but the affectionate always choose the iconic brand.

After all, rain is not limited to a specific season and wellington boots are an investment for the entire year. If you haven't already done so, don't wait to put them on your wishlist!



Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash