Do you feel as if your footwear could use a bit of an upgrade? That’s not to say what you wear is cheap or of low quality, but maybe it doesn’t quite have an extra dose of style that works well with your wardrobe while setting you apart from others.
If so, you should consider Chelsea boots. While they’ve been around for a long time, Chelsea boots hit a peak of popularity in the 1960s thanks to celebrities such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and others.
They remain popular today, and with boots such as the Blundstone Original 500 Series you’ll get style, comfort, and durability all in one boot.
Let’s take a closer look at Chelsea boots, including those that we feel are the best Chelsea boots available for 2019. We’ll also discuss buying tips, the difference between Chelsea boots and Chukka boots, and even how to care for you Chelsea boots.
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Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing Chelsea boots
Before spending your hard-earned money on a pair of quality Chelsea boots, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to ensure you’re making the best choice.
1. The fit is everything
A Chelsea boot is close-fitting and will have more flexibility in the side panel than in the instep. You want to find a boot that fits snugly but isn’t too tight, so finding the correct size is everything. The last thing you want is for your feet to feel sore and pinched. While it’s always important to have your feet measured before buying any footwear, it’s as important to try on your Chelsea boots rather than relying on a standard shoe size chart entirely.
The bottom line is that you’re looking for a snug fit that’s not too tight.
2. What’s the material?
You’ll have a choice of suede or leather regarding Chelsea boots. Suede has a more “luxurious” look but requires more upkeep – especially in wet and muddy weather conditions. That said, dry and dirt-free environments are best for suede-wearers, unless you don’t mind regular maintenance, or don’t mind taking the risk of ruining your boot.
Leather is fine for autumn and winter – and, really, any weather condition – but make sure you invest in boots with high-quality repairable soles no matter what material makes up the upper.
3. Chelsea boots have sole
Well, all footwear includes a sole, but your best bet with Chelsea boots is a leather sole. While many boot manufacturers use a variety of materials to make soles, leather represents the traditional, classic look.
4. Elastic or zipper
You’ll find Chelsea boots that fasten with a zipper rather with than the traditional elastic. But, just so you know, “true” Chelsea boots fasten with elastic, not with a zipper. That quality of the elastic
fastening is very important not only for comfort but also for the shape and longevity of the boot. Plus, a swanky-looking elastic gusset looks great with trousers that are slightly shorter than normal.
5. The color
Black is the traditional color of Chelsea boots and probably a good choice if you’re buying your first pair. Then again, it’s a free world: choose whatever color you’d like.
6. Keep it simple, or maybe not
Chelsea boots come in a variety of styles that keep up with today’s fashion’s trends – whether it’s pointy toes, high-shine patent leather, or colored soles. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding a pair that fits your fashion sense. Keep in mind, however, that traditional black or brown Chelsea boots never go out of style and work well with whatever you’re wearing.
7. But a quick word about color
While you should have no trouble finding a Chelsea boot in your favorite color, choose wisely. For instance, brown suede is great for a country look, while black represents a more urban look. Burgundy, meanwhile, is a good all-around option, while exotic colors like blue, red, yellow and green are ideal if you want to make a personal fashion statement.
Just a quick note regarding color: black Chelsea boots look best with dark suits, while brown boots pair best with suits of medium and lighter colors. Burgundy is very versatile and works well with almost every other color.
Now that we’ve covered a few handy buying suggestions, it’s time to move on the best Chelsea boots for 2019.
The 6 best men’s Chelsea boots of 2019
Affectionately known as “Blunnies” in Australia – where the Blundstone company has its headquarters – the Blundstone Original 500 Series is an iconic brand with a strong reputation.
There’s a lot to love about the BL500 Series, not the least of which is classy styling and craftsmanship that has everything you want in a casual work boot. It’s also very comfortable and should last you a good long time.
Let’s take a closer look:
- Blundstone’s Original 500 series features a shock protection system that reduces impact on your soles by 33 percent.
- It comes with a removable footbed that wicks moisture away to add further comfort and dependability.
- The polyurethane outsole is dual-density and injection-molded to make for a softer step.
