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Le Chameau from France

When your interest in rubber boots grows, and you start looking past the obvious Hunter rainboots, you will quickly find out there are a ton of different brands producing all types of rubber boots. One of those brands is Le Chameau from France. While this brand was established over 90 years ago, in 1927, it stayed below my radar for an obvious reason: the rubber boots they produce are mostly marketed as functional boots for farmers, hunters, and fishermen, as shown by an advertisement from the brand below.

le chameau advertisement rubber rain boots

The brand finds its origin with Claude Chamot who took notice of the problems workers in the French countryside experienced: wet feet and no quality boots available to keep them dry and comfortable. He established a workshop to produce the first rubber boots, completely made by hand, in 1927 and the boots quickly became loved by his customers. Not before long the boots were sold all over France.

le chameau rubber rain boots hunter

Unlike other brands producing rainboots for decades, Le Chameau has stayed true to its origin as can be seen on their social media pages. When you take a quick look at their Instagram page you will notice the predominance of countryside pictures with forests, creeks, mud, dogs, small villages, and a lot of autumn leaves. This fits perfectly with the intended audience for their boots: farmers, hunters, fishermen, and the general country folks.

le chameau instagram social media general overview

While I love how they stay loyal to their origins, it makes it very difficult to combine their rubber boots into a fashionable urban outfit. Basically all their boots are in darker colors, green, brown and black, and with a very functional look. It would be difficult to combine these rubber boots with a pair of trendy jeans, and fitted coat, and some fashionable accessories. Unless you are going for a countryside look, the range on offer has little for the average urbanite.

That is not to say you should write off the brand completely. The rubber boots of Le Chameau are generally known for their overall quality and comfort, with each boots given 2 years of warranty and being produced from start to finish by a single person. For those looking for waterproof footwear for functional use these boots are still highly recommended, although the price of the boots might make you reconsider if you will have enough opportunities to justify the purchase. Below a pair of Le Chameau boots costing 360 British pounds.

The high price of the Le Chameau boots is partly explained by the amount of manual labor required to produce one pair of boots. To limit these costs the production of rubber boots has been moved completely to Morocco in 2016 where the company can profit from lower labor costs. But does this move jeopardize the quality of the boots as it did for Hunter when they moved the production to China? The answer would be “no”, as the production of Le Chameau boots has been split between France and Morocco since 1949 already. By closing the production facilities in France the brand steps away from its “Made in France” heritage, but quality-wise a customer should notice no difference.

While many companies try to leverage their cultural heritage and water down their brand by producing a large range of products to leverage their brand name, like Hunter does with the production of a range of items, you should not expect Le Chameau to follow in these footsteps. The company has indicated the focus stays on their original clientele, with which they have established an excellent reputation. So don’t expect any brand stores coming to you anytime soon, or a complete range of clothing, bags, and party boots.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tadhg February, 2021, 11:55 pm

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that, as a brand, Le Chameau actually lost money for its previous French owner, the LAFUMA Group. That was the reason for its sale in 2012 to a British investment group called Marwyn Partners for around £15 million.

    It was Marwyn which brought in the British management obsession with cost-cutting, first alienating the remaining French workforce and then finally closing the French workshop altogether by 2015.

    I would take issue with your assertion that the concentration to 100% Moroccan production does not jeopardise quality, as there have already been reports of boots failing in about 2 years. Certainly when I compare my 2015-made pair of Vierzonords with my older pair made in 2003, there is a definite difference – the 2003 pair is thicker and more substantial, whilst the 2015 pair is thinner and the leg shafts are much floppier. This can be put down to either one or both of two things:

    a. a change in the rubber formulation; and/or
    b. a change in measurement and thickness of the rubber sheet used for construction

    The same applies to comparison between my Deltanord waders produced before 2012, compared to my other pairs of Deltanords produced after that year – there are clear changes in the model specification and appearance.

    The Moroccans do a decent job, but ultimately they have to follow the constraints and diktats laid down by British management which is corrosive at the best of times, and disastrous at worst.

    Although Le Chameau is much better publicised today, it has come at a cost, and it is still reported to be losing money for Marwyn which has considered selling it on in the last couple of years.

    • Sanne March, 2021, 4:54 am

      Very interesting, I will have to look deeper into this when I will rewrite the article as I hadn’t heard this before about this specific brand. It seems almost all boot brands are trying to cut costs by cutting corners these days.

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