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FOOTWEAR FOCUS ROAD TEST


Not nauti’ but very nice


I


t was comforting to learn that a company that supplies high-quality deck shoes for gliding around the deck of


one’s yacht was about to supply me with Wellington boots so I could keep my feet dry as I stood baling out the flooding engine if my yacht runs aground!


In the past I have road tested decks shoes by a firm I


thought was called Chatham Marine. A good nautical name (named after the Royal Dockyards at Chatham Kent where, incidentally, my grandmother was born to a naval family) for a company selling nautical footwear. But, later I was asked to write about tall leather boots suitable for wearing at country shows and the like as Chatham (as they became) developed their country range.


Well, their latest offering casts off any pretence that they


are not catering for landlubbers as well as sea-faring folk. I was a little surprised when I opened the box. I had


anticipated Wellies similar to a lightweight pair I have for heavy weather sailing in a nautical shade, well, blue if I’m honest. Instead I found a pair of rustic green Wellies in which you might happily be seen “down the farm”.


In Cornwall, as bucolic a county as it is possible to imagine, a


term of approval is, “Proper” and if something is well made it is a, “Proper Job”. You can try saying that at home using your “Mumerset, country-yokel accent”. The new Chatham Wellies can definitely be described as a “Proper Job”.


While I have emphasised the rustic nature of the Chatham Wellies don’t be


confused. They are not true “farmers’ Wellies” – usually sold in any colour you like as long as they are black (although in recent years pale green has become quite haute couture in the milking parlour) and unquestionably designed by a company that also makes tractor tyres.


Another famous brand of green Wellies became associated with Sloane


Rangers when one Diana Spencer was seen wearing a pair. “Gels” who ride hosses could be seen hopping on their ponies wearing them as the boots bore moulded rests for spurs so a gel could keep “the beast” under control (with echoes of “Shades of Grey”).


You can still see green Wellies at any point-to-point, country show or game


fair, unsecured vents at the top flapping around shapely calves (of the non- bovine sort). However, their dominance has been diluted by boots with French-sounding names – although Brexit may put paid to that invasion.


18 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • SEPTEMBER 2016 Chatham’s brand new, heavy duty wellington boot: Moor.


Fully lined with high quality neoprene, a full gusset and TPU shank, Moor boasts super warm, blue lining and a full zip entry.


Side buckle entry detail with Chatham branding on the front. A shock absorbing rubber sole ensures the ultimate comfort whatever your adventures this season.


WSP: £32.90 - RRP: £79.00 / Sizes: 4-12


Contact: Chatham, www.chatham.co.uk / 01392 822981


Chatham Wellies are not aimed at poseurs of the county set. But they are just the ticket for someone posing with a Purdy, with their chunky, tweed plus fours tucked into their boots (with vents closed) on the brink of rendering a moorland pheasant, grouse or a


few woodcock less airworthy and more worthy of the dinner plate. Not only are the Chatham boots solid and rugged for tramping


miles across the moor, they are neoprene lined. Anyone who has stood in an icy river or on a snowy, wind-swept moor waiting for duck or grouse to be driven in their direction will tell you that not even the


finest malt in your hip flask possesses the requisite antifreeze properties to keep frost bite at bay. I’d venture you could stand all day in these boots without your feet feeling as if they had been detached and kept in the deep freeze.


Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player or the mobile phone but the versions they produced in the iPod and iPhone made the commodity MP3 or mobile phone boring and unfashionable.


Chatham seem to have produced a product that has numerous predecessors in the guise of “green vulcanised rubber boots” but their having produced a “proper job” could result in people asking not, “Have you packed your Wellies”, but, “Can I borrow your Chathams”?


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