Wellies vs. Boots

You’ve booked your latest trip, packed for rain or shine, and now you can’t wait to get on the road again. The last question that remains is whether those happy feet will be walkin’ on sunshine, or stuck in the mud – and with British weather being the way it is, it pays to prepare.

Here’s our tips on comparing Wellington boots to walking shoes, and when to use which ones!


As footwear of choice for dirty work, the humble wellie has gone from a simple rubber boot to serious competition when it comes to outdoor gear.

While you can still get your hands on a cheap and cheerful pair, nowadays there’s so many more options for warmth, comfort, and grip – leaving you spoilt for choice.

Check out our super-swift run-down of pros and cons:

+ Easy peasy to clean. Hose them down of mud and muck and you’re good to go again.

+ Keep your legs dry and clean (ish) right up to your knees.

+ Quick to slip on and off – no more fumbly laces.

+ Inexpensive. You can find what you need even in the lower end of the price range.

~ Pretty! It’s so much easier to find patterns from whimsical to fashion-forward in wellies.

– Inflexible. Good for farm work, bad for hill walking.

– Blisters. As a one-size-fits-all sort of manufacturing, many models don’t protect your feet against wear and tear and might leave you sore after a long distance.

– Cold and hard. Cheaper models won’t have lining, leaving you to make do with thick socks to mitigate the chill of stepping into the elements.

– Poor grip, particularly in wet conditions. These boots are made for wading in muck, so walking on grass may find you flat on your bum instead!

Walking boots

Unlike trainers, which are often flat and sit low on the ankle for easy running, walking boots are specifically designed to support your foot on a variety of terrain.

Modern technologies mean that waterproofing (such as Goretex) will guarantee a dry foot, and the wide choice of specialist soles (such as Vibram) will contour your shape and give that extra push on uneven ground.

Choose these for a great all-rounder but let’s review the pros and cons as well:

+ Walking on air. Comfy linings, ergonomic designs and stiff structures means your feet are hugged and supported each step of the way.

+ Great grip. These boots ARE made for walkin’ and that’s just what they do. Feel like a mountain goat scrambling over both urban and natural jungles with ease.

+ Durable. While price may put you off, consider that a good shoe is a good investment. You pay once and know you can rely on your pair for years!

+ Versatile for all weathers. With all that padding, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d suffer from sweaty feet all day. Not so! Breathable fabrics mean your temperature adapts as needed.

~ Pricy. You’re not going to find a pair of walking boots for a fiver at your local supermarket, but you don’t have to break the bank either. Good craftsmanship pays for itself, remember!

– Fiddly. Shoelaces keep your foot in place, but doing up your boots after they came untangled in mud is nobody’s cup of tea.

– Slow to start. Sometimes, as with all shoes, you need to “break them in” before they feel comfortable. It’s a good idea to wear new boots for a bit before setting off adventuring.

– Muddy legs! While walking boots can reach up to the ankle, they don’t provide the shin/calf protection in the same way wellies do. You might consider gaiters if this is a concern.

– Hard to clean. Look after your boots, and they’ll look after you – but there is no denying it’s a real chore! Scrub, dry carefully away from heat, treat with proofers, etc. Ugh!

Next time you’re walking with us, or joining on a longer adventure you can put your best foot forward.

What footwear do you swear by? Have a trusty pair of boots which have seen you through thick and thin? Show us your happy feet in the comments or tweet them @curiouskatscl