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Polyurethane is used to make cheap synthetic rubber, a mainstay of budget wellies. It does a fine job of keeping the rain out and letting you stride through deep mud and puddles at festivals and while camping, but it’s not suitable for long-term use or hiking. Grip is almost as important as waterproofing if you’re intending to walk through mud. Dog walks in rainy conditions can be hazardous affairs if you don’t have boots with grippy rubber soles. The more nodes and bumps the soles have, the better they’ll be at gripping to a surface. That’ll make them more comfortable to walk in, too, because you don’t have to work so hard to stay upright! However, a narrower tread makes for easier walking on a hard surface. The very best wellies combine both types of tread. Anything longer than an ankle boot will need to feel comfortable on your calves. Look for a snug fit that doesn’t wobble around while you walk, but which isn’t so tight that you can’t move comfortably. Look out for wellies with an adjustable strap on the calf, so you can change the width of the wellies depending on your own calf size. A couple of our recommended wellies have adjustable straps and flexible gussets to help you get the perfect fit. Also look for zips to help you get long wellies on and off. The best wellington boots are not just for getting you home from mud-soaked festivals. A great pair of wellies will keep your feet warm and dry in the garden, look great for trips to the shops, and even provide support and protection when you’re out for a hike. Forget the foot-shredding wellies you once forked out a fortune for at Glastonbury. The best wellington boots are made to wear for hours and last for years.

Comfort and support are also important unless you want your wellies to end up gathering dust in the loft. Look for a supportive sole that doesn’t over-flex, while also being flexible enough to not feel too “stompy”. Waterproofing . That’s what wellies are for, after all. All our recommended wellington boots are waterproof, although a couple do have fabric sections on their uppers and calf sections. So, while they’ll keep water off your feet, they’re not waders! For maximum waterproofness, go for a rubber upper and sole, and Gore-Tex lining.

For more information on fit as well as the different materials available, see the extended buyer’s guide below our roundup. Leather makes for durable and hard-wearing boots. Manufacturers often treat leather with a protective coating to ensure it stays soft and waterproof for years. It’s warm, breathable, flexible and luxurious, but you’re looking at a higher price tag. The best material for the outer layer, lining and sole of your wellies depends on what you’ll be using the boots for, how much use they’re going to get, and how much you want to spend. Here are some of the materials you’ll encounter while shopping. If you’re simply after a pair of wellies to keep your feet dry and mud-free, there’s really no need to spend hundred of pounds on a pair of designer boots. Neoprene is an insulating lining material for winter wellies. It’s soft, superbly waterproof, and very warm. A bit too warm for summer wellies, in fact. And it can get pricey. Fleece is a budget (and less waterproof) alternative to neoprene.

Gore-Tex is a patented lining that’s 100% waterproof and completely breathable. It’s ingenious: the membrane stops water from getting through from the outside, but does allow water vapour (eg sweat) out the other way. As well as keeping your feet dry, this also ensures comfort by cutting down on clamminess and chafing. Fab stuff.READ NEXT: Best tents The best wellington boots to buy in 2023 1. Dunlop Pricemaster Wellington Boots: Best budget wellies

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