How to Wear Chukka Boots With a Suit

by jacky chou
Updated on

When the weather becomes cold, your dress shoes might not save you. But what about wearing your suit with boots? Though this combination is often seen as a mismatch, that is not the case. Conversely, certain boot styles are more "appropriate" than others. So, if you want a pair of boots that completely transform the look of your outfit's style, try wearing chukka boots with a suit.

What Are Chukka Boots?

Chukkas are a classic style of footwear that looks stylish, feels comfortable, and works well with virtually all kinds of outfits. They are basically the perfect mix of style and function.

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The boots got their name from the game of polo, where a Chukka is a period. Besides, they are ankle-length boots that usually have two or three eyelets and thin laces. Also, they are available in leather or suede, and you can choose from various hues, with brown and black being the most popular.

Tips on How to Wear Chukkas With a Suit

1. Consider the Season

Before wearing boots with a suit, we recommend considering the current season. The Chukka boots and suit combination usually work best in winter and fall. The combination is particularly best suited to the fall since the napped texture of the suede Chukka boots tends to work well with other fall-friendly hues and things like sweaters, scarves, and coats.

On the other hand, chukka boots may look awkward and out of place in warmer seasons. For instance, avoid the Chukka boots and suit combination in the summer. Instead, wear your suit with a pair of dress shoes or loafers.

2. Ensure it's Appropriate

Though wearing the right pair of Chukka boots with the right suit is appropriate in business-casual or smart-casual settings, the combination is not appropriate in formal settings. Therefore, we recommend avoiding chukka boots if you wear a formal, worsted wool, business-professional suit.

Chukkas are, in most cases, ankle-high and have a napped upper made from suede or nubuck. On the other hand, Chukka boots made from shinier leather grains will, in most cases, look more formal than those made from rugged-looking suede.

3. Go for a "Casual" Suit.

We recommend wearing Chukkas with a suit that is more "casual" fabric. Besides, you can easily get suits fashioned out of almost every fabric you can think of, with some being more formal than others. A "suit" is a jacket and pants made from the same fabric roll.

Worsted wool suits are wrinkle-resistant and have a unique sheen to them. This gives them a formal look. Conversely, the more wrinkly and less glossy a suit is, the more casual it appears. Though you can wear Chukka boots with worsted wool suits, there is a greater chance of a formality mismatch. This is because the suede Chukkas' napped and rough texture usually contrasts significantly with the sheen of worsted wool.

4. Consider Boots With Thin Leather Soles.

Chukka boots often have leather soles. When looking for boots to wear with your suit, go for those with thin leather soles; the thinner the sole, the better. Besides, thin leather soles appear more elegant than thick leather soles. 

Boots with thin soles are the preferable option when wearing a formal suit due to their subtle elegance. Therefore, we recommend setting aside your thin-soled Chukkas as your "dress boots" for formal occasions. And if possible, have another pair of Chukkas for informal outdoor settings. Thick-soled Chukkas don't look great with suits, but they serve a useful purpose.

5. Avoid Crepe Soles

Chukka boots with crepe soles are quite common. They're sometimes referred to as "desert boots." Though comfortable, they make a pair of Chukka boots appear much more casual. Generally, the crepe soles are thick and rough, made from natural and biodegradable materials derived from tree sap latex.

Therefore, Chukkas with a crepe sole will look too casual when worn with a suit. As mentioned earlier, a thin leather sole is the best option when wearing a suit. It's also worth noting that crepe soles are not very durable and don't give as much traction or sturdiness as you may expect. Their primary advantage is comfort.

6. Go for Dark Brown Chukka Boots.

In most cases, Chukka boots come in brown. However, dark brown Chukkas work best with a formal outfit such as a suit. This is because dark brown usually appears more formal than lighter brown colors, such as tan. 

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When wearing a suit, consider Chukka boots that are "formal" enough for the outfit to look cohesive. Going for a dark brown pair is an easy way to do this. Besides, black Chukkas might also work in this situation.

