Oliver Cabell, the Minneapolis-based luxury sneaker startup, has teamed with old-school English tannery Charles F. Stead to launch a new line of suede chukka boots.
Get ready for something wild.
Cabell, Stead and digital retailer Bombinate joined forces to create a handsome chukka crafted from Kudu, “an elusive African antelope known for yielding the best suede in the world,” according to the brand.
The boots come in three colors: chestnut, clove and chocolate. Each hide is hand-selected by Stead, and tanned using traditional artisanal techniques employed at the Leeds tannery, which specializes in suede and has been around since 1895.
The across-the-pond heritage collab makes perfect sense, as chukkas are an icon of British style. Traditionally ankle-length and with two or three eyelets, the chukka is an offshoot of the rubber-soled desert boots worn by British troops in World War II.
The name “chukka” is said have been derived from polo (the sport, not the fashion brand) where a “chukkar” is a period of play. Nowadays, chukkas are typically paired with jeans, khakis and even suit trousers, bridging casual to formal. They’re always leather or suede, but suede is usually the better look, as is rubber for the soles.
Cabell says it worked with an Italian crepe supplier to create a custom natural rubber for the outsoles made from “100% pure virgin Hevea milk from Hevea trees.” Maybe not quite as exciting as the rare African antelope skin used in the upper, but that still sounds pretty cool.
Each pair is hand stitched and lasted in Albacete, Spain, and is available on olivercabell.com for $228.