Unfortunately, in the case of Hunter Wellies, this is not the case. Hunter Wellies have built an amazing reputation for making excellent quality boots that last a lifetime; a lot of my friends have parents who's boots have lasted them years. I believed when I was buying a pair of Hunter Wellies that I was not only buying an excellent pair of boots but also supporting British industries. Hunter originates from Scotland, with its HQ in my hometown, Edinburgh. In 2006, the company was put into administration and in September 2008 (I've been doing lots of welly research rather than my essay...can you tell?) production of the Hunter boots moved from Scotland to China. The reasons cited for this move was expensive rent of the factory and that the 96-year old factory was old and inefficient.
It is this move to Chinese production that has changed the quality of Hunter Wellies. In Scotland, they went through a process of vulcanization or latex dipping which makes them incredibly hard wearing. As part of the move to Chinese production and streamlining and improving the efficiency of the boot making process, the vulcanization step of manufacture was stopped. Therefore, if your Hunter wellies were purchased before September 2008, your probably own a pair made in Scotland and will last you a long time, after that, the boots are made cheaply in China and will not last as long. Visually, the boots look very similar to before, but you can tell where they are made by a seam on the inside of the boot. Boots made in Scotland have no inside seam, whereas the boots made in China have a seam running along the inside.
|Overlapping inside seam - these boots were produced in China|
From doing a bit of researching on the internet, it seems that these boots are prone to splitting and the heel crumbling. Well, I can tell you that my boyfriend and I both have a pair of Hunters, the heels have crumbled on both boots on his pair and my pair, the left boot has split and the the heel has crumbled so badly that the boot no longer stands up...it either flops over or leans to one side!!! The most shocking thing is...I've had these LESS THAN 18 MONTHS!!! I think I paid £65 for these and they have lasted less than 18 months. Less than 18 months....£65...I don't think I've got my money's worth really.
In my opinion, Hunter have forgotten their ethos and their current business model of selling cheap boots en masse for festival go-ers is going to run out of steam soon. Hunter boots are very over priced for what you actually receive and they have sold themselves out for the sake of fashion. I'm glad that the business didn't disappear altogether after going into administration, but I am totally dismayed by the lowering in quality of these boots are and that Scottish people lost their jobs.
If you want a pair of wellies to go to festivals or the occasional country walk, then by all means buy Hunters. But, if you are a regular walker and are after a pair of good quality boots that will last you a long time I recommend you avoid Hunter Wellies. I have done a bit of research and it seems Le Chameau (as seen on Kate Middleton) are THE best quality wellies you can buy...but the £300 price tag means they are a little out of my student budget. Another French brand is Aigle and they seem to be excellent quality, with boots made by hand, in a French factory, owned by Aigle (Hunter do not own the factory in China) and the boots go through the vulcanization process. My boyfriend and I have now both said, we will never buy another pair of Hunters again, we will opt for the Aigles and maybe one day...if we pass our exams and gets jobs we might be able to afford Le Chameau ones!
I've opted for the Aigle Parcours which is a "walking boot wellie", the RRP for them is £100 but I have found them here for £69. All the reviews I have read for them are excellent so I will have to wait and see but I am very excited for them arriving!
|RIP my Hunters, I loved you...|