9 March 2021

Wholecut Chelsea Boots : The History


Both versatile and refined, the Basile boots have been a Septieme Largeur classic for years.

basile septieme largeur

This model finds its inspiration in the boots Indian cavalry used to wear. It was brought back from India by the British soldiers in the 19th century. A well-known self-taught chemist by the name of Charles Goodyear (father of Charles Goodyear Jr., inventor of the Goodyear welted) will contribute to the development of rubber, mainly thanks to the vulcanization process (process that makes a material less rigid but more elastic): this will lead to the invention of elastic boots.

Figure 1 : Charles Goodyear, father of Charles Goodyear Jr., inventor the Goodyear welt.

Joseph Sparkles-Hall, official shoemaker of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, will produce a shorter version of these boots that will be worn by the Queen herself, and hence will popularize this model way beyond the fashion world.

brevet bottines élastiques

Figure 2 : Patent from Joseph Sparkles-Hall for his elastic boots.

It is in the 60s that these boots will become a true fashion phenomenon. Indeed, John Lennon and Paul McCartney from The Beatles will come across a peculiar version of these boots when walking down the London streets from Anello & Davide store and they will fall in love with it. So much that they will order 4 pairs. This model will then become a must-have for every man’s wardrobe. The “Beatles boots” were born.

les beatles

Figure 3 : The Beatles at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon on April 25th of 1963. Photo by Andy Wright/Getty Images

This type of boots is called Chelsea boots with reference to the eponymous London borough in which a great number of soldiers used to wear these comfortable and yet dressy boots during their events.

chelsea devanture

Figure 4 : Photograph of a building in Chelsea, ouest London.

We also talk of whole-cut Chelsea boots (“Grand Cambre” in French) due to the complex operation of cambering the leather that requires artisanal know-how and great technicity.

Figure 5 : Focus on our Basile (no lateral seams).

Indeed, unlike boots with straps (like the Ernest), with laces (Marceau) or even zippers, whole-cut Chelsea boots are characterized by their excellent ankle support thanks to the lateral elastic bands, which makes them also easy to put on. The upper is only made from one single piece of leather which is attached at the back with a thin band of leather.

The Septieme Largeur Basile is available in multiple leather choices and either with leather soles or rubber soles from the English company Dainite which makes them waterproof, adherent, and rich in style. The perfect choice for city dwellers in search of comfort and high quality.

semelle cuir basile septieme largeur

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