Finding the right shoes to pair with an outfit can seem like a daunting feat. There are many styles to choose from, but few are as adaptable as the Chelsea boot. Whatever your sense of personal fashion, we’ll help sort through your options to find the best Chelsea boots for you.
Chelseas date back to 1837, when they were designed by Mr. J Sparkes-Hall for Queen Victoria. His intention was to create a shoe that was easy to pull off and on, while also maintaining a high-end look. They went on to become a staple of the mod scene in the 1950’s and 60’s, and were even the choice shoe for the Beatles.
These sleek boots can be easily styled with a suit or casually worn around town. They are crafted in varying materials and styles, but traditionally feature a panel, called a “gore”, between the front and back parts of the shoe. The Chelsea boot leaves a tasteful impression that will elevate any wardrobe.
Top 7 Chelsea Boots for Any Style or Budget
Due to their popularity, there are a vast number of different Chelseas available to choose from. In order to narrow your search, we focused our research on customer feedback , style, comfort, and features of each boot chosen. Let us help you put your best foot forward with some of the most sought-after Chelsea boots on the market.
Dr. Martens has evolved as a company and now offers a multitude of styles, including the Chelsea. The 2976 features the timeless details of Dr. Martens, with their yellow stitching, and AirWair sole, without compromising the traditional elements of the Chelsea style. These boots boast a durable Goodyear welt, classic smooth leather, a pull-on loop with the signature logo, and woven stretch goring inserts. They also come in vegan leather for those looking for a guilt-free purchase with a high quality, cruelty-free boot.
Dr. Martens is a name known around the world. The brand has been producing shoes since 1945 and originally garnered a reputation for being an affordable, working-class boot. They have come a long way from their conception as a work boot and have become an edgy, fashionable accessory.
Although the company has grown since their humble beginnings, the Dr. Martens brand is still seen as a more casual shoe option. That being said, the 2976 is a solid choice of boots for dressing up or down and offers a distinct look unique to the classic Dr. Martens silhouette–it just might not be the best choice for a formal setting.
Bruno Marc is gaining notoriety for their affordable, quality shoes. This specific boot showcases the refined elements of the Chelsea boot without breaking the bank.
Bruno Marc’s boots have a durable elastic band, foam insoles, and slip resistant TPR (thermoplastic rubber) outsoles. TPR outsoles are known to be extremely sturdy, making them last longer and protect your feet better. It has a high heat and cold temperature tolerance. It’s also water-resistant, which makes it easier to clean. It is a heavier rubber, but this can be helpful if you are wanting a long-lasting shoe.
They come in a plethora of colors, allowing you to mix and match with your favorite outfits for any occasion. The suede used to craft the boots does require a bit of mindfulness, as you wouldn’t want to get them wet. However, the high-end quality and notable comfort these boots provide make it worth the effort. These boots would be an excellent choice for an inexpensive foray into designer shoes. If you’re looking to make a great impression, the Bruno Marc Chelsea Ankle Boots are the boot for you.
The Rambler is ARIAT’s take on the classic Chelsea boot. It has all the things we love about the timeless shoe along with everything that has made ARIAT the company they are today.
ARIAT was founded in 1993 by business school classmates Beth Cross and Pam Parker. They had a vision to utilize athletic footwear technology with equestrian riding boots. As a company they have a long standing reputation of being a quality shoe manufacturer, which has made them the largest equestrian shoe brand in the world. ARIAT has made their mark with horse enthusiasts and are a staple for farms and the outdoors.
Don’t let their reputation as an equestrian footwear brand deter you from considering their product. The Rambler is a top-notch boot. It is 100% imported leather, and has a pre-worn look that will add some edge to the rest of your ensemble. ARIAT boots all feature Advanced Torque Stability technology, which is exclusive to the ARIAT brand and helps provide stability and comfort to the wearer.
They are lightweight and waterproof, with moisture-wicking footbeds, and Duratread outsoles, which help keep you up on your feet and keep your boots on the ground for longer.
The Rambler is as stylish as it is tough, although it might not be the choice for formal attire. It is a must-have for someone wanting to look good while working hard.
Blundstone is an Australian company based out of Tasmania. They have been manufacturing quality boots since 1870 and are specifically known for their elastic-sided ankle boots. In fact, Blundstone has been manufacturing Chelsea boots almost as long as the style has existed! It’s fair to say they know how to make an excellent boot, but this doesn’t stop them from trying to improve their product and grow as a company.
The Blundstone Dress Series exemplifies the company’s efforts to refine their already top of the line boot. This boot has the iconic elastic goring and pull tabs we expect from Chelsea boots along with a water-resistant leather upper. Blundstone goes above and beyond expectations of standard boot by employing double stitching around the elastic, a durable TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) outsole, and a removable footbed.
The Dress Series also features the addition of a steel shank between the insole and outsole of the boot. Shanks are a narrow piece of metal, or other hard material, that serve to protect your foot and provide stability. They are known to help add arch support and maintain the boots shape. A steel shank will offer the wearer protection while allowing for the boot to remain light weight for a comfortable fit.
Blundstone Dress Series boots are exactly what you expect from a Chelsea. They are fashionable yet functional. They are a higher priced option, but you certainly get what you pay for.
