Just for once, it’s always the most simple and effective of items of clothing which have withstood the changing fashions of time. The desert boot is a perfect example of this winning combination.
It’s a multifunctional shoe, lightweight and streamlined, which has the ability to be worn in all kinds of situations. As such, desert boots deserve to have an entire article dedicated to it.
Providing that the boot is chosen in a dark color such as brown, it’s a solid basic item, all-purpose, which accommodates all types of clothing. It clearly works with beige or grey. Here with Vincent, from La Comédie Humaine.
From the biggest brands to the bottom range lines, the offer is exceptionally varied.
More than 60 years after its spectacular entrance into ready to wear (see the history of the desert boot at the end of the article), the possibilities of outfits are all the more numerous than the partnerships and limited editions flourish each season.
Strong points of the men’s desert boot
It’s a fine, lightweight shoe, constructed with simplicity and efficacy. Two elements are the key factors behind the fluidity between the foot and the trouser:
- There are only 2 metal rings for the laces, placed at the centre of the ankle (1 ring = 1 level of hole)
- The curve of the yokes is light and harmonious.
Another advantage is that the desert boot is a comfortable shoe on a sole made of spongier-than-average rubber.
The materials of the desert boot
Originally, the desert boot is a shoe made from velvet and veal leather. Today, whether it’s in nubuck leather or suede, it’s always this material that is the most common.
After reversed leather, you can find desert boots in all kinds of possible leathers, except perhaps from Koala buttock.
In this respect, if you’ve forgotten what characterises the leather, it is time to consult the dossier on different leather families.
Now you’ve refreshed your memory, be nice. Promise me that you will pay attention to your shoes, especially if they’re made out of nubuck leather, and respect these three things:
- Never wear them in the rain.
- Brush them with a specific utility.
- Waterproof them
If you have shoes worn down to the last thread, you can always pull it off as workwear clothing.
Types of soles for the men’s desert boot
Originally, the desert boot was on top of a thick rubber sole. Nowadays, it’s possible to find soles in materials other than leather, like rubber or dainite studded rubber soles.
Treated leather soles
These soles impart a sense of fineness and agility to shoes, which integrates itself into all kinds of outfits.
Smooth leather soles
Desert boots with smooth leather soles are particularly dressy and correspond when you’re dressing for an elegant and urban situation.
Pay close attention to leather soles because they are very slippy. To get around this problem, adding a rubber layer to the bottom of the shoe gives more grip (think about giving them to a cobbler the day before wearing your new shoes).
Another advantage is that it protects the leather which isn’t high quality from wearing out prematurely.
The original material of the desert boot, rubber is much more flexible and comfortable than the urban models.
Dainite rubber is a material that was first produced in the UK in 1894 by a British producer who specialised in plastic soles.
An alloy of black plastic or brown sepia, it is particularly supple, resistant and doesn’t mark.
How to wear the desert boot?
The desert boot is an all-purpose model, accommodating all kinds of menswear outfits, notably raw jeans as it’s the ultimate basic.
To add a touch of originality to a classic outfit, look for details that really make the difference.
Desert boots and chinos
A pair of chinos and desert boots goes well with coloured items, as the combinations work well together.
This complicity between chino and boot lets us acknowledge really original features.
Observe how the color of the socks highlights the camouflage detailing of the desert boots. Without this contrast, the colours close to that of the trousers and the shoes would produce a boring effect.
Desert boots with woollen trousers
The match of desert boots with more formal outfits is possible however it’s important to be extra careful.
This shoe adapts to a suit provided that it is well fitted. Regarding the colours, you can read or re-read the article on repeating colours to pull together your outfit,
The history of the men’s desert boot
In 1941, the young Nathan Clark signed himself up to the British Army and became part of a mission in North Africa. There, he noticed that the suede boots bought from the bazaars in Cairo by the soldier were particularly comfortable and resistant.
Returning home from the mission in 1949, he tried to convince his older brother to throw himself into the commercialisation of these shoes. However this is mitigated, as he had another strategy in order to develop the family business that he managed himself. He preferred to bank on school shoes, persuaded easily as the baby boom offered a better opportunity gain market shares.
Nonetheless, Nathan persevered and managed to produce a small collection of boots of which he simultaneously launched in France, Italy, England and America. It was at a trade show in Chicago where business soared and the desert boot was met with surprising success.
Over time, the Clarks desert boot became an icon that successfully took over the Beat Generation movements in the United States (in the 50s, the “Beatniks” formed an artistic and literary underground movement), and the Mods in the UK (the hip and hedonistic “Modernists” enormously influenced fashion).
In Paris, during May 1968 even the rioting students who clashed against the cops on the pavements on the streets wore Clarks.
As for Polo players, they’ve gone for a little more dressed up range: The “Chukka” by Crockett & Jones
In the land of stardom, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jon Pertwee and even Steve McQueen contributed to construct the relaxed and chic image of the desert boot.
Steve McQueen and his secret weapon: Put your foot in it
In the 70s and 80s, the shoe became an authentic symbol of rock and roll, eventually being progressively discarded until 2008 where it bounded back into the fashion scene with a vengeance.
Today, the desert boot is unanimously considered as a wardrobe basic that you can wear with anything, far from any kind of loyalty to a social group.
If Clarks continue to produce this mythical shoe, of which it is the king, many brands will try to claim ownership of the original model.
The range of men’s desert boots
There is an overabundant range of desert boots for men. You wont come across shoes as beautiful and good value whilst you bargain hunt in shops or online.
Here is a small selection of models fraîchement péchés sur la toile, which I like a lot:
Again with Opening Ceremony: a suede model with leather sole for $275.