Earlier this year, I was happily forking over some soil when I misjudged the direction of my fork and made a good attempt at impaling my foot. Luckily my boots were strong enough to take the hit and protect my toes, but they were no longer waterproof due to a new hole.

The hole was no bother in late spring, but as the weather turned and things were getting wet, I picked up a new pair.

I am far from being a boot expert, but I have been so impressed with my purchase I wanted to give them some space on my blog.

I have never really given my “Wellies” much thought until I feel my toes getting cold and wet, indicating a split or puncture. As I am now writing about them, I decided to research and appreciate the history behind the Wellington Boot.

To look at a Wellington boot, you would not get a sense of its history. It appears dull but can trace its history back to the 1790s and the British Miltary. The boot was given its “Wellington” name by the Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), the same Duke who fought Napoleon and won the Battle of Waterloo. The boot was worn by Army Officers were made of Leather until the mid-1800s, when they were first made of natural rubber.

The Wellington boot continued to serve the British military through the centuries and saw action in world war 1 and 2. The boot as we know it now was designed by Hunter boot Ltd in the 1950s.

We headed down to our local garden centre to pick out a new pair. I have always been fairly traditional in my boot purchasing, and I would usually go for the boot-shaped green ones, which were a size or two too big. Function and price were always ahead of other considerations such as look and comfort. This time something was different; I had a strange desire to try something new and a bit more expensive. I’m not sure if it has been spending more time in the garden or because I’ve turned 40 and become an official grown-up, but I wanted something comfortable and looked good.

My eyes settled on a pair of Jackdaw Huntsman boots with a neoprene upper. They were is standard green but had a neoprene upper rather than the traditional plastic one. They were £60! The most I’ve ever spent on a pair of boots, so I was keen to get them home and try them out to see if they felt like £60. I thought these were expensive boots, but I have seen pairs advertised for over £120! They do look good, though.

Wearing the neoprene boots for the first time was felt strange. They didn’t feel like boots; they were light, flexible and, most importantly, warm. I was happy to wear these boots for hours and felt like I was wearing them, not carrying the boots on my feet.

I’ve started to buy based on quality, not just cost. I’m always looking for the holy grail of low price and high quality, but I’m increasingly ok with leaning towards quality. These are not the most expensive pair of boots I have seen, but they are more than I would generally be willing to pay. I’m finding the attention to detail and durability of higher quality items worth the extra. I’m lucky enough to afford to prioritise quality. Still, I hope it will ultimately be a better and cheaper option in the long run and help me achieve my gardening goals or encourage me to spend more time outside.

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