The 17 Best Chelsea Boots That Match Form with Function

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

When you think of closet essentials, we’d bet a great pair of ankle boots come to mind fairly quickly. And if they don't, then they should! Ankle boots, namely Chelsea boots, are among the most versatile fashion items one could invest in; they pull together virtually any look, slip on and off easily, and wear well over time.

The Chelsea boot was first made in the Victorian era and named for the affluent neighborhood in London called Chelsea. Though, it was The Beatles who brought lasting mainstream attention to the style, which is characterized as a close-fitting ankle-high boot with elastic panels along the sides. Today, their purpose is to ground your cold-weather outfits and, given their characteristically low heel, keep you comfortable.

With boot season upon us, we’ve used our internet research skills and expertise on brands, shoe materials, and shoe constructions to round up the best Chelsea boots on the market right now, in a slew of categories. For example, a tall pair with a chunky sole and contrast stitching by KHAITE are among the most eye-catching options you can choose, while Maison Margiela’s split toes will give your look just the right amount of polished edge. Of course, the Italian leather pair by Everlane is very classic and will go with practically any outfit, while Birkenstock, Dr. Martens, and Hunter all offer rugged pairs that are perfect for enduring a variety of weather conditions.

For the full list of the best Chelsea boots for women, read on.

Our Top Picks
This classic shoe goes with just about any outfit and adorns a manageable 1-inch heel.
Get the Chelsea boot look without the hefty price tag.
Doc Martens are such a vibe and these do away with those annoying laces.
An Italian leather boot echoes elegance, timelessness, and great value.
Behold our top recommendation if you need boots that keep your feet warm, dry, and stylish.
The iconic Doc Marten silhouette takes on a Chelsea boot style, with a sturdy sole and leather finish.
Get max shine and a bit of lift with this patent-leather block heel.
Made in Italy with faux leather, this option has thick rubber soles and a dynamite design.
A classic style, this boot is made of leather but features gunmetal trim for a little pop.
This eccentric split shoe design is reminiscent of Japanese thong sandals.

Best Overall: Isabel Marant Castay Leather Chelsea Boots

Isabel Marant Castay Leather Chelsea Boots

Isabel Marant’s Castay Leather Chelsea boots are super classic, which means they’re perfect for grounding everything from denim to tailoring to dresses and skirts in a variety of lengths. While they certainly may seem like a splurge compared to other numbers on this list, we can’t help but see the value in them for their quality and versatility. In terms of construction, they’re made from black leather and set on thick rubber soles with a manageable 1-inch heel. They also have elasticized sides with pull tabs so you can slip them on and off easily.

Colors: Black | Heel Height: 1 inch | Size Range: FR 35-41

Best Budget: Zara Low Heeled Lug Sole Ankle Boots

Zara Low Heeled Lug Sole Ankle Boots

The most cost-effective boot is this one by Zara. They’re made from plastic and rubber, which makes them suitable for different weather conditions, and their foam soles are billed to add comfort. As with any quintessential Chelsea boot style, this one features elastic gussets and front and back pull tabs so you can easily put them on and remove them.

Colors: Black | Heel Height: 2.4 inches | Size Range: US 5-11

Best Value: Dr. Martens Flora Chelsea Boot

Dr. Martens Flora Chelsea Boot

The Flora Chelsea Boot by Dr. Martens is by far the best value when it comes to Chelsea boots. They’re made from smooth, glossy leather on a low, opaque sole with no visible construction thread. They’re also no-skid, so they’re perfect to wear in rain or snow when you need to maintain an ultra-polished look.

Colors: Black | Heel Height: Approximately 1 inch | Size Range: US 5-11

Best Classic: Everlane Italian Leather Square Toe Chelsea Boot

everlane-italian-leather-chelsea-boots

Everlane's Chelsea boot echoes elegance, timelessness, and great value. The style is made entirely from premium Italian leather and features a subtle square toe and leather pull-tab. For optimum comfort, it has elastic panels both on the sides and on the front of the shaft. This will be the everyday leather boot you can wear well into springtime, pairing seamlessly with everything from black jeans or knitted flares to a floral midi dress.

