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The history of the legendary Chelsea boot

Decodings Shoes
Discover the history and care of the mythical shoe in your wardrobe.
From its creation in the 1850s to the present day, discover the evolution of the chelsea boot. We'll explain everything, including how to look after them!
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This advice file reads in  7 min

The legendary Chelsea boot

Chelsea boots, those iconic, sleekly styled elasticated shoes, have come a long way since their creation in the 19th century. Instantly recognisable by their famous fabric band at the side, they are a menswear classic. They're becoming an essential part of your autumn/winter wardrobe. How did these men's boots find their way into our modern wardrobes? Explore the history of the Chelsea boot: its origins, influences, design and care.

Chelsea boots for men

The origins of men's chelsea boots

The history of the Chelsea boot dates back to the Victorian era in the mid-nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. According to the archives, their presumed creator was Joseph Sparkes Hall, Queen Victoria's shoemaker. The inventor was riding the wave of the Industrial Revolution to find a new material to improve the design of his shoes. He came up with the idea of using vulcanised rubber to make his leather goods more original and functional.

Joseph Sparkes Hall decided to place a strip of vulcanised rubber fabric on the side of the boot, around the ankles. This material was both elastic and resistant, making it easy to close and adjust the boot to the foot. It easily replaces the fastening systems used on men's boots, such as buttons, zips, hooks or buckles. In other words, the famous shoemaker makes ultra-practical low boots that can be slipped on in no time at all. This is how the first generation of Chelsea Boots came into being. They proudly bear the name "Elastic Boots".

But be careful!

These leather "Elastic Boots" patented by Joseph Sparkes Hall in 1851 differ from modern men's Chelsea Boots. Even so, this in no way detracts from the innovative aspect they took on towards the end of the 19th century. In fact, their creator often claimed that Queen Victoria herself liked to wear these women's boots on a daily basis.

From elastic boots to chelsea boots

In the decades since their introduction, elastic boots have rapidly won the hearts of consumers. Comfortable and easy to slip on, elastic boots became the footwear of choice for walking. Men and women alike wore them regularly until 1914. However, the craze for this boot, affectionately known as the "Paddock Boot", died out with the outbreak of the First World War.

Then, in the 1950s, the pair of shoes designed by Joseph Sparkes Hall was given a new lease of life. A group of trendy young Londoners, including artists, film producers and social activists, proudly adopted Elastic Boots. Fashion icons in their own right, they claimed a new style of dress, and by extension, a new lifestyle. These young people are fascinating. It wasn't long before they captured the attention of the media, who dubbed them the "Chelsea Set". And one thing led to another, and these leather boots were promptly renamed "Chelsea Boots".

Chelsea boots for men

A surgen in popularity in the 60s

The 60s were synonymous with cultural change and new styles. Chelsea Boots were no exception.

The famous theatrical shoe manufacturer, Anello & Davide, made a major alteration to its design. It replaced the traditional curved heel with a medium-height, non-curved Cuban heel. They created a version called the "Baba Boot", which became a hit on the rock'n'roll music scene.

If the history of Chelsea Boots is anything to go by, its popularity exploded with the famous group The Beatles. The musicians and singers were photographed wearing the boots at numerous performances.

The Beatles bought their first men's Chelsea boots from Anello & Davide in Liverpool in 1961. From then on, the "Paddock Boot" was renamed the "Beatles Boot" by both the public and the media. It didn't take long for the rock-style ankle boots to unleash the passions of fans around the world.

Some anecdotes about Chelsea Boots

Chelsea Boots for men from the 60s and music form a beautiful love story. Anecdotes abound.

- In 1961, John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles bought pairs of Chelsea boots from Anello & Davide.

- In 1962, it was George Harrison and Ringo Starr's turn to adopt the style. As all the members of the group wore these iconic shoes, their nickname of "Beatles Boot" was cemented.

Other famous rock bands such as the Rolling Stones then joined the movement, contributing to the growing popularity of Chelsea Boots.
Chelsea Boots also caught the attention of the film world. They featured in the costume sets of the "Storm Troopers", famous characters from the Star Wars trilogy. However, these high boots are painted white throughout to match the filming requirements.

So it's perfectly normal not to recognise them at first glance.

Chelsea boots for men

Current Chelsea boots

Today's Chelsea boots are generally made from smooth leather, which gives them a formal, elegant look. But if you prefer a more casual style, nubuck versions are also available.

Several variations are also available, such as perforated brogues or with a cap-toe. So you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to diversifying your wardrobe...

And find the shoe that's just right for you!

Chelsea Boots for men are available in a range of colours (black, brown, grey, camel and burgundy leather) to suit every style.

Chelsea boots for men

Care tips for Chelsea boots

It's essential to clean and protect your Chelsea Boots to extend their life.

- Use red cedar shoe trees after each wear to prevent creases. Shoe trees also help to absorb moisture and keep your boots smelling fresh.

Don't hesitate to consult our maintenance guide on how to shine your shoes to learn how to do it right.

Leather shoe care

Chelsea boot for men by Monsieur Chaussure

At Monsieur Chaussure, we offer high-quality shoes that are recognisable by their GoodYear fitting, and are designed to last. The slow tanning of the soles guarantees absolute comfort.

Chelsea boots for men

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