One of the most interesting footwear phenomenon of recent years is the story of Hunter boots. Seen on chic feet everywhere, they seem like an unlikely fashion accessory.
The story of Hunter begins in 1855, when an American entrepreneur went to Scotland, looking for a place to build his rubber factory. Henry Lee Norris established the North British Rubber Company near Edinborough, and started making a range of products, including rain boots and golf balls.
And, this coincided with the time period in which people were taking to the outdoors more than ever. Doing outdoor activities and really enjoying sports and leisure.
Boots in this pull-on style, like Hunter boots, are called Wellies, which is short for Wellingtons. Named after the Duke of Wellington, who favored pull-on boots. The Duke was a fashionable guy and he gave his name to not just boots, but also a style of jacket. And possibly, the dish Beef Wellington.
The most identifiable style, the Green Wellie, was first produced in 1955, and is now called the Original Hunter. During the 1980s, the company got an unexpected boost when Lady Diana Spencer, who later became Princess Diana, was photographed wearing Hunter boots.
The Hunter look also fit in very well with the 1980s preoccupation with landed gentry and aristocratic looks.
Hunter launched in the United States in 2005 and found a very receptive public. The boots are regularly seen in fashion magazines, often paired with things like evening gowns or beautiful suits. Kind of giving that, like, British country nonchalant look to fashion.
The company has received several Royal Warrants which are the marks of distinction that a company receives when the British Royal Family likes your products.
Maybe it's an indication of global warning or climate change that rain boots are now really considered a fashion accessory.