The name chukka comes from the game of polo, where a "chukka" is a period of play. A form of chukka boots worn by British forces in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II are desert boots.
The year was 1941, and the soldier, well he wasn't just any infantryman, he was Nathan Clark, and he'd been sent to war with two missions. First and foremost to protect his country, and, secondly, to discover some new shoe designs for his family's company. As a member of the Eighth Army, Clark had been deployed to Burma, and it was here that he noticed that the officers in his formation were wearing these strange, sand colored chukkas during their downtime. Clark investigated the shoes and learned that they had originally been commissioned to Cairo cobblers by South African soldiers whose old-military issue boots had failed them out on the desert terrain. They wanted something that was both lightweight and grippy which led to creation of a boot with a suede upper on a crepe sole.
Materials and style
Chukkas are usually made from calfskin or suede, although they have also been made from more exotic materials such as crocodile. The sole is traditionally crepe rubber, but may also be leather as well. The style first became popular in the late 1940s through the 1960s as casual wear. In the 21st century, Chukkas persist as a popular menswear shoe that can be worn with both suits and more casual wear like jeans.
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- Woolnough, Richard (2008-01-01). The A to Z Book of Menswear. Bermuda: Bespoke Solutions. p. 72. ISBN 1-897403-25-9.
- Johnston, Mark (2007). The Australian Army in World War II. Osprey Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-84603-123-0.
- Gallagher, Jake (August 15, 2012). "Dropping Knowledge: The Desert Boot". GQ Magazine.
- "Charity, and Crocodile Chukka Boots". New York Times. November 30, 1988..
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- Plummer, Todd (October 24, 2014), "A Guide to the Best Men’s Boots", The Wall Street Journal
- Deleon, Jian (October 9, 2013), "Meet the Everlasting Pair of Desert Boots", GQ.com
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