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February 15, 2019 2 min read

The Iconic‘Chukka Boot’

What makes this specific ‘Chukka boot’ different from any other ‘Chukka boot’and how did it get its iconic name? Here’s everything you need to know about the famous ‘Chukka boot’.

What inspired the classic desert boot

The ‘chukka boot’, as well as many other shoe brands, was inspired by the likes of military and sports. Instead of having originated from Britain, the ‘chukka’ came to be by observing the off-duty soldiers in India, who also happened to be British. According to popular speculation, the chukka boot got its name due to a common British sport – known as ‘Polo’. A ‘chukker’ was a term coined to refer to the 7-minute period of play; the average game of polo is made up of 6 chukkers – making the game an average of 42 minutes.

Another factor which influenced the name of this the chukka boot, was based on the similarity of the design of the boots worn by the polo players themselves; making the name just that much more fitting.

How to distinguish between a regular boot and a chukka boot

When distinguishing between a ‘regular boot’ and a ‘chukka boot’ there is often a lot of confusion. The main underlying difference between the two lies in the material of the sole of the shoe – which is adapted according to the desired terrain. A ‘regular boot’ has a rubber sole; more suitable to the ‘desert’ terrain. On the other hand, the ‘chukka boot’ has a leather sole, which is less practical, however, is more of a fashion statement.

The second element of design, a prominent feature of the ‘chukka boot’, involves the shape of the shoe. In order to be classified as this specific type of boot, the shoe must be ankle-height.

The third and last classifier involves the number of eyelets. Unlike other boots, the ‘chukka boot’ has fewer eyelet – 2 to 3 to be exact. Despite the material, if the boot consists of all three features, it can be officially be classified as a ‘chukka boot’.

A regular boot is chukka boot but not vice versa... say what!

Any ‘regular boot’ can be regarded as a ‘chukka boot’ but not all chukka boots can be regular boots, this is where the majority of the confusion comes in. Despite the minor differences, the two variations of boots are very much still a favored item in the world of fashion today. Both ‘boots’ have British roots, however, after being observed in India, the ‘chukka boot’ made its way back to the west and soon after, the migration continued across to North America. Now a global phenomenon, ‘chukka’ and ‘regular’ boots are in high demand and constantly available in different styles and designs.

It is important to remember which shoe spawned the category of the ‘regular boot’, and as a result; the ‘chukka boot’. Veldskoen shoes, aka the ‘field shoes’, predate the introduction of the famous Clarks 'boot’ and in 2018 they made a major come back; reinventing and reimagining the legendary icon.

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