The Black Chelsea Boot is quite possibly the most versatile pair of boots produced today, and with versatility comes popularity. The black Chelsea has fans ranging from youthful fans of Rock and Roll to business professionals as well as male fashion enthusiasts (YSL’s I’m looking at you).
The Chelsea Boot has a rich heritage and has been around for nearly two centuries. Patented in 1851 by Queen Victoria’s personal shoemaker J. Sparkes-Hall, the Chelsea boot has a signature elastic siding, resulting in a shoe that has no eyelets, nor laces. This results in a boot that is easily removed and slipped into. This attribute leads later to its popularity as an equestrian, as well as a daily walking boot.
The lack of eyelets and laces also provides a sleek appearance, and Chelsea boots often mimic the narrow vamp of a dress shoe, making high-quality Chelsea’s a popular choice amongst dress boots, and complement both business casual, as well as formal wear exceptionally well.
While Chelsea boots come in a variety of colors, the most traditional and popular color choice is obvious, black. Black Chelsea’s appear polished, and more classic than their less popular brown cousins.
While traditionally black Chelsea boots are most commonly found in polished calfskin leather, which leads to their signature luster and shine, Suede, or the napped split layer of leather is an extremely practical option that has numerous advantages.
First and foremost owning a pair of black suede Chelsea boots will distinguish your pair of Chelsea’s from the crowd while staying true to their classic design and color combination. In displaying the napped layer of leather your boots will be textually interesting in a way that is unique but pleasant.
Suede is also commonly thought of as a more casual material, compared to the high gloss of calfskin leather, and depending on your intentions may be preferred if you are wearing your boots in a more casual setting than say, a business meeting. The napped appearance of black suede textually looks much more appropriate than the shine of calfskin when worn with dark jeans, and an ocbd, or a flannel shirt, and will be sure to draw compliments at your local tavern, concert, or date.
Suede is also a lighter material, as the split layer is significantly thinner than the grain layer used in producing full-grain calfskin leather, and provides for a lighter more breathable material, more suitable for warm weather days. This plays well to the characteristics of suede as warm weather days are truly where suede shines, primarily due to its water intolerance, which may be a problem during the colder wetter months.
A final advantage is the price point. While calfskin full-grain leather comes with its own sets of advantages, suede wins more times than not in terms of price, while still providing a high-quality leather product you can be proud of.
While every boot has its advantages and disadvantages, owning a pair of black suede Chelsea boots will be a tremendous asset to your wardrobe, and can act as your primary pair of casual men’s boots for daily wear. They are tremendously versatile, practical, and rich in heritage and history, having been worn by British and Rock and Roll royalty alike.