What makes a Chelsea boot so appealing? Is it the history that makes it a classic or does it have so much history because it is so good? Warning: If you think about it too much, your head will start to spin! It’s hardly a chicken and egg scenario, but it makes you wonder if we wear classics because they are classics or just because they continue to be awesome!
The Chelsea boot is both a classic and a really fab boot. With a fine heritage that harks back to the Victorian era when the Queen herself wanted comfortable footwear that was easy to put on and pull off but would still retain a refined shape. Queen Victoria’s own bootmaker, Joseph Sparkes-Hall, is believed to have designed the first Chelsea boot with a close-fitting design, ankle height, elastic side panels, a loop or tab of fabric, plus the vulcanised rubber soles from Charles Goodyear. They were known as J. Sparkes Hall’s Patent Elastic Ankle Boots back then though. Catchy, I know.
A keen horsewoman, other equestrian fans followed in their Queen’s boot-steps with the Chelsea boot becoming a firm favourite in the paddock as she neared the end of her reign. Fast forward 50 years, and the Chelsea boot had galloped into cities, with London’s groovy King’s Road art set quick to adopt the style and give it its name. The Beatles led the charge (could a boot get a better endorsement?) and John, Paul, George and Ringo were quickly followed by the Mods. The Chelsea boot was no longer about comfort, they were about serious fashion.
Chelsea boots are still as relevant today as they have ever been, seen on catwalks and celebrities’ feet, therefore our own, year after year. They are extremely versatile and come in so many different heel heights, materials and colours, there really is a Chelsea boot or two for everyone.
They are also ideal footwear to transition from winter into spring. Not too chunky, they are still a substantial footwear that helps to keep any nips in the air at bay.
Top of our list for spring is the Purcell II. This has a sleek shape that the Beatles would have approved of and comes in black or brown calf or tobacco suede.
For me, suede equals spring…and I am ready for it! The Coburn-R shouts spring with its tan waxy colourway, pale contrast stitching and pale rubber sole ensure puddles do not pose an issue.
Back to leather, and the Coltham II is an evolution of the classic waxy leather boot that we have sold as a bestseller for several years. The waxy upper offers water resistance while the Goodyear-welted leather sole allows your foot to breathe when the weather is warm.
Lastly for men, what about the Comfort Craftsman from RM Williams? These are made from a single piece of leather on a non-slip rubber sole and has a comfort insole making it feel as good as it looks.
But what could we offer Queen Victoria? Well. Many of our men’s styles start at size 6, but we also have our own, new Tamara Chelsea boots which have a slight heel and come in plum and navy suede, plus walnut and black calf. Finally, we can offer Red Wing’s Chelsea in pecan and black.
What we are particularly proud of is that all these boots can be repaired, so should last you for years…which is not only sustainable but very handy as Chelsea boots do not seem to be going anywhere! (They are a classic after all…or are they just awesome?)