Crockett & Jones

Origins of... The Chelsea Boot

An illustrious past has portrayed the Chelsea boot in various lights along the way. The origin of the name is a matter of debate, although known to most as the Chelsea boot, there is evidence that this style began life as the descriptively labelled, Elastic Side Boot, originating in the early Victorian era...

Origins of... The Chelsea Boot

The Chelsea boot is a style that lends itself to a collection of patterns, ranging from the smart and elegant to the hearty adaptations for casual country wear.

Touching upon a manufacturing technicality: To be regarded as high quality, a Chelsea boot must be ‘blocked’. Blocking is a trade term that refers to the shaping of the leather vamp castors by way of pressure using a ‘blade’. This blade is precisely engineered to a Crockett & Jones specification. Castors are then sent down to the clicking room and cut to the exact ½ size required. This lengthy process ensures the high leg vamps of a Chelsea style sits perfectly on the last, therefore forming to the customer’s foot.

There is significant evidence to believe that the first Chelsea boot was designed by Queen Victoria’s bootmaker, Mr J Sparkes-Hall in 1837. It was said that he created the pair of ankle height boots with elastic inserts either side, to make them easy to pull on and off for her majesty. However, this boot would not have been made possible without the prior invention of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear.

From being high fashion in the early 1900’s, the Chelsea boot was then adopted by equestrians worldwide, and known as the ‘paddock’ boot. The Chelsea boot gained status in the countryside scene and has remained firmly in agricultural fashion ever since.

Crockett & Jones have been producing Chelsea boots for nearly a century, with one of the first illustrations of this style appearing in our 'Gentlemen of the East' catalogue from 1925. Aptly named ‘Chelsea’, it wasn't until the early 1960s (1961 to be precise) that 'Chelsea' appeared our Stock Catalogue.

‘One of the first illustrations of this style appearing in our 'Gentlemen of the East' catalogue from 1925’

With strong last development, expert pattern cutting and shoemaking of the highest order, Crockett & Jones are able to make some of the finest Chelsea boots on offer today. Today’s offering of Chelsea boots by Crockett & Jones, follows the heritage of this remarkable style perfectly. From elegant versions such as Chelsea 8 or Lingfield, that is wholly appropriate for the City commute. To the more hearty working styles such as Chelsea V appreciate by many around the world as their go-to everyday work horse.

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