The name is distinctive, the boots are unique and if you wear them right, you’re sure to be a stylish chap.
Chukka boots have a look and identity of their own. But to make the most of this boot style, it’s important to know how to wear them to their best advantage.
In summary, this is how you wear Chukka boots
• Wear casually. Never try to wear Chukkas with a suit or formal wear. Smart casual or casual is best.
• Wear with Chinos. With or without trouser break is fine, just give consideration to your socks.
• Contrast with trouser colour. Let your Chukkas make an impression.
Unless you want a very bold look, chukka boots aren’t suitable with suits or formal wear. You could wear them in a laid back office, but in general stick to casual occasions. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t wear them to anything more formal than a smart casual do.
Chinos are the best trousers for chukka boots, as they are casual and can be worn with no break. By wearing them at this length, with the hem of the trouser brushing the ankle, you can also show off your socks when sitting. So pick your socks with care!
Chukkas are bolder than other boots, and don’t have the same simple lines, so choose a contrasting colour to your trousers to help show them off. Remember your shade pairings though, you don’t want to make a good pair of boots stand out for the wrong reason!
For the top half of your outfit, there isn’t much you can do wrong. A clean cut polo shirt is a good option, as is a linen shirt in the summer.
What are chukka boots?
Chukka boots are always ankle length with a rounded toe box and a unique open lacing, and no more than two or three eyelets on each side. The thin sole makes them incredibly light and more suitable for downtime between polo games, than for manual labour.
Traditionally, chukka boots would have been made from calfskin suede leather. As time has gone on and the availability of other materials has increased, you can now buy Chukka boots in varying materials such as canvas and even alligator, meaning more flexibility for different occasions.
There are several theories about where the name Chukka came from, and like Chelsea boots, most of these ideas come from the world of equestrian sport. “Chukkers” are periods of play in polo, and it is believed that players would wear thin soled, lightweight boots in their downtime.
How to lace chukka boots
The chukka is simplistic style of boot and lacing should be kept fuss-free to maintain elegance. Chukka boots will have two or three eyelets.
- Three eyelet chukka boots. Should always be straight laced, as any other lacing will be too fussy and will ruin the clean lines of the boots.
- Two eyelet chukka boots. Can be straight laced or cross laced, to add an interesting detail to the front of the boot.
Check out our gentlemen’s guide to tying shoelaces for more tips.
What’s the difference between chukka boots and desert boots?
The desert boot was invented by Nathan Clark during the Second World War. Like Gibsons and Derbies, the differences between a desert boot and a chukka boot have become rather skewed.
The main difference is that the desert boot has a crepe sole, whereas chukkas have a leather sole. So if you want a boot with more grip, go for its closely related desert boot instead.
Chelsea boots are another popular ankle height footwear option, and are a better option for a more formal occasion. Just like chukka boots, it’s a good idea to wear trousers that show your ankle, as the elasticated gusset is a key detail of Chelsea boots.
The world of men’s shoes is a crowded place, with all manner of footwear, but a chukka boot will leave you looking cooler than the breath of a man who has just eaten a polo. And you can wear them after playing the sport too.
Do you have a pair of classic Chukka boots? If so, how do you wear them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.