* Prices may differ from that shown
During these hot, dry days it seems a strange time to think of wellington boots. My early morning walks with friends and our dogs need little care underfoot, just an eye out for tangled brambles or the odd fallen log. But all too soon, as the clocks go back and our daily stroll becomes pre-dawn, choices have to be made.
The woods are favoured because a thousand years of loam are soft underfoot. However the very nature of woodland means that pre-dawn means pitch dark. It is easy to see the dogs' flashing collars which can probably be viewed from space, but the uneven paths beneath our feet are out of sight. The country park instead is ideal as the light pollution from the seaside town a few miles away means that fields are just visible not to mention the awesome sky as we look to the east. However, after rain the Essex clay in open countryside turns to very slippery mud, as well as nasty deep puddles whose depth cannot be gauged until I am in the proverbial.
With one leg now shorter than the other and a fear of slipping left after a bad accident caused by just that, I decided last winter to stop mucking around and buy footwear which would enable me to safely enjoy the start of my day. So it was that a visit to my local farm and countryside suppliers led me to pay more for a pair of gum boots than I have ever paid for shoes. I chose Tay boots made by the Muck Boot Company and am now a far more confident walker in all conditions.
My boots are made from neoprene, a material resulting from experiments made to produce synthetic rubber way back in WW11. This material is resistant to oil, heat and light as well as oxidation. It is easily shaped and reshaped and is the material used for wet suits.* I am also informed that manure and fertilisers will not affect its wear. Eminently suitable then for quality wellies.
The Tay is a serious piece of footwear, but not as heavy as some. Its lower half is dark green and, above a curved line, is the softer suede- looking foam green upper showing the words, Muck Boot Co. The same name is etched on the outside of the foot above the deeply patterned sole. So, all in all, a smart utility boot.
As I first slipped my foot into the softly lined Tay and then slid my leg easily downwards, the neoprene closed around my calf comfortably. Welly wearers will know the feeling of a hard boot edge knocking against the leg just below the knee while walking. Particularly important for me as my left leg is tender because scarred. This does not happen with the closely fitting Tay. Back to Ernest Doe's shop. My foot passed through the narrower lower boot leg and then was welcomed by the soft, warm and roomy foot part. The assistant said something about £80, but I put that to the back of my mind as I handed him my card.
I keep my boots in my car (they are not suitable for driving in) together with a boot jack for removal and have had them for a year now. Unfortunately the heavy rain of the early summer has meant that they have had plenty of use. The thick, deeply patterned rubber sole makes walking on heavy ground feel safer and the boots are waterproof to the top. I have not experimented with this last statement, but have enjoyed a smug confidence as I walk through deep puddles covering mud that my friends skirt round carefully.
The Tay can be worn comfortably over or under the legs of my jeans and, if I choose, I can turn over the tops of my boots, so malleable is the neoprene. Regardless of temperature, my legs and feet do not feel cold or overheat. These are thermal footwear, but I find that they will accommodate either light or thick long socks as the feet can stretch to another half size if need be. A bonus is that once my jeans legs are inside the Tay, they don't ride up, nor do my socks work their way half way off my feet as I have found with ordinary wellies.
I have since found that the Tay is the work boot of choice for farmer friends as well as some serious competitors of dog working trials. So I seem to have chosen well. Prices seems to range from £63 at Amazon to £99 from more ambitious suppliers, but the £80 I paid seems an acceptable average.
To sum up; although I would choose to wear my waterproof walking shoes for a lighter feel, there are times when I know that they will not be enough. I need to feel safe without sacrificing comfort and do enjoy the confidence of striding through bad conditions rather than picking my way warily around. Not to mention the fact that while I am busy having to watch my feet instead of the dogs, the little angels have managed to disappear somewhere over the horizon. They do recall to the whistle though.
