Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Chukkas then and now
Seen all over in London: trainers/sneakers with low-gloss black uppers and blinding white soles. Here, some Vans Chukkas, in the style.
The name alludes to desert boots, which these shoes seem definitely not. The reason? Guessing here, but believe it's because with their thick soles, Vans and other board shoes share style DNA with brothel creepers, a casual shoe popular among the Teddyboys in England in the 1960s. These themselves had their origins in the desert boots worn by soldiers in North Africa in WWII--both having suede uppers and a thick crepe sole that enabled manoeuvres in the Saharan sands and, later, back home in the alleys of London's Soho. Chukka boots, to complete the circle, are similar in appearance to desert boots given their suede uppers, but fit more loosely around the ankle, and don't have a crepe sole. Got it? I really don't either, but love the idea of a shoe called a brothel creeper.
(photo of brothel creepers from Retro To Go, many thanks)