The 12 Best Chelsea Boots of 2023

Our top pick is Dr. Martens' 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots

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Best Chelsea Boots

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With their iconic silhouette, Chelsea boots are one of the most stylish yet functional shoes you can wear in fall and winter. The style—derived from a men’s boot made popular on the streets of London—features a few key components, including an ankle-length shaft with elastic sides for slipping them on and off and a back pull tab. 

They’re comfortable, cool, and can often moonlight as a dress boot (depending on the construction and fabrication). On top of that, many Chelsea boots are designed to withstand rainy weather, so you can wear them without worrying about ruining them, slipping in puddles, or accidentally soaking your feet in a surprise rain storm. Since growing in popularity and becoming a more timeless boot style, Chelsea boots have seen upgrades to their soles and fabrication. “They were originally produced only in leather with a very limited color palette but can now come in a variety of colors, materials, and textures, depending on trends,” fashion expert Maureen Lehto Brewster tells Byrdie. 

Whether you’re looking for a classic—such as our top pick, the Dr. Martens 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots—or want something a tad more bold and modern, we’ve got your search locked in with our top picks for the best Chelsea boots in a range of sizes and materials, ahead.

Best Overall

Dr. Martens 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens' 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots are a style that truly has it all, making them the best Chelsea boot on our list. Constructed from durable matte leather and a ton of good traction on the rubber soles, they’re a good boot for wet weather. These unisex boots also have a classic shape (and classic stitching in various colors) with a comfortable air-cushioned sole and elastic sides so you can easily slip them on and off. Despite being made of real leather, they actually hold up in rain and snow, but we recommend spritzing them with the brand’s Ultra Protector for added resistance. They also run large but some reviewers note they are on the narrow side. But they do come in half sizes, a plus if you have wide feet.

Price at time of publish: $170

Material: Leather | Size Range: 5-12

Best Designer

Prada Monolith Lug Sole Chelsea Boots

When looking for a designer Chelsea boot, we want to invest in something that has that classic shape but is also unique enough to stand out. We found that and some in the Prada Monolith Lug-Sole Chelsea Boots, which are made from a gorgeous leather material with a chunky lug rubber sole. The sleek designer boots come in the more traditional black style, but we love them in stark white for a nice contrast.

Price at time of publish: $1,200

Material: Leather, polyester, elastane | Size Range: 4.5-12

Best for Outdoors

Blundstone Thermal Chelsea Boot

Blundstone makes some of the most durable boots available, and their stylish BL566 Chelsea boots are no exception. We love these as an outdoors option because, despite being made from leather, they are waterproof and have good traction in the soles, so you can wear them in any weather. These unisex boots are also a good choice for winter, as they have a removable sheepskin lining in the insole for added warmth and comfort.

Price at time of publish: $250

Material: Leather | Size Range: 4-14

Best Lug Sole

La Canadienne Women's Kyree Pull-On Chelsea Booties

 La Canadienne Women's Kyree Pull-On Chelsea Booties

Bloomingdales

We are head over heels for virtually every boot La Canadienne makes because they have this magical ability to blend super-stylish designs with supreme functionality. The Women's Kyree Pull-On Chelsea Booties are worth every penny, with their classic Chelsea boot featured in a waterproof leather. We love the boot’s lug sole the most, as it has a unique design compared to other styles and elevates the boot both physically and aesthetically.

Price at time of publish: $550

Material: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 4.5-11

Best Patent

Aerosoles Swallow Black Patent Boots

Aerosoles Swallow Black Patent Boots

Aerosoles

The beauty of Chelsea boots is you can find them in several finishes while remaining true to the traditional design. For an ultra-shiny boot, we adore the Aerosoles Swallow Black Patent Boots, which have a more simple and minimalistic style with a super-shiny finish. They also have a slight platform with a 1.5-inch heel, making them good dressy boots for the winter and fall seasons.

Price at time of publish: $150

Material: Synthetic | Size Range: 5-12

Best Budget

Soda PIONEER Lug Sole Mid Heel Chelsea Ankle Bootie

Soda PIONEER Lug Sole Mid Heel Chelsea Ankle Bootie

Amazon

The best option when you're keeping your budget in mind is the Soda Pioneer Lug Sole Mid-Heel Chelsea Fashion Ankle Booties. The vegan, heeled Chelsea boots are constructed from a polyurethane material that has a similar look and feel to leather, giving them a more timeless look. On top of that, the booties have some height with a 2-inch stacked block heel in a lug sole. Since the boots are made from a plastic-based fabric, they’re also water-resistant, making them a good option for rain, too.

Price at time of publish: $35

Material: PU leather | Size Range: 5.5-11

Best Chunky

Sorel Brex Waterproof Chelsea Boot

The Sorel Brex Waterproof Chelsea Boot is a must if you're going for a chunkier style. These boots feature a unique lug sole design and a 3-inch heel that gives them a chunky look without feeling too heavy. As the name suggests, they are also made from waterproof leather material, so they’re a boot you can wear in wet weather and not worry about getting soaked or slipping on the pavement.

