Monday, September 28, 2015

Brand History: Hunter Boots

Founded: 1856
Country of Origin: Scotland
Famous for: The Wellington Boot

    Originally founded under the name of the North British Rubber Company in 1856, the company transformed what was once (and arguably still is) a practical work boot into a timeless fashion piece.

    The feature that really set these boots apart at the time was the use of vulcanization – a chemical process where sulfur is added to natural rubber to add superior protection from the elements and longevity to the material. The developers of this process had good timing, as vulcanized boots became the staple for the British army in World War I where over one million pairs of various styles (see below) were supplied to the soldiers in flooded trenches and swampy habitats. A similar trend was seen throughout the period of World War II.

    So, did everyone just want to look like the soldiers? How did a work boot become an icon for men, women, and children alike all the way into the 21st century? After WWI and WWII, the boots sought out a new audience – labor workers. Now that they were seen more on the city streets and areas more accessible than a battle field, people began to notice their implications as a piece of practical and comfortable rain gear.

    Then, in 1956, the Wellington Boot was born; a below-the-knee, clean cut boot that continues to be hand made from 28 separate parts. Even Hunter itself admits that the "Original" Boot had a slow start. The style was first picked up by upper class individuals dwelling in the countryside areas in the UK; yet, slowly but surely, the boots became exponentially more popular and are now distributed in over 30 countries worldwide.

    As their market expanded, so did their range of styles. The tall and short Original Boot can be spotted by a mile away by most – especially those familiar with Ann Arbor’s post-winter apocalypse snow melt in the spring. They are both great styles, but if you’re looking for something a little different, Hunter now produces boots and shoes with many different finishes, buckle placements, heel heights, thicknesses, and more. In 2009, Hunter even partnered with Jimmy Choo, another famous shoe designer, to make a limited edition black Wellington Boot.

    Interesting product history aside, Hunter boots boil down to being a dependable and comfortable raingear staple. My two pair of Original Tall boots have been used from work at a farm with horses to walking around downtown Chicago with no need to pause in consideration of sore feet or water leakage. 

    And if my recommendation isn’t enough, Hunter was awarded a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, for their exceptional work. You can’t say no to royalty.

~Liz L. -Women's Tech


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1 comment:

Hale said...

The feature that really set these boots apart at the time was the use of vulcanization – a chemical process where sulfur is added to natural ...

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