A traditional-looking wellington boot with some good features, but which won’t keep you warm in the winter months – best suited for welly wearing festival goers and farm fashion fans.
Kick-spur makes taking them off easy
Vulcanized rubber upper
Cotton lining has little thermal benefit
Calf buckle ineffectual
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Barbour Bede Wellingtons: first impressions
These Barbour Bede Wellingtons come from a brand that has certain connotations in the British countryside (and increasingly in city suburbs and at festivals) that you’re either going to love or hate. These are simply traditional wellies, but they have a great big Barbour logo slapped loud and proud on the front, so you can nail your colors to the mast for everyone to see, if you are a fan of the brand. But how did they stand up against their rivals in our best wellington boots buying guide?
Putting aside their waterproof qualities, which really should be a given in a wellington, the best thing about these boots is an ostensibly simple bit of additional rubber on the heel – the kick spur.
Despite the horse-worrying sound of that name, the purpose of this spur, as we understand it, is to help the wearer get the things off. How many times have you floundered around trying to pull your feet out of wellies without getting mud all over the place? Well this genuinely resolves that problem, at it left us wondering why every other welly doesn’t have them.
The Bedes also feature vulcanized rubber uppers, a thin cotton inner, and an outsole with a pronounced heel (another horsey-related element, harking back to when wellies were worn by military blokes on horseback with their feet in stirrups), front grooves and rear chevrons for braking control on downhill mud slides.
• RRP: $100 (US) / £65 (UK)
• Gender specification: Men’s
• Sizes: (US) 5–11
• Insulation: Thin tartan cotton
• Colors: Black / Navy / Olive
Barbour Bede Wellingtons: in the field
A classic wellington, the Bedes did succeed in staying waterproof on test (so no need for waterproof socks!), and we loved the kick spur on the heel.
However, the tartan cotton lining is, frankly, flimsy. It does nothing at all in the keeping-you-warm department. Cotton never does, especially in damp environments, and this is particularly thin (see also: why cotton clothing is a bad idea for outdoor activities). In fact, after a few wears, the lining started to peel away from the rest of the upper, which was poor for a fairly expensive boot.
We would put these in the two- to three-season boot bracket. The buckle and strap on the side of the calf also appears to be entirely ornamental, so these might be best suited for rural-fashion and festival wear, if you’re into that sort of look.
The Bede is manufactured for men, with the closest Barbour boot for women being the slightly more expensive, but much better-featured, neoprene-lined, gusseted Amble.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.