What Are Chukka Boots?

Cropped feet view of model wearing Men's Navi Boot in Black leather shown.

Whether you’re a real shoe buff or just have a casual appreciation of stylish footwear, you’ve probably admired the fashionable makings of a chukka boot. 

Yet, apart from what the eye can see, one mystery remains to be solved: What are chukka boots, exactly? In short, they’re ankle-length boots, with a similar look to a chelsea boot, but typically with just two or three sets of eyelets, that are a closet must-have.

But what separates these boots from other men’s shoes and what are they best used for? If you’re curious to know more about what makes them a staple for any modern man’s wardrobe, keep reading—we’ll break down the anatomy of chukka boots, what sets them apart, and how versatile this shoe can truly be.

Anatomy of a Chukka Boot

What are chukkas made of, exactly, that make them such a comfortable fit? Let’s break down their components to get a clear picture of what truly defines a chukka boot.

Model wearing the Men's Chukka Boot in Peanut Brown shown.

While the specifics may vary from foot to foot, according to one shoe historian, these are among the features of a traditional chukka boot:

  • Soles – These were traditionally made of thin leather, but with the demands that shoppers put on comfort features, you'll find durable rubber compounds that cushion, provide comfort and wear well.
  • Materials – Apart from the soles, the rest of the shoe is traditionally made from calfskin suede. Modern iterations have adapted the shoe to include various other materials, including men's waterproof boot options and styles made from fabrics.
  • Laces – A chukka boot’s laces typically include two to three eyelets, as well as open lacing, giving the shoe some added flexibility.
  • Lining – Historically, chukka boots were unlined, a feature that may have aided in their lightweight construction and comfort in warmer desert climates. Today’s chukkas offer various options for both lined and unlined boots.
  • Toes – The toe box of chukkas was traditionally rounded, though today you can find chukkas with toe boxes in multiple styles.
  • Height – Perhaps one of the most trademark elements of the chukka boot is that their height hits at the ankle. Higher than a formal shoe, but lower than a tall boot, this height provides a comfortable combination of support and flexibility.

All of these elements nod to their traditional use in a desert climate, offering support, comfort, flexibility, and durability—and, lucky for those of us who came after, an endless amount of style.

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How to Wear Chukka Boots: Footwear for Any Occasion 

Not sure how to wear chukka boots? Well, for decades, chukka boots have been embraced as a style that can complement everything from chinos to a three-piece suit. Today, chukkas continue to be viewed as an exceptional shoe choice.

  • Casual outfits – If you’re looking for the perfect accompaniment to a casual outfit, chukka boots are up to the challenge. Pair them with slim-fitting jeans and t-shirt for an effortless, everyday look, or with chinos and a sweater for a business casual fit. 
  • Formal affairs – The next time you need to complete a look for a formal affair, consider looking beyond the traditional Oxford or Derby shoes in favor of something a bit more unique. Lace up in a pair of leather chukka boots for a sharp-looking compliment to just about any suit. 
  • Four-season footwear – Whether you’re wearing them on a daily basis or for a posh night out, perhaps what makes chukka boots so appealing is their versatility for nearly every season. Over time, the style has evolved to include different materials and constructions, including modifications to make the shoe waterproof, washable, and even more supportive. Some chukkas even have added treads for greater traction, meaning they’ll be an ideal fit regardless of whether you intend to wear them on a sunny summer hike or through the slushy streets in wintertime. 

If you’re considering a pair of chukkas but aren’t quite sure how to pair them, it’s easy to get started. Simply work them into your wardrobe when you’re looking for a more stylish option for casual outfits or a more comfortable, flexible choice for dressier occasions.

Cropped feet view of model wearing the Men's Chukka Boot in Brushwood Brown shown.

Why Choose TOMS For Your Next Pair of Chukka Boots

In addition to the classic components that make chukka boots so fantastic, TOMS Chukka Boots take things a step further by including:

  • Serrated tread for enhanced traction and durability
  • Moc toe stitching
  • Removable insoles for long-term cushioning and support

Bonus? They look so good. 

TOMS: Shoes for Every Adventure

When shopping for men’s boots, it might be challenging to find a shoe that offers style while also giving you all the practicalities and comfort of a sneaker. And with some shoes, when it comes to achieving both the look and feel you desire, you might find yourself having to choose one or the other. If you’re nodding your head, we know you’re going to love TOMS Chukka Boots.

At TOMS, we make shoes for moving forward. That’s why our chukka boots are designed with waterproof construction and serrated treads, giving you all the grip and comfort you need when you’re on the go—all while stepping out as your most stylish self.

Wondering how to tie boots in multiple ways? Check out our latest blog on ways to spruce up your chukka boots in our latest blog today!

Sources: 

The Rake. Style 101: The Chukka Boot.

https://therake.com/stories/style/style-101-the-chukka-boot/

GQ. Dropping Knowledge: The Desert Boot.

https://www.gq.com/story/dropping-knowledge-the-desert-boot

Gentleman’s Gazette. The Chukka Boots Guide.

https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/the-chukka-boots-guide/

Reviewed By Dan Caves

Dan Caves is the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at TOMS and has been operating in the digital space for 6 years, writing about the latest trends or styles and helping brands make bold statements with innovative tactics and creative concepts. He's determined to go all the places, see all the things, and pet all the dogs.