- It comes with elastic side panels that make it easy to take the boots on and off.
- The heel pad features XRD Technology that provides even further shock absorption.
- The midsole also features polyurethane construction to provide support and comfort.
- The boot also has an ergonomically-designed toe bed that helps reduce foot fatigue.
- The sole is slip-resistant.
- The lining includes soft leather.
Some other features we like about the Blundstone 500 include finger loops, that help make taking the boots on and off that much easier. Finally, Blunnies come in a variety of colors – just choose the color that best fits your clothing.
- Very comfortable
- Sturdy, leather construction
- Reduces stress on your feet
- Be careful about sizing
Blundstone goes the extra mile in creating comfortable boots that look and feel good. The 500 Series is ideal for casual work wear, sturdy, and designed to last a long time.
Ah, the rich honey suede. The classic Chelsea design. Yes, there’s plenty to like about Thursday Boot Company’s Duke Men’s Boot.
You even have to like their determination to put the best possible product on the market. The folks at Thursday Boot Company made 20 re-designs of their Duke’s Men’s boot before settling on a final product, which happens to be the best suede Chelsea boots and certainly among the best Chelsea boots for men.
Here’s a look at some of the Duke Men’s Chelsea Boot’s features:
- The honey suede upper is distinctive and helps make the Duke a boot you can wear for most occasions – formal or informal.
- The elastic on the outsole is firm enough to keep your ankle locked into position without abrasion. These boots will stay snug no matter what the activity.
- The Duke even comes with Goodyear welt construction that provides added support and durability.
- Thursday Boot Company uses a blended solution of waterproof and hydrophobic construction that’s applied to leather at the beginning of the tanning process. Doing so helps water from penetrating the leather.
- The insole consists of an EVA comfort strip on that’s attached on top of a cushy cork midsole – all of which resides under a leather lining. The Duke forms to your foot to provide all-day comfort, which is quite a plus if you’re on your feet a lot.
- Thursday Boot Company makes all of its shoes and boots in small batches and places a premium on quality construction.
- The heel is firm and durable, while the toebox has a round, rakish look.
- You’ll love the feel of the Duke’s suede: it’s soft and pliable and fights creases with an elasticity that’s uncommon for a boot’s upper. And it simply looks good.
- Last but not least, the Thursday Boot Company treats all of its boots with a WeatherSafe treatment that protects against inclement weather.
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Looks great
- Provides all-day comfort
- Make sure you size it carefully because you’ll probably need to choose one size smaller than normal
There are plenty of excellent suede Chelsea boots on the market, but for our money, the Duke is your best choice. Comfort, style, durability – it has it all.
The diverse Skechers line continues to grow, as does the company’s popularity worldwide, thanks to its wide range of quality products. Their Segment-Dorton Chelsea Boot is a prime example of both their diversity and high quality and belongs in any Chelsea boots review.
There are a lot of things we think you’ll like about the Segment-Dorton Chelsea Boot, including their superior comfort. Of course, comfort is always vital when choosing a Chelsea boot, the Segment-Dorton is excellent for walking because of its lightweight nature. You’re assured of excellent comfort even if you spend long portions of your day on your feet and moving around.
The insole adds a layer of comfort that contributes to the Segment-Dorton’s comfortability and, like the outer sole, it’s extremely durable. The insole is gel-infused with memory foam that adapts to your foot’s unique shape and your stride. The boot’s ankle-high length also contributes to its overall comfort.
Here’s something else to like: the Segment-Dorton offers plenty of roominess – not so roomy that you don’t get a snug fit, mind you – but roomy enough that you can wear thicker socks without pinching your foot.
The Segment-Dorton features an oil-leather upper (the leather comes from China) as well as goring side panels and a rear pull loop for easy on-and-off function. Ignore the “Made in China” myths because the leather is of the highest quality.
It’s worth mentioning the Segment-Dorton’s durability again because they’re among the most durable Chelsea boots that you’ll find anywhere. Whether you’re wearing them to work, or walking on rugged terrain, these boots will hold up to the stress and strain. Moreover, the boots are waterproof although you don’t want to expose them to constant moisture.