Colors: Black, Biscuit, Peanut | Heel Height: Approximately 1 inch | Size Range: US 5-11

Best for Outdoors: Blundstone Women's Thermal Chelsea Boot

blundstone-thermal-chelsea-boots

Regarded as one of the most durable boot brands, Blundstone introduced its Thermal Series and it's our top recommendation if you need to keep your feet warm, dry, and stylish. Featuring removable shearling footbeds, waterproof leather and seams, and an "ergonomically engineered toe spring," these Chelsea boots have all the perks of purely functional, bulky winter boots—but they also bring some street style cred. Don't be afraid to hit the trails or stomp in some puddles with this pair.

Colors: Black, Antique Brown | Heel Height: 1½ inches | Size Range: US 5-13

Best Lug Sole: Dr. Martens 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots

This pair by Dr. Martens offers a rugged and chunky take on the Chelsea style. It comes in the brand’s signature smooth leather and is completed with yellow welt stitching, a heel-loop, and a Goodyear welt, which makes for an extra sturdy sole. Reviewers love the quality but recommend both going up a size and always wearing socks, as this pair takes a while to break in.

Colors: Black Smooth Leather | Heel height: Approximately 1 inch | Size Range: US 5-11

Best Patent: Tod’s Leather Ankle Boots

Tod’s Patent-leather Chelsea Boots

For maximum shine and a little lift, Tod’s has just the thing. Its Chelsea boots have been crafted in Italy from glossy patent leather and sit on rubber soles with a block heel. Wear them with straight-leg jeans, a knitted midi skirt, or, as NET-A-PORTER suggests, a delicate tea dress.

Colors: Black, Brown, Burgundy | Heel Height: 2⅓ inches | Size Range: IT 34-41

Best Vegan: Stella McCartney Trace Chelsea Boot

Stella McCartney Trace Chelsea Boot

British designer Stella McCartney is known for her commitment to veganism in fashion, so it’s only natural that we name her Chelsea boots the best in this category. This pair is made in Italy from faux leather and features elastic gussets, jacquard-woven pull tabs with the label’s logo, and thickset rubber soles.

Colors: Black | Heel height: 1½ inches | Size Range: EU 35-41

Best Pointed Toe: Acne Studios Chelsea Boots

Acne Studios Leather Ankle Boots

Acne Studios designer Johnny Johansson imbues his made-in-Italy, luxurious shoes with an edge. These leather ankle boots take on the classic Chelsea style in smooth black leather, with a fine gunmetal trim hugging the pointed toe. They’re low-cut, and they have gussets and a back tab to make them easy to pull on and take off.

Colors: Black | Heel height: 1½ inches | Size Range: EU 35-41

Best Avant-Garde: Maison Margiela Tabi Split-Toe Chelsea Boots

Maison Margiela Tabi Split-Toe Chelsea Boots

Maison Margiela’s Split-Toe boots, a spin-off of ancient Japanese Tabi socks that were designed to accommodate the thong sandals of male samurai warriors, may seem bizarre; yet, they’re beloved by many. For one, they’re inspired by history, and for another, they’re pretty versatile even while making a subtle statement, departing from a classic silhouette.

Colors: Black | Heel height: 1 inch | Size Range: IT 35-41

Get cozy in Chloé’s innovative take on Chelsea boots. We love the designer’s use of knitwear to warm up the boot and replace the typical elastic gussets. The lug sole and block heel are equal parts practical and stylish, and overall, the style does a great job of balancing masculine and feminine design features.

Colors: Black, Tannish Brown, Burning Camel | Heel height: 1⅓ inches | Size Range: US 4.5-11

Best Square Toe: Dear Frances Town Boot

Dear Frances Town Boot

If you’re partial to a square toe, Dear Frances makes a Chelsea boot for you. This style, which has an upper made entirely from leather, is hand-stitched. Sitting on a two-inch block heel, it also has a leather insole, which maximizes comfort as the leather molds to your foot with wear. The leather side panels are bound by hidden elastic, for the Chelsea effect.

