Chukkas are best known as boots that rise just to the ankle and traditionally have only two or three sets of eyelets for lacing. Chukkas are also the separate intervals of time during which the game of polo is played, similar to periods or quarters in other sports. Only people familiar with the game of polo are familiar with the word chukka as it applies to the sport. This article discusses chukkas as the style of boot first mentioned above.
Chukkas are best described as ankle-length boots with minimal eyelets and either a low heel or none at all. This is traditionally what vintage chukkas look like. However, several designers today sell shoes described as chukkas that may fall slightly below or slightly above the ankle and may have more than two or three sets of eyelets.
Available in a wide variety of styles, chukkas are sold for casual wear, outdoor wear, and work wear in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes. They may also be described as low-rise hikers or lace-up boots, or categorized under other descriptors. They are most popular as a man’s shoe and are sold by a variety of designers, from L.L Bean to Redwing.
Chukkas are typically made of genuine leather, but are not uncommonly made from sheepskin. They can also be found in suede and man-made materials. When venturing into a shoe store, it’s as likely as not that offering the word “chukkas” as a description of the style of shoe you are looking for will solicit a blank look. However, it is a fun word to say, and seeing whether or not a sales associate has any idea what you are referring to can be entertaining. If you happen to come upon a shoe sales associate who knows exactly what you mean, you have likely ventured into a quality store with knowledgeable sales staff.