Information about the Wellington Boot, history and style

Of Gumboots and Kiwis-Wellies Around The World

The famous Wellington rubber boots are called gumboots in New Zealand where they are generally considered must have foot wear for farmers involved in working the moist soil. Gumboots are sometimes called Footrot Flats in Kiwi popular culture. Satirist John Clarke released a remixed version of Billy Connolly's Wellington rubber boot song as "If it weren't for your Gumboots" and enjoyed fantastic hit success in 1976. Self proclaimed Gumboot capital of the world, the farming town of Taihape in New Zealand even prepares annual competitions and events including the illustrious Gumboot Day. Even though most gumboots are usually black, those worn by people in the occupations of butchers, abattoir workers and hospital operating rooms are usually white. Not surprisingly, children's sizes come in a variety of available colors for youngsters to choose from.

Wellington rubber boots are also referred to as gumboots in the areas of Australia and Southern Africa. During Apartheid, workers in the mines in South Africa wore gumboots to protect their feet from infected water since it was so much less expensive than physically draining all the water that accumulated and puddled on the ground in the mines. The sound of miners dancing in gumboots has even been added to a form of traditional pop music, often known as gumboot music or gumboot zydeco in parts of Africa and called the Welly boot dance music by people from Britain and the surrounding areas.

Another less commonly term in Australia for the Wellington rubber boot is the name Blucher Boot. This term is only used by Some older Australians refer to the Wellington boot by this term and is likely to be heard less and less as time goes by. Blucher was a colleague of Wellington's at the Battle of Waterloo and there is some speculation that some of the earliest immigrants to the island continent of Australia, remembering the events of the famous battle might possibly have preserved an earlier known name for the style of boots that is no longer in common use elsewhere.

Wellington boots are often referred to as top boots in some parts of Ireland and is generally used by older people in reference to the boots larger size that the casual house boots of the time. The Wellington rubber boots are extremely popular in Ireland as they are generally everywhere.

Russia had no type of effective rubber boots until the Wellington rubber boots were first introduced to the military in the 1920s. They became very popular with military and civilians alike, because of the extremely harsh and bitter Russian weather conditions. Under Stalin's rule, seventeen different factories were constructed in various parts of the United Soviet Socialist Republic which manufactured rubber boots for it's citizens. Rubber boots became a popular accessory in springs and autumns due to the melted snow and slush prevalent in the republic's largely frozen territories. Rubber boots were considered a staple of the Russian people, as leather boots were a symbol of luxury that invoked the specter of capitalism.