Chukkas are a classic boot with origins that date back to the 20s. The ankle-high unlined leather boots generally have two or three pairs of eyelets for laces with a rounded toe. They have become a timeless staple in men’s fashion due to their versatility. Chukkas are multi-purpose in look, yet rugged enough to last a long time.
Similar to the Peacoat’s military origins, chukka boots were originally worn by British forces in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. Clarks Desert Boots gave the rise to the widespread popularity of the chukka. Though all desert boots are chukka boots, not all chukka boots are desert boots. The desert boot is merely a type of chukka. Many say the name “chukka” is thought to come from the game of polo, which has periods referred to as “chukkas” or “chukker.”
Now, chukkas come in a variety of fabrics and are suitable for work or casual occasions. The soles of the chukka typically determine what type of occasion the boot can be worn for. The thinner the soles, the dressier the boots. The more casual desert boots, like Clarks, often have thicker soles and more rugged stitching.
Just as many different fabrics are used, chukkas are found in almost every color imaginable. Chukkas are said to be making a comeback in men’s fashion. However, one can argue that they never really went anywhere as they have been a go-to shoe since Nathan Clark spun off the simple military shoe for the common man.