Review by Olivia Abbott
Looking a bit like the bastard offspring of one of those plastic trugs you use for carrying garden waste around, and a cushion off your granny’s 1970s sofa, this pair of Bogs Boots are not for those who like their wellies subtle. I’m not sure how sanguine I’d feel about the lurid flower pattern on a morning when I’m taking a hangover out for a walk along with the dog, but for those who want to stand out from the canine-walking crowd, well – I got a few stares (whether they were admiring or not I couldn’t tell you) from the few others who had braved the rain this morning.
Those rather silly looking trug-like handles are vey practical when it comes to pulling your boots on – although the feet are wide, I found the fit over the instep and round the heel quite snug, so having something to grab on to was good. But big holes in the legs of your boots do seriously reduce the level at which you can safely wade through rivers and puddles – as I discovered when I had to give the dog an impromptu bath after a muddy bunnying episode.
Also, the very rounded toe shape makes kicking a small ball for the dog a bit unpredictable – which way is it going to go, Bert? Oops, guessed wrong again. But these were the only practical downsides I found with these boots.
The soles give surprisingly good grip, better than my walking boots, even on the treacherous wood of stiles and the notoriously slippy-slidey bridge over the river, where even Bert’s feet tend to skid out from underneath him. The outer ‘foot’ bit of the boot is rubber, while the leg and lining is a neoprene-type material (branded Neo-Tech) that’s soft, flexible, warm and comfortable. There’s a good supportive insole, too, unlike most wellies, which tend not to support my high arches at all – I have to put green Superfeet insoles in all my footwear.
I wasn’t entirely convinced at how waterproof the upper would be, so I went and stood in the river for a bit – being careful not to go over handle height – and I’m happy to say my doubts were unfounded; I stayed completely dry, and my feet stayed warm and cosy too – not surprising, since the boots are rated to -40C. As well as that, the material is moisture wicking, so your feet stay dry even if they get sweaty and ‘DuraFresh biotechnology’ will apparently stop them getting smelly, too (though I haven’t had a chance to test this particular claim to its limits).
On a practical level, these boots are just so far superior to other wellies, that my Hunters have been relegated to the back of the cupboard. I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t wear these for any kind of walking other than hillwalking. Except for the fact that, I’m sorry, but they are, frankly, ugly. Having said that, though, looking on the Bogs Footwear website, you can get them in a variety of patterns and colours from plain black to a bright pink version of these. Which I’m sure will be loved by festival goers. You can also get them in a shorter leg length. And though I probably would have chosen a slightly more subtle colour scheme for myself, I’m not sure, now I’ve got used to them, that I would have gone for completely plain. Why wear boring wellies when you can make a statement? I choose to think that the sideways glances from my fellow dog walkers are of admiration, tinged with envy.
The Classic Winter Bloom High boots retail at around £95
Footnote (ha ha) 18th December
It’s now about six weeks since I got these boots, and what with torrential rain, flooding and snow in Cumbria, I’ve barely been outside without them on. I can’t stress enough how great they are – warm, comfortable, non-slip; they are simply the best wellies ever, currently replacing my walking boots too. Even on hour-long walks with the dog, they stay comfortable, which I’ve never been able to say of wellies before.
The only downside is that they are starting to wear a bit on the sole at the heel. Considering the amount of wear they’re getting, it’s probably not surprising, but at that sort of price one might hope for longer wear out of them. None the less, when the time comes for replacements (which still looks to be a way off yet) I will definitely be buying more Bogs.