If you’re attracted to the Dr. Martens signature look and need a more rugged boot that doesn’t compromise style, there is the Hardie Chelsea Boot. This low cut boot features durable stitching, moisture-wicking lining, slip resistant soles, and heavy weight leather.
The Hardie differs from the 2976 with its focus on functionality and durability. This boot is meant to withstand heavier use than the 2976 and can make a great fit for an active lifestyle. The Hardie is everything Dr. Martens stands for in terms of an edginess. This isn’t necessarily the boot to wear to work, but it will turn heads at the bar on the weekend.
Clarks shoes have a reputation of being an innovative company. They were born of brothers, Cyrus and James Clark, in 1825, with the construction of a sheepskin slipper. This slipper was unique, and the brothers went on to herald a new era of shoe manufacturing. Clarks are as innovative now as they were in the 1800s, employing new technologies coupled with time honored techniques.
The Paulson Up boot is an example of Clarks unique design qualities fusing with a timeless classic. These showcase the standard design markings of a Chelsea with a stretch-goring, and pull-on loops for easy entry. They come in both leather and suede, are moisture-wicking, and come with durable rubber soles.
Depending on the material, these boots would pair well with either formal or casual attire. No matter the occasion you would be dressed to impress with the Clarks Paulson Up.
Deer Stag has been in the business of manufacturing shoes since 1929. They pride themselves in the high quality, comfortable, and cost-effective footwear. They incorporate shock absorbing technology to make a dress shoe feel more like a sneaker.
Their Rockland is an affordable boot for those with expensive taste. Synthetic leather uppers allow for a fashionable look while remaining light and flexible. They also come with a memory foam insole built with Deer Stag’s own S.U.P.R.O. technology, which provides extra arch support, comfort, and shock absorption. Durable TPR outsoles give the boot extra life, while enhancing stability.
The Rockland also has moisture-wicking linings, which comes in handy during a long shift at work on your feet. These boots were made to be worn often and for long periods of time. When it comes to comfort, Deer Stag is a company that you can count on and the Rockland is a great example of their years of expertise.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Chelseas
Chelsea boots are timeless, there’s no reason they can’t remain in your wardrobe arsenal for a long time. Regardless of the material or how much you plan to spend on new boots, you’ll want to take care of them. Follow some of the advice below to get the most out of your Chelsea boots.
Purchase with Purpose
Decide when and where you’ll be wearing a pair of Chelsea boots. If you like the style and need a new pair of boots to wear when you go out to friends, you can’t go wrong with any of the boots on the list. However, if you’re looking for something to wear to an important event or an interview, you’ll want to stick with the more polished options.
If you’re planning to wear your Chelsea boots outdoors, go for a more rugged pair. Make sure you look for durable rubber outsoles made of TPU or TPR, these materials are designed for tough work.
Whether you’re a hardcore shoe connoisseur or not, there are some accessories you’ll want to consider. These items will help keep your feet feeling great and your Chelseas looking their best.
- Shoe Brush – A good shoe brush will be your go to for getting dirt off your boots. Brushes can also help buff out scuffs on your boots. You’ll want to look for one that is soft enough to avoid scratches to the material. Use a brush with hard bristles to clean the outsole of the boots.
- Suede Eraser – If you buy suede Chelseas, you’ll want to think about picking up a suede eraser. This tool will help you clean dirty as well as buff out tough stains.
- Shoe Trees – Shoe trees are wooden inserts that absorb moisture and keep your shoes from getting bent. They are traditionally made of wood and oftentimes cedar is used to help fight odor. Chelseas aren’t the most breathable boots in the world. A shoe tree might come in handy to help ward off unfavorable smells.
- Wax and Conditioner – When it comes to polishing your boots you have a few options. Wax is going to cover scruffs and give a shiny polished look. Conditioner is good for moisturizing your boots and keeping the leather from drying out. Wax and conditioner can be used together to give your boots a wondrous shine.
Exposure to the Elements
Even if you spend your days in an office with minimal UV rays, your Chelseas will be exposed to the elements. They are shoes after all.
Suede Chelseas give an edgy look but that doesn’t mean you want scruffs on the suede. Be conscious of the weather because rain and snow aren’t kind to suede.
Leather is more forgiving than suede, but it runs the risk of hardening and splitting when exposed to high heats. Try to keep your Chelseas away from direct heat sources for extended periods of time. You’ll also want to avoid getting leather boots waterlogged. This can cause damage to the inside lining of the boots.
Caked on dirt and grime is something you need to keep an eye out for. A buildup of grime can discolor or even warp the material of your Chelseas. Try to brush the dirt off your Chelseas as often as you can.
The list of Chelseas above provides examples of several brands that offer lifetime guarantees. Blundstone, and ARIAT both offer some form of warranty or quality assurance. Make sure you’re aware of any conditions that apply to those promises in order to act on any repairs or replacements in a timely manner.
We’ve laid out some excellent choices of boots for you. The great thing about Chelsea boots is whether you’re looking to find a dress shoe for day-to-day office wear, a rugged riding boot, or something casual that’s easily worn around town, you’ll be able to satisfy your need. Now the only hard part is choosing between them all.
Did any of our recommended Chelsea boots catch your eye? Which do you think best fits your style? Let us know in a comment below!