Shoe style: Chukkas and Desert Boots

Best Chukkas & Desert Boots

For a few weeks, I thought I’d lost one of my Desert Boots—I couldn’t find it anywhere! How does one shoe go missing?! I was really upset about it: they’re such a staple. As it turns out, Skyler likes to try on my shoes and move them around the house—squirreling them away for winter, perhaps.

Still, when I thought they were gone I found myself looking around to see if I’d choose the same pair. There’s a lot of variety in the Chukka category, if sometimes subtle.

Actually, I say “category” because, in my research, I learned that there are some technical distinctions when it comes to defining a Chukka: (1) two or three open lacing eyelets (2) rounded toebox (3) ankle boots.

Traditionally the soles were made of leather, not rubber, and it’s the rubber that makes a Chukka a “Desert Boot.” According the The Gentleman’s Gazette, Desert Boots came about when one of the Clark boys spotted the variation with a crepe rubber sole in Myanmar during his deployment. The lightweight boot with a good grip was designed to be worn by soldiers in Egypt’s desert terrain. Ironically, it was the counter-culture beatniks who first made them popular in America.

Whatever your inspiration, these are seven options for wearing today:

Vans Geo Wool Rhea SF | Suede Original Hobe | H&M Desert Boots | The Classic, Clark’s Desert Boot | Wedge Desert Boot | Minnetonka Ankle Boot | Macalister Fringe Boots


P.S. I have the Clark’s Original Boot in Bushacre, as worn in Monterey and Yosemite.

[Additional Image sources: Top: B&W (Clark’s) | Clark’s in Beeswax, with cuffed denim | Chukkas and plaid // Bottom: Marshall Matlock and pair of the Original Hobe in Camel]

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