Chelsea boots are close fitting, ankle high boots with the distinguishing feature of a elastic panel (known as "gore") at one or both sides. This simple stretch feature creates a modern, sleek look, and allows the boots to be slipped on and off easily. Some variations have a zipper closure, or combination zipper and gore.
The Chelsea has gained super-chic status for adults (see the styles below that I crave!), so it follows that the style is available for children. Chelsea boots work great for kids since they're so easy to take on and off. To sweeten the deal, the large panels of material can be embellished with prints or kid-friendly treatments, such as embroidery for girls.
If you need a stylish boot to get your kid through the rest of the cold-weather season -- try a Chelsea boot.
TIP: Make sure the elastic is a good quality - a Chelsea boot is only as good as the quality of the elastic.
The name "Chelsea" originates from the iconic status of the boot worn by the likes of the Rolling Stones, who influenced the mod set in the 1960's hanging out in the Chelsea section of London. The Beatles catapulted the boot even farther into popular culture by commissioning four pairs with heels -- which became known as "Beatle Boots."
The design's history dates back to the Victorian era, when it was worn by both men and women after Queen Victoria fancied the style. Credit goes to the invention of vulcanized rubber, the process used to create the stretch elastic panels. In 1851, J. Sparkes-Hall was the first to design an elastic-sided ankle boot. In the patent that he filed, he claimed, “She (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention.”
See the vintage Chelsea boot photo gallery at the end of this post.