Chelsea boots in black calf leather

Chelsea boots are close-fitting, ankle-high boots with elastic side panels. They often have a loop or tab of fabric on the back of the boot, enabling the boot to be pulled on. The boot dates back to the Victorian era, when it was worn by both men and women.

Chelsea boots and some of their variants were considered an iconic fashion element of the '60s in Britain, particularly in the mod scene.


Chelsea boots in brown suede

The design is credited to Queen Victoria's shoemaker Joseph Sparkes Hall.[1] Hall claimed that "She (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention".[2] In his advertising they are branded J. Sparkes Hall's Patent Elastic Ankle Boots.[3] The boot became popular for horse riding as well as walking.[2] The term "chelsea boot" emerged a few years before the beginning of the Victorian era, being the name used by London cobbler Thomas Cotton by 1831.[4][5][6][7]

Charles Goodyear's development of vulcanised rubber enabled the invention of the elastic gusset boot. The advantage of elasticised boots meant they could be readily removed and put on. By the late 1840s they had become fashionable, and it remained a prominent style in the West until the onset of World War I.[8]

In the 1950s and 1960s, Chelsea boots enjoyed a resurgence in the UK – and their association with trendy King's Road (a street in Chelsea and Fulham in inner western London) social set of Swinging London – worn by everyone from the Rolling Stones to Jean Shrimpton – is when Chelsea became contemporary name of the boot.[2][3]

Variations and similar styles

Beatle boots

Main article: Beatle boots

The Beatles, seen here in 1963, helped to popularise Chelsea boots.

Theatrical and ballet shoe maker Anello & Davide created a variant of the Chelsea boot in 1961 with Cuban heels and pointed toes for the Beatles, after John Lennon and Paul McCartney saw some Chelsea boots in its shop window and commissioned four pairs with higher, Cuban heels – this style became known as Beatle boots.[9]

Beatle boots, as were Chelsea boots, were frequently adopted by mods and worn with tailored suits.[3]

Work boots

Australian work boots are a variation of the Chelsea boot.

Variants used as work boots include a type of riding boot called Jodhpur boots, originating from India, as well as other designs, including Australian work boots like those manufactured by Blundstone and other companies. Such work boots may have steel toes. In Brazil this kind of boot is known as a botina. Often rugged and utilitarian in design, and similar to Australian work boots, they are commonly associated with caipiras or the rural population in general.[10][11][12]

See also


  1. ^ staff (27 November 2012). "The perfect Chelsea boot". Esquire. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c staff (2 March 2011). "The Edit: Chelsea Boots". No. 2/5. Mr Porter. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Nanjappa, Vikram. "The Chelsea Boots Guide". Gentleman's Gazette. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Gazette, November 29". Liverpool Mercury. Lancashire. 2 Dec 1831. p. 7. Retrieved 3 Jun 2023.
  5. ^ "BANKRUPTS". Cobbett's Weekly Political Register. London. 3 Dec 1831. p. 637. Retrieved 3 Jun 2023.
  6. ^ "TUESDAY's LONDON GAZETTE - BANKRUPTS". The Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Advertiser. Cheltenham. 1 Dec 1831. p. 3. Retrieved 3 Jun 2023.
  7. ^ "BANKRUPTS, Nov. 29". The Newcastle Weekly Courant. Newcastle. 10 Dec 1831. p. 2. Retrieved 3 Jun 2023.
  8. ^ Kippen, Cameron. "The History of Boots". Department of Podiatry. Perth, Western Australia: Curtin University. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  9. ^ Bramwell, Tony (2004). Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles. Robson. p. 34. ISBN 0-312-33043-X.
  10. ^ Norogrando, Rafaela (2019-01-08). Moda, música & sentimento (in Brazilian Portuguese). Editora Estação Das Letras e Cores. ISBN 978-85-68552-43-8.
  11. ^ Placar Magazine (in Portuguese). Editora Abril. March 1996. p. 42.
  12. ^ "Curiosidades do Campo: veja como as botas do homem do campo são fabricadas". Canal Rural (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2022-01-01.


  1. ^ Chelsea Boots: History, Styles, and How to Choose the Right Pair for You