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Clarks Originals Desert Boot - Cloggs Hall of Fame
A favourite of fashion-conscious men everywhere, the iconic Clarks Originals Desert Boot is perfectly equidistant between formal and casual. Based on the traditional men’s chukka boot design, the Desert Boot typically features two or three eyelets, a sandy brown suede upper and a crepe rubber sole to offer a light, laidback alternative to dress shoes.
As anyone who’s attempted to hit the beach in anything but barefeet or lightweight sandals knows, walking on sand in regular footwear is nigh on impossible, something that South African and British soldiers found to their detriment in the North African theatre of World War II. Some enterprising soldiers ventured into a bazaar in Cairo and commissioned a local shoemaker to craft some boots better suited to the tough conditions underfoot than their heavy standard issue boots.
The result was what quickly became known as the desert boot; tough enough to withstand long spells of unbroken walking and the searing heat, but light and with a solid flat based to facilitate walking on sand. The boots were so comfy that after the African campaign was ended, many soldiers continued wearing the boots while stationed elsewhere. One such soldier caught the eye of Nathan Clark, part of the famous Clarks shoes footwear dynasty, in Burma, and the rest is history.
You can read a more comprehensive account of the desert boot’s history by clicking here.
1. The very first desert boots had to be stable and lightweight in order to be useful when walking on sand. The use of crepe rubber both helped to keep costs low and served as a sturdy base that helped evenly distribute the weight across the sand.
2. Clarks desert boots always have two eyelets, as the large, ankle-high quarters do a solid job of securing the foot in place by themselves, with the laces finishing the job. Modern Clarks Originals desert boots also come with a tag for authenticity.
3. Another way of keeping weight down when walking on the sand was using suede. The material is now a definitive part of the style, with leather desert boots generally being referred to as Chukka boots instead (although in truth, the two styles are largely interchangeable).
As mentioned earlier, the Clarks Originals Desert Boot sits neatly between formal and casual classifications - as such, it has long been a favourite of men everywhere as a quintessential wardrobe staple. In recent times, it's become a popular women's style too!
Because of this, it’s very tricky to nail down one particular way to wear desert boots, so we’ve created a visual inspiration lookbook which covers five disparate looks: the dinner party, the played down formal, the beat poet, the mod and the dressed up casual. You can view this lookbook by clicking here.
Cloggs proudly stock the Clarks Originals desert boot, which is the closest available version to the classic design launched in the late 1940s. We offer a huge selection of colours, as well as desert boots with leather uppers, for both men and women.
Here’s some of our favourite styles and colours: