The Wellington boot was originally a type of leather boot adapted from Hessian boots, a style of military riding boot. They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The "Wellington" boot became a staple of practical foot wear for the British aristocracy and middle class in the early 19th century. The name was subsequently given to waterproof boots made of rubber and they are no longer associated with a particular class. They are now commonly used for a range of agricultural and outdoors pursuits.
Wellington boots in contemporary usage are waterproof and are most often made from rubber or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a halogenated polymer. They are usually worn when walking on wet or muddy ground, or to protect the wearer from heavy showers and puddles. They are generally just below knee-high although shorter boots are available.
The "Wellington" is a common and necessary safety or hygiene shoe in diverse industrial settings: for heavy industry with an integrated reinforced toe; protection from mud and grime in mines, from chemical spills in chemical plants and from water, dirt, and mud in horticultural and agricultural work; and serving the high standard of hygiene required in food processing plants, operating theatres, and dust-free clean rooms for electronics manufacture.
Sailing wear includes short and tall sailing wellingtons with non-marking, slip-resistant soles to avoid damage to a boat's deck. These boots require thermal socks to be worn underneath as the rubber does not provide enough warmth.
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