Originally known as paddock boots, they gained popularity in 1960 when the Beatles wore them in the famous Chelsea scene. Since then, they’ve become a wardrobe must-have. They’re classic and always in style.
Before you go out and buy a new pair of Chelsea boots, consider the following our guide “How Should Chelsea Boots Fit” to avoid getting the wrong size.
What Is a Chelsea Boot?
The Chelsea boot is a style of footwear that can be traced back to the Victorian era. J. Sparkes Hall, Queen Victoria’s top bootmaker, created the boots.
They’re mostly made of leather or suede and come in two colors: black and brown. They have no laces and are designed to be easy to put on and take off thanks to elastic or vulcanized rubber around the ankles.
Paddock boots was their original name, but the current name is thought to have come from the boots’ popularity in the Chelsea area of London during the 1950s and 1960s.
How Should Chelsea Boots Fit?
1. The Heel
Cavalier chelsea boots on model Thursday
When determining the fit of your Chelsea boots, the first thing to consider is the snugness of the heel.
The fit of the heel is critical because the boots lack laces or any other tightening mechanism. The heel should be snug, with just enough room to prevent it from pressing into your foot.
This snug fit will keep the boots from slipping off as you walk around. You only need enough space to get your foot in without having to be too aggressive with the heel tab.
When the ankle opening is large enough for you to get your foot in, snug but still comfortable once you’ve put the boots on, you’ve found a good fit.
Remember that they will stretch a little as you break them in. However, if the boots are far too tight, you shouldn’t rely on the leather stretching. Wearing the same thing over and over again can only do so much.
The Toe Box
The toe box is the next thing to consider.
You want to strike a balance between snug and constricting, just like the heel. You want enough space for your toes to breathe, but not so much that the boots slide against your feet.
A good rule of thumb is to leave about a half-inch between your longest toe and the toe box. This should give your toes plenty of wiggle room while still keeping the boots at the proper level of tightness.
However, this is only a general guideline. It is acceptable to have up to an inch of space between your toes and the toe box. This will be determined by the unique shape of your foot and the overall fit of the boots.
The important thing is that your toes are comfortable and that the boots don’t slide around as you walk.
You can experiment with slightly more space for your toes as long as both of those criteria are met. Just be careful not to trip over your own feet as you walk.
You may have noticed a pattern here: the width of your Chelsea boots should be wide enough that your feet fit comfortably while also being snug enough that they don’t rub against your feet’s sides. We understand your surprise.
It’s important to remember that your feet can swell significantly throughout the day. Your feet become wider as you stand. This means that a perfectly fitting Chelsea boot in the morning can transform into a foot binding in the evening.
As a result, we strongly advise you to try on your boots near the end of the day. This will result in boots that actually accommodate your feet as they swell.
If you have to try them on in the morning, look for a pair that is a little wider than you need. Your feet should fill in the extra space as they widen.
Choosing the incorrect boot size is both uncomfortable and harmful to your health. Learn how to fit boots once and for all and get a Cinderella-like fit every time.
The vast majority of Chelsea boots lack built-in arch support. Fortunately, the vast majority of humans do not require arch support. Doesn’t it turn out beautifully?
Having said that, there are some situations in which arch supports are required. Those with flat feet or who are constantly on their feet for the majority of the day may require inserts. In these cases, you should reconsider how your Chelsea boots fit.
Tread Labs insoles have a solid plastic insert that provides far more support than any gel or foam product I’ve tried. Tread Labs is a must-have for anyone who has flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or simply wants more comfort from their boots because of the amount of customization available, from arch height to flexibility.
If you click on this link and make a purchase, we will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
The simplest way to ensure your arch supports fit into your Chelsea boots is to bring them with you when you try them on.
Insert the insert and evaluate the boots as you would normally. This is the simplest way to ensure that your boots and inserts fit properly.
However, if you already have a perfect-fitting pair of Chelsea boots and want to add an insert, you should look for a slim arch support. There are numerous options on the market that are specifically designed to avoid changing the way your boots fit.
Now that we’ve established how your Chelsea boots should fit, let’s focus on your socks. It’s critical that the socks you wear when trying on Chelsea boots are the same thickness as the socks you intend to wear with them.
It makes no difference what socks you wear when trying on Chelsea boots as long as they match what you intend to wear the majority of the time. Socks that are too thick or too thin will influence how you evaluate the fit of your boots.
If you wear thick winter socks for the fitting, you may end up with boots that are too big for your feet in the spring. Wearing extremely thin socks, on the other hand, may result in boots that are too tight when you switch back to your normal socks.
Tips to Choose a Fit Chelsea Boot
- Your shoe should have at least three eyelets, one on each side and two on the back.
- When putting on your shoes, you’ll need a shoehorn.
- Check that you’re putting your shoe on the right foot first.
- Shine your boots with a rag or towel.
- Before purchasing a shoe, always try it on with the type of sock you intend to wear.
- Because they are mostly casual footwear, they should not be worn with business attire after dark.
- If you decide to wear tights, make sure they are not too tight because this can cause a blister to form under your boot.
- When putting on shoes, always bend from the ankles rather than the knees.
Can You Tighten Chelsea Boots?
Chelsea boots are fantastic. If you enjoy wearing Chelsea boots, you’ll want them to stay tight and in good condition for as long as possible. While we don’t recommend doing anything drastic, we have compiled a list of tips for tightening up your Chelsea boots so they don’t look sloppy or come undone after a few wears.
You’ll want to:
- Find out how many eyelets your boot has and where they are.
- Place the shoe on the correct foot and tighten the eyelets that require it first before moving on to those that don’t.
- When putting on your Chelsea boot, always use a shoehorn.
- Check the rubber at the heel on a regular basis to ensure your heel is not coming out of place, which can make your boot look sloppy.
- Instead of using soap or anything that can stain them, just wipe them down with a damp cloth every now and then.
- If you’re going to wear them with a suit, make sure to polish them after each use.
- If you have a version of the boot with a metal plate inside, you should use a leather conditioner after wearing them for a few days.
Finding the perfect pair of Chelsea boots is similar to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You want them to be just right, not too tight or too loose.
The heel should have some traction to prevent the boots from slipping off your feet. The rest of the boot should gently hug your foot.
When trying on Chelsea boots, wear the same socks you intend to wear with the boots on a regular basis. Bring arch supports with you when trying on boots if you need them.