Chukka boot

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Clarks Desert boots

Chukka boots or turf boots are ankle-length boots with two or three pairs of eyelets for lacing.[1]They are usually made from calfskin or suede,[1] although they have also been made from more exotic materials such as crocodile.[2] They were popular in the late 1940s and 1950s as casual wear.[3][4] The name chukka comes from the game of polo, where a "chukka" is a period of play.[3] A form of chukka boots worn by British forces in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II are desert boots.[3][5] Desert boots have a crepe rubber sole.[4]

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.

—Jake Gallagher, GQ Magazine, August 15, 2012[6]


  1. ^ a b Durkin Matthes, Betsy (2006). Dressing the Man You Love. Peter's Pride Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 0-9773878-3-6. 
  2. ^ Charity, and Crocodile Chukka Boots. New York Times. November 30, 1988. .
  3. ^ a b c Woolnough, Richard (2008-01-01). The A to Z Book of Menswear. Bermuda: Bespoke Solutions. p. 72. ISBN 1-897403-25-9. 
  4. ^ a b Miles, Shirley (1989). American Costume, 1915-1970: A Source Book for the Stage Costumer. Indiana University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-253-20543-3. 
  5. ^ Johnston, Mark (2007). The Australian Army in World War II. Osprey Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-84603-123-0. 
  6. ^ Gallagher, Jake (August 15, 2012). Dropping Knowledge: The Desert Boot. GQ Magazine.