We all remember the first rainy days of spring when we were children. How we couldn't wait to jump into the biggest puddle we could find on our way to school. Our parents fortunately had us geared up in bright yellow rainboots and high rubber 'Wellies' or "Gumboots' to protect us from completely soaking our feet! They weren't exactly fashion forward, but they were practical and reasonably priced.
The original "Wellington" boot was actually a style based on Hessian boots worn by Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington in early 19th century England. These "Wellies" became extremely popular for hunting and were common outdoor wear for the British aristocracy. They were completely waterproof and usually made from rubber or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and perfect for walking through muddy fields and deep puddles. These types of boots are also still a common choice for safety and hygiene in many types of industry settings where exposure to chemicals or electronics could be harmful without proper footwear. People just eventually settled for the idea that function and style could not blend for the purpose of this useful and efficient boot.
Thankfully the top fashion designers of today have taken the basic concept of the original Wellington rain boot and added some much needed style. There is no need to pull on a stodgy looking boot that's more suited for mucking out the stables than strolling elegantly through the city streets in the rain. Women and men alike put far too much effort into coordinating stylish ensembles each day to ruin the image with sensible but rather boring footwear. We cannot ignore the importance of the rain boot with it's aim to protect our feet with it's resilient rubber and rugged construction. However, there are now some wonderful fashion choices for this very essential part of anyone's spring wardrobe, take a look and see which ones you would like in your closet.
10 "Burberry" New Check Rainboot: $225
This boot is a perfect example of how iconic British brand Burberry took an old classic and made it their own! The signature check pattern and knight-print rubber makes this high boot a fashion statement while keeping feet warm and dry. Thomas Burberry founded this famous firm with a collection of outerwear, creating trench coats for soldiers during World War I. His original vision for function as well as style is still apparent today and this pull-on boot is a perfect example. It's constructed with a padded mesh insole and lining for quick-dry absorption and a sturdy rubber outsole for good traction. Made in Italy but designed for rainy England; a perfect combination!
9 "Valentino" Lace-Print Rain Boot: $295
Italian designer Valentino Garavani studied fashion in Paris during the golden age of haute couture and opened his own house in 1960 beginning another era of incredibly lavish design for the rich, famous and fashionable. How appropriate that even a practical rain boot have his signature style, only Valentino could create a feminine rubber boot. This is detailed with a blush colored lace design and made from PVC with a leather insole and rubber sole for traction. A slight heel of 1" gives the 12" high boot a ladylike appearance and the generous 15" calf circumference provides comfort to any leg shape. This is yet another Italian made masterpiece from a style legend.
8 "Prada" Glossy Pull-On Rain Boot: $330
Miuccia Prada has followed her grandfathers footsteps literally in creating this adorable short pull-on rubber rain boot in bright fuchsia pink. The famous Italian fashion house is known for cutting edge designs and this boot is no exception. The well known triangular Prada logo is visible but not ostentatious; sewn into the glossy rubber upper with tonal top-stitching. The logo is mostly visible only to the wearer on the fabric lining. The 1 1/2" matte rubber heel gives women a more feminine feel while still providing good traction on slick sidewalks. This boot is a cheery accessory for those gloomy days.
7 "Gucci" - Men's Brest Rubber Rain Boot: $335
The house of Gucci was founded in Italy in 1921 and continues to be a huge force in the fashion industry. Frida Giannini now heads the design team with the same flair that made the company famous all those years ago. This is a brand famous for flogging it's iconic trademarks and this rounded toe basic boot is a perfect example of clever marketing. It's black rubber upper has the embossed interlocking "G" logo at back (designed in 1933 in honour of founder Guccio Gucci) The signature green/red/green stripe detail surrounding the sole adds a wonderful dash of style to this otherwise conservative men's rain boot.
6 "Salvatore Ferragamo" Wingtip Chelsea Rain Boot: $350
Salvatore Ferragamo started out as a shoemaker in Naples, Italy in the early 1900's and eventually emigrated to Boston perhaps inspiring this Bostonian brogue style rubber boot. He was always recognized as a visionary as well as a superior craftsman and inspired many other footwear designers of his time and beyond. The Ferragamo family continues his legacy with luxury clothing and accessory lines that are admired throughout the world. This rubber boot is designed for the well dressed gentleman who doesn't want to sacrifice style just because it's raining! This elegant dark brown wingtip chelsea rain boot has perforated detailing, elastic side gores and double ankle pull tabs. The tonal welt stitching gives this boot a dressy look that can easily be worn with an expensive suit as it can with jeans. The rubber lug sole makes it a practical yet dapper choice for a man of distinction.
5 "Burberry" Belted Equestrian Rain boot: $375
These tall 15" high rubber boots have the elegance of a classic low heeled riding design but without the typical embellishment of a metal stirrup or horsebit feature around the ankle. This fashionable creation is from Burberry, the famous British luxury brand usually recognized for it's check or tartan inspired patterns. This plain but aristocratic style is a different approach. Although this boot would certainly blend in with the equestrian set, the style is pure glamour and fit for a runway. Crafted in Italy from 88% PVC and 12% calf leather (for the strap belts) gives the style a slight edge over traditional all-rubber models. This luxurious design has polished metal buckles for flare but a durable rubber grip sole for traction.
4 "Bottega Veneta" Nero Intrecciato Rain Boot: $390
The slogan of this Italian luxury goods house is "when your own initials are enough". Their discreet and logo-free designs have been revered since Vittorio and Laura Moltedo founded the company in 1966. Although they eventually were purchased by the Gucci Group in 2001, their original shop developed a leather weaving technique called "intrecciato" which remains a signature of this brand. This classic riding pull on rubber boot measures 15.75" in height and has a 1.25" heel with rubber lug sole. The modern flared shaft is embossed in Bottego Veneta's signature intrecciato weave pattern and is detailed with an asymmetrical top making it a beautiful boot for the jet set that this brand has always been known to attract.
3 "Burberry" Rubber Studded-Shaft Short Rain Boot: $395
Burberry has broadened it's audience with this biker inspired studded short rain boot! This is an iconic brand famous for classic trench coats and tartan scarves so this is an interesting change in design that is sure to attract a more diverse demographic. These pull-on boots are made from waxed weatherproof rubber with fabric lining, leather insole and reinforced round toe. The heel is a flat 1/2" and the heavy rubber tread is great for traction. They stand 9" in height (shaft) and have a 14" expandable circumference for comfort. The wraparound buckle detail and studded check embellishment make these boots a real show stopper even in a rainstorm.
2 "Valentino" Rockstud Rubber Rain Boot: $395
The renowned fashion house of Valentino also offers a biker inspired design with this fantastic black rain boot. The company's signature pyramid studs give this tough looking pull-on boot a touch of opulence and head turning appeal. The heel is 1 1/2" with a fashionable 1/2" platform to keep it from being just a typical men's biker boot. The upper is made from water repellant, glossy PVC and has a lugged rubber sole for traction making this a perfect boot any customer.
1 "Gucci" Rubber Waterproof Rain boots: $450
The house of Gucci designer Frida Giannini continues to embrace the company's love of their iconic logos and trademark designs. This classic and traditional equestrian style riding boot is identified immediately by it's metal horsebit accent at the ankle. The pull-on style has a rubber upper and sole with textile padded lining for extra comfort. It measures an elegant 16" shaft and circumference and has a sturdy but fashionable 1 1/4" heel making it a beautiful choice for formal attire or a day at the races.