The design is credited to Queen Victoria‘s shoemaker J. Sparkes-Hall and the shoemaker certainly claimed it as his own, patenting the design in 1851 and citing his royal wearer, as saying: “She (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention”.
In his advertising of the period, he refers to the boot as J. Sparkes-Hall’s Patent Elastic Ankle Boots. The boot became popular for horse riding as well as walking.
Charles Goodyear‘s development of vulcanized rubber enabled the invention of the elastic gusset boot. The advantage of elasticized boots meant they could be easily removed and put on again. By the late 1840’s, the fashion began to catch on. This became a prominent style in the West until the onset of World War I.
In the 1950’s and ’60s, Chelsea boots became popular in the UK – and their association with the King’s Road (a street in the Chelsea Area of London) set of Swinging London – worn by everyone from the Rolling Stones to Jean Shrimpton – is believed to explained how the name “Chelsea” became attached to the boot.