Outdoor living in my new eco SPATS (October – December 2020)
OK, so I’m the founder, which doesn't exactly make me the most impartial reviewer, but since I’ve been wearing them for over a decade – and have experienced 2 years of making them in an Indian factory (2008-2011) and 4 years of making them in China (2013-2017) – I’m definitely the most experienced Spats tester around. And that counts for something!
Hooray! Our first samples have arrived from the new European factory! These eco SPATS are made with 80% natural, sustainably sourced rubber.
You can tell the difference in quality because the rubber uppers are soft as butter to put your feet into. The new monk strap buckle style wear like leather shoes.
The ghost white SPATS are already an instant hit with our neighbours from London Fields! Here our sales manager Irina tries them on.
Understanding sustainability and the welly market... and what SPATS are doing to improve sustainability...
How to choose your welly boots
1. The right shoes for the job. For deep mud and wading, full length wellingtons are best but many women find tall wellies uncomfortable on long walks as they can put strain on the knees, especially when they become clogged with mud. Calf or ankle wellies are lighter and more comfortable for walking and you can always accessorize with waterproof gaiters to keep those splashes off. Do bear in mind though that rubber boots are not generally designed for hiking or hilly terrain. Short wellies and galoshes come into their own when gardening, camping, dog walking or jobs like mucking out as they can be easily slipped on and off.
3. Choose for comfort. Everyone's feet, ankles and calves are different, therefore one brand will suit you better than another. Try before you buy is the golden rule, if you can. To avoid rubbing or chafing make sure you wear your rubber boots with suitable socks (elasticated and covering the leg) or welly warmers. Also bear in mind that most rain boots have hard rubber outsoles and are not cushioned (unless specified). If you're planning to wear them for protracted periods of time, insoles will provide extra padding and warmth.
4. Get a grip. For safety, it's better to buy wellies which have an articulated sole for grip and a good heel. There's no point in buying rain boots which you will slip around in on an icy day. Spats heels are 1.8-2cm high and the tread is 0.5-0.7cm.
5. Love natural rubber. There's a reason why PVC or plastics-based wellington boots are cheap: they are mass-produced by injection moulding. But the fact is plastic isn't as comfortable, breathable or even as durable as vulcanised natural rubber. Your plastics won't last as long as you'll be throwing them out in a year when they split or spring a leak and adding to the mountain of non-biodegradable plastic waste. If you want footwear that's sustainable, buy rubber.
6. Size matters. It is often advised that you buy wellies a size up so you can wear them with thick socks. This might be true of a make like Dunlop but its not true of every brand. Rubber boots are made on special metal lasts and every brand is slightly different and unique when it comes to length, width, ball and heel girth etc. We always advise that you try the boots on in store before buying but sometimes this is not possible. With Spats Boots we recommend you go for your usual shoe size. If you’re a half size, however, we recommend buying the size up and getting a pair of insoles. Spats Boots come with removable EVA insoles. Sheepskin insoles provide extra padding and are half price when bought with a pair of ankle Spats on this website.
7. Love the rain. Finally, make sure your welly boots make you smile on even the most miserable of days.
Spats – original rubber boots are available in women's (Eu) sizes 36 (UK 3), 37 (UK 4), 38 (UK 5), 39 (UK 6), 40 (UK 6.5- 7) , 41 (UK 8) and 42 (UK 9).
Please refer to our Terms of Sale for our exchange policy.
Hyde Park - central
Located bang right in centre of London, Hyde Park is surprisingly dog friendly, except in children’s play areas of course. In fact it is the park to parade the Corgis, the Vizsla or the rare breed Chinook. There are plenty of great cafés (two around The Serpentine) although you might want to keep them on a leash around the famous lake in case they leap in to chase the ducks. You’re also advised to bring a baggie as poop-and-run is frowned upon, especially in the summer months when there are picnickers and sunbathers galore.
Victoria Park - east
Vicky Park, as it’s known to east enders, is a social hotspot for outgoing canines and their owners alike. It’s split into two parts: the western half is landscaped with a fantastic organic lakeside café, boating lake and picnic areas in the summer, while the eastern half is more suitable for dogs and has larger expanses to run on. Be advised to carry a doggie bag though as there’s an open-ended children’s adventure playground (dogs are not allowed) and plenty of green area given over to sport. The Kenton is an excellent local dog-friendly Norwegian pub but most pubs around the park have outdoor eating areas.
More info on Victoria Park
Richmond Park - west
Richmond Park is the biggest royal park in London (a staggering 2,500 acres to get lost in) and has been a royal hunting enclosure since the 13th century. It is still home to shoals of red and fallow deer and boasts some fantastic oak trees. You can let the dog off the leash to run amok but are expected to be able to prevent them from chasing the deer (remember that Fenton video on Youtube? "Fenton! Feeeennnnton!") King Henry’s Mound offers unparalleled views of London if you can take the gradient and Isabella Plantation is a stunning 40 acre Victorian plantation with rare flora and little streamlets to explore. Dogs are allowed here on the lead.
Regents Park / Primrose Hill - central
Designed by John Nash, Regent’s Park covers 395 acres and is perhaps the most picturesque of central London's parks with glorious flower beds and the famous Queen Mary’s rose garden with over 1000 varieties. There are plenty of places to let your pooch run free (especially on Primrose Hill where locals after work) but dogs should be kept on leads in the formal gardens and sports areas. There is plenty of choice for outside dining avec chien including The Boathouse, The Smokehouse, the Hub Cafe and the Regent’s Bar Kitchen.