Price at time of publish: $180

Material: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 5-12

Best Pointed Toe

Aquatalia Rosina Chelsea Boot

Aquatalia Rosina Chelsea Boot

Nordstrom

Traditionally, Chelsea boots have more of a rounded toe; however, a more pointed silhouette adds an elevated touch to this timeless style. For the best pointed-toe Chelsea boots category, we love the Aquatalia Rosina Chelsea Boot. This style comes in a polished black patent or brown suede and features a slender toe with a 1.5-inch stacked heel. Although the point makes them feel a bit dressier, the boot is actually super versatile and can be easily dressed up or down, depending on your style.

Price at time of publish: $495

Material: Leather | Size Range: 5-11

Best Weatherproof

UGG Ashton Waterproof Chelsea Boot

 UGG Ashton Waterproof Chelsea Boot

Nordstrom

If you want something that looks like a Chelsea boot but is equipped for rainy days, the UGG Ashton Waterproof Chelsea Boot is the style for you. Constructed from water-resistant leather using seam-sealed technology, these boots are made for walking in the rain. They also have a removable insole that provides cushioned arch support, so they’re super comfy.

Price at time of publish: $160

Material: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 5-12

Best Eco-Friendly

Reformation Katerina Lug Sole Chelsea Boot

Reformation Katerina Lug Sole Chelsea Boot

Reformation

Reformation is one of our favorite places to shop sustainably, and the brand’s Katerina Lug Sole Chelsea Boot is no different. Constructed from heavyweight bovine leather using less water, carbon dioxide, and waste, these boots are a great way to look out for Mother Earth. They also feature a textured lug sole crafted from recycled leather and come in black or white, so you can choose which option best suits your style.

Price at time of publish: $298

Material: Leather | Size Range: 5-11

Best Square Toe

Sam Edelman Thelma Chelsea Boots

Sam Edelman Thelma Chelsea Boots

Bloomingdale's

Chelsea boots traditionally have a more rounded toe shape, but a square toe can add an edgier flair to the look. For best square-toe, we landed on the Sam Edelman Thelma Chelsea Boots, which have a more fitted silhouette compared to other styles, giving them a riding boot feel. Plus, they’re made from a durable leather material that has a buttery finish and breaks in beautifully with every wear.

Price at time of publish: $160

Material: Leather | Size Range: 6-10

Best Tall

Steve Madden Hesitant Chelsea Boot

Steve Madden Hesitant Chelsea Boot

Nordstrom

While Chelsea boots typically fall into the ankle boot category, a taller shaft can create a more fashion-forward look. For tall boots that make a statement, we turn to the Hesitant Chelsea Boot from Steve Madden. They feature wide elastic sides for functionality and fit, plus they’re constructed from a buttery leather material with a chunky heeled lug sole. We love these boots in the all-black color for an everyday option, but the black with Kelly green sole adds a nice pop of trendy color.

Price at time of publish: $140

Material: Leather | Size Range: 5.5-11

Our top spot goes to Dr. Martens' 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots. They're constructed with matte leather and rubber soles, making them great for pretty much whatever mother nature throws your way. Simply put, when it comes to style, durability, and function, these classic Chelsea boots check every box. If you're looking to spend less on the trend, the Soda Pioneer Boot is also stylish and durable.

Meet the Expert

Maureen Lehto Brewster is a fashion expert and Ph.D student at the University of Georgia.

What to Look for in a Pair of Chelsea Boots

Construction

Most Chelsea boots are made from leather, suede, or rubber—and each has its appeal. Leather is classic, comfortable, and long-lasting, while suede wears much more quickly and can be challenging to keep in tip-top shape. (So, if you have a looming fear that your shoes will be ruined after just a few wears, perhaps the best choice for you is dark leather, especially one that has been weatherproofed by the maker. Otherwise, suedes and lighter-colored leathers make for great stand-out pieces.) Dr. Martens' 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots are constructed with matte leather and rubber soles, making them great for pretty much whatever mother nature throws your way. Rubber is very durable but not the most eco-friendly unless it’s made from recycled materials. Reformation's Katerina Lug Sole Chelsea Boot is made of quality leather and produced using less energy than other options.

Shape

Chelsea boots are close-fitting ankle boots, most often made with a rounded toe, low-profile sole, and very low heel. However, many offshoots of the classic style incorporate pointed and square toes, as well as chunkier soles, higher heels, and taller shaft heights. For a trendy take on the classic boot, you might want to look for an option that incorporates an unusual sole shape, like the cut-out soles on the Sorel Brex Waterproof Chelsea Boot.

Size Range

Depending on whether your feet are wide or narrow, you'll want to look for a range that includes half sizes. A half size can make a difference between the boot sliding or squeezing your feet and fitting comfortably.

FAQ
  • How do you style Chelsea boots?

    Chelsea boots can freshen up many different looks and be styled with anything from knee-length skirts to shorts to leggings and cropped jeans. It all depends on the exact style of the Chelsea boot in question, as well as your taste.

Why Trust Byrdie

Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. At Byrdie, she covers everything from the best jeans to the best shoe styles, sourcing top fashion pieces for all of your shopping needs. When researching the best Chelsea boots, Jessie used her background in fashion to inform her coverage while also considering key, expert-approved components like construction and shape. She also looked for styles that could withstand weather, making it easier to stomp around the city in style.

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