Quality Chelsea boots are simple in appearance, but relatively difficult to make versus other boot designs. This is first because the clean vamp of the boot requires a large, single piece of leather, which requires a high-quality cutting criteria. The shaping of the vamp also requires some skill, as the leather needs to be “tamed” in order to fit the natural shape of the foot’s instep. Finally, any kind of recraftable construction, like Goodyear welt construction will extend the longevity of your boots. These kinds of details separate quality craftsmanship from the rest.
The shape of the elastic cutout varies by style and is mostly an aesthetic choice, but the materials for the upper and outsole greatly change the look of the boot. Leather outsoles tend to be a bit more formal and streamlined, while rubber outsoles are a bit better for inclement weather and more comfortable for everyday wear. Full grain leathers create a polished, dressy look, while oiled suede brings a little more texture and warmth. Waxed suede is a particularly desirable material, since the boots naturally burnish as the boots are worn, making them look better over time.