- Superior durability
- Lightweight and comfortable
- They may run slightly wide
Segment-Dorton is a good all-around Chelsea boot that’s great for casual wear but also suitable for the workplace, especially if you spend most of the workday on your feet. They’re also affordable and a great bargain for the price.
Simple yet classic, sturdy yet comfortable – both are good ways to describe the Clark Men’s Sumner Hi Chelsea Boot.
Then again, high-quality footwear is nothing new for Clarks, which has been in business for over 100 years and can claim innovations such as the first foot-shaped shoe among its many accolades. Their Sumner Hi Chelsea Boots certainly get high marks, as well, and are worthy of your consideration as you shop for a boot that looks good and feels good.
Clarks specializes in men’s dress shoes while applying the same high standards to all of their footwear. The Sumner Hi Chelsea boots are a prime example of this quality and made for men looking for something classy and durable. Moreover, they’re suitable for every season.
Here’s a closer look:
- Construction & Design
First, Clarks’ Chelsea boots are constructed from pure leather and the upper section consists of smooth leather that provides a contemporary and classic look. The leather is thick and clearly of high quality. They also have a “lug” sole that’s made of thick rubber and includes indentations for superior traction.
The sides of the boots include goring inserts that are very elastic, while there’s a pull loop design at the back of the boot that assists when pulling the boots on or off.
You’ll like the sturdy sole and traction that keep your foot comfortable throughout the day, even if you spend long periods on your feet or walking. You can remove the OrthoLite footbed if you prefer, but it doesn’t provide an extra level of comfort.
Regarding affordability, well, Clarks are more expensive than some Chelsea boots but not as expensive as others. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with paying for high quality.
- Made of pure leather
- Excellent traction
- Classy yet simple styling
- The boot runs a bit narrower than expected
There’s plenty to like about the Clarks Hi Sumner Chelsea boot. It looks good and has a classy design, it feels good, and also provides superior traction. Definitely a boot worthy of your attention.
Few companies have quite an iconic history as Dr. Martens. It began with Dr. Klaus Maertens injuring his foot in a skiing accident in the Bavarian Alps. To aid his recovery, Dr. Maertens designed a shoe with an air-cushioned sole that relied heavily on old rubber tires.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Dr. Martens company – renamed to sell its shoes and boots in England better – has come a long way since then and like the Chelsea boot, in general, became a symbol of a free-spirited attitude (some would say “rebellious”) and self-expression in the 1960s. The brand endures today and offers something for people of every class and culture.
Including, that is, their 2976 Chelsea Boot.
The 2976 is comfortable and sturdy and has a rugged sole that makes it ideal for workwear. It comes with a leather and textile (synthetic) upper, woven stretch goring inserts, and the Dr. Martens logoed pull-on top above the heel.
It also has a removable insole to go with a SoftWair comfort footbed that includes memory foam cushioning.
While the 2976 has a leather upper, the Dr. Martens brand gets props for producing four styles of footwear that are 100% vegan. Rest assured, the company builds those styles with solid construction and with the kind of traction that makes them slip resistant.
Moreover, their styles – including the 2976 – are handmade. Beating their craftsmanship is tough. You can always pair them with a nice pair of jeans.
- Comfortable but sturdy enough to serve as workwear
- Memory foam cushioning
- It takes a little while to break them in
The Dr. Martens brand is well-known and favored by many people worldwide. The 2976 is one of the best in its quality line of boots, and is a great choice for anyone looking to give Chelsea boots a try.
The Crevo Men’s Denham is another Chelsea boot that’s suitable for professional and semi-formal occasions and fits into almost every man’s lifestyle. And you can also wear it with just about any attire you own.
Made of durable leather that’s easy to maintain, the Crevo Denham is stark black with a distinctive look. It’s lightweight and comfortable and features a flexible non-slip synthetic outsole that helps provide all-day comfort. The sole is cozy and comfortable, but not too warm, and provides more than enough traction and proper support.
