Chukka and Desert Boots: Is There Any Difference?

Posted by Issa on

What is the difference between chukka and desert boots? Many people see chukka boots and desert boots as the same kind since both are ankle-length shoes with fewer than three eyeholes. But these types of boots have a few slight differences.

For one thing, all desert boots can be classified as chukka-style boots but not all chukka boots can be categorized as desert boots.

In addition, chukka footwears came earlier than desert boots. The first recorded use of chukka to refer to the ankle boots worn by the Duke of Windsor dates back to 1924 (Read more about the Short History of Chukka Boots). Meanwhile, Nathan Clarks designed the first desert boots for World War II British soldiers in 1949.

Clarks officially owns the patent for the term “desert boots” since 1950 while chukka boots remain a general term used to describe any ankle-length boots in leather or suede with crepe or rubber soles and two to three eyelets. (Related Post: What are Chukka Boots?)

Defining Features Chukka Boots Desert Boots
Sole Leather or rubber Crepe, rubber sole
Side Stitching Not so prominent or hidden Stitch down construction always visible
Laces round and thin quite thick
Number of Eyelets two to three eyelets Signature Double Eyelet
When to Wear Casual and business Casual
Chukka boots Desert boots

Other minor variations between chukka and desert boots lie in the tiniest details such as the sole, side stitching, laces, eyelets, and when they are worn.

So the next time you shop around for chukka boots, be sure not to say ‘desert boots’ if you mean the more comprehensive term, ‘chukkas’.