What are Chelsea Boots Anyway?
Get the scoop on the endless style of these slip-on boots
What is a Chelsea Boot?
Chelsea boots are ankle-skimming boots with dual elastic panels, allowing them to pull on easily. Chelsea boots usually come in leather, suede, or synthetic alternatives, and will often have a slightly tapered toe. While most Chelseas feature a low-profile sole with a low heel, some modern incarnations now feature lugged platform soles or high heels for extra flair.
Origin of the Chelsea Boot
The first elastic ankle boots may have been made for no other than Queen Victoria. Legend has it the queen had requested a pair of boots without laces for horseback riding (as her shoe strings kept catching in her stirrups). Boasting it was the only shoe Queen Victoria would wear, the royal cobbler eventually introduced his design to the public. This style would be known simply as “paddock boots” in the British Isles from the mid-1800s through the 1950s.
The early 20th century saw a new variation on this design. Known as “Jodhpur boots,” this ankle boot design out of India featured straps and buckles that wrapped around the ankle, designed specifically for horseback riding and polo. While the earliest Jodhpur boots lacked elastic paneling, later versions did as the paddock and Jodhpur boot trends merged.
The name change to “Chelsea” happened in the 1960s. Having come back into style, many artists, models, and musicians would wear their elastic ankle boots along the King’s Road, a street in the borough of Chelsea in London. Over time, these boots became associated with the Chelsea neighborhood.
Across the pond, Americans were reintroduced to these laceless boots by none other than The Beatles. When John, Paul, George, and Ringo first debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show, the iconic “Beatle boot” was born. Long after Beatlemania waned, the Chelsea boot trend kept marching on.
How to Wear Chelsea Boots
Chelsea boots have an unrivaled ability to complement both men’s and women’s wardrobes. Easy to dress up or down, a Chelsea boot can elevate your everyday denim or add some casual swagger to a suit set. There truly is no wrong way to wear a Chelsea boot; it’s all about finding the right boot for your look.
Classic Brown Chelsea Boots
For those who like to go old-school, these understated Chelsea boots embody the original English roots.
Wear them for: Football Friday nights, going from desk to dinner
Style them with: Rolled blue jeans and sweaters, fitted trousers and suit separates, or skirts with opaque tights.
Black Heeled Chelsea Boots
Instead of wearing pumps in cold weather, take your look to new heights with these high block-heel Chelsea boots.
Wear them for: Girls’ night out, date night, and after-five adventures
Style them with: Tights and A-line skirts, skinny jeans and sweaters, or midi dresses with chunky knit socks
Lugged Sole Chelsea Boots
The light tan, faux suede material, and white, chunky soles of these Chelsea boots are sure to complement any fall trend. Pumpkin spice, anyone?
Wear them for: Traveling, coffee runs, and fun times with the family
Style them with: Your go-to blue jeans and tees, cozy joggers and hoodies, or cargo pants and flannel button-ups
The Chelsea boot trend has been around for over 150 years, and we’re pretty sure it will be around for 150 more! From the classics to the latest trends, check out even more Chelsea boot styles for men and women.
All items in stock as of time of publication.