The Racing Shoe Specialist (1)

The Racing Shoe Specialist (1)

This photo.1964The year6This is a shot taken at Circuit Brands Hatch in England in June of that year. On the right is the thenF1racer at the time,Jim Clark (Jim ClarkOn the left is a photo of Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Engineering. Their heads are together and they are discussing something with a very mysterious look on their faces. Lotus of yesteryearF1If you are familiar with the Lotus F1 of yesteryear, this moment is of particular interest to you, and you may be wondering what they are talking about, but we ask you to hold your breath and take a look at Jim's feet. The topline is slightly higher than ankle-length, and there are four eyelets. If you look closely, you can see that the instep is softly sewn and split like an Indian moccasin. Welt(Oshibuchi)and thin leather soles are also characteristic.

This design, now widely known as "chukka boots" or "desert boots," was once used as racing shoesF1 Grand PrixThe photos of Jim wearing them at that time are what I believe to be his first pair. The photo of Jim wearing them at this time may be the earliest version of the design, as I can confirm.

Design Origins

Hutton of Northampton "The Play-Boy" | Images sourced from the VegTan blog.

There are many theories as to the origin of this shallow boot design. The word "chukker" or "chukka" is a term used in polo to count the time of the game. ( Chukkas or Chukkers ) However, a review of history reveals that they were not actually used for polo competitions, but were meant to be a kind of "recovery shoe" for athletes to change out of their heavy jodhpurs after dismounting, as they were easy to put on and take off. They were meant to be a kind of "recovery shoes" for players to change from their heavy jodhpurs when they got off the horse. And thisChukkeris derived from the Hindu words for "spinning" and "walking slowly," and there is a theory that it was brought back from India by the British who played polo there, which was still a British territory at the time.

 In 1922, a 28-year-old polo player in India Prince Edward ©︎PA IMAGES | Alamy

Among his many admirers, the Duke of Windsor, who was a polo enthusiast ( Edward VIII / Duke of Windsor ) was1922There is an anecdote that he was playing polo in India in around 1870 and brought his boots back to England because he liked the style of the boots. It is fascinating to hear that the shoes were loved by the Duke of Windsor, a prince of England and a rare style icon, but since there are no photographs of the time, it is important to keep in mind that this is just one of many theories.

1930The design was already in use in England in the 1950s, as illustrations and posters of the design survive from the 1950s. Hutton Shoe Company Ltd. of Northampton had introduced a chukka boot called The Play-boy.Incidentally, the current English spelling of the name is Chukka Boots in the current English spelling.

Advertisement for Clarks of England ©︎Wikimedia commons

And on the other hand, the name "Desert Boots," which is very similar, was popularized,Desert Boots (Desert Boots)), which originated from"Chukker." During World War II, a little later than the anecdotes of the1940in the early 1950s.During the Western Desert campaign, while serving in Egypt and Libya in the early 1950s, a British Army officerThe thick, heavy-soled shoes worn by British officers during the Western Desert Campaign (Western Desert Front) when serving in Egypt and Libya in the early 1950s are said to have originated from these shoes. The thick, heavy-soled shoes they carried with them when they were stationed were not suitable for fighting in the deserts of North Africa, and they were hastily replaced with light, sturdy shoes of South African origin in a Cairo bazaar.Veldtschoen (Veldtschoen)), a pair of suede boots with a soft crepe sole. who was serving in the army at the time.C&JNathan Clark of the Clark Company, who was serving at the time, took notice,1949Nathan Clark of C&J Clark, Inc. saw it and commercialized it at a shoe fair in Chicago in 1949.Esquire.magazine, the desert boot became an international design widely popular around the world.
With the help of Steve McQueen, an icon of the era, and the mod movement of the 1960s, this casual suede boot style became timeless and absolute.

©︎The Hollywood Archive | Alamy Stock Photo

The name "verdochon" still remains as the name of the shoe's manufacturing process, not its external design. In fact, this manufacturing method is an important clue to distinguish chukka boots from desert boots. Chukka boots have a tighter welt line and a slightly sleeker appearance because the upper leather is suspended inside the sole. And the desert boot - the verdochonne method, so to speak - ensures high water repellency by turning the upper leather outward and over the welt, which is sewn onto the leather lining. Therefore, the welt line(Oshibuchi)is the same color as the upper and a crepe sole can be defined as a desert boot.

However, it is better to keep it only as a trivia since the definition has become quite vague in many modern shoes after several decades have passed.

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Text: Shuhei Miyabe | NEGRONI
Cover Photo : 10th July 1964
British motor racing driver Jim Clark (1936-1968) with the manager of Lotus cars, in this photo.
Colin Chapman (1928-1982) in the pits at Brands Hatch in Kent.
©︎ Fox Photos | Getty Images