Far from being part of the throwaway culture, a pair of Aigle wellies are designed to work perfectly out in the field and last the course.
Aigle wellies may not be quite as mainstream as some other well-known brands but once you’re a fan, you’re a fan.
I’ve had a pair for around five years that have faithfully followed me up hill, down dale, through mud and river and they’re still as waterproof and comfortable as ever.
After 160 years, the brand is still made in a factory in France. Aigle appears to be a good place to work. Loyal staff stay there their whole working lives, with grandchildren replacing retiring grandparents.
Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact that Aigle wellies are handcrafted, rather than mass produced.
Each pair takes around three days to create and around 60 different steps. Every boot is cut from around 15-18 pieces of rubber, put through rigid tests for cracking, colourfastness, durability and finish.
Very little material goes to waste – making a pair of Aigle wellies is a bit like cutting pastry in that once the pieces have been cut out, the leftover rubber is reformed so that further pieces can be created.
The company is very hot on sustainability and at the moment searching hard to source Fair Trade rubber via a tyre company.
Last autumn I was sent a pair of Parcours 2 Signature boots to field test. Literally.
They arrived looking shiny and new, all ready for muddying up on a rough shoot in Gloucestershire. We were going to be walking a good few miles across ploughed fields, through ditches and on stony paths so I hoped they would be up to the job.
First off, they look very smart. A leather strap along the top in a contrasting colour will let these boots hold their own in the smartest surroundings. And they certainly got some admiring glances.
Inside a leather insole and lining made them feel super luxurious. One thing I really liked about my other pair of Aigles is that the surface has a slightly waxy finish, so it instantly repels water, which is reassuring.
We made our way along a country lane and I was sure to splash through a few puddles. It was a frosty start but the solid soles certainly gripped the road well.
Over a stile and along a hedgerow we strode. The pathway was very uneven – we were at the edge of a ploughed field and sods of earth and grass, with the odd rock, littered the way. The boots felt very secure and supportive, so I wasn’t worried about twisting an ankle in a rut.
After a bit we came across a stream. Instead of taking the footbridge I felt so confident in my Aigles I picked my way down the bank, splashed through the water and came up the bank on the other side. No slipping or sliding. No water inside either.
Later on in the day a rocky farm track made for tougher going underfoot but the ‘anti-fatigue’ design was certainly doing what was intended and I felt full of energy even after about six miles.
My verdict? These boots look very smart, are a dream to wear and I particularly liked the leather finish and lining. I wasn’t worried about losing my footing at any point or having wet feet.
If I had any criticism it would be that they are slightly heavier than I am used to wearing, probably due to the leather interior and insole, although that did make the boots feel supremely comfortable.
So which Aigle wellingtons are available for fieldsports fans?
Aigle Parcours Vario
If you’re exhausted after a day’s shooting then you might like to step out in these, as they’re marketed as the first ‘anti-fatigue’ boot. If you have muscly calves it’s not a problem because the tightening strap and gusset lets you adjust to fit. The cushioned heel will stop you jarring your foot on stony lanes and of course the boot is waterproof (with a quick-drying lining in case of overflow). Available in bronze, brown, black and khaki.
Note – the Aigle Parcours 2 was a finalist in the Shooting Awards 2019.
Aigle Parcours 2
If you’re content to wear a boot that just slides on without the need for adjustment, then this is the one to opt for. It has all the build quality of the above , that is it’s anti-fatigue with a shock absorbing heel cushion so you’ll be happy to walk for hours. It also has a quick drying lining. Available in bronze, brown, black and khaki.
Aigle Parcours 2 Bottillon
Sometimes you want a boot that’s comfortable and keeps your feet dry – but you don’t need it to reach up to your knees. In that case take a close look at the Aigle Parcours 2 Bottillon, which has the same anti-fatique properties as others in the Parcours range, but is more of a ‘boot’. Available in bronze, black and khaki.
All the above are available in a variety of sizes and there are plenty of other styles suitable for hunters too. Visit Aigle to see the full range.