Then & Now: Clarks Desert Boots General Style 40 Comments

Trav: If you pay even the slightest attention to Josh and I’s recent fit pics, you may notice the constant reassurance of the Clarks Desert Boot. They are just such a versatile piece of footwear that can be mixed and match with many styles for that real clean, classically casual look. A  couple months ago I came across an Ebay listing that showed some very unique, red Clarks desert boots IN MY SIZE. The seller was from Australia and apparently he was getting rid of his ginormous shoe collection. The desert boots were listed as near dead stock condition (worn twice) and released sometime between 20 and 30 years ago. Needless to say, I got them and love them but I have noticed a couple of considerable differences that might as well make  these a completely different shoe when compared to the current Clarks desert boot. Firstly, I’ve notice that the older pair was made in Australia while the current pair is made in Vietnam. I don’t know if Clarks has different manufacturers, I assume that production was once done in Australia but later moved to Vietnam. The laces are also different, the older pair has nice round solid laces that are soooo much more practical than the annoying, flat, stringy laces in the current pairs. The actual feel between the two shoes is completely different, the most recent pairs are more soft and smooth than the vintage pair’s harder, more rough suede. The fit is also a lot different, the older pair feel a lot better, they are wider with much better heel support.I remember an old school Jamaican guy talking about how Clarks were not made the same anymore and how they started sacrificing  quality for cheaper cost. I can now say that i see what he was talking about. I wish they were made how they were in the past. I am still however a fan of the current models.

|Unqlo oxford| Topman tie| A.P.C. PS| vintage Clarks|



Some vintage clark ads


Old West Indian Clark steeze that so perfectly fit this moment



Have something to say?


  • dayinthelyf

        posted on May 25 , 2009 :

    this type of theing can probably be associated to a lot more other clothing items produced over time…

  • H.

        posted on May 25 , 2009 :

    The red ones are dope as hell, Wish i could find that.


        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    This is definitely dope ! , mad at Trav for finding those Red Desert boots they look so different in person compared to mine the regular ones that are sold at stores. The quality appears way better in person and looks more well put together than the ones sold now. Clarks need to do various colors in the boots like they used to do.

    Dope post trav.

  • Santo

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    Love the post man! .. red desert boots are definitely a good find I wish i could find these lol

  • FredX

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    Dope outfit , love this site as always my black brothers I think you guys are the only African Americans that are really doing something unique and classy like this. Keep it up! good find btw

  • jhey

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    Definitlety works well with the fit and I totally agree about the whole standards dropping over time observation. Mad jealous too.

  • sQuincy

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    yea i agree…
    clarks used to be manufactured in England as well.
    and the older desert boot models the toe was more squared (still round)
    and that crepe sole was a little thinner..
    but now-a-days those old methods of manufacturing are harder to find,
    because the cost of production is expensive compared to like china
    where they can sell consumers the same looking product with the cut of costs and quality, and keep the same company name on it (i.e. retro Jordans)
    therefore making more profit, business is gonna be business “real spit!”
    so now we are kinda stuck with lower grades of suede’s and nubuck and bad glue jobs.
    besides that..
    this is good post,
    those APC’s still looking good, and the red DB’s have a nice POP for your fit.
    really digging the pix of the West Indian style (looks like the 70′s)
    which can be modernized and look really smooth today
    *homie in the shower cap 2nd pic. LOL
    - looking forward to reading more posts from you Trav.

  • Alex Brilhante

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    Clarks are the perfect exemple of shoes that actually look better when they are nicely worked in. Good stuff.

  • Style Salvage Steve

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    Great buy and nice post! Clarks are the original desert boots and still, in my mind, offer the best on the market.

    Thanks so much for posting the vintage ads as well.

  • Steve

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    dope boots and post! i love se keepdoing it guys

  • chichi

        posted on May 26 , 2009 :

    That color looks eye catching, and just makes the fit ten times better.

  • Marcus Troy

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    nice post! yes Clarks originally from England. love the pics and the steez inspiring!

  • Joseph A

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    damn nice fit, i see Alife made those clark look alikes since clarks isn’t too big on the color thing anymore

    BTW trav what type of camera do you use for your pics?

  • Trav

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    thanks for the love guys!!

    dayinthelyf- yeh man its all about money nowadays, forget about the actual consumer who are loyal purchasers.

