If you’re considering the best casual boots to add to your cool weather rotations, chukka boots might just be the style for you. With autumn on its way, it pays to invest in the best as the temperature dips and the chukka is the best way to future-proof your wardrobe with easy, classic, and versatile appeal.
Chukka boots are the staple footwear choice for men because they balance casual style with timeless elegance meaning they’re the ultimate starting to point to every oven-ready outfit. They make the ideal pairing for casual outfits, yet they can easily be dressed-up for a distinguished sign-off to smart ensembles too, meaning next-to no effort is required for prepping your next outfit.
You’d be forgiven if you’ve let your personal style slide over the last year but fortunately for you, we’ve put together a guide on how to wear chukka boots, so whether you’re pondering what shoes to wear back to work, or you want to crack the smart casual dress code you might want to keep scrolling.
What are chukka boots?
The chukka boot is a simple, low-cut ankle boot that is made from three main pieces of leather, with either two or three pairs of eyelets for the laces and a thin sole. Chukka boots are usually crafted with soft leathers like suede or nubuck, giving them the dressed down appearance that they’re known for.
The history of the chukka boot
Chukka boots originated in India and were created by British Army units who played polo, it's thought that their name was coined after the chukka, which is a seven and a half minute playing period of the game. After visiting India, the Duke of Windsor brought a pair back to Britain and they soon became a staple of his wardrobe.
What’s the difference between a chukka boot and a desert boot?
In short, the desert boot is a form of chukka boot. Chukkas tend to have a thin sole, whereas a desert boot tends to have a thicker crepe sole and are less formal than a traditional pair of chukka boots.
In WWII, the chukka became a standard issue boot for British Army soldiers in the desert campaign, known as desert boots, they had a crepe rubber sole instead of the traditional leather sole that chukkas had.
Can I wear chukka boots with a suit?
Wearing chukka boots with suits is the perfect way to tone down the formalities of tailoring, maybe you have a country wedding to attend, or you’re stuck with how to perfect the new smart casual dress code for the office.
To start with, pay attention to the colour of your chukka boots as this will be vital for complementing your suit, for navy suits go for a light tan pair in suede for the summer months, or go for a dark brown nubuck leather for the winter months.
The fit of your tailoring is key when it comes to wearing your chukkas with a suit, so focus on a shorter hem and a slimmer (not skinny) leg, because your boots will sit at your ankle, you’ll want to ensure that your trousers sit just above your boots, otherwise it will cause your trousers to bunch.
For a more laid-back approach, abandon your shirt and tie and opt for a light knitted roll-neck jumper and coordinate the look with the matching jacket to your trousers.
How to wear chukka boots with jeans
Wearing your chukka boots for a casual look is easy, and these boots are great to wear with jeans. For an instant outfit, team lighter colour suedes with blue denim jeans, throw on a white polo a light cashmere sweater and finish with a bomber jacket for a cool sign-off.
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the length of your jeans, if your boots are causing the legs of your jeans to ruck up add a little turn up. For an eccentric finish, throw on a pair of your boldest socks.
Can you wear chukka boots in the summer?
Boots in summer? It may seem an unlikely pairing, but chukka boots are the most adaptable form of footwear for a gent’s wardrobe, especially in the warmer months. As we know, the chukka boot originated in India as they were light enough to withstand higher temperature, so you can put your trust in a pair of chukkas to step you through the Great British summer with ease (plus they’ll perfectly adaptable should the unpredictable summer downpours strike).
The golden rule with wearing chukka boots in the summer is to forgo socks, at least no visible ankle socks and opt for classic tones like navy, tans, or browns.
Off the clock, you can wear your chukkas with linen shorts and a simple buttoned-down shirt, and should you need an office-friendly look for the heatwave they’ll look just as good with checked tailored trousers and a polo shirt.
Are chukka boots good for winter?
It’s vital to pay attention to what your chukkas are made from, water and suede do not mix, so opt for a hardy pair made from oiled or pull-up leather instead.
For a season appropriate look, go for darker hues like a deep chocolate brown or navy, these colours will be the winning formula for a capsule winter wardrobe that will stand you in good stead for the season ahead. Wear with your workwear tailoring or your off-duty denims and coordinate with a wool-tweed overcoat.