When I first clapped eyes on these I was immediately smitten – I was like the child at Christmas whose parents got them the must-have present that year – be it Buzz Lightyear or Elmo. These were my Elmo’s and I was happiest kid in the playground.
Unfortunately, my first couple of outings rather burst my bubble – a bit like realising your parents got the toy but forgot to supply the batteries. I shall elaborate….
The design of the Bogs has a durable-rubber foot area which covers a neoprene-like material (which the company website calls Neo-Tech) that extends up your calf. This makes them a rather snug fit. So, whereas my old faithful Dunlop wellies are saggy all over and you can generally bung whatever socks you like under them, the Bogs seem to demand a tad more consideration as regards sock selection as, otherwise you can’t get your foot in. For my first outing I opted for a pair of basic cotton socks. However, after a 30min walk I had to come hobbling home due to blisters on my heels. Only SamTheDog looked as unimpressed as me.
For their second outing, a week or so later once the blisters had healed, I thought I might as well go for some more serious socks. I popped on my Brasher Women’s Trekking socks and headed for the hills only to once again return disgruntled a short time later with a disappointed dog in tow.
“Right that’s it”, I said to myself “I’m surely not expected to injure myself time and time again in the name of GWA testing?”. My love affair was firmly over, my bubble burst and all that. MentallyI told my Bogs to bog-off and thus they sat dejected on the stairs while I reached past them for my old faithful Dunlops.
Well, that is where this review could end… However Lady Luck was clearly smiling on the Bogs as during the recent snowy spell my 20 odd year old Dunlops finally admitted defeat and the sole split (I suspect they got narked because tried to ‘disguise’ them as Hunters!). It was a truly sad day for me. However my Dunlops’ demise meant I had no choice but to reach again for the Bogs. This time i didn’t give the sock options any consideration and lobbed them on with a regular thin pair of socks and the Hunter welly socks I over the top.
The fit was super snug but bliss… Oh bliss!
I went out for over and hour with the hound and he returned a happy chappy, as did my feet. I can think of no rhyme or reason for this except that sock choice clearly matters not a jot and the boots require a bit of breaking in. They’ve been worn now through the snow and into the resulting mud and mush, for between 30mins and 3hours on rambles and the blisters have not returned, regardless of what fabric has been covering my tootsies.
I’d like to return now to the fit and design . You’ll see from the pictures that the neoprene element has little hand holds and these are not merely for decoration. The Bogs fit unlike any welly or boot I’ve ever owned – you really do need to pull them on, and once on they feel very snug and secure like they are giving your feet a big hug.
I initially thought the design would mean that pulling them on over jeans would be an issue, but it really hasn’t. The neoprene element really came into its own during the snow as there was simply no way for the snow to creep in over the top like it does with a regular styled boot.
However this tight fit does cause some issues when it comes to taking them off – it does require a bit of a tugging session and as I usually return from my wanderings rather muddy I tend to resort to using our front step to lever them off. I do worry that doing this over time will damage the rubber.
The rubber foot area is suitably chunky that it protects your feet from cold penetrating from below but it certainly doesn’t perform any better than other wellington boots I’ve owned. Standing around wearing just cotton socks inside these boots you will soon get cold feet. I’ve been opting to wear my welly socks during recent walks as has been a tad on the chilly side and these combined with the boots do a good job of locking out the cold. Looking down on the front of the boots they look quite bulbous. I’ve got a pretty wide fitting foot and there is plenty of room for my toes which is lovely. The Bogs site claims that there is arch-support and I’ve just double checked and indeed there is – but its obviously designed for a low arch and until I watched the video on the site I hadn’t noticed it.
The whole inside of the boot is also lined in the neoprene material which is rather soft to the touch and you could get away with going barefoot if needed. The added bonus is that this layer is anti-microbial so the boot won’t get stinky.
The sole is suitably grippy looking with a quite pretty design of closely spaced wiggly lines and dots rather than the grooved/rutted design you tend to see on most rubber boots. The website claims the sole is slip-resistant and has added traction, and to be fair it has felt pretty planted on most of my walks – which tend to be grass or gravel paths. But it certainly hasn’t outperformed the old boots when I’ve hit the muddy stuff and I’ve had a few Bambi moments.
I am aware that the design of these could be a bit marmitey – you’ll either love it or hate it. I like the quirkiness and difference of them. I thinks it’s testament to the design that when out with SamTheDog recently I bumped into another dog-walker that I had not seen in a couple of months. One of his comments during the usual chit chat was “I like the new wellies – very posh…present from Santa were they?” Now this is obviously big kudos to the boots because in my experience a) men don’t usually feel the need to comment about clothing and b) he noticed that they were different boots from my old wellies which were also black!
SUMMARY: At £84.99 these boots are a serious investment and would not normally feature in the price range that I would shop for a wellington boot. My initial impulse is to mark them down on that fact. However you are getting a great deal of boot for your money and design/feature wise the are more spec’d up and I think they look way cooler than a Hunter which retails at a similar price. Thus I am awarding them…