Chukka boots are a must-have boot style that continue to be a fashion trend for men. This classic and stylish footwear is an essential wardrobe piece every guy should have in their closet. Whether you have a pair of suede or leather chukka boots, there are many different ways to style these shoes. Great for casual and smart casual outfits, you can wear your chukkas with jeans and a t-shirt for a relaxed look or combine black skinny jeans with a button-down shirt and blazer for a semi-formal style. With a range of ensembles, it can be a challenge knowing what to wear with chukkas. To help you create the perfect look, we’ll show you how to wear chukka boots the right way.
What Are Chukka Boots?
Chukka boots are a classic type of ankle boot featuring two or three eyelets. Chukka boots have been around for a while, but they exploded in popularity in the 1940s. While several variations exist, classic chukka boots are ankle-length, made of leather or suede, and come with two or a maximum of three pairs of eyelets. You can find chukkas in a range of colors and cuts.
The term “chukka” is pronounced chuck-uh. Chukkas are a staple in men’s footwear and are particularly beloved in the United Kingdom.
How To Wear Chukka Boots
Chukka boots can be worn with suits for a more business-like look, but keep in mind that this is a casual shoe. It’s not recommended to wear it for formal occasions. However, it’s an excellent choice for everyday life or less solemn events. The good news is that chukka boots are versatile, so you can dress them up or down.
For a comfortable yet stylish casual look, guys should pair chukka boots with blue jeans and a fitted white T-shirt. White is a classic choice, but any color shirt will style nicely with jeans and chukkas. Teenage guys and young men should invest in a quality pair of chukka boots to help elevate their casual outfits, and can find style inspiration at Top Trends Guide. Stay away from graphic tees since they work best with sneakers and will clash with these shoes. For outerwear, denim and leather jackets work well for a fashionable finish.
Smart Casual Outfits
Chukka boots are perfect for smart casual outfits. Pair them with a button-down shirt or a sweater and dark denim jeans or chinos. As a general rule, we recommend you avoid matching the color of the boots and your pants too closely, instead opting for contrast. Combine dark-colored boots with light pants and vice-versa.
Business Casual Outfits
If you’re dressing up for a business meeting or a long day at the office, pair chukka boots with khakis and a blazer. You’ll still feel comfortable but the blazer will elevate your ensemble.
When you want to come across as a bit of a daredevil, wear chukka boots with a suit as long as you get a model with leather soles. Desert boots and suits don’t match. Also, this look is recommended for more relaxed offices and events. If you’re getting ready for a formal occasion, reach for a dressy shoe.
Leather Chukka Boots
Any man serious about building an enviable wardrobe should own a pair of leather chukka boots. They’re an investment, but they’re posh and durable. As we’ve mentioned, you can get away with wearing them with fancier outfits and even a suit – unlike their suede counterparts. Get yours in a neutral color like black or brown. That way, you have more options when building outfits.
Suede Chukka Boots
On the other hand, suede chukka boots are the ultimate casual wear. They effortlessly elevate any outfit and match with almost anything you already have in your closet. Unlike most boots, you can even wear them during summer. Desert boots got their name for a reason. If you want a classic shoe that will help you achieve a laid-back, chic look with minimal effort, suede chukka boots are a must.
How To Lace Chukka Boots
If your chukka boots come with three pairs of eyelets, they should be straight-laced to maintain the overall elegance of the outfit. For chukka boots with only two pairs of eyelets, consider a cross-laced style to add a playful detail to your ensemble. According to the iconic brand Timberland, your boots should be laced up to be snug and fit, but not so tight that you feel discomfort around the ankle or foot.
How To Clean Chukka Boots
Learning how to properly care for your chukka boots is the first step towards making sure they will last you for years to come. First off, we recommend stuffing them with newspaper when you’re not wearing them so they can maintain their shape for longer.
As for how to clean them, it depends on the material. Don’t throw them in your washing machine and hope for the best. Instead, brush your suede chukka boots with a soft-bristle brush to get rid of surface dirt. It’s also a good idea to apply a waterproofing stain-repellent spray to keep them safe from rain and other unwelcome substances. If your boots get wet, let them dry naturally to avoid uneven stains. When a stain happens, get rid of it with a suede eraser for best results.
If we’re talking leather chukka boots, keep them in top-notch shape by brushing off any dirt (like mud) and then applying leather cleaner with a soft cloth. You can find it at most stores. Using a leather protector spray is also a good idea. Just don’t forget to keep polish handy to give your shoes an extra shine once in a while.
For visual learners, consult this YouTube tutorial to see the care and maintenance process.
Chukka vs Desert Boots
While these two types of shoes are similar, desert boots are a subset of chukka boots. In other words, all desert boots are chukka boots, but not all chukka boots are desert boots.
Desert boots became trendy after World War II, when they were worn by British soldiers in the Western Desert Campaign. They feature the traditional chukka design – angle-length laces that tie up close to the ankle to better keep out sand – but combine it with a crepe rubber sole, which used to offer soldiers better traction while they were walking in the desert.
Consequently, you can differentiate chukka boots from desert boots by looking at the sole. Classic chukka boots tend to have a thin leather sole, while desert boots boast a thicker rubber sole. Desert boots are typically made from suede and come in a sand color.