The Denham also features goring side panels, a burnished toe and a tab at the back of the boot to make it easier to slip in and out of the boot.
Another thing to like about the Crevo Denham is that it’s among the best affordable Chelsea boots on the market today. You get an excellent boot for the price and one which, with proper care, should last you a long time.
Based in St. Louis and Nashville, Crevo is a division of Elan Polo and markets itself as a footwear company for today’s man. They make boots, sandals, everyday casual shoes, and more, all while keeping up with men’s ever-changing fashion and lifestyle.
- Distinctive look
- Comfortable sole that provides plenty of traction
- May take a bit of time to break them in
Whether you’re a man who sticks to a strict budget or not, the Crevo Denham is a good choice. It’s suitable for many occasions and provides both durability and comfort.
Proper care: Be kind to your Chelsea boots
You love the way you look in your pair of leather or suede Chelsea boots. You’re patting yourself on the back for making an investment that’s well worth the price. But, the next thing you know, your boots aren’t looking nearly as good as they did at first and it all comes down to this – you’re not taking care of them properly.
Chelsea boots need a bit of TLC to help them look their best every time you put them on and walk out into a new day. Besides, you want them to last a good, long time.
Here are some tips for taking care of your Chelsea boots the right way.
1. Use a boot tree
First things first: If you don’t already have a boot tree, it’s time to buy one. A boot tree helps ensure the integrity of the inner leather and insole, while also helping your boots to maintain their shape. Don’t leave your boots on the floor of your closet or in a box. And you should never store leather boots in plastic bags because the leather needs to breathe. A lack of air may dry your boot out or cause mold.
2. Another word about storing your boots
While it’s wise to store wet boots in a warm area to help them dry them out, never store them directly next to a heat source, such as a radiator. Too much heat makes the leather brittle and may cause cracks later on.
Also, if you don’t wear your boots all year round, never store them for an extended period without cleaning them first. You don’t want salt and other chemicals eating away at them for months at a time.
3. Storing your suede boots
By now you get the idea – how you store your Chelsea boots is a crucial part of taking care of them and ensuring their longevity. But how you store your suede boots is different from storing leather boots:
- Store suede boots in a cool place
Never store your suede boots in a place with direct exposure to sunlight. Excessive sunlight will cause the suede to fade while extended exposure to humidity may cause dampness that leads to mildew. Store your suede boots in a place – such as a clothes closet – where they’ll remain cool and dry.
- Make sure they’re clean before extended storage
The same rules of proper storage apply to suede boots as they do to leather boots: If you’re planning to store them for an extended period, make sure you’ve cleaned them first. Even if they look clean, give them a good cleaning anyway, and you may even want to have them professionally cleaned.
4. Cleaning your leather boots
Use a soft brush, preferably one designed for the job, to dust off your leather boots after each wearing. A stiff brush may scratch and mar the surface. If there are stubborn dirt and debris (or salt rings) on your boots, use a sponge or soft cloth that’s dampened with warm, soapy water and a capful of vinegar to clean the outside. A quick wipe with a damp cloth is usually enough to get rid of salt stains, but it’s important to address those stains, or any stain for that matter, as quickly as possible.
You may also choose a leather cleaner if you don’t want to try a DIY method.
5. Cleaning suede Chelsea boots
Don’t use water when cleaning your suede boots because water can change the texture and color of the surface. If you spill liquid on your boots, apply a layer of talcum powder or cornmeal after first patting the area dry with a clean cloth. Allow the layer of powder or cornmeal to set overnight and then use a suede brush to remove it gently the next day.
You can also remove stains from your suede boots by using a kneaded eraser or an emery board to “sand” off the scuffs and stains. If this method flattens the suede, you can bring the texture back by scrubbing with a terry cloth towel, and even a clean toothbrush.
6. Polish your leather boots regularly
Polishing your leather boots at least weekly helps them look well-oiled and clean. The good news is that there’s a wide selection of leather polishes to choose from and they come in liquid and paste form. Cover the entire boot surface with the polish, including the sides of the bottom sole. Use a separate cloth to remove excess polish and to buff the boots. Let the boots dry before you wear them again.
