Slip on, slip off… easy go! It is the Chelsea boots, probably not your first choice to impress but the first to stay comfy and get ready in a snap.
These shoes take their name from Chelsea, a trendy Londoner area between the ’50s and the ’60s.
We are going to travel the world to discover 10 brands making Chelsea boots similar to Blundstone.
- 1. Dr. Martens
- 2. Keen Boots
- 3. Red Wing Shoes Boots
- 4. R.M. Williams
- 5. Nisolo
- 6. Timberland
- 7. Scarosso
- 8. Redback Boots
- 9. Grenson
- 10. Saint Laurent
1. Dr. Martens
When in 1945 military doctor Klaus Märtens put his wits at work on a pair of boots for his injured ankle, he wished for some comfort.
He went far with his friend-partner and engineer Mr. Funck. The uniqueness of Dr. Märtens’ new boots was their air-tight cushioned compartments protecting and supporting the foot, created by fusing the sole with the upper.
These boots were a hit among the housewives before the massive success in the UK with youngsters, workers and rockers.
The first iconic model, the 1460 – a cherry red high-ankle boot with laces – arrived in stores in 1960.
Many shoes followed, all with the signature yellow stitching.
Outrageously strong and ever-lasting, Dr. Martens Chelsea boots were born in the ’70s and recalls the same original quest for comfort as we see in these 2976 Chelsea Boots.
You might also like: Dr. Martens vs Blundstone Boots: A Comparison
Image from drmartens.com
2. Keen Boots
Keen is a fairly young brand founded in California in 2003 and rewarded “Launch of the Year” by leading industry publication Footwear News.
A peculiar sandal, the “Newport”, marked its story.
This sandal was made to protect the toes and they quickly crowned Keen as an innovator in the sector, setting it as a favorite choice for hikers and lovers of aquatic and outdoor activity.
The brand moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2009 and restarted its production entirely in the US, while launching community and social campaigns with global echoes when it comes to the environment.
Keen is a brand with real values as its shoes are.
Here, functionality and protection come first both in the outdoors and in the work field thanks to anti-slip and anti-oil soles for maximum grip and wide structure for comfort for all foot sizes.
Same features spotted in leisure shoes like Seattle Romeo Chelsea boots.
Image from keenfootwear.com
3. Red Wing Shoes Boots
An American company taking its name from its home city is surely proud of its origins.
Born in Red Wing, Minnesota, this family business is strong on its heritage and its durable working boots.
In fact, Red Wing Shoe was born as a work shoe company in 1905.
Today’s catalog is mainly handmade in the US – in Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky – and comprises ‘performance-oriented footwear for people who are going to do something and do it right’.
The production includes safety footwear, hiking and outdoor shoes, and leisure boots from Red Wing Shoes and its 3 sister brands.
Features like reliability and the country touch of the natural leather are clear in this 6-inch Chelsea, a revisitation of a ’50s classic of the brand.
Image from redwingshoes.com
4. R.M. Williams
This shoe brand represents the real spirit of the Australian outback and its (few) people.
R.M. Williams bears the name of its founder who made his name and his venture from scratches.
R.M. Williams means leatherwork, above all, and boots made with just one sheet of leather for the upper and a leather sole hand-stitched and embossed with a golden signature.
Take the Adelaide Boots, for example. These Chelsea boots have two loops and elegant toned stitches on the back of the heel and around the elastic band.
In this case, the sole is rubbery but, as the other classics, this model is super sleek, immaculate, timeless and resistant.
No wonder, the brand is local but grew global, so much that Bill Clinton loved it too!
Image from rmwilliams.com.au
Image: Nisolo – Official Website
Nisolo is an American shoe label with its people and Nature in its heart.
The co-founder Patrick Woodyard launched the brand in 2011 and, while traveling in Perù, he got struck by the passion of the craftsmen and craftswomen of the local workshops.
Nisolo established its first center in Trujillo, then in Leòn (Mexico), and in Nairobi (Kenya) providing a fair wage and support to its workers and suppliers.
The brand is championing an ethical and social business plan paired with responsible leather supplying and recycling programs.
The artisanal touch can be noticed in the smallest finish touches; the results are solid boots with an autumnal feel that stay at the border of the city life.
Timberland would need no presentation. This famous American footwear brand made its way out and up to Europe and set its name with its “yellow” boots crafted for tracking and the great outdoors.
The label has a strong connection with the natural surroundings, New Hampshire, and its environmental challenges.
Nature is part of the brand which invests in a high-quality, responsible production and takes an active part in reforestation programs.
Its first pair of boots – the Timberland’ were sturdy and waterproof shoes, and many of its stylistic features can be easily found in its collection: ridges soles, thick leather structures, a pale and earthy palette, and embossed trademark.
As seen in the Women’s Sutherlin Bay Low Chelsea Boots, where the rubber ridged sole and leather-wrapped heel elevate this classic made country.
Made in Italy Chelsea boots are not less genuine, they just have a different twist. It is interesting to note the Italian cut, taste, and construction in a pair of boots by Scarosso like the Elana Ebano Chelsea Boots.
Scarosso is another young label, born in 2009 when three guys met at the prestigious University Bocconi in Milan and made friends.
They entered the orbit of the handcrafted footwear industry which has its traditional pole in central Italy (Marche region), and started their business adventure.
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Scarosso preserves the local heritage and handcrafted technique in its production resulting in sleek and impeccable footwear with timeless style.
The Elana Ebano Chelsea Boots clearly shows the Italian touch in the Blake construction technique – which is more popular in Italy.
As a casual model made elegant for the city lifestyle, these boots embody Scarosso’s style.
8. Redback Boots
Image: Redback Boots – Official Website
Australian life must be hard; Aussies work hard and know how to face the harshest of the environment.
Redback Boots, a 100% Australian and family-owned brand, is a real specialist of work boots and pushed its techniques forward to get higher performances, optimal protection, and isolation.
Its shoes are sturdy and resistant but they are “feet-friendly”, supportive, and lightweight with full-grained leather treated to be water and oilproof .
The aim of these shoes dictates the style, a pair like the Great Barrier are hybrid Chelsea Boots that keep the comfort wear of the original slip-on and adds the soundness of common work boots.
Grenson is a travel back in time, back at the time when shoemaking was a collective job done in the intimacy of workers’ house.
William Green founded his company in 1866 in Rushden, Northamptonshire, and was used to go every day to his outworkers.
Mr. Green had quite a foresight; he opened a factory, the first one to adopt the Goodyear construction for lasting shoes.
The current name arrived only in 1913, the first to be ever registered in the UK!
Grenson survived the long depression and found inspiration for new leisurewear in the US and India in the ’50s.
The production is still meticulously handmade with 200 different passages. This process and long tradition assure solidity in classic shoes that will stand the test of time like Nora.
10. Saint Laurent
Image: Saint Laurent – Official Website
Since its foundation in 1961, Saint Laurent has been revolutionizing the idea of haute couture, the fashion industry, and even women’s fashion expression.
If you think about the women’s tuxedo launched in 1966 and connect it with the quote by Yves Saint Laurent “Chanel freed women, and I empowered them”, it is very clear.
The French maison has been always at the top of the fashion scene with an array spanning from prêt-à-porter to haute couture, shoes and accessories with a physical presence growing strong in East Asia.
Saint Laurent is a synonym for chic and edgy, the West Chelsea Boots in Smooth Leather is a very personal interpretation of the British classic with a truncated heel and leather inlays on the elastic sides.
We need to correct our presentation, Chelsea boots are not just daily shoes and they do impress!
As these 10 brands just showed, this model lends itself very well to unexpected twist and harsh life.