Gumboots: for the love of style, function, history and hilarity

Gumboots have somehow, over the last few years, sneakily sloshed their way into my life. A mere three years ago, my life was gumbootless … and like text messaging, my electric toothbrush and Facebook … I now wonder how I could have ever lived without them.

There are a lot of great things to say about gumboots, so with no further ado, here are the top five reasons why gumboots may in fact be my favorite type of shoe and community … and should probably be yours too: 

1. I don’t think any other type of shoe has so many hilarious names: Wellingtons, rubbers, wellies, topboots, barnboots, muckboots, rainboots, blucher boots and of course, gumboots. This wide array of names is pretty hilarious on it’s own (muckboots!), but also speaks to the diversity of those who wear these footwear phenoms: those who tread in muck, barns, rain, and, um, uppity English courtyards are all connected by this fabulous boot. 

2. Gumboots have, in some odd, inextricable way, become the theme for my upcoming wedding and thus a symbol for love and happiness! From invitations to optional attire to event signage to table decorations to photographs, these bad boys will be left, right and centre at the big event. The big question is … do you know why? Take this super-secret wedding website quiz and see how well you know your Gumboot (of the Daily variety) correspondents and editors, and how well you remember information from posts past (there may or may not be an extra wedding invitation on the table for the first person who guesses correctly*) 

[poll id="5"] 

3. Gumboots defy barriers and bridge generations, classes and worlds! From mischievous three year olds running around jumping in puddles to a worker wearing wellies with reinforced toes in an industrial mine to a farmer in the field to a fashionable city girl wearing shiny red gumboots to complete her outfit, gumboots create a common ground (figuratively and literally) whereby unlike individuals become more like, creating an opportunity for .. you guessed it … community to be fostered and grown. 

Gumboot Dancers in South Africa


4. Gumboots are rich in history and have permeated the cultural fabric of communities around the world. Check out this article for a fascinating look at how gumboots have become a part of the cultural landscape worldwide. One of my favorite stories: In South Africa, the sound of people dancing in gumboots is often incorporated into semi-traditional popular music, known as “gumboot zydeco”. This dance began as a form of communication in the late 19th century in the gold mines of South Africa. Because miners were forbidden to speak to one another, they communicated using their work attire (which included gumboots) and native tribal rhythms. This story is just one among many – from Australia to Canada to Russia to Scandinavia, Gumboots have their own unique histories and cultural significance. 

5. Gumboots are the perfect balance of style and function. Whether you need protection from rain, muck, concrete, or dangerous chemicals, gumboots can serve your needs – and keep you looking stylish all the while! 

So there it is. In my humble opinion, individuals should be exposed to gumboots on a daily basis – and since it’s a little silly to be wearing gumboots in the summer (except at a wedding, that is), I suggest you get your dose by tuning it to The Daily Gumboot, where you’ll find the same caliber of hilarity, history, style, functionality, and world-bridging community as you’d find in a regular ol’ Wellie. 

*Sadly, friends, there are not extra wedding invitations to be given out. But hey, that’s not to say you can’t make your way up to Merville and lurk in the nearby bushes (you may need gumboots for this) to take in the festivities!

11 thoughts on “Gumboots: for the love of style, function, history and hilarity

  1. I really, really like this, Michelle. And not just because we’re getting married and I have to say such things. More to the point, you have done a great service to the people of Merville, who know now in context in which their love of gumboots – and historical affinity with said boot – fits in the global context of it all.


    - JCH

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