The Chukka Boots are my oldest pair of shoes and also the most I have worn out of all my foot-wears. They might not be as trendy and fun looking as your cool sneakers, nor do they add the same suaveness and protection as other boots or formal shoes. So why do I think they are the best investment when it comes to footwear? This boils down to four specific characteristics that make the Chukka an absolute win:
All these 4 factors are what will be covered in this article and by the end of it will give you a little more clarity as to why I think they are awesome ! Starting with its name, let’s dive headfirst into it!
The Chukka boot definitely takes the prize for having the most unique name out of all the footwear options available to men. The name ‘Chukka’ is thought to be derived from the seven and a half minute Polo playing period -“ Chukker or Chukka”. The word itself is derived from the Hindi word “chukkar,” which means “to circle around or turn.” It is uncertain what exactly the first form looked like and how it gained its moniker because there are numerous varieties of its uppers. According to one school of thinking, the similarity between Chukka boots and the Jodhpur boots used by polo players is how the name was derived.
Others think chukka boots were actually worn for polo, though there doesn’t seem to be much proof for this claim. Most likely, the name came from how identical the two boots were. This is corroborated by the fact that Chukka boots, which were more comfortable than riding boots, were occasionally worn by polo players who were off duty from playing and wore them for leisure.
The word “chukkar” is also employed in the context of taking a “leisurely stroll” or “turn” in Indian, which is another intriguing idea. It is therefore perfectly possible that the name came from the fact that polo players preferred to walk around in these boots rather than their polo boots following an intense game.
Therefore, it is possible to classify the Chukka boot as a descendant or relative of the polo boot! Regardless of whichever theory you prefer, Chukka boots offer a few unique features.
The Chukka Boot’s Past
It is plausible to infer that the Chukka boot originated in India among the British army regiments that played the game of polo and later made their way to the west, much like the Jodhpur boot, because of their resemblance and the fact that they were worn by off-duty polo players.
The Duke of Windsor, who had previously visited India, played a little polo himself. He had purchased a few pairs of Chukka boots, and is credited with wearing the Chukka boot for the first time in the US in 1924. The Duke then frequently wore them, contributing to their development into a mainstay in Western men’s shoe closets.
Another lookalike and often misinterpreted version of the chukka is the desert boot. The Chukka boot style worn in the desert campaign of World War II was a standard issue of the British army, which serves as more evidence of its British army origins. These shoes were referred to as “desert boots,” and its crepe rubber sole was used in place of leather. This later on went on to become the main product of infamous shoe brand clark. But this is a story for another time!
Whatever their exact history, Chukka boots were made to be comfortable and to have a certain bit of style, and it was precisely for these reasons that they rose to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. Chukka boots were seen as a cosy substitute that could be worn with both casual and dress attire.
Ankle height, a thin sole, and the lack of a lining are the three key distinguishing characteristics of men’s chukkas.
Ankle boots with laces. They stop when they reach the ankle
Anything more than two or three lacing eyelets is not a chukka boot
Historically manufactured from calfskin suede leather
Round toe box
Two pieces, each created from a single leather piece
The vamp’s top is where the quarters are stitched
Open lace style
Traditional leather shoes have rubber soles (crepe rubber soles were later worn with desert boots)
How to style them up:
Chukka boots are a suitable midpoint between shoes and boots due to their low cut, and they have carved out a space for themselves in terms of versatility. They are in style year-round and go well with both casual attire and jeans.
It’s critical to dress your boots appropriately when you wear them. Chukka boots can be worn in a number of different ways, but its best quality is that they can be dressed up or down. Choose darker leather chukka boots for a more sophisticated appearance. Try pairing some chukka boots with a t-shirt and some black jeans for a smart-casual appearance. If you want something a little more formal, you could even add a blazer.
Make sure you get a pair of chukka boots that are of great quality if you intend to wear them often. The higher the quality, the longer they will last you and the more outfits you can wear them with. These types of boots may be worn with many different types of clothing.
Are they for you?
Well, unless you give them a try, you’ll never know. Why not reward yourself to what has evolved into a true modern classic and join the club of celebrities who have favoured them, including actors, musicians, and secret service agents? Steve McQueen, whose success in the 1960s and 1970s solidified the chukka boot as a mainstay for the casual-cool aesthetic. He was one of the most passionate supporters of the chukka and desert boot in Hollywood.
Chukka boots are an essential piece of clothing that you are lacking if you have never had a pair. If you choose the proper pair of these boots, which have been around for many years, they will be a terrific addition to your wardrobe. Their versatility to incorporate them into whatever style you like is what makes these boots an absolute diamond!
Make sure you are selecting the appropriate type of boot for you by looking at the different styles that are offered online. You’ll soon be donning your chukka boots in the same manner that our ancestors once used to fashion!