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History of the Chelsea Boot

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Is there any consensus on the history of the Chelsea boot? I ask because I had always assumed it came from, well, Chelsea, but today I received the latest Ludwig Reiter catalog and on the first noncover page of the yellow (history of the firm) book there's an image that looks just like a Chelsea boot. Written over the vamp is "the original military boot in the parade uniform of the imperial officer corps." Well, not those exact words, but their German equivalents*.

Does island use of this boot predate central European use, or vice versa?

*I translated "Ausgeh-Uniform" as "parade uniform", though that might be wrong. I'm much more comfortable with my use of "imperial" for "k.u.k.", though a stickler might want it literal.
post #2 of 14
The name "Chelsea" applied to these boots is recorded in the OED from the 1960s (when they were also called, I believe, Beatles boots). Elastic-sided boots were certainly in use in the 19th century and known as Jemimas. Late in the 19th century they were used by the New South Wales Cavalry, but I can shed no light on their origins.

Aus_MD
post #3 of 14
Indeed elasticated boots were very popular since their invention 1837. They were worn by women and men alike. They were also widely used in the military, especially in the cavalry. Ludwig Reiter became famous with producing so called "Zugstiefeletten" (draw ankle boots - Chelsea boots) for the Austrian Imperial Gendarmerie. On the invention of the elastic-sided boots:
Quote:
Charles Goodyear's discovery of vulcanised rubber enabled Sparkes-Hall, bootmaker to Queen Victoria in 1837 to invent the elastic gusset boot. The advantage of elasticated boots meant they could be easily removed and put on again which appealed to busier and more demanding life style of Victorian women. Although there were several teething problems by the late 1840's the fashion began to catch on. This became a prominent style in the West until the onset of World War One.
http://podiatry.curtin.edu.au/boot.html
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Torque! So the "Chelsea" boot is really just a vintage milsurp (or reissue) Royal Army boot (with basic design used by most if not all armies in Europe) that mods happened to start wearing on the streets of London? For some reason I thought elastic was a much more recent invention.
post #5 of 14
Are belted or laces Chelseas not accurate, then?
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
Are belted or laces Chelseas not accurate, then?
Not inaccurate, just not Chelseas. With a buckle is usually a jodhpur and with laces has its history as dress- rather than sportwear.
post #7 of 14
I'm kind of surprised. I would have expected elastic gore to be a liability in combat or anything else strenuously active.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
I'm kind of surprised. I would have expected elastic gore to be a liability in combat or anything else strenuously active.
I haven't ridden a horse in about fifteen years, but at least one woman I know who rides extensively wears Chelseas. I wouldn't trust them for lots of walking with lots of weight, but they seem to do well for the cavalry.
post #9 of 14
Which also strikes me as odd. I would've expected jodhpurs to be favored by all people on horses. I take it you wouldn't wear chelseas to a fight, then?
post #10 of 14
The people I see wearing chelsea boots at the barn generally don’t ride in them. They are just convenient to get in and out of when changing into English-style riding boots. Lace-up ankle boots with chaps are also popular. No jodhpurs, no chelseas for riding.
post #11 of 14
Sorry, double post.
post #12 of 14
I'd take Fritz' word over mine, esp. since the young lady I mentioned is in Germany. We've progressed a bit in the technology we use now:



but tankers' boots are much cooler:

post #13 of 14
In the movie "all quiet on the western front" which was filmed about 15 years after wwi ended (and so I believe is probrably very accurate) there is a pair of boots that passes from guy to guy as members of ain infrantry platoon are killed. they look like cowboy boots with neither straps nor laces. they must have been very uncomfortable to wear.

by the way, one of the best war movies ever.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
I haven't ridden a horse in about fifteen years, but at least one woman I know who rides extensively wears Chelseas. I wouldn't trust them for lots of walking with lots of weight, but they seem to do well for the cavalry.


One 19th C. cavalry trooper wrote:

Quote:
... while the boots were elastic sided "Jemimas" - handy for getting on quickly but hopeless for field use."

Chelsea boots are popular amongst Australian stockmen (cowboys), and the most well known Australian bootmaker (RM Williams) began his business by making Chelseas.

Aus_MD
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