im电竞官网-The Chelsea boot as we know it has been going strong since the mid-19th century. Hailed for its easy slip-on-and-off silhouette (thanks to the invention of vulcanised rubber, we now use elastic), even Queen Victoria was allegedly a fan.
Obviously, the best Chelsea boots have evolved quite a bit since then. The Paddock styles first spotted on Kings Road-frequenting socialites in the Sixties (from whom they got the name ‘Chelsea boots’) were actually designed for riding. But they soon shook off the equestrian influences, going from Swinging London to subcultural signature, when Mods all over the country adopted them as a comfortable and practical uniform. The Beatles then dismissed functionality in the name of rock ‘n’ roll, upgrading the shoe with a flamboyant Cuban heel. Good for dancing in, great for showing of the cropped hem of a straight-leg suit trouser, and even better for adding a few inches height-wise.
Fast forward to 2020 and it seems we’ve settled on a simpler shape as a rule. And it’s not hard to see why: this versatile design is ideal for the modern-day office, can be worn on the weekend, or even with black tie (if it's good enough for Timothée Chalamet...).
im电竞官网-Still, there are plenty of designers out there mixing it up and silhouettes are getting even more experimental. But if you’re not a steel toe caps kinda guy, rest assured – a platform sole or high-cut silhouette can have just as much attitude. If these terms have you stumped, let us help you out with our edit of the 10 best Chelsea boots to invest in – the traditional, the trend-led and everything in between.
A menswear mainstay since 1829, British brand Trickers has collaborated with Scandi store Arket to create the coveted Stephen boot (which has sold out on several occasions). It’s a typical Chelsea style with all the bells and whistles – elasticated inserts, pull tabs, a stacked heel – but the slim shaft keeps things feeling directional (just wait ‘til you see it with cropped or tapered trousers). The best bit? The hardy Dainite sole means that they’re designed to be repaired, not replaced; so buy a pair now and you’ve got a friend for life.
Stephen leather Chelsea boot, £390, Trickers X Arket
im电竞官网-Fashion’s new golden child, Daniel Lee, made his Bottega debut back in February 2019, and we've not stopped thinking about the shoes since. Male and female models stomped down the runway wearing these heavy duty Chelsea boots and editors everywhere were soon scrambling to get their hands on a pair. By staying true to signatures, but adding a chunky tread sole and elongating the shaft to new heights, the designer has managed to rid this classic boot of its Mod-ish connotations and give it a tougher, biker rep.
Leather Chelsea boots, £932, Bottega Veneta
All the Nineties Prada nostalgists out there are no doubt rejoicing in the revival of the brand’s technical nylon fabrics, sporty silhouettes and that iconic red stripe. The shoes are back too, in all their ugly, streamlined glory, with gripped rubber, wavy wedge soles and awkward square toes. If you relish in these retro delights but velcro fastenings remind you a little too much of your old school shoes from Clarks, you can’t go wrong with the brand’s black Chelsea boots.
Spazzolato Leather Chelsea Boots, £610, Prada
im电竞官网-No weekend-in-the-country look is complete without a brown Chelsea boot, but if your itinerary goes beyond a gentle stroll to the nearest pub, you might want to invest in something sturdier. Enter Sorel’s Madsen design: it’s made from waterproof oiled leather, has double pull tabs (so you can get them over thick socks without giving yourself a hernia) and a moulded EVA insole to keep your feet feeling happy on long walks. All that, and they look pretty damn good too.
Madson Chelsea boot, £115, Sorel
im电竞官网-Hedi might have left Saint Laurent four years ago, but his acolytes are still buying his rock ‘n’ roll Wyatt boots on repeat. Why so popular, you might ask? Well, they're probably the best suede Chelsea boots you can buy right now. Reminiscent of the heeled styles worn by the Rolling Stones, they have a slight Western touch thanks to the slim silhouette and tapered toes, but still maintain all the timeless appeal of a traditional Chelsea design. The cult uniform might be a biker jacket and black skinnies, but these babies would look good with almost anything.
Wyatt suede Chelsea boots, £610, Saint Laurent
Any antiquated ideas you might have had about Brogues are re-written once you see the playful shape of these Chelsea boots. A new design from Grenson (the brand is having a real moment thanks to its OG hiking styles becoming hot again), the Arlo is made from hand-painted leather detailed with wingtip perforations and set on a chunky cleated sole that’s as practical as it is cool.
Arlo leather Chelsea boots, £275, Grenson
Chelsea boots are no flash in the pan, so it’s always worth spending a little more on something long-lasting. If you’re shopping on a budget, though, look to the likes of Arket, COS or Russell & Bromley for something decent. This black leather pair is our favourite on the high street thanks to its lightweight platform sole and sporty rubber detailing. It also comes in khaki, should you feel like switching things up.
Leather platform boots, £175, Arket
im电竞官网-If you’re looking for a reliable shoe to ground a staple wardrobe, heritage Brit brand Church’s should always be your first stop. Its Houston boots are easy to style, with everything from selvedge denim to suits, thanks to their simple silhouette. They’re impeccably made, too: English-crafted in leather from top-to-toe – so you can have them re-soled year after year.
Houston Leather Chelsea Boots, £390, Church's
Keep brown suede boots out of preppy territory by looking for Western influences this season. If you’re not ready to go full on Lil NAS X, Sandro’s design is ideal with its almond toe and stacked heel. Wear yours with everything from Fifties dark denim to slim-leg slacks.
Suede Chelsea boots, £370, Sandro
im电竞官网-If you hadn’t already noticed, platform soles are the new menswear 'It' detail. So it’s only right and proper, then, that Alexander McQueen has taken the trademark wedge found in its cult trainers and stuck it on a classic Chelsea boot. The result? A bold shoe that’s guaranteed to give your tired wardrobe a step up.
Hybrid leather Chelsea boots, £450, Alexander McQueen