Just to catch you up if you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, the Chelsea boot, with it’s characteristic double elastic gores, has been the footwear du jour. Without fear of jumping on the bandwagon really late, I’m going to endorse them.
Kanye is probably to thank for the popularity of the style for some younger and some more Kanye influenced wearers, and Common Projects should probably be on their knees, thanking Yeezus for putting their lightweight, crepe soled version (in the sand color) on waiting lists for the entire FW15 season.
Putting aside debates about Kanye’s cultural significance, chelsea boots have been a staple in closets of well-dressed men (and women) since the Victorian era, when they were made for the Queen herself before eventually finding their way into men’s closets. Now, they are perhaps best remembers as a staple in the UK’s mod scene in the 1960s, which has seen something of a revival as of late. They also gave birth to the the pointy-toed, Cuban-heeled Beatle Boot variation, but weather with low heels or high, the easy on-off comfort has made the chelsea beloved of the sleek ‘n trim streetwear set – led by you-know-who. They’re a natural extension of the skinny side-zip that has been quite popular for several years, and most makers streetwear makers are pursuing similarly streamlined silhouettes.
On the other end of the style spectrum, Blundstone’s rugged (guaranteed for life!) snub-toed, thick-soled version of the style has been a staple among Australia’s outdoors-minded set since the Victorian era as well. While not exactly elegant, that was never the purpose – and if elegance is what you desire, you can still find plenty of classic shapes from brands such as Alfred Sargent, Carmina, and others. Guidi, beloved of every dark-goth-romantic-bohemian-ninja, also makes an object-dyed chelsea boot, should you wish to trade your well-heeled Victorian footwear mores for a rougher look.
So, at this very odd intersection in menswear history, outdoorsmen, dandies, gothy-ninjas, and of course Kanye fans, are all endorsing the same style of boot.
My pick of the bunch is Epaulet’s Chelsea. That’s because it’s a lot more versatile than other examples. Epaulet’s quality and construction have always been top-notch, and the leather on this pair is a lustrous steerhide that achieves the improbably feat of going with everything. In addition, the last is neither Blundstone-blobby or Yeezy-narrow, so you can wear them with jeans or casual trousers. Plus, crepe soles are really, really comfortable. These were initially a pre-order, but there are a few pairs still available on Epaulet’s website. Although I own a pair in “sand suede,” I think this “Cuoro Como” model is a fantastic buy for anyone looking for a comfortable, stylish boot. They’re only $325, too – which is a really good deal.
You can find your own pair here.