How ‘CHiPs’ Costume Designer Diane Crooke Made Highway Patrol Boots Look Slick

Cops typically don’t have a reputation for having fashionable moments, but for “CHiPS” costume designer Diane Crooke, making sure the footwear looked slick on the film’s cast of California Highway Patrol officers was a priority.

“I wanted all of our cops to look like the real highway patrol — they are all about their boots and polish them every day,” Crooke told Footwear News on Wednesday after participating in the Sourcing at Magic costume designers panel in Las Vegas.

The comedy is a remake of the 1977-83 TV series that starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada as buddy cops who patrolled California highways. In the forthcoming big-screen adaptation, Dax Shepard and Michael Pena star as the officers opposite Kristen Bell, Rosa Salazar and Adam Brody.

“We had to have all of their boots custom made, so we went to a gentleman in the San Fernando Valley [of California] named Moses,” Crooke explained. “He has lived there forever and has made the real California Highway Patrol boots, so we went to him to get the authentic boots made.”

The shoemaker had two fabrications to choose from: glossy leather or a matte finish. “They shiny one was stiffer and lasts longer for highway patrol officers,” Crooke said, adding that the material takes longer to break in. “I wanted to start with the softer leather, which was the matte leather. It helped us so that they still looked slick but weren’t super-shiny on camera — therefore pulling camera, as we say, which takes your attention away.”

The actors had to have their feet and calves measured to ensure an exact fit, she said.

Crooke, who has styled the cast of “Parenthood,” added that costume houses that rent comparable boots keep them in “horrible condition,” so getting the proper footwear was especially important for a film that features law enforcement officers in lead roles.

“Even though it’s not fashionable, it’s still a major thing we have to think about,” Crooke said.

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