Newest Review: ... 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 supp... more
Give it some Welly
The Original Muckboot Company
Member Name: aefra
The Original Muckboot Company
Date: 22/08/12, updated on 23/08/12 (198 review reads)
Advantages: Comfortable, waterproof, good grip
Disadvantages: None that I have found
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.
*source http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/lib/what-is-neo prene.htm
Summary: An excellent country boot which ticks all the boxes