Chelsea boots have long been a wardrobe staple for girls and guys alike. Perfect for both casual and formal wear; these popular ankle-high boots effortlessly blend comfort, durability and timeless style. Most are unaware that the Chelsea boot has a history that dates back to Victorian times and was the footwear of choice for Queen Victoria, the Beatles and bizarrelyImperial Stormtroopers from the original Star Wars trilogy.
The boot was designed and created by J. Sparkes-Hall, the Queen’s bootmaker back in 1837. Primarily worn by equestrians, they quickly became a fashion trend during the 1840’s; and by the start of the First World War, most people had a pair.
The development of the vulcanized rubber gave Sparkes-Hall the idea to produce a boot that would be easy to slip on and off, with minimal effort. It was in 1851 that he filed out a patent for the design, claiming that ‘She (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention’.
During the 1960’s, young people in Britain had more money than ever and fashion very much came to the fore. Favoured by the Chelsea Set, (fashionistas Mary Quant and Jean Shrimpton) and the ever-popular Beatles, the attractiveness of the Chelsea boot soared. Image-conscious youths, known as Mods, began favouring Chelsea boots as the footwear of choice to accompany tailored suits and customised scooters.
Although it’s not known why Chelsea boots were so popular, its thought that influences from French and Italian culturesplayed a big part of the then-popular American greaser style.
With their classically-manufactured look, the last thing likely to be associated with the boot is the Stormtroopers from Star Wars but the boots were the choice of footwear for Darth Vader’s minions, only this time stained white to fit in with the futuristic look.
Today, contemporary designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander Wang and Jimmy Choo have all been rocking the boot. Fearne Cotton, Alexa Chung and Elle Macpherson are just a few celebs that have been cashing in on the trend.
These boots remain incredibly popular with their timeless trend, offering excellent value due to their cleverly constructed design. Its no surprise that the style elite have been investing in this must have item.
The Chelsea boot has evolved and are now on the high street so you too can be a part of this popular trend. Primark’s plain black suede boots are perfect for the price-conscious at just £8, or if you want to splash the cash, ASOS have a leather pair for 50GBP. If you want to opt for something a little snazzier, Topshop have a studded pair for 38GBP or for a night out, a heeled pair in scarlett red for 26.99GBP from missguided.com. Also popular with the guys, Topman’s JUAN black shoe boots are only 38GBP. Or for something more weather friendly, ASOS are offering ankle length boots for just 32GBP, available in both suede and leather