Have you ever wondered how the iconic Le Chameau boots are made? Well, we found out! These green boots have become somewhat of a stalwart addition to rural life, with everyone from farmers to gamekeepers, equestrians to dog walkers and downright countryside enthusiasts owning at least one pair of ‘shammies’ as they’re affectionally called. Though we might pull on our trustee boots most days, before we tackle the outdoors, little thought goes into HOW they are made and what makes them, the boot of the countryside.
In 1927, in a seaside village in Normandy France, a chap called Claude Chamot had a desire to create the most comfortable and best fitting rubber boot. He had listened to farmers, hunters and fishermen who all wanted a boot that would withstand their daily labours. Now, almost 100 years later, Monsieur Chamot’s vision continues. From the first to the last touch, there is history in the making of every pair of the iconic green wellington boots that have become a must-have part of country life for so many.
The quality is down to a combination of factors from the raw materials to the experience rubber craftsmen and stringent quality control process.
- Preparing the rubber – the special recipe is mixed into raw rubber and rolled around rollers until it is the perfect thickness, the rubber is then cut to shape, and hand trimmed.
- Taking shape – now the rubber is soft, thin, and malleable the maître bottier covers an aluminium boot-shaped mould, enhanced with liquid latex to make it strong and stable. This is where reinforcement occurs for the Chasseur and Saint Hubert.
- Building the sole – the base sole is made by adding the formula of rubber to the bottom of a two-part mould, as the rubber heats and spreads through the mould, it forms the shape of the sole.
- Preparing the lining – from neoprene and jersey to leather, each lining is cut using large pattern pieces and follows a strict quality check.
- Assembly – this is where the maître bottier really demonstrate their art, the lining and rubber are bonded, and the sole and logo badge are added.
- Vulcanisation – the fully assembled boots are then ‘cooked’ to stabilise the rubber and fuse the many layers.
- Testing every pair – Le Chameau are committed to quality, every single boot is test to ensure its 100% waterproof.
- Final touches – after all the quality checks all that’s left to do is give the boots a polish and send them off to their new owners in their iconic boot boxes.
Le Chameau Rubber
Like any natural product, the quality of rubber is determined by how it is produced. Le Chameau’s rubber is sourced from Vietnam, where they have been working with the same highly regarded plantation since 2005. A number of factors determine the quality of the rubber, including season (with spring rubber being best), climate purity, and tree quality.
Did you know? (We didn’t!) To produce the rubber, each Pará rubber tree is tapped which produces raw latex, a milky white substance. Every care is taken to ensure this is properly harvested so as not to harm the trees. The liquid latex is allowed to coagulate and can then be collected and processed into its dry form which is packed into loaves.
The loaves are graded from A to D – grades are determined by colour, purity and stickiness. Le Chameau uses only Grade A rubber, which is light coloured and has low ash and dirt content. These loaves of raw Grade A rubber are then shipped to the workshop in Morroco.
Claude Chamot’s secret recipe
Once the loaves arrive at the Morocco workshop, Le Chameau add a few secret ingredients to produce their famously supple Chamolux rubber. This recipe is still based on Claude Chamot’s original mix, producing soft, supple and durable rubber which forms the basis of all of the Le Chameau boots.
The most critical element in the boot-making process are the people. Le Chameau are proud to have several generations of maître bottiers forming part of the Le Chameau family, a highly technical role which requires upwards of nine months of intensive training. Le Chameau take great pride in setting the standards for the production of rubber boots.