7. Use a suede protective spray
A protective spray formulated especially for suede prevents water damage (as well preserves the suede’s color and texture). Apply the protective spray all over the boot, but you only need to spray it on lightly because too much could affect the boot’s texture and color.
8. Brushing your suede boots
It’s important to purchase a suede brush to brush out the surface of the suede. You’ll help your boots retain their soft, pleasant texture while helping them to retain their soft texture. Before brushing your boots, stuff them with crumpled paper to help them retain their shape. Brush the surface gently in the direction of the fibers.
The difference between Chelsea boots and Chukka boots
It’s hard to go wrong style-wise with Chelsea boots or Chukka boots – which we’ll cover in a separate post. Both look good and impress upon others that you know a thing or two about style. It’s safe to say, however, that they’re not the same thing.
Chelsea boots have been around a long, long time – since the Victorian era in England to be exact. The first pair was crafted by J. Sparkes-Hall, the personal shoemaker to the Queen, or so the story goes.
Over 100 years later, Chelsea boots hit a peak of popularity thanks to the 1960s Mod scene in Britain and favored by members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, among other celebrities.
Chelsea boots are ankle-high and laceless and, in most cases, have elastic panels on either side of them to keep them close-fitting but comfortable. Some Chelsea boots come with zippers, but they’re easy enough to slip on and off, in any case, thanks to a loop of fabric at the back that you pull.
As with any shoe or boot, getting the right fit is important with Chelsea boots. Make sure that you have enough flexibility in the side panels, but not so much in the instep.
As mentioned, Chelsea boots come in leather and suede models. Leather boots can withstand a bit more wear and tear than suede boots and are your best option during wetter months and periods of weather extremes, such as during the winter. Excess moisture can easily damage your suede boots.
Black, or navy, is considered the “traditional” colors of Chelsea boots, but they also come in virtually every color.
The Chelsea boot, like the Chukka boot, is versatile enough to fit with a variety of items in your wardrobe. Chelsea boots are good for most occasions, including dressier outings. They’re also a good option if you work in a more formal office setting.
Chukka boots also have an interesting history; British soldiers – and other soldiers of the allied troops – wore them in World War II for marching through desert terrain. Hence, they’re also known as desert (or turf) boots.
Chukka boots are distinctive for their ankle-length and pairs of eyelets for laces. They have a classic, toe design and open lacing system. Many Chukka boots consist of suede or calfskin, although leather is used too, especially for use during the winter months when durability is important.
If you’re looking for a more casual look, then Chukka boots are a good choice. The soles of many Chukka boots are thicker than traditional footwear soles which, again, makes them better-suited for casual occasions, but they also come in thinner soles which give them a finer look.
Chukka boots work well with almost any style, although fashion experts say they look better with narrow-legged pants. While the uppers usually come in suede or calfskin, soles of Chukka boots are made from rubber. Both sections tend to come in contrasting colors.
Your Chukka boots should have a light, comfortable fit as long as you’ve sized them correctly.
A true desert boot shares the same style of lacing as traditional Chukka boots but come in a slightly different style. For one, their sole is made of a strong rubber material instead of leather, while the stitching around the sole isn’t as visible as it is with a Chukka boot. That’s also one reason why they have a more casual look.
In case you were wondering, the word Chukka comes from the game of polo, in which Chukka refers to a period of play (at least you’ll have the answer if the question comes up at a cocktail party).
Our rationale for choosing these products
“Rationale” sounds a bit formal, perhaps, but the bottom line is that there is a method to our madness for all of our product reviews.
We considered a variety of factors regarding Chelsea boots: Comfort, style, durability, construction and, as always, the reviews of those who’ve worn them or are still wearing them. The cost is another factor (and always is) and we try to provide a range of products to cover every man’s
There are a lot of excellent Chelsea boots available, no question. But we think we’ve included something for everyone on our list of the top six.
What are your thoughts? Do you wear any of the brands listed in this article? Do prefer other brands? We’d love to hear from you and always welcome your comments and suggestions.