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I am working on a project looking at the effects of children's footwear on overall foot health. I've found lots of information on plimsoles and trainers, but nothing on boots. Does anyone know of any research or literature available specifically refering to the effects of wellington/gum boots on developing feet?
Good luck with the research and Gordon Watt at Glasgow Caledonian University is certainly conversant with kids and their she wearing habits.
Well within living memory inner city children of low socio-economical backgrounds wore wellingtons for years. The topic is highighted by Billy Connolly in some of his earlier recordings. This was not merely a muse but fact. Lightly dismissed as a mark of the poor to have two rings of "no confidence" (left by the the wellie legs) when sunbathing. Connolly recorded Wellie Boot Song. If wellie wearing had long term effects then Glasgow would be full of the foot weerie. In the 30s and 40s rickets were certainly prevelent caused by lack of sun and poor diet so maybe that is why people wore wellies because they were cheap and could cover up bendy legs.
Gordon did mention in a study of school children in inner Glasgow that soccer boots were often the only shoes the child had, and wore them incesently. These were given to them as hand me downs from older siblings and were were shoes they would certainly grow into.
I would doubt whether prolonged wear of gum boots would have long term effects on growing bones but certainly they could harbour mico-organisms and when combined with poor hygene and below par immune response then be the cause of potentially serious infections. As with all inadequate footwear dynamic friction could contribute to bursa, blisters and bursitis.
Whilst wellies are enjoying a renaissance, I would think in this age of bling prolonged wear of ugg and muklucs are as likely.
The overall design of the Wellie/Gumboot (as alluded to the the 'Gum Boot' thread) does not lend itself to much support of the foot. They are usually very loose fitting, especially around the ankle, as the whole foot has to be shoved in and out without opening the boot in any way (as fasteners would allow). This is also the problem with elastic sided boots - which inevitably become stretched and soggy.
The fact they they are usually made of rubber/synthetic and their totally waterproof nature means that the inside soon becomes awash with occluded sweat. Oh Agar Plate Joy!
Having said all that (which is what Cameron said, but I love his words, thoughts and deeds - and feel compelled to echo them)..... I saw the most amazing thing ina shop window in Melbourne on the weekend. They were high heeled, pointy toed patterned gumboots for women. Same basic design as the more agricultural versions (rubber/synthetic upper and sole), but carrying the extraordinary price tag of 250AUD (I'll let you convert to your own currency, but suffice to say, it's a wicked price for a gumboot).