A lace-less boot?
Chelsea boots weren’t conceived as stylish attire, although a popular fashion icon today, but rather as a pragmatic boot. The original Chelsea boot was characterised by its ankle height, rounded toes and low heel, however it was the elasticated sides that differentiated the boot from its predecessors. The design would not have been possible without Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanised rubber. This new material enabled the development of elastic gussets, subsequently removing the need for laces and making it easier to pull the boot on and off.
THE PADDOCK STYLE
The notion of a lace-less boot came around in 1837, by which time Queen Victoria had become increasingly frustrated with her shoe laces getting caught in her riding stirrups. It was J. Sparks-Hall, cobbler of House of Queen Victoria, who was commissioned to design the lace-less boot. The elastic sides allowed for the boot to be pulled on and off with ease therefore making it popular in the paddock. It was equipped with a loop on the heel to ease this process. Moreover, the Chelsea boot sat perfectly under jodhpurs, and soon became known as the ‘paddock boot’.