Chunky Boots: How To Wear Them And Where To Find Them

When it comes to boot soles, bigger is better this fall.

Colder weather isn’t just about chunky sweaters ― it’s also chunky boot season!

Put away your sandals and strappy heels, and pull out those boots that have been gathering dust over the warm weather months. That’s what many celebrities are doing, anyway.

Jamie Chung, Emma Watson and Olivia Rodrigo were recently photographed sporting chunky boots during public appearances:

Lately, celebrities including (left to right) Olivia Rodrigo, Jamie Chung and Emma Watson have been photographed in chunky boots.
Getty Images/Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/Axelle/Karwai Tang
Lately, celebrities including (left to right) Olivia Rodrigo, Jamie Chung and Emma Watson have been photographed in chunky boots.

The term “chunky” tends to describe boots with very large and heavy soles. Chunky Chelsea boots are an especially popular style, but these days, you can find chunky boots in many forms ― heeled, flat, lace-up, etc.

And while these kinds of boots often come in black, there are plenty of white options, as well as brightly colored or two-tone versions.

Traditionally, boots with bulky soles were a solid choice for men working industrial jobs that called for heavy-duty footwear, or, in the case fo the lace-up combat style, military servicemen. But toward the end of the 20th century, chunky were a more common sight among youth subcultures for men and for women. This was especially true in the grunge scene in the ’90s.

Doc Martens and other heavy-soled boots surged in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
Daniel Giry via Getty Images
Doc Martens and other heavy-soled boots surged in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.

While chunky boots are somewhat timeless (at least over the course of the last few decades), this heavy footwear is really having a moment in 2021 ― and it seems to be getting bulkier.

It’s only natural that this would be the case. The post-vaccine phase of the pandemic has been marked by loud fashion, from the colorful, voluminous dresses we saw this summer to the oversized sweaters and sweater vests of fall. After spending so much time cooped up indoors wearing nothing but sweatpants and leggings, people are ready to be bold and expressive with their attire, all the way down to the shoes.

When it comes to styling chunky boots in 2021, you can embrace a grunge style with loose jeans and a T-shirt, or create some contrast by pairing them with nicer skirts and dresses. The ensemble possibilities are endless.

The styling options for chunky boots are endless.
Getty Images/Melodie Jeng/Streetstyleshooters
The styling options for chunky boots are endless.

However you style your bulky footwear, the key is be true to your personal sensibility, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re looking to try out the chunky boot look this fall, we’ve rounded up some fun options below.

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1
Circus by Sam Edelman Darielle ankle boots
2
Jadon polka dot smooth leather platform boots
3
Vagabond Shoemakers Tara tall Chelsea boots
4
Soda Magpie faux leather combat ankle boots
6
Dirty Laundry Lisbon black high heel ankle booties
8
Madden Girl Cindy Chelsea boot
9
Asos Design chunky sole calf Chelsea boots
10
Asos Design Adrift chunky lace up hiker boots
11
Soda Top Shoes Jaber ankle boots with chunky heel
12
Fenty by Rihanna Chelsea combat booties
13
Dirty Laundry by Chinese Laundry Vandal combat boots
15
Dr. Martens Sinclair 8-eye leather platform boots
16
Lordez light nude platform ankle boots
17
Dr. Martens Jadon 8-eye leather platform boots
18
Asos Design Addy chunky Chelsea boots
19
Dr. Martens Leona 7-hook boots
21
Puma Fenty x Chelsea sneaker boots
22
Jeffrey Campbell Czech platform combat boots
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