Chukka boots probably get their name from the chukka (or chukker), a
period of a polo game lasting a quarter of the total duration. The
mystery is what the link to the footwear is because the game is played
in knee-length riding boots, not ankle-highs. A theory is that they
were worn after the game, but in truth, nobody knows.
What we do know is that the chukka boot is now a footwear staple,
worn in both formal and casual settings. The original chukka was a
light brown and had two or three lace holes, the upper reaching the
ankle. Nowadays, the term is a lot looser and can mean a range of
ankle boots with no limit to the number of lace holes, and a choice of
colours. So how do you wear chukka boots? Let’s have a look.
What do you wear chukka boots with?
Because chukka boots can be formal or casual, they can be worn with
jeans, trousers or a suit. Generally, the khaki suede ones go best
with jeans, whereas polished black or brown leather chukkas have more
formal undertones. Just make sure the trouser leg isn’t narrow at the ankle.
The high ankle of the chukka
boot means you need to be careful when you choose the width of
your trousers or jeans. Too narrow and they’ll get bunched up at the
bottom as they won’t slide over the boots. Too loose and you could end
up adopting a kind of 1970s hippy look. The chukka will always lend
your outfit a smart edge, even if you’re quite informal, so always
keep your legwear long. Shorts don’t tend to work.
What are chukka boots used for?
In modern times, chukka boots are an everyday pair of ankle boots
that can be either formal or relaxed, but never completely laid-back.
In the past, they were used by soldiers in the North African campaign
to help keep the sand out while not being too heavy.
“Chukka boots” is an umbrella term for a wide range of styles, so
you can wear them on formal or semi-formal occasions, such as the American
Craft chukka; they can be casual, like the Adventure
2.0; or they can be active, like the Newmarket chukka.