The Chelsea Boot – A Pop Culture Icon

The fabulously british Chelsea boot without a doubt is a staple of any man’s wardrobe.

Let’s take a look at the history of the boot and a few tips on how to wear them.

The History Behind The Boot

Without Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanised rubber we’d have never be able to slip on our beloved Chelsea boots. With this Victorian invention, the elastic part of the boot made it quicker and easier to get into leather boots. Say goodbye to laces and hello to the Chelsea boot.

Queen Victoria’s personal cobbler, J.Sparkes-Hall is the man who invented the first Chelsea boot. At this point the boot was known as the ‘paddock boot’ for walking and riding purposes. The heel meant it was good for riding and walking in the mud. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the boot was to become known as the ‘Chelsea’. Artists, designers and socialites from the London area began to wear the boots giving birth to the name.

By the early 1960s the Chelsea boot had evolved, with bigger ‘Cuban’ heels, ornate stitching and elastic designs. New ‘rock n roll’ bands such as The Beatles and The Rollings Stones faithfully dedicated themselves to wearing the boots throughout this period and their popularity skyrocketed. By the middle of the sixties the Chelsea boot was now known as ‘The Beatle Boot’. London based designer Anello & Davide personally designed the fab four’s boots throughout the decade.

The rebellious teen subculture of the Mods championed the Chelsea boot dues to it’s Italian elegance which paired perfectly with their sartorial needs. The versatile boot could be worn as a smart boot or with drainpipe chords for a casual look. Cropped at the heel was always important as this revealed the all important elastic ankle detail.

To this day the Chelsea boot remains a favorite among stylish aficionados, a direct affront to the ‘street casual’ tracksuit culture.  

Who Makes The Best Chelsea Boots?

Nearly every designer has made an attempt at the Chelsea boot with differing results. Paul Smith creates sublime styles while brands such as Tod’s have some exceptional takes on the Chelsea design.

Suede Chelsea boots are just as popular as the original leather ones while you can find almost every color variant plus animal print. Jeffery West produce some of the most outrageous styles on the market at the moment.

How To Wear the Chelsea Boot

There’s a few looks you can go for while wearing the Chelsea. Rocker image, skinny black jeans and a leather jacket suit chelsea boots. A sharp suit also seems bound to the chelsea boot as long as your trousers are almost drain pipe so they follow the line of the heel. Another tip here would be to wear the boots with a casual, plain outfit. Slim, blue jeans paired with a white shirt go great as it let’s the boots do the talking. 

So there’s your brief history of a true style icon. 

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