    H and Santo- If i ever come another pair ill let you guys kno.

    FredX- WOW thats a huge statement! Cant tell you how much i appreciate it. Thanks!

    Jhey- Yeh i actually recently read a book called the Walmart Effect that deeply touched on the whole cheap labor and decreasing quality epidemic

    Squincy- you are so right.. could not have said it better. the trade of between quality and cost is def becoming a problem. And i was saying the same thing about the West Indian pics. That style would still be considered unique and fresh today. Dude in the shower cap is doin it LOL!

    Alex- yup clarks do look better wen they are worn in. i actually like my blue pair alot better since i completely worked them in

    Style Salvage Steve- I comeplety agree with you. It seems like every brand has their own version of the desert boot but you cant go wrong wth Clarks, its the ultimate classic. Thanks for the love

    Steve- Thanks alot man. I appreciate that you appreciate the site. Love like this keeps us going.

    ChiChi- thats alot, you always show love. and yeh i was really seeking an “eye catching” look.

    Marcus Troy- Thanks alot, really feeling your log. Keep doing what your doing.

    Joseph A- Yeh as stated before, everyone is doing the desert boot thing. I really wish that Clarks would go back to a dif variety of colors, that would have greatness written all over it. to answer your camera question, i shoot with a d40 but this pic was taken with Josh’s Canon Sti with his 50mm f/1.8 lens

  • Budnz

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    Geezers, love what your doing, your entries are on point… Trav, this post however made me finally give in and say ‘the hell with it’ (I’ve been eyeing up desert boots for a few years now) and run out on my lunch break, (its not even payday lol) and pick up a black pair…

    Anyways your fit looks sick Trav, the red boots are killin’ it…

  • Ed

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    Love the clarks, much better than the cheap clunky clarks you see in the stores now. I love your style Trav, its good to see some young black men you dress with class instead the typical white t-shirt, doo-rag and saggy jeans. Keep up the good the work.

  • Steve

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    I agree with you guys above like , people need to know about this site its funny when it ddoes blow up we were the first ones to know about it lol :D

  • dapper kid

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    The colour of those are beautiful, and I’m loving the fit of your APCs! My dad keeps telling me how the Clarks ‘Original’ line is overpriced, and that the build quality is way worse than when the models were originally selling. It’s a shame, but I suppose you always have to be somewhat wary of reissues anyhow.

  • ayoo

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    Hey where can I find those bead bracelets at?

  • Kev

        posted on May 27 , 2009 :

    Wussup ya I gotta say ya are a good source for fashion both of ya wish there was more people like ya where im located (NJ)! But to ask the same question as ayoo where do you get your beads from? Also I was wonderin I see Phil from award tour has his prodject up and runnin smooth, Do ya have any prodjects starting or thoughts and starting somethin? I would support ya 100% lol. One more How did ya and Phil get started together?

  • Coldsun

        posted on May 28 , 2009 :

    Nice fit… Definitely something i would rock, believe it or not, i dress like that to work almost every day…
    Now as for the Clarks… I love them, have for a long time… They just look good and work well… BUT, Months ago, i went hunting for my own and walked into that Clark store by the Bloomingdales on 59th and tried on my first pair, and IDK… they just didn’t look right on me… :( so to this day i do not own any Clarks.. I still like em, but they didn’t look right on me…. I notice you guys wearing them, and ya’ll look great in them, seriously… As usual you guys have further inspired me, one day i went out and copped some Khaki colored jeans after reading a post, today, i think i’ma go give Clarks another try and see if they work… Keep it up guys…

  • designerman

        posted on May 28 , 2009 :

    1;00 a.m. and i gotta crash but wanted to say how great ur site looks and i can’t wait to watch it unfold. beautiful pics…thanks for contacting me on FB and sharing this with me. night. r

  • goke

        posted on May 28 , 2009 :

    dope fit Trav…this blog never fails to disappoint…also wondering where did you get those bracelets


        posted on May 28 , 2009 :

    Didnt want to take over Trav’s post but I’ll chime in a little bit on some topics real quick lol he will get back to you guys.. :d lol

    Richard Haines(DesignerMan), thanks for taking the time to check out the site we really appreciate your insight on our site , really inspires us. Big fan of your site keep doing what your doing, The “What I Saw Today” drawings is what I see in the city every, but the interesting thing is we would all draw the individuals different, more like I’m looking through your perspective of things. Keep doing what your doing and be sure to check the site out from time sure to unfold!.

