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Barbour from the UK

When you say Barbour, I immediately think of expensive waxed coats, the British countryside, a dark green Range Rover, and taking a break to drink some tea. But who would have thought the brand also produces wellington rubber rainboots, and these boots are actually much cheaper than you would expect.

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Barbour is a British brand established in 1894 when John Barbour started importing oil cloth. This is basically cloth impregnated with oil to make it waterproof, a product we have seen at the basis of many other brands of rainwear already discussed here.

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But unlike many other brands Barbour did not focus on producing rainwear for the fishing industry but instead started to focus on motorcycle clothing. Over time the brand was able to build a reputation of high quality products, all in a rather conservative style that did well with the richer countryside folks in the UK. The brand was even able to be picked up by the British Royal Family; below Prince William wearing a pair of green Barbour Lancaster boots.

But it wasn’t until 2010 till the brand became popular as urban fashion with many celebrities and actors wearing Barbour products on the screen or in real-life. This was also the time that Hunter boots became popular and Barbour soon followed the trend with their range of Wellington boots. But unlike Hunter the rubber rainboots of Barbour were less “fashion” like, as they kept close to their brand’s style with high-quality craftsmanship, conservative colors, and the traditional tartan linings. The picture below is sourced from David Wellies on Flickr, as well as 3 more stunningly beautiful pictures of Barbour rainboots further down.

The rainboots are not an important part of the lineup of Barbour. This clearly shows on their social media, where the most recent post showing a pair of their rubber rainboots is dated June 2014. Over time the range did slightly change, with brighter colors being introduced and a few more varieties in boot height now being on offer.

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Surprisingly the Barbour rainboots are relatively affordable, as they are priced well below the Hunter boots. And while the basic features of the boots are identical, given both are traditional wellington boots, the Barbour boots have some smaller details that seem to stand out compared to the Hunter brand.

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The logo on the boots is very simple, and frankly the Hunter logo is more recognizable and in my view more iconic on a pair of rainboots. But unlike some other brands the Barbour logo does not distract from the boot and its simplicity has its charm. Also not jumping out, but a nice detail, is the rim around the top of the boot showing the brand name in very small print. And the final detail that makes these boots stand apart from its competition, and this is only visible after you take the boots off, is the tartar lining inside the boots which is a nice touch.

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The review of Barbour rainboots are basically all over the place, with them being described as perfect and less flashy than Hunter rainboots, to not made to quality standards one would expect from a brand as Barbour. As I do not own a pair of these boots I cannot form my own opinion.

What these boots have going for them is a combination of the low price, the brand name which breaths Britishness, and the overall nice look of these boots. For people looking for a good alternative for Hunter rainboots this brand seems a valid option, unless you are looking for bright colors and a flashy pair of boots.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • David May, 2019, 2:55 am

    Congrats and thank you!

  • Marc October, 2019, 12:55 pm

    I owned a green pair of Barbour wellies back in the 90’s. Very good quality and iconic shape and just that right British green colour. In those days the rubber copound of the bootleg was considerably soft (but not stretchy in any way). If you turned boot shafts over (the boot foot still standing upright) the shafts would stay bent down out of their own weight. That is not possoble with Hunters and I do not know if that is the case with Barbour boots any longer. I gues also Barbour manufactures their boots in China nowadays.

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