9 Best Chelsea boots for women to buy in 2021

SLEEK, stylish and perfectly versatile: the best Chelsea boots for women are a wardrobe investment that will stand the test of time.

So-called because of their popularity in London's well-to-do Chelsea during the '50s and '60s, Chelsea boots are still going strong all these years later – remaining the boot of choice for many an IT girl, fashionista and trend-conscious shopper.

It's no wonder they're so popular either: with a mostly slip-on design (although you can find lace-up pairs too), Chelsea boots are easy-wearing, comfortable and never fail to lend a polished finish to any outfit. Team a flat pair with jeans for a chic off-duty look, or style a pointy-toed heeled pair with a fitted dress for cocktails-after-work vibes.

For a footwear design with such a contemporary feel, it's worth remembering that the Chelsea boot actually dates back to the Victorian era. It's believed that Queen Victoria’s bootmaker, Mr J Sparkes-Hall, came up with the design in 1837, creating an ankle-height boot with elastic side panels which would allow Victoria to easily pull the boots on and off.

Later adopted for horseriding, this classic boot really came into its own in the '60s, where everyone from The Beatles to Jean Shrimpton had a pair – and they still look just as good today.

When it comes to colour and finish, there are plenty of options too: from classic black and sophisticated tan leather to tactile suedes and quirky animal prints. Heading into the autumn and winter, the shops are filled with Chelsea boots so it's a great time to invest. Take a look at our pick of the best Chelsea boots for women below…

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Best cool-girl aesthetic: Tower London Vagabond Brooke Chelsea Womens Java Boots

  • Vagabond Brooke Chelsea Womens Java Boots, £144 from Tower London – buy here

Indie footwear retailer, Tower London, has been going strong since the 80s and is a must for nailing that effortlessly cool Londoner-about-town aesthetic.

Speaking of which, it really doesn't get much cooler than this deep mahogany pair of chunky Chelsea boots. Boasting a platform block heel design with a square toe and elastic side panels, the high-silhouette is perfect for making a statement.

Team with kick-flare jeans or an A-line skirt to really show these off in their full glory.

Best for adding some edge: Carvela Thrill Bead-trimmed Leather Chelsea Boots

  • Carvela Thrill Bead-trimmed Leather Chelsea Boots, £109 from Selfridges – buy here

A studded leather Chelsea boot? Hubba hubba.

Trimmed with metal beading and featuring a chunky lugged sole, these leather boots by Carvela are the ones for you if you're looking to add edge and attitude to your wardrobe – and then some.

With a chunky 1.6" heel, they're perfect for adding some height too, without sacrificing on comfort.

Best animal print: John Lewis & Partners + Erica Davies Valentina Suede 90's Heel Chelsea Boots, Spotted Cheetah

  • John Lewis & Partners + Erica Davies Valentina Suede 90's Heel Chelsea Boots, Spotted Cheetah, £79 from John Lewis – buy here

Chelsea boots don't just have to be black – so if you're in the mood to add some fun to your boot collection, you can't go wrong with a splash of animal print.

Created by John Lewis in collaboration with Erica Davies, this spotted cheetah style has been crafted using an irresistibly soft suede that supports responsible leather manufacturing. And then there's that 90's heel too. Perfection!

Designed for the wider fitting calf, the ankle circumference is extra roomy – ideal if this is something you struggle with in normal boots.

Best for nights out: AND/OR Paris Suede Glitter Star Western Boots, Black

  • AND/OR Paris Suede Glitter Star Western Boots, Black, £119 from John Lewis – buy here

Looking for a comfortable Chelsea boot that's dripping with glamour? Look no further than the Paris from AND/OR.

With a low stacked heel, you'll be able to dance for hours in this Western-style boot which brings plenty of sparkle thanks to the sequin applique star cutouts.

Crafted from suede, we're loving these for nights out – or days when you want to feel a bit 'extra'.