    Ayoo,goke,Kev – The bracelets are from the Topman store in NYC.

    Kev, Me and Phil met on a fashion forum back in 2005/2006 it was SoJones forum then to Hypebeast forums. At that time Phil was still running his line back then just titled “LOCHNESS” he eventually changed name to “Award Tour” and really stepped up to the plate of bringing his point of view of fashion to the world. Street Etiquette will have some projects coming soon that we are currently working on to get out , and with perfect presentation. We’re open to brands/people to contact us to brainstorm up some ideas if anything. We appreciate that you ould support us 100% man , its all love man stay tuned!.

  • The Ca$h

        posted on May 28 , 2009 :

    Trav those boots look great
    These are really popular and worn by many Jamaican males

  • Theo Martins

        posted on May 29 , 2009 :

    Boots are truly dope, you can see the detail and shift in quality between the red pair and the black pair.

  • Claudio

        posted on May 29 , 2009 :

    You can never go wrong with these. Never. Great post.

  • DeeperthanFashion

        posted on May 30 , 2009 :

    Yes , Cladio I agree theres nothing like some fresh clarks damn you guys making me want to purchase some like right now lol

  • Krystal S.

        posted on June 1 , 2009 :

    Yes! I love original Clark’s!

  • SwanDiamondRose

        posted on June 2 , 2009 :

    i was really into desert boots for a bit when i was a teenager. though i wasn’t a teenager in the 70s. just back to say- i love your blog! and you find great archival photos. nice.

  • Fem

        posted on June 30 , 2009 :

    The Vintage Clarks are a really nice touch ?

  • Suede

        posted on July 1 , 2009 :

    Nice find, you can really see how thick the suede used to be.

    I’m guessing they’re not 20-30 years old though, more like 10-15. That was the 1st time I ever saw colored desert boots on the Australian market.

  • Giford Nana

        posted on October 15 , 2009 :

    Trav u know where i can find the red desert boots or even desert treks

  • Natalie

        posted on October 21 , 2009 :

    Wow it’s so funny how differently a brand can be seen for in a different place. Over here in London, I would definitely say Clarks isn’t as respected, I mean we know they make quality shoes but on the style front – not so much. However I never knew about Desert Boots and am pleasantly surprised! I love the red ones you have on their such a punctuation to your ‘fit. I really love them. So much so I’m getting my own pair (women’s of course) in purple suede…

    Thanks for the knowledge and great site


  • oak yeahkeddy

        posted on November 7 , 2009 :

    the best clarks(must be mand in ENGLAND)

  • Anonymous

        posted on January 18 , 2010 :

    dude i have 3 pairs of desert boots and nothing comes close to those bad ass red ones

  • disbelief

        posted on February 1 , 2010 :

    what a load of crap. how long did it take your marketing dept to write those responses. seriously i was around when desert boots where about the first time, and ugly don’t improve with age. colour them red and all your doing is painting a volkswagon and calling it a porsche. guys if it was considered ugly in the worst taste decade of our modern times(the ’70s), then they are still ugly. if you fall for the hype and wear those things out, then don’t bother cleaning the bathroom, cause you aint bringing anyone home. i know you’re not gonna post this but the truth even quashed is still the truth.

  • Don

        posted on July 30 , 2010 :

    My father is Jamaican and he says the same thing about the quality all the time. I think a large amount of them used to be made in England but that’s not the case anymore. I still like the Desert boots that they put out today but I’m certain the quality and overall appearance must be different from the originals… unfortunately that’s the case with just about everything.

  • Shuricato

        posted on September 22 , 2010 :


    First I want to ask for excuses for my terrible Englishman, this this one extracted of a translator therefore I do not believe that all the phrases go written well.

    I am Spanish, and seeing the blog, I want to know the brand and model of the trousers and the shirt.

    I like the entire look. But the Clarks in red already seem to me to be impossible to obtain. As I could translate they have already enough years.

    To seeing if someone reads again this section and says it to me.

    Thank you very much and a greeting from Spain;)

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