Brand to Know: Alice + Whittles

Rainboots. So often a necessity, so rarely stylish, lightweight or ethically-made.

Enter Alice + Whittles.

The team there recently invited me to take their boots for a walk and tell you a bit more about them. So, I wore them to our local garden shop on a cold and mostly gray autumn day here in New England.

Much of the rubber out there today is a synthetic, petroleum-based material. Synthetic rubber was developed in the 1940s to keep up with wartime demand, and we’ve largely just carried on using it, in all applications, despite the tremendous need to reduce our reliance on oil. In fact, approximately 70% of all rubber used today is synthetic.

That said, natural rubber can also be problematic for the environment if it isn’t sourced responsibly. According to The World Wildlife Fund, rubber is set to be the leading cause of deforestation in mainland Southeast Asia in the near future.

So how, exactly, does Alice + Whittles source and manufacture their boots to overcome these challenges?

Turns out, simplicity is actually quite complex.

Alice + Whittles proves that rain boots can be made in a way that honors the planet. Their rubber is fair-trade and sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests in Sri Lanka.  That’s a guarantee that the rubber for their boots comes from environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, economically viable, sustainably-managed forests.

The rubber in Alice + Whittles boots comes from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, which is pretty much where all natural rubber is sourced from. When its bark is tapped, the tree releases a slow stream of white sap we know better as latex. For Alice + Whittles, all this tapping is done by hand by people living and working in the community. The company pays a premium for each kilogram of rubber that they purchase because those extra funds support the living and working conditions of each farm community, as decided by the community themselves. They have a long-term relationship with a trusted, family-run factory in Sri Lanka that provides fair pay, safe work conditions, and supports the community in which they are located.

Alice + Whittles describes its recognizable design as “functional minimalism,” and having worn these out and about, it is clear why. The design is sleek and includes only the most necessary elements. The metal pull tab allows you to easily take these boots off, and the inside is waterproof and includes a removable sole.

I was wearing a different pair of shoes earlier in the day, and when I put these on my feet to take some photos, I was so much more comfortable and warm. I think that comes across in the photos. Natural rubber is an excellent insulator, so these will serve me well as we head into cold New England winters.

I’m also a fan of the ankle height. While some may question the practicality of an ankle rain boot, I think these provide the perfect amount of coverage while still being lightweight. One of the reasons I avoided rain boots in the past was because of the heavy, clunky factor.

Alice + Whittles recommends sizing up for their boots, so since I usually wear in between a US 5 and 6 I went with the size 6, and they fit perfectly.

They have so many beautiful designs to choose from, including this ultra-minimal version, which I almost picked, but I wanted to represent this awesome brand with the nameplate, and this soon-to-be-released version with stunning gold hardware.

I love these boots and what they stand for – the do-anything-feeling I have when I put them on, and that the entire Alice + Whittles supply chain and manufacturing process has been carefully considered.

You can get a pair of your own and save 10% with a code that Alice + Whittles has generously given me – KELLIE10. xx

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