Iconic British brand Hunter Boot Ltd, famous for its wellington boots, is on the brink of financial collapse. The Edinburgh-based company is set to go under external administration due to its outstanding debts of £100 million.
The wellington boot, or "welly" as it's affectionately known, got its name from Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who commissioned a shoemaker in 1817 to modify military leather boots for hunting and other countryside pursuits. The boots became fashionable, and the name stuck even after Henry Lee Norris began manufacturing them in Scotland from 1856 using the latest vulcanization technology – the same technique used in making tires or Mackintosh raincoats. These boots have stood the test of time, proving their worth in the trenches of two World Wars, on peaceful farmlands, in royal stables, and even on fashion runways.
Despite achieving record revenue in 2018, collaborating with Jimmy Choo, and boasting a long list of royal family members and celebrities who have worn Hunter (including a warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh since 1976), the historic brand has been undermined by the pandemic, changes in climate, supply chain disruptions, and rising costs. Even the launch of a €537 S&M version of their signature boot has not been able to save the company from the harsh new economic reality. As the fate of this beloved British brand hangs in the balance, fans of the iconic wellies around the world await further news.