Wellies, made better
Stepping towards a more sustainable future
Did you know wellies were the first things Joules ever sold? In 1989, Tom Joule set up shop at a Leicestershire country show with 100 pairs of them. Bright pink ones, in fact. So, there’s a good reason we’re known for our iconic wellington boots. They’re in our DNA.
Of course, even icons need updates to maintain their status. We’ve been busy behind the scenes, looking at better ways to bring you hand-me-down worthy wellies in stylish prints and styles. Better for the planet, better for the people who make them, better for you.
We caught up with Eva Williams, our Assistant Footwear Designer, to take a walk in her wellies (so to speak) and learn more about this Responsibly Joules project.
What makes Joules' wellies so special?
Eva: “Joules wellies aren’t just about keeping dry; they’re about getting noticed. The amazing hand-drawn prints by our talented in-house team, colour pop linings and fun design details make them so enjoyable to wear. We love responding to customer needs and are proud to offer so many fits, lengths and styles.
“We’re also committed to delivering the highest quality technical product we can, while respecting the environment and the people that make our wellies. From forest to factory to store, we’re continually making advances in ethical compliance and researching innovative ways to bring our customers the best wellies with the least impact. It’s an exciting area to work in.”
“ Our mission is to create distinctive products made with care, consideration and respect. ”
How have we made our wellies better?
Eva: “We’ve been looking at every stage of making a welly, from raw materials and production processes to how to keep our products in circulation for longer.”
“We have complete confidence that we are responsibly sourcing materials that meet strict standards to protect forests, and the animals and people who depend on them.”
“We can trace our rubber back to the plantations, have fully mapped our supply chain and have direct contact with every supplier involved in making our wellies. All our direct suppliers are audited and have an in-house Joules Quality Controller to ensure we’re operating in a fair, equitable and environmentally sound way.”
What are we doing to avoid our products ending up in landfill?
"We’re doing a lot of work on end-of-life, to try and create a more circular product. We’ve always been proud of the longevity of our wellies. We build-to-last and all our wellies come with a one-year guarantee, but often provide many years of use and can be passed-on or handed-down."
How have you responded to welly-wearers’ needs over the years?
“All of our research goes back to the customer, what they are doing in their lives, and what we can do to improve their experiences. We’ve made several adjustments to our wellies over the years, from including a gusset on our tall wellies to cater to different calf sizes, to developing different heights of boot with our Molly and Wellibobs. We also offer styles with neoprene linings in the colder months, along with slip-on styles that are perfect to wear for gardening.”
How have you made sure Joules’ wellies are now better than ever?
“Most recently, we have upgraded our insoles to be fully moulded – meaning that they are more comfortable, and more supportive. Every season we look at ways to make our wellies the best they can be, either through small detail changes or updates to the shape, all while keeping the essence of the classic Joules wellington boot.”
How are the wellies tested?
“To test the ‘waterproofness’ of all of our wellies, each boot is dipped into water. The top part will be sealed with an airline blowing air inside the boot to see if any bubbles are escaping. If there are, then the boot will not make it into the final stage of production!”
“We also carry out random tests before the boot leaves the factory, these include sole/heel abrasion resistance, further water resistance tests, slip resistance tests, colour fastness testing and other chemical testing to ensure we are compliant with UK, EU & US requirements. Only once these have passed all testing requirements shall they be allowed to leave the factory.”
How do you recommend taking care of your wellies?
The first thing you want to do is make sure your wellies are clean of all mud and dirt, and air-dried to ensure that there is no distortion to the rubber. In terms of storage, the best place to keep your wellies is in a cool, dry place – preferably stood upright or on a boot stand. You can also use our welly buffer up, which will help to protect and condition the surface of the welly. You can find out more on our Welly Care Guide.
And finally, where is your favourite place to go puddle splashing?
Definitely around my local countryside with my Dalmatian, Alfred. (He’s a lot less keen on the water though!)