Ethical Wellies: Your Guide To Making A Sustainable Splash

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Looking for ethical wellies? Here is your guide to the best sustainable brands for adults and kids available in 2023.

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of ethical wellies lately. After daily wear all through the winter, walking over 3 miles each day, my old trusty pair of wellies has come a cropper. They’ve sadly developed an un-mendable hole in the heel that’s letting in water. Even the wonder that is Sugru isn’t even saving them.

My old pair weren’t especially ethical, but I did get A LOT of wear out of them. Whilst a part of me is tempted to buy a pair from the same shop, a bigger part of me wants a new pair of wellies with ethical credentials. The trouble is ethical wellies are extremely thin on the ground.

ethical welly boots

What’s Wrong With Standard Welly Boots?

Wellies themselves are not particularly eco-friendly. Making wellies is not an easy process. And making wellies out of eco-friendly materials seems to be even harder. 

I have found some boots made mostly from natural rubber from renewable resources. However, manufacturers seem to have to use other non-renewable materials in the making of them.

These mixed materials in turn lead to another problem. Because of the mixed materials that go into making wellies, this means at the end of their life the boots can’t be recycled. I, therefore, can’t classify wellies as eco-friendly. If you are here looking for eco-friendly welly boots then I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed that there isn’t such an item in existence. Remember, don’t shoot the messenger.

The dilemma is when you need 100% waterproof boots. I live in a more rural part of Scotland and find wellies a necessity. I have had to compromise. Instead, I have decided to buy a pair of more ethically produced wellies (i.e sweatshop free). I’ll then look after them/repair them where possible so that they will last as long as possible.

Are Hunters Boots Ethical?

My first thought was Hunters as I know that they’re as Scottish as they come. Or rather, they were as Scottish as they come. After a bit of research, I found that the company was sold to an American buyer in 2006. The new owners relocated their production of welly boots from Scotland to China in 2008. 

Since then quite a few people have said the quality of the boots has declined dramatically. To the point where the boots are developing holes within a year. What’s more, Ethical Consumer ranks them rather low in terms of ethics.

I have, however, managed to find a small handful of EU-based ethical companies. These boots will be less likely to be made in a sweatshop under hazardous working conditions.

Guide to Ethical Wellies

As I’ve done quite a bit of research for myself, I thought I’d share my finds in case anyone else needs to compromise, and requires a pair of ethical wellies. I know we’re coming into summer, so hopefully, wellies season is behind us for at least a little while. In Scotland, you just never can tell though. Music festival season is upon us. And you know what Billy says about wellies!


I have lost count of the number of Moral Fibres readers that have recommended Lakeland to me as a great source for ethical wellies, so it’s high time I updated this post to reflect these recommendations.

Why do so many readers love Lakeland? Its boots are made from FSC-certified natural rubber and lined with organic cotton. These boots are not made in the UK, but they are ethically made in Sri Lanka.

Find a wide range of Lakeland welly boots – in an array of colours – at Veo or at Ethical Superstore.


ethical wellies

Aigle is another brand to look at for welly boots, as some Aigle wellies are handmade in France using natural rubber, which makes for a more sustainable welly boot. However, as I mentioned before, the entire boot is not made from 100% natural rubber, so cannot be recycled at the end of its life. 

Please also note that not all Aigle wellies are made in France. This page highlights Aigle’s current range that is made in France (currently over 80 styles). Others seem to be made in China. So, if being made more locally is important to you then make sure you shop the Made in France range.

The good news is if plain wellies aren’t for you, then Aigle does have quite the collection of stylish prints and styles.


welly boots

Gumleaf Wellies are handmade in Europe, although there’s no mention of the exact location. Their boots are made using over 75% rubber, so fewer fossil fuels go into their production compared to a pair made from synthetic rubber. They do also look pretty practical and sturdy and could withstand the muddiest of puddles! 

Muddy Puddles

Muddy Puddles ethical wellies for kids

When it comes to ethical welly boots for kids, the choices are again, slim. Muddy Puddles is our top choice. This certified B-Corp (which means it puts people and the planet at the core of its business) was one of the first clothing manufacturers to use recycled plastic in its garments in 2017.

Muddy Puddles focuses on making durable products that last.  And as well as having strong ethical standards in its supply chains, Muddy Puddles uses recyclable packaging to package all of its orders.

The Muddy Puddles welly boots (which range from UK size 3 infant to UK size 6 adult) are made from 100% PVC with a 100% polyester lining, so aren’t made from particularly sustainable materials. However they are designed to be durable, so should last the distance.

