If the idea of cold, clammy rubber intermittently touching your foot is putting you off the idea of venturing to a festival, don’t despair. Your welly problem these days is more likely to be the myriad options now available. We’ve put together a few tips to help you make that crucial festival purchase wisely.
1. Buy rubber
There are cheap, colourful PVC fashion wellies in all sorts of funky designs, some specifically marketed as ‘festival’ wellies, but unfortunately, as with tents, this can be code for ‘not built to last’. You may find your new flowery footwear has split even before the weekend is out. These ‘fun’ options invariably end up in huge piles around festival bins.
Take it from us, when the mud’s six inches deep, you won’t envy the girl in the shiny zebra-prints that are already leaking. That said, you can find wellies with rubber soles and uppers in a surprisingly fashion-conscious range of styles, colours and patterns, even from institutions like Barbour or Hunters. Some don’t even look like wellies, and rubber’s not always particularly expensive. So do check labels.
2. Choose the right lining
If you plan to stand or sit around the main stage all weekend, consider neoprene-lined or fur-lined wellies, which will keep you cosy even into the long, cool night. They can become uncomfortably hot, though, so if you tend to rush around or dance, take a pair of separate welly liners or purpose-made socks for more flexibility and another opportunity for a style statement. It’s also worth remembering that welly-tops can chafe bare skin, so take lighter over-knee socks or tights with you to wear when you need to feel cooler. A thermal insole helps stop the cold creeping up from the ground.
3. Check calf size
Some simpler welly styles are narrow and may not accommodate everyone’s calves, so make sure you can get them on and that they’re not too tight to walk in. If calf size is an issue for you, or you like to tuck your jeans in, look out for a buckled vent on the side, or for ‘wide calf’ fittings.
4. Consider transportation
You’re unlikely to arrive and leave in wellies, and are probably hoping to wear sandals for some of the time. For when you’re not wearing them, you can buy handy zip-up welly-storage bags, but really all you need is something waterproof – a simple drawstring bag or even a bin-bag or large plastic carrier will do. The other option is to choose a folding pair, which usually come with their own little bag. It’s worth bearing in mind that these may be lighter with thinner soles, but could still be ideal if you think you probably won’t need them much.
Remember to take a sun hat and sunscreen too – in the UK you’re highly likely to need both at the same time.