Colors: Black | Heel height: 2 inches | Size Range: IT 35-42

Best Weatherproof: Aquatalia Leila Waterproof Leather Boot

Aquatalia Leila Waterproof Leather Boot

Few luxury brands prioritize waterproofing like Aquatalia. The brand prides itself on its ability to marry fashion-forward and distinctly Italian design with quality and comfort. The brand’s Leila style is a great demonstration of these goals and values. It keeps feet dry in wet conditions to add polish and versatility regardless of the weather, which those who live in true four-season climates should very much appreciate.

Colors: Black | Heel height: 1½ inches | Size Range: US 5-12

Best Eco-Friendly: Ganni Recycled Rubber Chelsea Rain Boot

Ganni Recycled Rubber Chelsea Rain Boot

Chunky lug-soled boots are quite the trend right now, and Ganni makes a pair that’s hard to resist from both a style and sustainability standpoint. It’s made in Portugal from 50 percent recycled rubber in a matte finish and is complete with branded pull tabs and elastic panels. We love them because they work well with virtually everything, adding just the right amount of toughness to delicate dresses, skirts, and other tailored looks and complimenting raw edge denim and T-shirt combos. For extra warmth, score the faux shearling version.

Colors: Black, Kalamata, Madder Brown, Shocking Pink, Spectra Yellow | Heel height: 1½ inches | Size Range: US 5-11

Best Utilitarian: Birkenstock Stalon Chelsea Boot

Birkenstock Stalon Chelsea Boot

Birkenstock is well-known for comfort and support, and the Stalon boot is no exception, reviewers say. Made in Portugal, this Chelsea style has a contoured cork footbed to ensure arch support and a sole designed intentionally for great traction. If you plan to wear socks, wearers say to size up from your normal size with the brand.

Colors: Black Nubuck Leather, Graphite Nubuck Leather | Heel height: 1¼ inches | Size Range: US 5-15.5

Best Tall: KHAITE Calgary Leather Chelsea Boots

KHAITE Calgary Leather Chelsea Boots

KHAITE’S Calgary Leather Chelsea Boots prove that a little height goes a long way when it comes to boots. The taller shaft is a twist on the classic Chelsea boot style that gives the illusion of length at the leg. Plus, the chunky sole with white topstitching is modern and easily paired with a range of outfits.

Colors: Black, White, Dark Brown, Caramel Suede | Heel height: 3 inches | Size Range: EU 36-41

Best White: OSOI Derrick 40mm Chelsea Boots

OSOI Derrick 40mm Chelsea Boots

Looking for a pair of boots to make a statement? Perhaps you should try swapping out classic black for irreverent white Chelsea boots, like these from OSOI that are crafted from leather and rubber. We love that despite their edge, they can pull together nearly any look. (After all, white is still neutral.) To strike a balance between cool and sensible, the brand made them with a low heel and contrast stitching in the back and along the sides.

Colors: Cream | Heel height: 1½ inches | Size Range: IT 35-41

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 easily and can be difficult 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. Otherwise, suedes and lighter colored leathers make for great stand-out pieces.) Rubber is very durable but not the most eco-friendly unless it’s made from recycled materials.

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 Chelsea boot incorporate pointed and square toes, as well as chunkier soles, higher heels, and taller shaft heights.

FAQ
  • What Are Chelsea Boots?

    Chelsea boots are a class of footwear that is close-fitting to the ankle and easy to pull on and off, thanks to features like elastic gussets and pull tabs. The most classic Chelsea boots are designed with a very low heel and a rounded toe, though some designers push boundaries and incorporate various kinds of constructions and designs.

  • 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

This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the hunt for comfortable and cool clothing and footwear. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she spent upwards of 10 hours researching and virtually assessing the best Chelsea boots on the market.

Related Stories