the time has come (for reasons you will soon understand) to profile our favourite piece of design from the vans back catalog. probably the most unassuming model of all vans originals, the 'no frills' chukka boot has become among connoisseurs the most sought after preference. it is unknown exactly when style #49 was first introduced & despite rumours of vans production in the 60's, i believe it was more likely the late 70's/early 80's. the design influence is heavily 1970's however & for me the silouette resonates that laid back cali surf style. the origin of the chukka boot dates back to 40's/50's casual wear & the name comes from an interval of time in the game of polo. & perhaps thats from where the preppy element of the chukka is reflected? for me the chukka conjurs thoughts of staying warm after a sweet surf session in the green room & especially so in the form of a suede chukka. something about an original suede chukka, & undeniably if you can score a suede style #69 or style #70 with leather trimmings, facilitates it's shaping a near slipper-like form. the thick suede softens & the vulcanised sole allows a malleability which results in the most comfortable of casual sensibility.
the chukka boot original incarnation was as a canvas only desert style boot with padded collar known as style #149. as with other early models the distinction was made between canvas & split leather productions with the latter initially known as style #595. the canvas #149 preceeded the suede variety & are the only original chukkas with the vamp tag, located just below the laces. the styles were merged in the late 80's whereby the style #49 was coined. the vamp tag was lost entirely only to return once production went offshore, this time positioned at the top of the padded collar & thus became easy sign of made in china inferiority.
the chukka has a tendency to sag somewhat in the profile which some think detratcs from the aesthetic. i think the sag is somewhat becoming to what is a very casual look. something about the mid-cut trainer has always spoken to me. living their life out in that junky limbo ankle area between a low & a hi-top can't be easy, but a it's a life that comes naturally to the style #49. the minimal landscape of the chukka also affords it adaptability whereby the simple #49 spawned several variants including the aforementioned styles #69, & #70 in addition to the #80 & #47. as such, the style #49 is some serious booty worth plundering & making the call for.