When you need a shoe that’s high-quality, cool, and comfortable, Chelsea boots are the way to go. The classic leather shoe with elastic gussets on the sides were first made in 1851 for Queen Victoria by J.Sparkes-Hall. The Queen requested a horseback riding boot without laces because they kept getting stuck in her stirrups. Vulcanized rubber, which had recently been invented, was applied to the sides of a boot, allowing the shoe to be easily slipped on and off.
Originally called “paddock boots,” as they were mostly used for horseback riding, the boots experienced consistent popularity until they achieved icon status in the 1950s and 60s when celebrities such as The Beatles began wearing them. Because many purchased them on popular shopping street the King’s Road, located in the borough of Chelsea, they became known as “Chelsea boots.”
Chelsea boots are both easy to-to-wear and chic. They’re unisex, timeless, and comfortable; a versatile shoe that can be a foundational piece in any wardrobe. Because they’re so beloved, almost every shoe brand makes some version of the Chelsea boot, but we’ve rounded up our favorite models and brands to make it easy to find the one that’s right for you.
These are the best Chelsea boots brands to buy right now, from leather to suede to vegan options:
This classic Chelsea boot is high quality, stylish, and fairly priced. The leather is vegetable tanned and there’s a padded leather insole, so they mold to your foot for extra comfort.
ARKET Leather Chelsea Boots, €175 | DKK 1400
We love Swedish brand Vagabond; their shoes are crafted in Italy and they keep prices extremely reasonable for the quality. These Chelsea boots are supposedly for men, but really, all Chelsea boots are unisex. These ones have a slightly high top and a chunky sole that’s reminiscent of a combat boot.
Vagabond Johnny Black Leather Boots, €140 | DKK 1200
ASOS’s selection of Chelsea boots is varied, from sleek and classic to sparkly and colorful. Their prices range too, from as low as DKK 72 to DKK 1200. If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, or a Chelsea boot that’s a bit more fun, you’ll find it here. Those wanting for non-leather and vegan options will find a great selection.
A Scandi classic, the Jensen boot by Acne Studios is almost as ubiquitous as white sneakers. The heel of the boot, at 1.5 inches, is a bit higher than the typical Chelsea boot, so it can be dressed up easily. With a pointed toe, triangle gussets, and gunmetal trim on the toe, this is a cool boot that you’ll wear with everything.
Acne Studios Jensen Chelsea Boots, €450 | DKK 4000
The quality doesn’t get much better than this! Yes, these boots are pricey, but they will last a lifetime. R.W. Williams is an Australian brand, handcrafted from a single piece of quality leather and with a single seam at the back of each boot. Their boots are characterised by a sleek finish that develops a beautiful patina over time, and the textile loops bearing their logo on the front and back of the shoe, making them easy to take on and off.
R.M. Williams Wentworth Boot, €549 | DKK 4190
These are a pretty perfect dupe for the Acne Studios Jensen boot, with their triangle-shaped gussets and pointed toes. &Other Stories make great quality boots for their reasonable price point, and they’ll look good for years to come. The leather pull-tab is a sleek detail.
&Other Stories Leather Chelsea Boots, €125 | DKK 950
For the fashion-forward among us, Common Projects is the way to go. Their classic silhouettes are accompanied with top-class materials and on-trend color combinations. Those who wear Common Projects tend to be fanatical about the brand; they’re known as being comfortable and top-quality.
Common Projects Suede Chelsea Boots, €445 | DKK 3322
The extra zip detailing of the side gussets are a nice touch on these FRYE boots, adding a little biker vibe to an otherwise classic silhouette. FRYE is an American company that makes durable, high-quality footwear and other clothing items. Their boots are known as some of the toughest around; they’re definitely investment pieces. The boots are leather lined with a leather outsole.
FRYE Carly Zip Chelsea Boots, €364 | DKK 2750
Known for their long-lasting and high-quality combat boots, Dr. Martens also make a range of other fantastic shoes. Their Chelsea boots are a bit chunkier than most, but they will last a lifetime and are some of the most comfortable around, once you wear them in.They have leather and vegan options, as well as a fur-lined option for winter.
Swedish brand ATP Atelier makes extremely high-quality shoes and other leather goods. Their Chelsea boots are a bit more rounded than the typical boot, and it results in a softer silhouette. Their thick soles are made of Vibram rubber, and the body is a stiff leather. They’ll feel tight at first, but give them a few wears to let them mold to your foot; it’s magic from there!
ATP Atelier Clivia Almond Chelsea Boots, €450 | DKK 4000
A sleek leather boot with elastic sides, this pair from Danish brand Angulus will be a wardrobe staple. Their quality is great, and they make kids’ shoes as well!
Angulus Classic Chelsea Boot, DKK 1300
Timberland knows how to make a hardworking boot, and these suede, straightforward Chelsea Boots are as high-quality as their classic lace-up boots. They have easy slip-on elastic sides and a solid rubber sole. We recommend their Balm Proofer Water & Stain Repellant, which works wonders in keeping suede looking fresh.
Timberland Folk Gentlemen Chelsea Boot, €150 | DKK 1400
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