7 of the best wellies to buy
Keep your feet warm and dry in all weather with BBC Countryfile Magazine's round up of the best wellington boots on the market.
Reliable wellington boots are essential for making the most of all weathers and all terrains, and the difference between each brand is noticeable. If your old pair is starting to creak at the seams, take a look at our selection of the best wellies you can buy today.
Choosing the best wellies for you
Wellington boots should be sturdy and comfortable - and, most importantly, keep the water out and your feet dry. Wellies can come in a range of styles, from the traditional high leg to the shorter Chelsea boot, and a variety of materials. Rubber such as neoprene is most commonly used, but wellington boots can also be made from waterproofed leather or PVC.
The best wellies for you will depend on the type of activity you'll be using them for most often. Chelsea boots should suffice for everyday dog walks and running errands in bad weather. But if you need to venture out in particularly poor conditions or snow and ice, for example, a lined, high leg pair of wellies could be the better option.
Our list below isn't exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of the types of styles, shapes and designs available to help you find the best wellington boots for you.
The best wellington boots
Tested by Pat Kinsella
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport Welly
This beast of a boot looks and feels like it could walk you safely through the apocalypse, which has been a reassuring thought lately. It can certainly handle wintery conditions, no matter how severe things get.
The tall Arctic Sport Welly is a clever combination of a durable rubber lower boot topped with a GU foam upper, all lined with 5mm neoprene. And the stretch-fit top-line binding pull the neck of the boot in close around your calves, keeping out draughts and splashes.
These unisex wellies also have a soft fleece lining, and there’s an extra layer of thermal foam in the underlay for additional warmth. The moulded EVA midsole feels cushioned and, despite the robust nature of all the components, they’re not as heavy as you might expect (1,209g for a single men’s size 11). Plus, they're comfortable to walk in.
The sole of these wellies is super chunky, with large lugs for good grip, and it features reinforced spots on the toe, heel, instep and Achilles areas. The extension of the sole around the top of the heel helps when taking them off, and there’s a hoop for pulling them on. They’re available in black, moss and maroon.
Hunter Balmoral Tall Wellington Boots with zip
A right royal boot, the Balmoral looks absolutely majestic – but it doesn’t mind getting dirty. Made for mud, the outer is handcrafted from natural rubber and lined with a 3mm-thick neoprene inner for reasonable warmth. The full-length zip means it’s a cinch to put on, and de-booting is made even easier by the pronounced kick spur on the heel.
In fact, these wellies are 100% waterproof, thanks to a full-length expanding gusset running between the zip and the neoprene lining, and a popper prevents the zip coming undone.
The Balmoral wellington boots have a heavy duty, robustly stitched-on Vibram outsole, offering the same amount of grip and performance you’d expect from top-quality hiking boots.
They're not light, at 1,375g per boot (women’s size 7), and the fit is slim and high (not ideal for people with short legs or wide calves). You can swap interchangeable 3mm and 5mm insoles to suit your feet, and the midsole offers decent levels of shock absorption.
These wellies are available for men and women in dark olive, and also in black and navy for women.
Gumleaf Viking Wide Calf Wellington Boot
Designed to accommodate people with bigger calves, the unisex Viking is adjustable and you don’t need to have legs like Schwarzenegger to appreciate this excellent boot.
The strap on the back of the boot isn't just for show (unlike a few others); it combines with a concertina gusset to enable the wearer to achieve a properly snug fit around the calf. It also prevents cold air getting in and stops the ingress of grit, snow and splashes of muck and mud.
The standout feature of these wellies is the durable Vibram sole – something you would typically see on a high-quality hiking boot – which gives them excellent grip in all kinds of conditions. The high-quality rubber outer of the Viking is entirely lined with a layer of 4mm neoprene (including a stitched-in-place inner sole), which makes it very snug and warm (Gumleaf claims comfort levels down to -10°C).
It’s a handsome wellington boot that comes in one colour: dark green with a brown trim.
Barbour Bede Wellingtons
Here we have a classic wellington boot from a well-respected brand with deep roots in the British countryside. These wellies address one of the perennial problems with this type of footwear: how to get them off without smearing muck over your socks and whatever surface you’re attempting use as an impromptu boot-jack. The kick-spur on the back of the heel enables wearers to de-welly with ease.
Other features on this boot (available in black and navy) include a calf buckle, although this feels more decorative than practical as there’s no gusset. The sole seems durable, and the underfoot grip (deep troughs at the front, with backward-facing chevrons on the heel to act as brakes when descending) is unspectacular-looking but extremely effective in the field.
The uppers are made with vulcanised rubber, attractively lined with Barbour’s signature tartan. But they’re not especially warm, and the inner is cotton, which adds no thermal qualities - especially when wet.
The Bede is marketed for men, with the closest Barbour wellies for women being the better-featured, neoprene-lined, gusseted Amble (£80).
Helly Hansen W Veierland 3 Waterproof Wellies
These Veierland 3 wellies are stylish woman’s boots from a rugged wet-weather Norwegian brand, which has prioritised fashion at least as highly as functionality.
The upper is made from good-quality rubber with a wafer-thin brushed lining, and features an elasticated expansion slit on the calf, covered with a decorative circular buckle. These are pleasingly light boots with a midsole made from EVA – a material often found in technical running and walking shoes and boots, which improves comfort and performance while reducing weight.
The tread comprises densely packed lugs that tend to clog with mud, reducing grip.
Decathlon Solognac Warm Short Wellies
These wallet-friendly wellies feature a removable fleece inner so warm that wearers can comfortably stand still for half an hour at -12°C, according to Decathlon. They are so well insulated they’d be too warm outside of the coldest months; and minus the inner they’d probably be too big.
The inner is integrated to the boot via a rather flimsy pull-loop; it’s essential for getting the boots on and off, but it soon came away in my hand as I pulled them on. Designed for fishing and frosty walks, these wellies are reasonably light and have decent grip, with soles studded with deep lugs.
They're only available in black for men, women and children.
These comfy boots have a classic look, but there’s a superpower hidden in the heel and cleverly contoured sole. The unique ‘honeycomb heel’ absorbs the impact of foot strike, and the springy forefoot propels your upward step, literally putting a bounce in your stride. This is noticeable and nice on hard ground (but wellies are obviously worn most often in soft muddy conditions).
Other features of this wellington boot include a brushed-fabric lining, slip-resistant sole and calf strap and gusset, offering easy adjustability. These wellies are pitched primarily at women (the size range is 3–9 UK) but they size generously, leaving room for thick socks. They're available in black, red, grey and navy.