Hunter Boot goes bankrupt

 In Brand

Hunter Boot, the 176-year-old maker of $175 rain boots, has gone into administration — the British term for bankruptcy. The filing comes weeks after the company’s intellectual property was acquired by the U.S.-based Authentic Brands Group, and follows several years of financial difficulties stemming from warmer and drier winters, the pandemic, Brexit and inflation. But changing tastes may also be to blame for sagging sales, suggests Bloomberg, noting that a U.K. society magazine once wrote that “Hunters are for Londoners.” Among the English countryside set that was historically a Hunter customer, the quip isn’t a compliment.


  • Per Footwear News, the acquisition is believed to be worth $125 million and Authentic Brands Group has enlisted Marc Fisher Footwear to take over “footwear design, wholesale and e-commerce operations” for Hunter in the U.S.


By Melissa Cantor, Editor at LinkedIn News


From bougie to bust: How Hunter transformed wellies - then closed PA/Dave Benett

From bougie to bust (Picture: PA/Dave Benett)

The snaps of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung living their best lives at Glastonbury in the noughties are etched into the minds of millennials everywhere.

The denim shorts and Barbour jackets instantly spring to mind – but perhaps, most memorably, the Hunter boots.

And, naturally, these wellies soon became a festival staple of the 2000s and 2010s.

But, despite once being the footwear of choice for supermodels enjoying British summer time, Hunter Boots announced its collapse this week – entering administration and revealing debts of £112million.

So why did Hunter wellies have the nation in a chokehold for so long? And where did it all go wrong for the brand?

Hazel, a 39-year-old from London, admits she fell hard and fast for Hunters as soon as she saw them on the likes of Stella McCartney and Alexa Chung. As a result, they were her go-to choice for festivals.

She tells Metro: ‘I loved them because they were understated (I always bought black) but deemed to be fashionable and they saved you from festival mud.

‘I was totally influenced by those who wore them.’

Glastonbury Festival 2015 - Celebrity Sightings
A festival staple of the 2000s and 2010s (Photo by Danny Martindale/WireImage)


While stylist and self-confessed footwear fanatic Josh Herbert, of Captain Creps, thinks the luxury and aspirational element played a role in the brand’s popularity for so long.

He tells Metro: ‘As a brand, Hunter was always seen as luxury, not only in its price in relation to competition, but also with an undeniable level of quality that wasn’t being replicated en masse at the time by similar brands.

‘It’s hard for me to deny that level of quality, too. You’d often see mates with their wellies falling apart by day two at a festival, whereas you knew that, as a general rule, your Hunters would hold strong.’

Fashion Photo Session In Paris - April 2021
The brand announced its collapse this week (Picture: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

So why did the humble boot fall out of favour?

Sustainable stylist Alice Nichol thinks climate change may have contributed to the fall of the 160-year-old British brand.

‘Wearing wellies requires rain and mud and with the UK and US summers getting hotter due to global warming, the sales of these festival staple has suffered,’ she says.


‘Covid took quite a hit on the brand too with production slowing and post-Covid freight rates being so high, it seems Hunter has become another retailer that has succumbed to the financial fall out from lockdown.’

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Not to mention the fact that fashion trends can be viewed as a pendulum swinging back and forth. So, while Hunters were top of shopping wish lists in the noughties, they’ve since been booted off the top spot as the pendulum pivots in the other direction.

Alice says: ‘Wellies are now replaced with studded biker boots, Dr Martens, or cowboy boots – the next best thing to style with a flowing dress and studded waistcoat.’

Glastonbury Festival 2015 - Accessories
‘ I guess now that their main customer market has all grown up’ (Picture: Daniel Sims/Getty Images)

Hazel points out that it’s a generational shift, too.

She adds: ‘I guess now Hunter’s main customer market has grown up and had kids (and party less), there was less focus on it being a cool brand and more on the boots being a practical item.’

Whereas Josh suggests the cost of living crisis might have played a role in the brand closing down.

‘There’s less of a focus on luxury for items that are scarcely worn, so even though consumers know that they’re getting an inferior product – when compared to a luxury brand – it still makes sense for them to buy one or two pairs of cheap wellies from a fashion site when they know it’s not footwear they need to wear on a regular basis,’ he says.

However, it’s worth stressing we might not have seen the last of Hunter just yet.

Alice adds: ‘Rumour has it the license for Hunter has been saved for the UK and European market so the Hunter Wellington will be able to continue to hit the (occasional) muddy fields of Glastonbury again.’

This also matches up with a slightly more optimistic Instagram post from Hunter yesterday, which read: ‘Thank you for your patience as Hunter is in a brief transition period. We are working as quickly as we can to respond to customers enquiries and restore regular operations.’

So while Y2K trends like low rise jeans and claw clips are currently, surging perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Hunters come back around too.

If not, we’ll treasure those iconic noughties Glasto pictures forever.


BY Lizzie Thomson




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