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Established in 1853 by American industrialist Hiram Hutchinson, Aigle has been producing wellington boots of outstanding quality for more than 150 years; and revolutionised the world of functional footwear in the process.
The Aigle story begins in 1850, when Hutchinson had a chance encounter with Charles Goodyear; an American inventor who had recently created the vulcanization process for rubber. Intrigued by the material and seeing a unique opportunity in front of him, Hutchinson shrewdly bought the patent from Goodyear. Three years later, he began manufacturing rubber boots designed to be worn by farmers in the fields, and the Aigle brand was born. As an American setting up a business in France, "Aigle" seemed the perfect choice of name for the company; the French word for "eagle" -a symbol of the USA- it represented both his American heritage and his French connection. Just four years later, Aigle was producing around 14,000 pairs of boots per day -by hand- in their mill in Chalette-Sur-Long, Loiret.
By 1953 Aigle employed nearly 2,000 people and was manufacturing a colossal 30,000 pairs of footwear every day. Boots designed specifically for outdoor pursuits including horse riding and water sports followed in the 1970s, with the "Country" collection, designed for hunting and other rural activities, launching in the late 1980s.
By the time the brand celebrated its 150th birthday in 2003, there were Aigle shops in Paris and Beijing, and plans to expand into Japan; not bad for a company that started life providing French farmers with an alternative to wooden clogs!
Today, Aigle boots are still made by hand at Ingrandes, France, and every stage of the four-step process is overseen by specialists. The natural rubber that is used to create the boots gives them suppleness, sturdiness, a waterproof construction and a comfortable fit. During the manufacturing process, the separate parts of the boot are assembled on an aluminium last where they are then "baked" in an autoclave and given their definitive shape. Once complete, each boot is inspected and quality-checked to ensure they meet Aigle's exacting standards of quality. This meticulous construction process has cemented Aigle's reputation as producers of some of the finest wellington boots in the world, and as number one manufacturer worldwide of hunting boots, with their inimitable Parcours model.
The Aigle collection has also expanded over the years to include chic and stylish jackets, coats and mid-layers for both men and women, which effortlessly combine fashion and functionality while also showcasing Aigle's signature understated styling throughout. Kids can get in on the Aigle act too, with fun wellington boots which boast the same quality construction and features as adult boots but in a sweet, scaled-down version.
With spring well and truly "sprung" in the UK, we're being treated to the usual mix of sunshine and showers as April approaches; and Aigle offer a stylish solution for both kinds of weather. From durable waterproof wellies like the Parcours 2 Vario to lightweight rain jackets like the Treakland and Wingfish and warming jumpers like the ladies' Polarknit, Aigle has you covered come rain or shine.
Discover the full Aigle collection here.
Aigle fast facts:
Aigle boots are hand made in Chatellerault, France.
Each boot is made in 60 individual steps.
900,000 pairs of boots are produced each year.
More than 4,000 pairs of boots are made -by hand- every day.
Aigle employs 200 master rubber craftsmen to create their boots.
100% of Aigle boots are tested to ensure they are totally waterproof.