Available in solid bright colours or fun patterns, these are sure to be a hit with little ones (and maybe not so little ones!).

Sign up for the Muddy Puddles newsletter and get 15% off your first order.

As you can see, it’s slim pickings. And the hunt for wellies is definitely full of compromise. However, if you ever come across any other more ethical wellies out there then do let me know. I will also keep checking for more brands and will update this post if I find any more boots that fit the bill. 

In the meantime, do check out my guide to both women’s ethical clothing and men’s ethical clothing. I’ve also got a handy guide to eco-friendly umbrellas, in case you’re looking for more wet weather gear.

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    1. The boots are made from natural rubber, but I don’t know what/if anything else is added. All other manufacturers seem to have to use other non-renewable materials in the making of their wellies, so I would assume there are additions – particularly the sole. It would be worth dropping them a line.

  1. Thanks for this post, and for all the helpful reader comments too! I don’t know if Muddy Puddles’ wellies are also recycled, but their waterproofs are made from recycled plastic and they have good ethical standards which are the cornerstone of their business, as far as I can tell. See https://www.muddypuddles.com/ethical-standards/ I’m not connected to them in any way but was pleased with their ethos.

  2. Hey there,

    I’m just off the phone with Lakeland Footwear asking about their welly boots. They are 100% FSC natural rubber, lined with organic cotton and contain no plastic. They have been made and are shipped from Sri Lanka. May be the most eco and ethical brand out there. But if you want to be as eco as possible and avoid the air miles your best bet would be to go barefoot or grow a rubber plantation in your greenhouse?!

  3. I phoned Aigle customer services today to ask whether their natural rubber came from sustainable sources and the poor woman had no idea – it’s obviously not something the company values. I asked her to mention to management that people are looking for sustainably sourced materials. So I looked elsewhere… Lakeland wellies are sustainably sourced and lined with organic cotton, and half the price! Just a shame they don’t make children’s sizes. https://www.lakelandfootwear.co.uk

    1. Thanks Natalie, the welly boot market is definitely opaque at best. I know that welly boots are not recyclable but I feel like manufacturers, even the slightly more ethical ones, could make more of an effort! And thanks for pointing me a direction of Lakeland – a few readers have now recommended them so will definitely be updating the post ASAP.

  4. There’s these: https://www.lakelandfootwear.co.uk/ made from FSC rubber, sustainably harvested with organic cotton. So good from an environmental point of view.

    I haven’t used the product, just found them when researching.

    A British company but the product is manufactured in Sri Lanka (where the rubber is harvested). It doesn’t say much about standards for the workforce but it says no human or animal is harmed in production and that they guarantee a safe secure and inclusive working environment.

    1. I have just bought a pair of Lakeland.

      Seems that they are 100% rubber.

      They are pretty comfortable, though have only walked in them once.

      They were very friendly & helpful, sending me a pair of insoles as the boots were on the big side for me.

  5. Followed your link Luciana, the wellies look great and may be sustainable vegan, but they are still not British made which is what I have been looking for. I don’t want to buy anything from China even if they state they look after the employees. I have seen and heard too many things recently about the slave labour in factory camps/ prisons.

    Has any body got any ideas!😏

  6. Thanks for sharing your research! (-; I understand that you looked at wellies made in the UK or near enough to be “ethical” (i.e.. Europe) and that’s great! but do you know if they are made out of recyclable or recycled materials? I always worry about the “trace” I leave behind me with my purchases… Thanks! Celine

  7. Hi, I was looking after sustainable rubber boots and I wound that only few Aigles are handmade in France. Colourful and nice looking Aigles comes from China or somewhere. 😢

    1. There’s a bit more to”ethical” than whether they’re produced near to you. Not all Aigle boots are natural rubber and they include polystyrene and EVA, neither of which are environmentally friendly.

  8. Thank you for this! What a great source of information. My trusty old wellies have developed a leak and as an allotmenteer I NEED wellies. Now off to shop!

  9. I bought some Fatface wellies 4 years ago…within a few months and only a few outings they cracked at the ankles and leaked! Really disappointing for a fairly pricey buy!!!

  10. Great post! I’ve been wanting to hunt some down too. It will make splashing in the puddles with my boys a reality, rather than watching from the sidelines in my leather boots.

    If only I could find sustainable children’s wellies too! (Or gumboots, as we call them in Australia)

    1. Yes, I hear on on the puddle jumping! It was one of the things I was most looking forward to on becoming a mum – finally an excuse to legitimately jump in puddles! ;)