All About Aigle Boots
“Aigle is recognized worldwide as the company offering the best quality and design for rubber footwear. 95% of Aigle’s collection is still handcrafted in France, benefiting from the company’s unsurpassed knowledge in the vulcanization process of natural rubber and its unconditional attention to detail.”
Pronounced ‘Eh-gleu’ and meaning ‘Eagle’, Aigle Boots were established by an American, manufactured in France and sold as Wellington Boots worldwide. As I am based in England, there is some irony in the fact that the Duke of Wellington (of whom this style of rubber boots was named after) beat the French at Waterloo and now the French produce such fine waterproof boots! That said, the Aigle Brand was bought by Maus Frères SA in 1995, a private company based in Geneva, Switzerland. (Yes, I think Maus Freres translates as ‘The Mouse Brothers’). Nonetheless, their commercial acumen is evident as they hold interests in several brands, such as Gant and La Coste. If I’ve learnt anything from these historical ramblings, it’s that market forces and cash is King!
After having purchased a licence to use Goodyear’s patent for rubber vulcanization, Mr. Hiram Hutchinson arrived in France from the USA and founded the original Flexible Rubber Company ‘Compagnie du Caoutchouc Souple’. Operations first started in a factory in Châlette-sur-Loing. In 1967, the manufacture of the boots was moved to Ingrandes, near Châtellerault where production continues today.
With 150 years to perfect the process, Aigle’s boots have a fine pedigree. The Aigle craftsmen blend the natural rubber mix and assemble the wellingtons on an aluminium last. The vulcanization process then takes place, where the rubber is place in a kiln and heated upto 140 degrees centigrade. Baked for 90 minutes, the boots are hand-crafted and bonded. With particular attention to detail and various quality checks, the boots are produced. Aigle have a reputation for making high quality boots: High quality raw materials and attention to detail ensures that the quality of the finished product is second to none. Aigle has now become the quintessential French outdoor lifestyle brand synonymous for it quality outwear.
Beginning in 2000 the company expanded into Japan and the United States. In 2006 there were 131 stores worldwide, of which 61 were in France, 14 elsewhere in Europe, and 56 in Asia. Gross sales for the 2005 fiscal year were around 120 million euros.
1850: USA – Hiram Hutchinson, an American, meets Charles Goodyear who just invented the vulcanization process for rubber. Fascinated by this new discovery and the resulting material, Hutchinson buys the patent from Goodyear to manufacture footwear.
1853: France – Hutchinson establishes ‘A l’Aigle’ in France (‘To the Eagle’ to honor the bird that symbolizes America) and starts manufacturing rubber boots for farming activities.
In 1853, 95% of the French population is still working on fields with wooden clogs as it had been for generations. The new Aigle boots became an immediate success as for the first time farmers were able to come back from work with their feet dry and mud free.
Overtime, the company name will just become Aigle (pronounced ‘Eh-gleu’), ‘Eagle’.
Aigle’s creation date ‘1853’ is present as a logo on many boots.
1857: 4 years only after its creation, Aigle manufactures, by hand, 14 000 pairs of boots per day!
1903: Aigle’s collection of rubber footwear and accessories now totals several hundred different items sold internationally.
1932: The company starts developing rubber and fabric footwear for leisure, and expands its clothing collection (addition of oilskins and reversible gabardines among others).
1953: Aigle employs 1850 people and manufactures 30,000 pairs of footwear per day.
1972: The range of watersports boots is launched to coincide with the Munich Olympic Games, in association with navigator Marc Pajot. The blue design with two horizontal white stripes has since become a classic.
1973: Launch of the Ecuyer horseback riding boot, utilizing an exclusive manufacturing process known as Slush Molding®.
1989: Launch of the first complete textile collection under the name ‘Country’ for hunting and other rural pursuits. Opening of the first Aigle owned shop in Paris on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
1991: Launch of the watersports textile collection.
1992: Aigle is a supplier to the America’s Cup, allowing it to develop nautical products designed to excel in the most demanding and challenging situations.
1994: Aigle separates from the Hutchinson Group and is introduced to the French stock exchange.
1995: The company signs a licensing agreement with Japan for the expansion of Aigle shops on this territory.
1998: Aigle opens its first shop in Beijing.
2001: Introduction of the Actimum ranges, a technical label for high-performance Aigle products.
2003: Aigle celebrates its 150th birthday, signs a licensing agreement for the textile range in the US and becomes part of the Swiss conglomerate Maus Freres.
2004: Aigle grants CaliEagle exclusive rights for the distribution of rubber footwear in the USA. Today: Aigle is recognized worldwide as the company offering the best quality and design for rubber footwear. 95% of Aigle’s collection is still handcrafted in France, benefiting from the company’s unsurpassed knowledge in the vulcanization process of natural rubber and its unconditional attention to detail. Aigle is No. 1 worldwide for the manufacture of high quality hunting boots (Parcours model) and horseback riding boots (Ecuyer model) as well as a European leader for nautical boots (Glenan, Glenan ISO, Skey, Bora and Maramu models are topsellers).
2008: The 15th of November 2008 saw the Inauguration of the first Aigle store in North America. Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia the shop features about 80% of the textile and footwear line of the brand, as well as 100% of the brand’s famous foul weather protective sailing gear and boots. Fore more details please visit the website : aigle.ca A new shop will open near the end of August 2010 in Montreal, Quebec.
Manufacture of the Aigle Boots is based in Ingrandes, near Châtellerault in France.
The correct contact details depend upon your requirements. If you wish to discuss a technical fault or the return of boots that you have purchased, please make contact with the merchant from whom you originally purchased the goods.
Click here for the official Aigle website. Please note that the management of their online store is contracted to Mixcommerce.com. If you wish to contact them, please telephone: +33 (0)1 47 48 95 90 or email: [email protected] Again, please note that this company is based in France, and available during normal working hours for France).
Another contact point is the company’s registered offices:
14, rue de Bassano Paris, 75116, France.
+33 (1) 41 31 74 00
In 2005 majority ownership of the company was purchased by Swiss group Maus Frères. If you wish to find out more about them, click here for their website. Based on a rough translation, it looks like Aigle Boots are owned by the “Mouse Brothers”. If you’ve been following NBC’s fantasy TV series “Grimm” series, this makes for amusing reading!