The chukka boot is a men’s wardrobe essential. Worn with trousers, chinos, chords, or jeans, it’s guaranteed to elevate any look. But what exactly is a chukka boot? And what are the differences between its various brother styles? Specifically, the desert boot. Let’s take a look.
Defined by its simple silhouette, boots become chukkas when two pieces of leather or fabric are sewn on top of a leather or rubber sole, and then finished with a two- or three-eyelet, lace-up front. This style hits right at the ankle and is usually unlined. A prime example of this is the Clarks Bushacre 2 boot.
A desert boot is a specific type of chukka boot designed by a specific brand: Clarks. The upper is identical to the original, but the sole is made of crepe rubber as supposed to traditional rubber. Crepe rubber has a gummy texture that’s flexible, shock-absorbent, and resilient to high temperatures due to their ability to break in over time.
Both the Chukka Boot (or in our case, the Bushacre 2 Boot) and the Desert Boot have the same classic silhouette consisting of two pieces of material: the quarter and the vamp. The vamp falls neatly between the quarter that wraps all the way around the heel, creating a streamlined look with minimal seaming. Both boots hit mid ankle and feature a rounded toe and moccasin construction.
Originally, the Desert Boot was made from a breathable, unlined suede that broke in easily, while the Chukka Boot could be crafted from any material. Now, both the Clarks Desert Boot and the Clarks Bushacre 2 come in additional fabrications that include leather and textile. Try the beeswax leather version for a more formal occasion and swap your favorite canvas sneakers for the cool, casual textile version.
Both the Desert Boot and the Bushacre 2 feature a two eyelet lace up front, a hallmark of the desert boot style. But Chukka boots as a generic style can also come in a three-eye variety for a more formal look.
The big difference between the Desert Boot and the Bushacre 2, or any Chukka for that matter, is the sole. Desert Boots are made with heavy plantation crepe soles that are crafted by layering latex rubber. The end result is a wavy textured bottom that is heavy and gummy. Advantages of the crepe sole include its flexibility, great shock absorption and its ability to soften over time. Disadvantages are its light color which shows wear easily and heavy feel. Other Chukka boots, like the Bushacre 2, feature a lighter more modern rubber sole like those you’d find on any dress shoe. They lack that signature gummy feel of the plantation crepe, but they do have a lightweight durability that many loyalists prefer..