The Art of Bootmaking

Master bootmakers since 1927

In 1927, in a seaside village in Normandy, France, Claude Chamot had a desire to create the most comfortable and best-fitting rubber boots. He had listened to farmers, hunters and fishermen who all yearned for boots that would withstand the rigours of their respective activities. Now, almost 100 years later, Monsieur Chamot’s vision continues. Heritage and history imbues each and every pair of Le Chameau boots that pass through the hands of time-served craftsmen. 

The Le Chameau Rubber

Like any natural product, the quality of rubber is determined by how it is produced. Our rubber is sourced from Vietnam, where we have been working with the same highly regarded plantation since 2005. A number of factors determine the quality of the rubber, including season (spring rubber is best), climate purity, and tree quality. To produce the rubber, each Pará rubber tree is “tapped”, producing raw latex, a milky white substance. Properly harvested, this can be done without harming 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 – the grading 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 our workshop.

Claude Chamot’s Secret Recipe

Once the loaves arrive at our workshop, we add a few secret ingredients to produce our 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 our boots.

Our people

The most critical element in our bootmaking process is our people. We are proud to have several generations of Maître bottiers in our Le Chameau family, a highly technical role which requires upwards of nine months of intensive training. We take great pride in setting the standards for the production of handmade rubber boots.

Preparing the Rubber

With our rubber loaves ready, our special recipe is then mixed into the raw rubber and rolled around large metal rollers. Like a giant pasta machine, the rollers turn, producing first a thick slab, which is then cut and fed into the next roller, until the specific thickness required emerges from the final roller – thick enough to have an integral strength, but thin enough for each Maître bottier to manipulate. Using carefully crafted pattern templates, the rubber is cut to shape and hand trimmed.

Taking Shape – our forms

With the rubber now in a soft, thin and malleable state, it can be used by a maître bottier to cover a last – an aluminium boot-shaped mould. Layer upon layer is sandwiched together with liquid latex, producing an ever stronger and more stable construction. It is at this stage that the different models of boot can be adapted. For our Chasseur and Saint Hubert, for example, we melt aramid fibres into our rubber, giving additional reinforcement for extra protection.

Building The Sole

We have a number of different sole variants, each with a slightly different build process. Across all variants, the base sole is made by adding the formula of rubber to the bottom of a two-part mould. The mould is closed, put under pressure and cooked. As the rubber heats and spreads through the mould, it forms the shape of the sole. Different elements are then added to this process, depending on the style. That might be shank reinforcement, as featured on our Chasseur and Vierzon, or the self-cleaning sole found on our Cérès, which was designed for agricultural professionals in partnership with leading tyre manufacturer Michelin. 

Preparing our linings

Our linings are prepared in a dedicated area of the workshop, using machinery to cut the large pattern pieces and following strict quality checks to ensure there are no flaws or errors. The pattern pieces are then constructed to form the internal shape of the boot. ⁠We provide a range of different linings, from insulating and comforting neoprene or wool – most commonly seen in the Chasseur, Vierzonord, Cérès and Country Cross styles – to a premium supple leather, as seen on the Chasseur and Saint Hubert, and a lightweight, fast-drying jersey, available in most of our styles (including the Iris, Giverny, Chasseur and Country Cross). The linings are then moved over to the main workshop area and added to a special tray with the rubber cuttings and sole. The preparation has been done and the boot is now ready for assembly.

Putting it all together

This is where our Maître bottiers really demonstrate their skill. The lining is carefully bonded to the rubber and the boot is assembled. Full-length zips are added to the Chasseur styles, gussets are added to the Vierzon, and our logo badge is placed. Finally, the base of the aluminium last is covered with a special formula of latex to ensure the sole is bonded and every boot remains durable. The sole is carefully placed and, with the soft touch of a rubber hammer, secured into place.

Stabilising the boot through vulcanisation

Once the boot is fully assembled, we 'cook' it. This stabilises the rubber and fuses the many layers of rubber and lining together, forming one incredibly strong structure. ⁠Each style of boot requires different temperatures and timings. Once cooled, the aluminium last is removed and the boot is ready for final quality control checks.

Testing every pair – our commitment to quality:

Every single boot that we produce is tested in a special water bath to ensure that it is 100% waterproof before leaving our workshop.

The final touches

Once the final quality checks have taken place, all that’s left to do is give the assembled pairs a final polish, carefully wrap them in our branded tissue paper, and place them in our iconic boot boxes. They are then ready to leave the workshop and be thoroughly enjoyed by their new owners.