Everyone's heard of Clarks desert boots. It's a staple item in many men's wardrobes and has come to be a representation of smart-casual style worldwide. But did you know this boot actually had a really interesting military heritage?
Since WW2, the Desert Boot has played a major part in men's style. But knowing the difference between your average desert boot and the original Clarks Model is essential.
You deserve the best – which is why I'm breaking out the essential information on Clarks Desert Boots in today's article.
- Clarks Shoes History
- What Is A Desert Boot?
- Did Clarks Invent The Desert Boot?
- What Makes Clarks Desert Boots So Special?
- How To Style Clarks Desert Boots
#1 Clarks Shoes History
Clarks shoes have a long and storied history that dates back to the early 1800s.
The Clarks brothers started out working in a tannery and quickly realized that they could make a better slipper out of sheepskin off-cuts. This led to the creation of C. & J. Clarks, which (throughout the 19th Century) quickly established itself as a pioneer in new technology such as the introduction of the machine-made shoe.
Clarks also responded to huge social changes such as the industrial revolution by opening new factories in areas where there was a growing workforce.
In 1908, Clarks opened a London office to supplement its shoemaking knowledge with style information from the capital.
It was here that they became known for their high-quality goods that were always in the latest fashion.
In the 1940s, Clarks experienced a period of rapid growth, opening 15 new factories and expanding its reach at home and abroad.
Clarks continued to grow in the following decades, introducing new materials and technologies that helped solidify its place as a world-renowned brand.
#2 What Is A Desert Boot?
The desert boot is a style of men's boot made popular by Clarks Shoes for men.
The Clarks desert boot was inspired by the boots worn by British soldiers in World War II who were stationed in the deserts of North Africa.
Typically, this style of boot is constructed from suede or leather. However, modern adaptions vary in material and often can be made from canvas. They also commonly feature a crepe sole, a style made from soft rubber/resin that is both comfortable and durable.
The Clarks desert boot was designed with both form and function in mind. The result is a stylish, versatile, and comfortable boot that can be worn in a variety of settings.
Desert boots are usually ankle-high or mid-calf and have laces, but they can also be slip-on shoes. From the office to the weekend, the desert boot is a great choice for any man looking to add a touch of style to
#3 Did Clarks Invent The Desert Boot?
Yes and no.
Nathan Clark, the great-grandson of the company's founders, took inspiration for his designs from his time serving in Africa in WW2. It was here that he first saw men wearing crepe sole shoes in the desert. He noticed that soldiers wore these soles with a suede upper to allow for comfort and heat regulation in the intense heat of the African desert.
Clarks was quick to realize the potential of this design and brought it back home with him, where he developed it into the desert boot we know today.
So, while Clarks didn't invent the Chukka boot, they did bring it into popular culture when they invented the Clarks desert boot.
The Clarks desert boot quickly gained popularity in the 1950s as a stylish and comfortable alternative to traditional leather boots. Despite its humble beginnings, the Clarks desert boot is now considered a staple item in any well-dressed man's wardrobe.
In the 21st century, Clarks desert boots are still as popular as ever and can be found on the feet of style-savvy men all over the world.
The chukka boot design is now the defining style in Clarks' footwear collections and continues to be one of the brand's most popular shoes. Thanks to Nathan Clark, we can enjoy the comfort and style of military-style chukka boots both in the desert and at home.
#4 What Makes Clarks Desert Boots So Special?
As with any shoe, construction is King.
A shoe with poor construction isn't going to last very long, so when it comes to shoes that cost upwards of $100, it's best to examine the shoe and decide whether or not you think the construction matches up to the price.
In the case of Clarks shoes, I think it definitely does.
The Clarks desert boot utilizes the classic Goodyear welt design. In short, this design features a strip of leather that runs along the perimeter of the boot. This is what the upper is stitched to. The welt is then stitched to the sole, creating a very strong and durable bond.
Clarks' use of Goodyear welting ensures that their boots will last for many years with proper care. To care for and maintain the quality of a Goodyear welt, just make sure to use a good boot polish and conditioner to keep the leather healthy.