7. Cuff the Suit Pants

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"Cuffing" means rolling the hem of your pants once or twice. You can cuff your suit pants when wearing with Chukka boots; however, avoid cuffing them more than once. On the other hand, we recommend wearing a casual suit with the Chukka boots for a subtly elegant look.

8. Avoid Using Contrast Stitches

"Contrast stitches" refers to the stitching on the boots being a noticeably different color than the boot upper. So, when wearing a suit, avoid Chukka boots with contrast stitching. For instance, imagine dark brown suede chukkas with white stitching. The white stitching will be eye-catching and attention-grabbing against the dark brown suede backdrop. 

Though this may appeal in some settings, it makes Chukka boots appear more casual. There are, however, advantages of having a pair of Chukkas with contrast stitching. One is that it can add a little intrigue to an otherwise plain and simple pair of boots. The only main issue is that a pair of Chukkas with contrast stitching makes it unlikely that you will ever wear it with a suit.

With contrasting stitching, you are limited to wearing the boots with casual outfits. But if you want to create a bigger statement with your Chukkas, consider changing the laces to a brighter and more vibrant color. This gives you the benefits of standing out somewhat, similar to contrast stitching.

Unlike contrast stitching, however, swapping up the laces is reversible. So swap the laces back to the original when you want to wear them with a suit again.

How Do You Style Your Chukka Boots?

When it comes to how to style Chukka boots, it will depend on the boot style that you have.

1. An elegant Chukka boot

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You can pair elegant Chukka boots (that have a sleek last and a thin leather sole) with suits or dress pants. Besides, with mid-brown suede chukka boots, you can match with practically anything. The ways to incorporate them into your wardrobe are endless. Furthermore, you can pair brown dress Chukka boots (that have thin leather soles) with navy or mid-gray suits and various other colors and designs.

2. Brown Chukka Boots

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A brown Chukka boot looks great with autumnal trouser colors like red, green, and duskier yellows. In addition, you can choose a brown Chukka boot made from different materials, such as canvas, for a more relaxed weekend style. Besides, they go well with a pair of khakis and sweaters or worn jeans and a T-shirt.

3. Casual suede Chukkas with crepe soles

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If you have suede Chukkas with crepe soles, we recommend wearing them with denim, chinos, or corduroys. As mentioned earlier, avoid wearing a crepe sole Chukka boot with a suit or dress pants.

4. Pairing Chukkas with socks

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You can freely experiment with all your Chukka boots with colorful and patterned socks. The possibilities are endless, with various suede colors like beige or blue. Besides, they make a great casual outfit paired with a polo shirt, jeans, or Oxford shirt.

5. Pairing Chukka boots with a suit

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Whether you prefer black leather or dark brown suede chukkas, creating the right outfit depends on how you wear them. For example, you can pair black full-grain leather Chukka boots with a well-tailored two-piece suit and a white shirt without a tie for a stylish upscale look. Besides, you can add a sophisticated, trendy splash of color by matching your shirt to your boots. For example, pair a champagne or beige shirt with dark brown chukka boots.

Fashion Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing Chukka Boots

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1. Long Hem

When styling your Chukkas, avoid an elongated hem. The appeal of chukkas is usually in the detailing at the top of the boots, so covering it up with an elongated hem is not recommended.

Also, don't allow the bottom of your pants to break on the top of your boots because this can harm your pants and extra wear on your boots, especially if you have suede chukkas.

2. Wearing Shorts With Chukka Boots

Except in a few cases, the Chukka boots and shorts combination doesn't go well. However, if you must wear this outfit, be sure to harness the bohemian urban-outback style to pull it off.

3. Formal & Athletic Venues

The versatility of Chukka boots usually makes them easy to style with any outfit. However, I must mention that Chukka boots are not welcome at black-tie events or athletic venues like the gym. (Here are the shoes to wear to the gym).

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jacky chou


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