I purchashed a pair of muckboot Derwents which i am dissapointed with as the soles wore very quickly within a couple of months,as i only use them on grass i thought they had been a"bad"batch produced so i rang the supplier"uttings outdoors"who reluctantly sent me out a new pair suggesting i had overworn them unfortunatly after a few months the new pair wore in the same place as the first pair ,the soles split and virtually all the grip had worn down completely.i wont be purchasing muckboots again.
I purchased a pair of the Tyne muck boots a couple of months ago as I needed a pair of boots to wear around the yard, that kept my feet dry and warm and most importantly could allow me to work safely no matter what the conditions - muddy, wet, icy - having sure footing is vital when around horses!
The foot and lower boot is made from rubber whilst the upper boot is made from foam - the rubber foot is reinforced which is great when my horse decides to stomp on me! The sole of the boot has good grip and even with the icy surfaces we have had of late I haven't slipped once. The foot and lower boot is waterproof but I must say that my toes have still been a little cold this weekend when the temperature has been -1 but that may be more to my poor circulation!
I have also worn these boots for riding, and although they are not ideal or great for schooling as they are quite clumpy, they have been fine for jumping on after doing the chores round the yard and going for a hack.
I have worn these boots pretty much every day for the last 2 months and there is hardly any wear on the sole which makes me think that they will last a long time.
The only drawback is that my feet do get quite sweaty (nice!) which hasn't happened with other boots but I think it is because these are made of rubber not leather and thus doesn't allow my feet to 'breath'.
All in all these are a good pair of yard boots and far better than your everyday pair of wellies. In terms of price they cost me approximately £70 which isn't cheap but seems to be a pretty average price for good quality yard boots.
I had been promising myself a pair of really good walking Wellies for some time, and after some research decided on a pair of Muckboot Derwents. They were described as being suitable for 'yard' work and for walking. When they came I was delighted as they were comfortable, warm and waterproof, and the easy-to-turn-down tops made them ideal for summer walking also. However, after wearing them just a few times (less than 20 hours use), I noticed considerable wear on the heels. My boots and shoes do not normally wear badly and I had my my last pair of wellies for at least 10 years without serious wear. When I examined the heels of the Muckboots, they seem to be made of foam rubber, which has almost no resistance to wear. Not good eough for boots costing £50! I contacted Muckboots customer services who clearly do not want to comment, and referred me to the retailer - we will see what happens!
I was bought a pair of these 2 years ago, and my pair are still going strong. I wear them around the yard horse riding in the winter a few times a week and absolutely love them. While everyone else is complaining about their freezing feet and boots with holes in them I have my muck boots that arn't only incredibly waterproof they're also extremly warm.
With these, I wear a pair of regular socks and this keeps my feet toasty warm in conditions as bad as -3 (or there abouts). I haven't been able to find colder conditions than that but I'm sure that two pairs of regular socks past that wouldn't be a problem.
I really do reccommend these boots, they're not heavy when you walk in them like the Just Toggs version of this boot and was actually quite shocked at how much worse that version of the boot was when I tried them on for the day. A relative of mine bought the Just Togg's muck boot version and hers lasted one winter (They split and styarted leaking in water! They were also heavy and she complained of cold feed despite wearing thick socks.
I wouldn't buy any other version of this boot, costing at around £45 they are quite expensive for basically a welly boot but these are so much better. They will last you year after year in all conditions, they're completely waterproof (even the neoprene at the top of the boot is waterproof) the toe is reinforced (I feel safer in this than a steel cap toe and a 500kg horse (which was wearing metal shoes) has trodden on me in these boots and they didn't split nor did I feel the pressure of his foot on me.
The only thing I'd say about these boots is that it's hard to make them look completely clean and I'm generally scrubbing at them quite a lot. Also the grip on the bottom of these boots arn't the best, which can be dangerous as I've nearly slipped straight over leading two excitable horses.
Great boot, be careful in slippy muddy conditions.
Looking after horses through the winter months has its major downsides. Firstly there's the added expense for feed, hay, bedding, rugs etc. If you work full time you rarely see your horses in daylight and on top of this there are the wet, wind, cold and mud to also contend with! The thought of 'Why do I do this?' is constantly in my mind!!
