Ready for puddles

Photo: www.aigleboots.com/www.plueys.com

April, May and June showers bring July flowers but there's no need for wet feet! Designers have jazzed up the humble rain boot with bold colour and funky patterns. Say goodbye to clunky rain boots.

Natural vs. synthetic
Brighten up any dreary day with natural rubber boots. Sure there are plenty of cheaper synthetic rain boots out there but they don't offer the same kind of return. Natural rubber boots guarantees you the most flexible boot around but also supports agricultural communities in developing countries. There are over 20 million small farmers in South America and Asia who survive by cultivating rubber.

Playful gum boots
You need something fun on a grey rainy day. Plueys (a take off on the French word for rain, pluie) have eye-catching designs and bright colours. The natural rubber boots are lined with soft material and have a sturdy treaded sole. You'll be skipping through puddles in no time.

Big Apple style
The New York based Capelli offers a wide range of boots for both men and women. Choose from groovy plaids, classic houndstooth, cheerful polka dots or wild animal prints in a variety of colours and lengths. These boots are also 100 percent natural rubber with cotton lining with gusseted buckles and lug soles for a close fit. Perfect for singing in the rain.

The classic
In 1852, after meeting Charles Goodyear and learning about the vulcanization process, Hiram Hutchinson decided to manufacture rubber boots. He moved to France and established Aigle (French for eagle). The company is now recognized worldwide as the rubber boots expert and most of the Aigle collection is still handcrafted in France. This is the place to get your pair of tony hunting, horseback riding or nautical boots. But there are also some fun designs for everyday wear. They're more expensive but will last much longer because they're made out of several layers of natural rubber and lined with 100 percent cotton.

Too cool to get wet
Chooka burst onto the fashion scene in 2003 with their ultra-chic sheepskin boots. The company has branched into rain boots with edgy skull and tattoo graphics but offers more classic patterns like plaids and stripes. These boots look almost too cool to get wet or muddy.

Chic Wellingtons
Dubbed the millionaire's rubber boot, Le Chameau of France has been offering high quality fashion rubber boots since 1927. Their boots are famous for their well-fitted, sleek designs and exquisite details handcrafted by masters who have been studying the craft for generations. Chameau offers a full range of hunting, sailing and horseback riding boots all in discreet shades of green, grey, black and brown lined with a classic plaid cotton lining.

Unlimited choices
Online retailer DLL has all kinds of stylish raingear and boots. They've got a dizzying selection of women's, men's and children's boots from all major manufacturers including their own line of sassy designs like the Raining Cats and Dogs or the Feminista. They also have cowboy boots and Mommy and Me sets for jumping puddles together.

Another great online retailer with dozens of lines is the Canadian based company Gumdrops. You'll find a terrific collection of natural rubber boots ranging from the popular British designer Jileon Wide to the whimsical Quebec designer Hatley. With so many choices, you may find it hard to pick out just one pair.

No nonsense
Got some heavy duty chores to do? Muck boots are all business. This commercial grade boot is designed to withstand the toughest work environment with stretch-fit topline that binds snug to the calf and an extended rubber overlay for added protection. It's got its own kind of sex appeal.

Anne Colvey has her new rubber boots waiting by her front door for the next rainstorm.