Dec 19, 2012

Favorites: "Welly Socks," Hunter

Rubber boots still have more utilitarian than aesthetic value to me - but combined with Hunter's Welly Socks they're a cozy fall / winter essential.

After 6 years of living in the UK and seeing rubber boots worn in every possible setting and season, I caved and bought a pair. I then moved to France a few weeks later.

While part of me still thinks rubber boots (calling them "wellies" would make me feel like a poser) look childish and twee on anyone who isn't an actual child or Paddington Bear, I wear mine almost every day. Mostly because they're extremely practical: they're the fastest shoes to slip into since they have no laces or zips; require little care besides a hose-down; and are great for days when rain / salt / sleet could damage my nicer boots.

I initially debated investing in a more renowned type of rubber boot (Hunter, Le Chameau), to the point where I tried on some Hunters in store with the firm intention of walking out with a pair. I figured the price would directly correlate to the shoes' quality and longevity. But since I couldn't squeeze my instep into the trademark Hunter shape (even at three sizes too large), I snatched the peacock-print pair at Tesco a few days later. I first meant them to be an interim solution, but they've held up well and add some color to my winter wardrobe. So at this point, I don't think that "branded" boots are a necessary investment - the brands do have cuter options, but the quality of the Tesco pair is perfectly fine.

More crucially: since my feet get cold quickly and the boots initially chafed my ankles, I invested in a pair of micro fleece "welly socks" from Hunter. They're warm, hardwearing, and engingeered so that your toes don't feel squished even if you're wearing a normal pair of socks underneath - so they do not give you the compressed feeling of putting a pair of ski socks over a normal pair of socks. And here I feel that the premium for the brand is worth it: I haven't yet seen a generic analogue to the design.

The socks have cemented my rubber boots as my go-to shoes for these next months, making the shoes as cozy as fur-lined boots. I got them in M, which fit my size 7.5-8.5 US / 5-6 UK / 37.5-39 EUR feet comfortably, and chose the color cocoa since this fairly neutral color would go with almost everything in my wardrobe - though there are many more colorful choices.

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