So after what seemed like my 50th pair of standard wellingtons split through the sole resulting in me having to use carrier bags as socks yet again, I decided to treat myself to a nice new pair of boots for the winter months. As a regular on a lot of the equine forums, I'd heard/read a number of people talking about Muck Boots and how fabulously warm and sturdy they were so decided to give them a go.
About the Company
The Original Muck Boot Company manufacture rubber boots for a variety of markets including outdoor sporting and gardening. The company was founded in 1999 to create comfortable, high performance footwear for use in messy and tough conditions. They now have a line of more than 20 styles.
About the Tyne Boots
These boots are made from durable neoprene covered by a watertight rubber outer around the foot and ankle, which combine to insulate the foot and lower leg, keeping them warm and dry. The welly is lined with a thin moisture-controlled material that draws away perspiration to allow the foot to breathe, while the upper part of the boot has a soft nubuck outer cover.
Parting with my cash
I'm always after a bargain and bought my pair from eBay for only £38. They were unused due to the seller having bought the wrong size so I was instantly happy due to getting them at a cheaper price.I think the RRP is about £62 though I'm sure if you search around you will find them cheaper now.
The Parcel's Delivered
When I first took them out of their box I thought they looked huge and I had to double check they were the size I had ordered - they were! Pulling them on was easy with the help of the reflective tab on the back of the boot. This also has the benefit of being reflective if you wish to leave it out of your boot for improved visibility when walking or riding on roads.
Once on, despite feeling fine, they made my feet look about 2 sizes bigger! I took a few steps and my stride felt really odd. They just seemed very big, clumpy and robust! However they were very comfy. I wore them to take my dog for a walk and despite a blister on my heel (I'm prone to blisters when breaking in new footwear) I soon got used to the initial weird feel of them.
The real test for them was when the weather turned really cold. They are so incredibly warm, you can be walking through frozen fields in -6 degrees centigrade and your feet haven't got a clue it's so cold! Even with the thinnest pair of socks I own, I've not once known my toes to get cold.
I had read that these boots are also designed to enable you to ride in them but due to them being quite big in the foot, they only just go into my stirrups and having a rearer, I like my feet to very easily come clear so don't really trust that they wouldn't. I also usually opt for short boots and gaiters over long boots due to them having more freedom in the ankle, because of the hard rubber these boots don't have that much give so feel quite restrictive in your foot positioning. I find them ok for a 1-mile trot round the block but wouldn't wear them for anything more.
Being 5'11 I have particularly long legs, most boots feel as though they only reach half way up my calf but these fit snugly all the way up with a stretch fit top to stop unwelcome cold air. Due to length I'd say they could possibly be a little too long for people with short legs and you could be better off going with the Tack version due to being shorter in the leg though I'm not sure these are suitable for riding in.
How they've faired
The versatility aspect of the boots are great, they can be used for trudging across wet, muddy fields, mucking out yet can be easily hosed off and if you're happy to ride in them, this removes the need for changing footwear. Just wish I got on with riding in them, I hate taking them off on a cold winter's evening to change into something else!
I'm sure they've saved a number of bones from being broken in my feet! I've already broken a bone in my one foot thanks to a horse standing on it and need to be careful about it happening again. The reinforced toe area saves my pinkies from any unwelcome stomps and the general robustness of the rubber and Achilles overlay protection helps against kicks and knocks from the horses wondering legs.
Onto some negatives, after about 7 months use the rubber outer on the insides of both boots started to come away from the neoprene. Also the neoprene started to wear away on the inside of the right boot. I'm guessing this must be because I slightly rub the boots as I'm walking. Although this hasn't affected the use of the boots and hasn't got any worse over a year later, it does mean that I can't go in water any deeper than where the top of rubber meets the neoprene.
So in summary, I'd definitely recommend these boots just for the fact they keep your feet fabulously warm, safe and comfortable, even if they did feel odd to walk in at first!