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The Stat Sheet: Clarks Navy Nubuck Desert Boots

  • Najib Benouar


Desert boots have been thick on the ground in menswear circles for some time now, but you’re most likely to find them in a dusty suede or waxed brown leather.

Which is why this navy pair with a brick-red crepe sole that’s just landed across the pond at End is especially intriguing--and perhaps a better way to stand apart than going the lug-sole route. Here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: Clarks have been making the poster-boot of desert footwear since WWII—and have since become a staple in most guys’ wardrobes. This pair replaces the usual uppers with a navy nubuck and dyes the crepe a brick-red, like your favorite pair of bucks.

Who to Channel: Britain's Desert Rats battalion in their finest dress uniforms; Steve McQueen, had he kept the boots on with his tuxedo (shown below).

When to Wear It: Anytime you would wear your suede pair. You can leave those in a dark corner of the closet until everyone starts wearing upcycled versions of the desert boot—and it’s time to go back to the originals.

Consider These: The best update to a classic you’ve seen in a good while.

A moment of inspiration, after the jump.»

If These Boots Could Talk

  • Najib Benouar

Fall is a special season for many reasons.

For some, it’s football season. To others: sausage season (or motherfucking decorative gourd season).

But here on Kempt: it’s boots season. And that means choices.

With a vast sea of options out there—hiking, Chelsea, desert, cowboy, et cetera—it begs the question: what is your choice in fall footwear saying about you? So we graciously came up with this handy guide:

Understanding what your boots are saying about you, courtesy of Kempt.»

The Desert Work-Boot

When desert boots hit the saturation point last winter, guys started thinking of new ways to make them their own again. (Also, they were wearing holes through their crepe soles.) And so a small group of intrepid menswear enthusiasts with access to a trustworthy cobbler began resoling their desert boots—but instead of merely replacing the crepe soles, they chose large, monstrous rubber bottoms. (See this Midwestyle post for an early example of the movement.)

And it seems Clarks has taken notice, since they’ve just unveiled the Desert Trooper (at Need Supply Co.), which has their classic desert-boot upper and a chunky, rubber tread at bottom that’s reminiscent of a work boot. If you’ve been considering trying to upcycle your own desert boots but haven’t worn your way through the crepe yet, here’s your painless answer.

Just don’t be surprised when everyone else is wearing them by this time next year.

The Camouflage Takeover

  • Najib Benouar

Camouflage is having a banner year.

Last week it was the venerable trad standby J. Press hopping on the trend, and this week it’s the makers of the indispensable boot of the desert, Clarks. That’s right, camo suede. You’ve probably already got a pair in a dusty suede or waxed leather, but it might be time for an update. And there’s no denying the comforting feeling of wrapping your feet in crepe sole and suede as the leaves begin to turn. And for those still not totally convinced by the camo look, consider this dipping your toe.

Desert Boots Have Hit the Saturation Point

Desert Bootsvia Primer Magazine

Walking to work this morning, we spotted no less than five gentlemen wearing suede desert boots. Six, if you count the pair on our own feet.

It’s no wonder; they’re great shoes. On some level, we should have been glad that the men of New York are catching on to the glory of Clarks. But we weren’t glad. Instead we felt a creeping sense of unease, and wondered if we should sneak back to our apartment to change.

It’s a common moment for gentlemen of style—and for anyone as allergic to trends as we are, it’s a moment that deserves a closer look...

The saturation point, and what to do about it»

Vintage Britney Is Encouraging Patriotism

Britney USA

The Origin of the Parka: Secret Forts shows Sierra Designs some love. [Secret Forts]

Boot Up: A fond farewell to the inventor of the desert boot, Nathan Clark (as in Clark’s). [WWD]

Get Terse: A short-sentenced appreciation of Papa Hemingway, in honor of the 50th anniversary of his death. [Open Culture]

Made in New Jersey: A new crop of homegrown goods from Archival Clothing, including some NJ-made madras shirts. [Archival Clothing]

We’ll see you Tuesday.

The Latest Crew


We got a look at the J.Crew Spring/Summer 2010 preview today, and in addition to adding Hill-Side ties and Clarks Wallabees to their stable of collaborators and buddy brands, they’ve kept things moving in the same solid direction as the last few seasons. If it ain’t broke...

There’s a new navy sharkskin version of the Ludlow Suit and a reliably pleasing assortment of chambray, but we also really liked the rugged Fireman’s Jacket, a light, clasping jacket that should be the perfect antidote to summer rainstorms. (No word yet on how it holds up against fire.)

See more of the new line»

The Devil’s in the Details


If you’ve leafed through the front of this month’s DETAILS, you might have seen the usual bunch-of-stuff section titled “Investment Pieces.” It’s not a bad angle—they certainly need to address economics in some way—but they don’t seem to have told their writers about it.

The result is a few safe staples mixed into the same trend-driven stock they’ve always specialized in. Luckily we're here to separate the wheat from the chaff...

We catalog the errors of the monthly periodical»

Just Deserts


So far they’re most popular among the hip-hop crowd, but Clarks Desert Boots are one item that’s ripe for crossover. The desert part means they’re impervious to sand, but the main appeal is the roomy, bubble-like front.

The Japanese have already caught on. Clarks is going halfsies with Japanese brand SHIPS to land in select Tokyo retailers with a rare ebony-leather version of the classic boot. They don’t look half bad…from here, anyway.