Magical Chelsea: Winter Barefoot Boots With Wool and Side Zip

January 29, 2024Barefoot Chelsea boot with a 6.5mm sole, wide leather upper, wool lining, and hybrid tread.

Hello, my name’s Andrew, and these are the Magical Chelsea, a lightweight barefoot boot with a soft suede upper, side zip, and semi-aggressive tread for roads and light trails.

Features

This winter I tried my first ever barefoot Chealsea boots with the lightweight Mukishoes Chelsea and the sturdy Aylla Uma Chelsea, but I wanted to see if I could find something with a bit of both.

So I asked Magical Shoes for a pair of their Chelsea boots to test, and with the rugged yet cozy vibe, they feel like something King Théoden might kick back in after a long day of slaying orcs.

Magical Shoes Chelsea Boot Features Showcase Edited

Upper/Inner

Because the Chelsea’s have a medium toebox with a soft suede upper, double-stitch seams for reinforcement, side elastic and zipper for quickly taking them on and off, and lightweight felt insulation and optional heat-reflective wool insoles for extra warmth.

Sole/Tread

Underneath you’ve got a medium 6.5mm zero-drop sole that’s highly flexible in all directions, plus a semi-aggressive tread that’s flat enough for roads but tough enough for light trails, and wraparound stitching for durability.

Testing

Like my thin Magical Alaskan boots I wasn’t sure how versatile the Chelsea’s would be below freezing, so this time I ordered some of Magical’s thermal insoles, and with the thick wool, foam mid layer, and heat reflective bottom, they’re easily the best liners I’ve ever tried.

Walking

Heading out for a walk the three layers of insulation were super warm, even down near ten degrees, but the wool and foam were so soft that they didn’t limit the flexibility of the sole, which felt smooth and responsive cruising on roads.

Hiking

Also, the Magical Chelsea’s worked well for doing some casual hiking on gravel paths and snowy trails, but the lower sole and lightweight suede upper were better suited for cold/dry conditions than mud or slush and the thin tread was ideal for gentle slopes, rather than steep, slippery hills.

Casual

Because of the side zip the Magical Chelsea’s were perfect for going out to grab the mail, while the minimal suede upper gave me some excellent breathability and casual vibes for running errands.

Conclusion

Overall the Magical Chelsea is a great option for anyone who wants the agility of a thinner barefoot boot but with some rugged protection and extra warmth.

Pros/Cons

Because the suede upper is soft and cozy, the side zip is convenient for a busy life, and the 6.5mm zero-drop sole is highly flexible, while still being tough enough to handle some casual hiking.

However, the Chelsea’s toebox isn’t roomy enough for wide feet, the suede upper isn’t waterproof for wet terrain, and the minimal lugs aren’t aggressive enough for steep, slippery hills.

Alternatives

In terms of similar barefoot Chelsea boots…

  • Mukishoes Chelsea: ultra flexible 3.5mm sole, wide toebox, water-resistant leather upper, and minimal tread for roads.
  • Ahinsa Chelsea: flexible 4mm sole, wide toebox, water-resistant vegan upper, and minimal tread for roads.
  • Aylla Chelsea: thin yet rugged 4mm sole, wide toebox, water-resistant leather upper, and minimal tread for roads and gravel.
  • Resources

    If you’d like to support the channel, you can shop with the referral links above/below, filter and compare products at barefootwear.org, or watch my Zero-Drop Transition video to learn more about barefooting.

    Finally, if you have a question about the Magical Chelsea, or about barefoot shoes in general, let me know in the comments.

    Thanks for reading, catch ya next time. Peace!

    Andrew Folts

    Andrew is a writer/filmmaker who creates video guides and reviews for a community of 25K+ creative rebels on YouTube.