Barbour Bede Wellington boot review: that most British of footwear gets an upgrade

Practical, stylish and immediately recognisable, the Barbour Bede wellies are made for outdoors mess of all kinds

T3 Platinum Award
Barbour Bede Wellington boot review
(Image credit: Mark Mayne)
T3 Verdict

When you’re planning quality time in your wellies, you want a pair of Barbour Bede Wellingtons. These brilliant boots offer style, practicality and durability in one beguilingly simple package.

Reasons to buy
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    Clean lines

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    Good protection

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    Solid build quality

Reasons to avoid
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The Barbour Bede Wellington boot is squarely aimed at the aspirant ‘country’ set, but is also a perfectly functional welly with a few hidden benefits. In fact, they're some of the best wellies we've tested out. The base model in the Barbour range, the Bede, is available now with an RRP of £64.95. Read on for our full Barbour Bede welly review.

Barbour Bede Wellington boot review: design and build

The Barbour Bede Wellington is a traditional build, a vulcanised rubber upper, thicker and harder sole unit with an adjuster strap high up on the calf. The insole is attached to the rest of the boot, a double-edged sword in that it doesn’t get rumpled and creased when carelessly pulling the boot off, but also can't be dried separately if needed. 

A fabric tartan liner strikes a classy note, and slight mouldings on the outside ape a Duke-of-Wellington-era riding boot, which sounds weirder than it looks. An embossed moulding around the top reads 'J Barbour & Sons', just to complete the vintage mood. 

Barbour Bede Wellington

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

A small but highly-critical design element is what J Barbour & Sons call the ‘kick spur feature’, a small right-angled projection on the heel. This lets you lever muddy boots off without getting your hands – or the butler – involved, which is good news for everyone, what? 

The overall build is solid, but still flexible, remaining upright and ready for use even in warmer weather unlike some of the cheaper models that can slump and prove tricky to put on. A good taper for the ankle not only keeps some sense of shape to the boot, but also keeps it in place even in fairly sticky mud. 

Barbour Bede Wellington review

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

Barbour Bede Wellington boot review: performance and comfort

While these might be in the 'aspirational wear' end of the rubber boot camp, there’s no concession when it comes to either performance or comfort. That robust build insulates from cold very well, and the thick sole and insole combine to keep toes warm for extended ‘standing about’ periods. This insulation is – in many ways – the hidden benefit here. Lesser wellies might look OK from a distance, and will be fine for quickly walking the dog, but for extended days of standing, you’ll be very glad you’re properly shod. 

In more active scenarios, the Barbour Bede Wellington does inevitably warm up, but the fabric liner aids breathability quite well, certainly better than unlined versions. 

The outsole has enormously deep tread blocks carved into it, and these giant grooves do a grand job of gripping deep mud, wet grass and the like, with an undercut heel concentrating the bodyweight to keep things on an even keel. 

Barbour Bede Wellies review

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

Being quite a high-cut boot, protection from general wet and mud is really excellent, as one might expect, giving confidence that striding through anything below knee level will be absolutely fine. The next step up is basically waders, which might be a bit overkill, even in a Landy. Perhaps needless to say, but the adjuster straps are entirely useless, and should be worn carelessly undone at all times.  

Barbour Bede Wellies review

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

Barbour Bede Wellies review: verdict

In short, the Barbour Bede Wellington are excellent wellies, let us be in no doubt. There are certainly cheaper wellies out there, but very few can deliver style and practicality as well as the Barbour Bede Wellington. They’re as comfortable as you’d expect in all outdoor conditions, and insulate from the cold ground better than many. 

Perfect for those who require decent protection from the elements around the garden or farmyard, but with a stylish edge that’ll let them blend in anywhere from festivals to Sunday town centres, riding schools to country pubs. Indeed, the Bardour Bede is effectively the boot equivalent of the Barbour jacket, which is saying quite a bit. 

Mark Mayne

Mark Mayne has been covering tech, gadgets and outdoor innovation for longer than he can remember. A keen climber, mountaineer and scuba diver, he is also a dedicated weather enthusiast and flapjack consumption expert.