Hunter has supplied waterproof footwear since it was founded in 1856 in Edinburgh. During both World Wars, the War Office commissioned Hunter to provide over a million boots for the British Army. After World War II, civilians took a liking to the protective, sturdy rubber boots and in 1956 Hunter launched the Original Tall Wellington Boot – a bestseller ever since.
Last year presented all businesses with challenges but the momentum behind Hunter grew stronger than ever as people of all ages donned their Hunters for their daily walks, countryside rambles or strolls round their gardens. In summer people wore Hunter sandals or sliders to the beach or their poolside barbecues. In 2020, Hunter had truly become an all-weather brand for every outdoor moment.
By the end of 2020 sales flourished as Brits pulled on their Hunters to trudge through gardens, parks and fields for the second lockdown. From dog walk to catwalk, 2020 was also the year the Wellington boot arrived at Fashion Week, with the luxury fashion houses embracing the Cottagecore trend. Practical, functional all-weather boots designed to be worn in both country and town became the year’s most coveted items.
Hunter then launched a collaboration with Saint Laurent, creating a limited-edition design boot made from natural rubber, further cementing the boot as the fashion crowd’s must-have item.
The Wellington boot trend has taken root and is here to stay throughout 2021, with Hunter launching the Hunter Field Balmoral Hybrid collection, consisting of a Chelsea boot and a Tall boot for men and women. The functional, utilitarian collection mixes neoprene and rubber, making it ideal for rural or urban conditions in all weathers.
One of the biggest priorities for the brand today is its continuing commitment to becoming more sustainable. In partnership with First Mile, Hunter ReBoot aims to extend its recycling programme to more countries. With Hunter ReBoot, customers can drop off their old boots at the Regent Street flagship or arrange a home collection, allowing their boots to be ground down into playground surfacing, horse arenas, kickboxing bags and floor fillers, saving three tons of CO2 for every ton that virgin rubber uses.
Hunter Donated gives fully functional waterproof boots to its global charity partners, comprising local non-profit organisations and communities around the world. Hunter has so far donated 116,000 pairs worldwide, including to rice farmers in East Timor, refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and communities affected by hurricanes in Haiti and Puerto Rico.
In 2020 Hunter launched the world’s first fully FSC-certified rubber boot. The FSC-certified Original Tall and Short Rain boots are approved to the high standards of the Forest Stewardship Council. This year Hunter introduces its first sustainable bag collection in highly water resistant 100 per cent recycled polyester, the collection marks a new milestone in Hunter’s commitment to sourcing products ethically and sustainably.
The brand is justifiably proud of its 160-year history and the Original Tall’s status as the world’s favourite boot. The boot takes three days and 28 parts to make, a feat that has been recognised by the Original Tall’s permanent inclusion in the Design Museum and V&A Dundee .