With winter fast approaching, it's time to break out that cold-weather gear and stay bundled-up against the elements. You may be wondering – will my favorite pair of Chelsea boots do the trick this snowy season? And for that matter, how will they hold up in other inclement weather, like rain? We researched so you can keep your feet dry and your boots looking good as new.
Although Chelsea boots will keep you dry during brief exposures to rain or snow, they are not ideal for prolonged winter usage because they are most often made of suede or leather – neither of which are completely waterproof. Likewise, the ankle-height and elastic sides don't offer as much protection as a pair of waterproof winter boots. That being said, there are options out there for people who want the look of Chelsea boots with a little more durability when they need it. Here are some things to consider:
- Boots with a rubber sole and taller profile will be more practical in every season.
- Waterproofing a pair of leather Chelsea boots is possible – and easy!
- Chelsea boots come in different styles that are appropriate for different occasions.
The versatility that Chelsea boots offer is one of the many reasons we love them. Keep reading to find the perfect Chelsea boot to fit your style – and lifestyle!
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What Are They Called Chelsea Boots?
This unmistakable style of boot is known for having a low heel, an elastic panel on the side in place of laces, and often a loop on the back of the cuff to make pulling them on a breeze. They are always ankle-height and sit snug around the toes, making them a versatile and comfortable option for anyone.
A Little History
Although the style was invented in the Victorian Era (literally by Queen Victoria's shoemaker, J. Sparks-Hall), Chelsea boots came into widespread popularity in 1950s and 60s in West London – the Chelsea area to be exact. The Chelsea boot's namesake is a district of London famous for housing young, up-and-coming artists and fashionable elites who often donned the shoe style in its heyday. Seventy years later, the name has stuck, and the Chelsea boot remains a fashionable, hip footwear option for men and women alike.
Are Chelsea Boots Good For Snow?
Whether or not you should brave the snow in your Chelsea boots depends on the particular pair. Although the silhouette of a Chelsea boot is distinct, there is actually quite a bit of variation between brands, styles, and materials – and that makes all the difference when deciding if your footwear can handle the great outdoors.
To make sure your boots fit comfortably, check out our in-depth guide to finding your boot size.
Durable Chelsea Boots
Styles that sit higher and tighter on the ankle and have rubber soles will always fare better in wet or icy conditions. Brands like Doc Marten and Blundstone offer boots that are made of long-lasting oiled (or even waterproof) leather and built to handle inclement conditions. Although you may not want to trek through the tundra in them, this type of Chelsea boot can undoubtedly handle a few inches of snow or a walk in the rain.
Fashion Chelsea Boots
These are great for upgrading your wardrobe during the fall or spring but don't expect to get very far in the wintertime while wearing a pair of Chelsea boots meant for being fashionable rather than practical. Wooden soles will ensure that you slip and slide on icy roads, and a low/wide ankle will allow snow and rain to accumulate inside the shoe – not to mention how cold your exposed ankles will get. Chelsea boots in this style will sometimes come in suede, which is a big no-no for anyone expecting to cross a few puddles.
If you're not worried about the weather, click here to see these women's suede Chelsea boots on Amazon.
Can I Waterproof My Boots?
Although a pair of durable leather Chelsea boots will offer slight protection against rain and snow, it's not a good idea to consistently expose them to water without taking the proper precautions. Leather is a natural fiber, meaning it will dry out, crack, and fade over time if you continuously get them wet.
If you want to extend the lifespan of your boots, waterproofing is a good idea. We researched the two most common methods of waterproofing leather boots so you can keep your favorite pair looking fresh after years of wear and tear.
Using a silicone spray is the fastest and cheapest way of waterproofing leather boots. Just wipe them down to get rid of dirt and smudges, apply a few thin layers of the spray, and let them thoroughly dry before wearing. This will offer a few weeks of protection – just make sure the silicone spray you choose is made for the right material.
Boot wax is our preferred method of waterproofing Chelsea boots because of how long it lasts – plus, a little goes a long way. The process is slightly more intensive, but it's totally worth it for the months of waterproof protection wax provides.
To achieve waterproofing via boot wax, you'll need to remove any dirt and smudges from the leather and then dip a soft rag into your wax of choice. Rub the wax in a thin layer over the surface of your boot, being careful to cover every inch. Let dry and enjoy your newly waterproofed boots.
How To Style Chelsea Boots?
We now know that Chelsea boots come in myriad styles, colors, and materials – so let's talk about which boots are best suited for particular atmospheres and occasions so you can find a pair that perfectly meets your needs.
Durable Chelsea boots will last you through the winter and add a hipster vibe to your wardrobe. We don't advise wearing a pair like this to a formal event, but for a trip to the coffee shop on a cold day, pair your Chelseas with chunky knits and loose, cropped silhouettes for an effortlessly cool look.
If grunge is more your style, Chelsea boots couple wonderfully with black skinny jeans or faux leather pants (as pictured above). The key here is to make sure the hem of your pants hits your ankle above the boot – the cuffs shouldn't lay over the tops of your shoes. While it works well for other types of shoes, long pants will hide your Chelsea's sleek silhouette and look sloppy.
A suede boot with a slight heel (think one inch) can act as the perfect transition shoe for fall. Dress up your favorite sundress with a leather jacket and a pair of Chelseas like the ones pictured above – not only will it make a feminine outfit infinitely edgier, but your summer wardrobe will get more uses throughout the year when paired with these cozy accessories.
Now, if you're wondering are Chelsea boots formal, the answer right surprise you. The right pair of Chelsea boots can (and should!) be worn on formal occasions like holidays and dinner parties. A sleek pair in brown or black leather coupled with tailored slacks and a button-up shirt will ensure you make a good impression.
Check out our best suggestions for evening shoes if you're looking for more formal footwear.
Can You Wear Chelsea Boots To An Interview?
If styled correctly, you can absolutely wear Chelsea boots to an interview. For men, your nicest pair of Chelseas will complement a dapper suit perfectly, so long as your suit pants are well-tailored and the hem doesn't fall too low. For anyone looking for a feminine edge, try a high-heeled pair of Chelsea boots. They will elongate your legs and give you a vote of confidence while securing that new position.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
There's no denying that Chelsea boots are some of the most versatile footwear options out there. If you want to brave the rain or snow, remember to look for a durable pair that have higher/tighter cuffs and rubber soles – you'll thank us later. We even suggest owning multiple pairs of Chelseas in different styles to guarantee you'll have shoes to fit any occasion. Happy trails!