Since I fall in love easily, but that feeling often slowly goes away, I always take my time before deciding to buy any new raingear. I need to be sure I don’t only love it now, but will still love it in a few months or years, and be able to put it to good use. That basically resulted in my Hunter rainboots slowly cracking and becoming leaky while I was still looking for the perfect pair of new rainboots to replace them. Instead of waiting any longer I recently decided to buy a quick replacement pair: just so I could be completely waterproof again when needed.
Instead of going for a big brand I decided to scout online sites for a cheaper pair without a known brand name. A Chinese pair of rubber wellies, from the 3539 Chongqing Judun Industrial Co., available on the Dutch version of Aliexpress became the chosen ones and since a lot of people asked for details I will give a short review of them here. I cannot say much about durability since I only got them recently, but I have put them to the test when possible. Below what they look like after a good walk through nature.
The boots are made of rubber which is noticeable from the sweet smell they give off when stored indoors. Both the shaft and soles are 100% natural rubber with a polyester filament in there. This filament not only helps during the production process, so the boot can be easily removed from its lest, it also helps to slip your foot in and out more easily. The Alibaba page of the producer also mentions an Kevlar midsole added to the boots to avoid sharp objects going through the sole; hopefully I will never have to put that to the test. So far the materials used are very similar to my old Hunter boots, the only obvious difference is the material choice for the buckle. Where Hunter uses stainless steel, these “nameless” wellies have a hard plastic buckle which would more easily give out over time.
While I cannot say much about the durability of the boots yet, since I have only had them in my possession for just over 2 weeks, the workmanship on these boots looks fine. There are no lose threads, glue leftovers, or visual mistakes detectable, something I would expect with real bargain buys.
The overall design of the boots is very similar to Hunter boots. This should be no surprise as the general design of rubber wellington boots is very similar at most brands as it is not protected by intellectual property. In the past Hunter has tried to trademark their logo (red rectangle with white background) on the front of their rainboots, but this request was withdrawn, which explains why so many Chinese made “fashion wellington” brands have a very similar logo on their boots. My boots have no brand name though, although the factory indicates you can have your own logo added to them if you order 2000 pairs or more.
While I purchased these boots in the same size as my previous pair of Hunter boots, these boots are clearly larger. Even with thick socks they are actually too large for me, meaning you better buy them according to your real size instead of a size bigger to accompany warm winter socks. The instep is clearly more spacious, or as they say it so nicely on their Alibaba page: “the shoe lasts are looser, and people with fat feet can also wear them”. While I had sometimes trouble getting into my Hunter’s, I easily slip into these boots. The downside is now only that I have to be careful going through deep mud to not leave a boot behind.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
These boots are available in huge quantities, but only in 1 colour, from the Alibaba site. Availability on Aliexpress fluctuates much more, as I could already not find them back anymore shortly after purchase. Very similarly priced rubber boots are often available though, possibly with similar qualities and a wider range of designs.
While I had my doubts when ordering navy-blue wellies, it was this picture on Flickr that pulled me across the line to just take the chance. And I am certainly not disappointed with their overall look: especially with my yellow Guy Cotton or orange 66North rainwear they look great.
These boots are just a cheap temporary replacement for my glossy Hunter boots, but I must admit they have made a bigger impression on me then I would have expected. While I really loved the beautiful shine of my glossy Hunters, I now realize how much I missed that little bit of extra safety waterproof wellies give.
Instead of going around puddles I now look for the biggest and deepest ones to walk right across them! That feeling of invincibility is something I missed without even realizing it and I love every minute of wearing these wellies. I would only use them for nature walks with the dog though, for fashion boots they miss that bit extra like the “Hunter logo” on the front and given they are just too big they make a “flapping” noise when walking which is fine in nature but less appropriate in a city setting.