Plan your dog walk at Regents Park here
Peckham Rye Park and Common - south
This Victorian Park has recently been restored to its former Victorian glory with Lottery money. At 113 acres it is south east London’s biggest green zone and it has loads to offer: woodlands, a lake, formal garden and the Café on the Rye. The arboretum is a canine-free zone but the lovely Japanese garden isn’t, and there are plenty of other trails to take: Southwark council even provides a handy trail map
Plan your dog walk in Peckham Rye Park here.
Hampstead Heath - north
North London would not be north London without the historic heath. It first entered history in 986 when Ethelred the Unready gave one of his loyal servants “five hides of land” at “Hemstede” and has since been featured in more works of fiction than any other park in England (probably). A wild and rambling slice of countryside with hills, woodland, lakes and meadows and its own stately home, Kenwood House, to boot. Karl Marx and poet John Keats would come here to gain inspiration and but your dogs will appreciate it on an altogether more fundamental level.
More info on dog walks on the Heath
Battersea Park - central
A veritable pleasure garden on the banks of the Thames, this is where the Chelsea set come to exercise their precious pooches and to hang out in one of its cafes. It’s a flat park but there are plenty of places to run and hidden places around the ornamental ponds and their exotic plantations, which are home to a menagerie of water birds. The Pear Tree circular café has recently reopened with a large outdoor space.
More info on walking in Battersea Park
Lee Valley Park/Walthamstow, Hackney and Tottenham Marshes - east
The Lee Valley Regional park is actually the largest of Greater London’s parks and links Hackney Marshes to the charming Springfield Park and Marina, on to Walthamstow Marshes and Tottenham Marshes via the River Lea and the canal network. Walthamstow Marshes (37 hectares) is surprisingly wild and is a wonderful place to let the dogs run free and Tottenham Marshes has protected wetland areas and wildflower meadows. There are great pubs and watering holes along the canal and Springfield Park has a nice café on top of the hill.
Wimbledon Common - south west
Who wouldn’t want to womble on Wimbledon Common, the largest expanse of heathland in London? Encompassing Putney Lower Common and Putney Heath, the conversation area covers 1,140 acres and supports a variety of wildlife, areas of mature woodland, ponds and bogland. You’ll cross paths with horse riders here as well as school children on nature trails and foragers in the autumn. If you start out from Putney, there’s a lovely walk to Wimbledon windmill with dog-friendly tearooms to reward the foot-sore.
Plan your dog walk on Wimbledon Common here
Thames Path at Barnes - south west
A well-trodden path by well-heeled dog owners who live locally but little known about outside the postcode. We suggest starting the Thames path (going west towards Chiswick) from the lovely Victorian Hammersmith suspension bridge or Barnes Bridge. The walk offers the most pleasant, leafy views of the river, and is lined with fabulous trees which have grown huge due to the abundance of water. If you’re feeling energetic you can walk all the way to Twickenham, - there are plenty of riverside pubs to stop at, several of which allow dogs on the lead.
More info on dog walking on the Thames Path from Barnes
Corsets were a popular fashion trend in the 1800s designed to create a sexy hourglass figure by pulling in the waist and augmenting bust and hips. Today, corsets are growing in popularity again and can be worn both under or over clothes, as a top or a dress in itself. Apart from being a major fashion statement, they also give the appearance of killer curves. Here are five fabulous ways you can wear them:
1. Corsets and Skirts
Corsets can also be worn with different skirts. Team them with a high waisted pencil skirt in the same colour to fake the appearance of a dress or wear it with a different colour to make it pop. You can also wear it with a full circle skirt, making a classic style look extremely sexy. However, be careful while wearing a corset with a mini skirt. The corset itself is loud enough so make sure to tone it down a little.
2. Corset dress
Corset dresses are popping up everywhere in different shapes, styles and colours. These are perfect to enhance your curves. They are simple but certainly make a very effective statement.You can also wear your corset over a plain, boring dress to instantly jazz it up. Wear a floral corset over your plain white dress or a leather corset over your patterned unflattering dress. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various materials, bold patterns, colours.
3. Corset and Jeans
Wear it as a top with jeans to make it a sexy feature piece for an evening out. If worn with high-waisted jeans it looks like a jumpsuit-with-attitude. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your arms or shoulders, then throw on a jacket or a blazer. Go for different fabrics, from cotton to steel-boned. Wearing corsets can enhance your femininity and confidence. Make sure you buy them according to your body shape and type to ensure they’re effective, comfortable. Nail the season’s hottest Kardashian inspired trend and make heads turn!
4. Underbust Corsets
Underbust corsets are worn just below the bust and usually end at the beginning of your lap. They are very versatile but look particularly good when worn with a black or white frilly shirt. You can also wear them with almost any dress or skirt to give your bust a lift as well as the illusion of a slimmer waist. A classic piece of clothing like this is a great investment and a must-have.
Corsets can also be a part of your bridal costume. Wear it under your bridal gown or over it to create a classic hourglass shape. A corset made up of smooth polyester, satin or nylon will work best under a gown. Opt for a pale pink or white corset so you can match your skin tone perfectly under a sheer bridal dress. It will definitely be unique and sex-up traditional bridalwear.
Rebecca Siggers is an avid reader who enjoys getting lost in the world of books. Holding on to her passion for fitness, she is also caught by the fashion bug. She has been writing for True Corset for some time now. A traveller by heart, she enjoys meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.