As I mentioned before, Clarks' desert boots are typically made from suede. Suede is a type of leather that is made from the underside of an animal's skin. It's softer and more pliable than regular leather. This means two things: it's more comfortable, and it's more susceptible to damage.
To protect your suede desert boots from damage, be sure to use a good-quality suede protector before wearing them in wet or snowy conditions.
The Clarks desert boot features a rubber outsole with a crepe texture. This type of sole is very comfortable and offers good traction. It's also very durable, so you don't have to worry about wearing these boots in rough conditions.
Overall, the Clarks desert boot is a well-constructed shoe that is built to last. With proper care, they will easily last for many years.
Vietnamese Vs. Italian Made Models
Clarks desert boots typically come in two main models, those made in Vietnam and those made in Italy. But what are the differences between these two?
Well, first off, let's talk price. Clarks desert boots made in Italy typically cost around $200, while those made in Vietnam cost around $100. So, what do you get for the extra $100?
For starters, Clarks Italian-made desert boots are constructed from higher-quality materials. The leather is softer and of a higher grade, and the soles are also more textured and well-designed.
Additionally, Clarks Italian-made desert boots feature a more comfortable footbed and a slimmer, more stylish silhouette. So, if you're looking for the best possible quality, then you'll want to go with the Italian-made model.
However, if you're on a budget or simply don't want to pay $200 for a pair of boots, then the Vietnamese variant isn't a bad choice! At the lower-end price point, you still get a boot that's well-constructed and will last for many years with proper care.
#5 How To Style Clarks Desert Boots
As with any item of clothing, knowing how to style it to suit different occasions and formalities is essential.
You can buy the most stylish clothes on the planet, but without a basic understanding of how to pair them with other garments, you're going to find it hard to look presentable and attractive.
Don't leave it up to guesswork. Below, I've outlined a few basic ensembles to help you successfully style your Clarks desert boots.
Smart-Casual Office Attire
Clarks desert boots for men are the perfect shoe for the smart casual office.
They are stylish and comfortable, and they pair well with a button-down Oxford shirt and chinos/smart pants.
Clarks desert boots sit nicely in between the formality of sneakers and loafers, which should allow you to create a smart-casual appearance in line with the dress code requirements of the modern office. If the weather's on the cold side, add a textured blazer to your outfit to add a touch of style and warmth.
To keep your outfit casual, avoid wearing a tie and opt for a dive watch or chronograph instead of a leather strap dress watch.
Casual Weekend Wear
Clarks desert boots are also great for casual weekend wear. They go well with jeans and chinos.
For a relaxed look, pair your Clarks desert boots with some raw denim jeans and an untucked flannel shirt. If it's particularly hot outside, opt instead for a linen shirt and lightweight chinos.
Either way, desert boots are a great option for casual weekend days out or a classic summer BBQ.
Be warned: suede is not the most durable material in the world. If you plan on playing sports or being around water, avoid suede and opt for leather/canvas boots instead. Think of suede desert boots as the middle ground between comfort and formality – they're not as comfortable as sneakers but they look a lot better.
Summer Wedding Attire
Just because weddings are formal events, doesn't mean you can't rock a pair of Clarks desert boots with your usual wedding attire.
In the summertime, light colors and airy fabrics are king. So wearing a light-colored suit with a pair of desert boots can be a great way to stay cool and comfortable while still looking stylish.
If you're feeling particularly daring, ditch the socks and let your ankles breathe. Just make sure your pants are the right length – you don't want to be showing off too much skin! Pro Tip: Wear no-show socks – your feet and shoes will thank you for saving them from stench and sweat!
Make sure to wear a tie if you're attending the wedding ceremony. You can always lose it when it comes to the dance floor, but for the main event, you should be looking your best. You could always match the color of your tie to the color of your desert boots. This is a great way to add a touch of personality and style to your outfit without going over the top.
Clarks desert boots are versatile and stylish shoes that can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. With a little bit of knowledge, you can easily incorporate them into your wardrobe and start reaping the many benefits they have to
Looking to up your boot game? Check out my guide to caring for every style of boot in your closet.