Hunter Boots Retrospective

THE HISTORY OF HUNTER BOOTS

Hunter Boots are best known for its iconic green welly, but the company manufactures a whole range of footwear, outerwear, bags and accessories. A favourite with the hunting and outdoor pursuits fraternity, the brand has now expanded its appeal with a range of outwear and accessories for festivals.

 

Hunter is a progressive British heritage brand that supplies rugged, practical, but stylish country clothing that complements the original rubber wellington boot. The brand holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment, to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and it was Hunter boots that Princess Diana wore in her engagement photos.

 

The appeal of Hunter goes far beyond farmers, hunters, and royalty. Hunter boots have become the footwear of choice for celebrities whenever they venture out into the open air and face the elements. Kate Moss was the first celebrity to be seen in Hunter boots when she wore the famous wellington boots at Glastonbury. Other celebrities seen sporting the red Hunter logo on their boots at festivals, outdoor events, and around town, have included Alexa Chung, Kendall Jenner and Bradley Cooper.

 

Hunter Boots – Where it All Began

Hunter was first established, under the slightly less than glamourous company name of the North British Rubber Company, in 1856. The business was founded by two Americans, Henry Lee Norris and Spencer Thomas Parmelee. They set up a factory in Edinburgh manufacturing rubber overshoes and boots to a patented design by Charles Goodyear. The company also manufactured a range of other rubber goods, including hot water bottles, rubber flooring and tyres.

 

From the Duke of Wellington to the Hunter Original Wellington boot 

The Wellington boot takes its name from the Duke of Wellington, although the first wellington boots were a far cry from the modern rubber boot.  The original Wellington boots were a leather, mid-calf length leather boot that the Duke of Wellington had his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James's Street, London, make for him. The first rubber version of the boot was made by Hiram Hutchinson in the mid-1800s. The waterproof boot was an instant hit with farmers of the time.

 

When World War I broke out, it was Hunter that the English War Office commissioned to make rubber Wellington boots for the troops fighting in the trenches. The company’s factories ran day and night and produced more than a million pairs of wellington boots to cope with the demand from the army. The supply of the hardwearing rubber boots was welcomed by the British troops and envied by the German soldiers. Those first Hunter boots have even been credited with being a contributing factor in the allied troops eventual victory.

 

When World War II broke out, Hunter Boot Ltd was called upon again. This time, as well as wellington boots, the company supplied the troops with gas masks, life belts, and rubber ground sheets. By the end of the war, Hunter wellington boots had become popular with the general population. As well as being worn by men, women and children as wet weather footwear, the boot became the daily footwear of many labourers. This was because the boots were hard-wearing, waterproof and relatively cheap.

 

The famous Hunter Original welly was first manufactured in 1955. It was launched at the same time as the Royal Hunter boot. Both boots are still a part of the Hunter range today. Initially, the upmarket wellington boots were not big sellers. But, Hunter persisted and continued to market the boots at trade fairs and county shows. Eventually, the popularity of the sturdy green rubber wellington boot grew to the extent that it eventually gave rise to the term 'Green Welly Brigade'.

 

The Hunter Brand Today

The Hunter brand today has expanded to encompass many different styles of wellington boots, and a whole range of outwear and accessories as well. In fact, Hunter has grown from a manufacturer of rubber boots for soldiers, farmers and workmen, to become a designer brand to be seen in.

 

Hunter has stayed true to its roots, though. The brand may now have an award-winning flagship store on London’s Regent Street and have collaborated with designers like Jimmy Choo, but the Hunter wellington boots are still made the traditional way. Each Hunter Wellington boot is made of naturally-occurring rubber. Each boot consists of 28 parts that are handcrafted over a period of three days. The boots are still 100% waterproof, and they are vulcanised in the same way they were in 1856.

 

Today, Hunter boots are a staple of festival-goers and farmers alike. They are available in a range of styles, including the men’s Moc Toe Short Wellington Boots, Balmoral Wellington Boots, and Wellesley Rubber Jodhpur Boots. There is also a full range of women’s boots, including Short Wellington Boots, Tall Wellington Boots and the Insulated Refined Short Wellington Boot. Plus, of course, the ever-popular Hunter Original wellington boot. As well as footwear, Hunter also sells a full range of outwear, bags and accessories. They all bear the iconic Hunter logo, and they are all designed for people whole love the outdoors. Hunter is a brand that is built on a philosophy of protection, intelligence and craftsmanship. An iconic brand with simple logo that is recognisable at a glance. The perfect fusion, in fact, of practicality and style.

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