Best vegan suede: New Look Grey Suedette Elasticated Chelsea Boots

  • Grey Suedette Elasticated Chelsea Boots, £23.99 from New Look – buy here

New Look's range of boots are always worth checking out for their blend of style and budget.

Coming in at under £25, these grey suedette Chelsea boots are a great alternative to black, with a rounded toe and low block heel that makes them ideal for chic everyday wear.

They're also registered by The Vegan Society, so you can be sure they're completely animal-free.

They're guaranteed to be ultra-comfy too, as they're part of the brand's Love Comfort footwear range which boasts extra padding, softer linings and flexibility.

Best vegan leather: New Look Black Round Toe Chelsea Boots

  • Black Round Toe Chelsea Boots, £23.99 from New Look – buy here

Another great vegan leather style from New Look, these classic everyday Chelsea boots are an essential for your wardrobe – whether you team them with jeans, tailored trousers or a cute dress.

The leather-look finish is ultra-realistic while remaining completely animal-free. And just like the grey pair above, they're part of New Look's Love Comfort range which means they'll be extra kind to your feet.

Walking on air, anyone?

Best chunky pair: Boden Chunky Chelsea Boots Black

  • Chunky Chelsea Boots Black, £150 from Boden – buy here

Crafted from durable leather and lined with it too, these Chelsea boots by Boden are a worthy investment guaranteed to last you years of wear.

The chunky sole has plenty of grip, so these will be ideal in icy or wet weather. We're loving the statement stitching and grosgrain trim down the heel too, which adds extra polish and flair.

Best for channelling sophistication: & Other Stories Heeled Leather Chelsea Boots

  • Heeled Leather Chelsea Boots, £135 from & Other Stories – buy here

We're obsessed with the sleek and streamlined silhouette of these leather Chelsea style boots by & Other Stories – our go-to destination whenever we want to nail the art of sophistication.

Featuring elasticated side panels, stacked block heels and an almond-shape toe, these beauties are crafted from leather as well as lined in it, with a pull tab to help you slip the mon with ease.

Team with kick-flare trousers for a chic take on your everyday wardrobe.

Best for everyday comfort: Zara Chelsea Ankle Boots

  • Chelsea Ankle Boots, £45.99 from Zara – buy here

Granted, Chelsea boots look great with a stacked heel – but for more of a laidback feel, flats are an absolute must.

These ones in from Zara will add plenty of edge to any outfit while remaining super comfortable, thanks to the AIRFIT flexible technical latex foam insole.

With a pull tab at the back and elastic side panels, they've got all the hallmarks of a classic Chelsea boot. And they're an eco-friendly choice too, as the faux leather fabrication is backed by Zara's Green to Wear 2.0 standard, which aims to minimise the environmental impact of textile manufacturing.


How much are the best Chelsea boots for women?

How much you pay for your Chelsea boots is of course dependent on brand and fabrication type – but generally speaking, if you're looking for a quality leather pair on the high street, you can expect to pay anything from £60 to £150.

Meanwhile, for faux leather styles (and prices that are more purse-friendly), you can find some really stylish Chelsea boots for around the £25 mark that will offer great quality too.

Where to buy the best Chelsea boots for women?

When it comes to shopping the best Chelsea boots for women, the likes of Zara, & other Stories, John Lewis and Selfridges all have amazing selections that are both style and environmentally conscious. In fact, we rate them so much, you'll find several picks from these retailers above.

If you're on a budget or looking for boots that are animal-free, New Look's vegan range is also well worth checking out. It's filled with on-trend styles that not only look great but are packed with comfortable design features.

What to look for in the best Chelsea boots for women?

If you're looking to make an investment in a great pair of Chelsea boots, you'll want to ensure that the fabric of the boots holds up and is super-durable. For this reason, many find it a more sustainable option to shop leather pairs that will outlive their faux-leather counterparts.

If you're after longevity, the sole of your boot is also key. Make sure it's Goodyear welted (aka a strip of leather sewn around the bottom edge of the boot), as this means it can be easily unstitched and therefore repaired and replaced over time.

Hey presto: boots that will truly last a lifetime!

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