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Putting the boot back in Dumfries

By Charlotte MacKay
Dumfries and West
Putting the boot back in Dumfries

A DUMFRIES-based company is hoping to ‘re-boot’ the welly boot, by drawing on Scotland’s rubber boot making history.

Bòtann – meaning gumboot in Gaelic – is the brainchild of three Dumfries entrepreneurs, who hope to revolutionise the welly market through innovation, progressive design and quality craftsmanship.

Their high-grade vegan-friendly rubber boots are made using single-estate natural rubber from sustainable harvests.

They are lined with neoprene for warmth and comfort, and feature a premium grip sole and supportive insole to give the feeling of trainers rather than rubber boots.

The Bòtann story began when former film producer David Smith moved to Dumfries in 2014 and discovered the town’s rich history of rubber manufacturing.

His initial idea and enthusiasm gave rise to Bòtann, and he then met with Robert McCaffrey, an experienced Scottish shoe designer who spent time honing his craft in Italy.

The final piece of the puzzle was creative writer and marketer Michael Nicholson, whose father worked in Scotland’s welly boot factory in Dumfries which closed its doors in 2008.

The first Bòtann boot is being produced in collaboration with Slovakian company Novesta, the only remaining welly manufacturing facility in Europe, but the ultimate aim is to create employment in Scotland.

Each boot is handmade in an ethical environment, designed by co-founder Robert McCaffrey.

He said: “We wanted to create a new type of welly that people will enjoy wearing, whether they’re walking in the countryside or heading into the city, which means a boot that is both practical and stylish.

“Since receiving our sales samples in January we’ve enjoyed lots of positive reactions about the first Bòtann boot – we’re excited about introducing it to the world.”

The trio have launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help them bring Bòtann boots to the retail market, with a variety of awards available to those pledge funding.

To support Bòtann or find out more, visit


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