Hunter - The Brittish Wellies
One of the best-known brand names in the horse world today has to be Hunter. Famed for producing waterproof footwear for those in the horse world, Hunter Wellingtons are also considered to be a fashion accessory, and a must-have item for wearing at music festivals. Worn by Royalty, A-listers and landed gentry, as well as working farmers, country dwellers and equestrians, Hunter is one of the top British choices for Wellington boots.
Having been around since the 19th century, the Scottish based company has played an important part in boosting local economy as well as keeping a multitude of feet warm and dry. Registered in 1856 as a limited liability company, the ‘North British Rubber Company’ was set up with a work force of just four people. Based in the Castle Silk Mills in Edinburgh, production of rubber boots slowly but surely increased, as the world began to appreciate the merits of waterproof footwear. In just twenty years the team had grown to 600 members of staff as popularity bloomed.
Hunter the Wartime Wellies
In the early 20th century the company was contacted by the War Office and asked to produce a sturdy boot suitable for soldiers to wear in flooded trenches. Over 1 million trench boots were created to meet the British Army’s demands, keeping our soldiers dry in adverse conditions during the First World War.
The success of these wartime boots meant that when World War II commenced, the company now known as ‘Hunter Boot’ was again asked to supply boots as well as rubber ground sheets, life belts and gas masks. Flooded conditions in the Netherlands meant that the British forces required Wellington boots and thigh boots in vast quantities and over 80% of production was turned over to supplying wartime needs.
Post War and Royal Recognition
A move to Dumfries became essential after WWII to deal with a rise in demand for Hunter boots. The most famous welly, the ‘Original Green,’ was launched alongside the ‘Royal Hunter’ and by 1977 Hunter was awarded a Royal Warrant from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, shortly followed by a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen.
The Millennium saw Hunter Boots experience some difficulties and financial challenges regarding production and for a while it seemed that their doors would have to close. A change of supply sources and relocation back to Edinburgh pulled the company out of the doldrums and back into the limelight by 2008 and today Hunter remains one of the top welly brands in the world.
Hunter Product Range
From two original boots the Hunter range now has an enormous variety of styles and colours, made from vulcanised rubber or neoprene, with traditional soles and cushioned in-soles. Popular additions to the range include shoes, sandals and clogs plus a selection of gifts, welly socks, bags and umbrellas, all with the ubiquitous Hunter logo.
Over time Hunter has improved and added to the original boots, taking into consideration calf sizes, foot comfort and durability, meaning that everyone and anyone can find a boot to suit their needs. For timeless British style Hunter is number one in its field.