Mens Clarks Originals
Clarks Shoes is one of the most famous names in men's footwear, best known throughout the world for the Clarks Originals Desert Boots.
Founded in Street in Somerset, England in 1825 by Cyrus Clark, Clarks originally made sheepskin rugs. By 1828 the company had grown sufficiantly enough for Cyrus to employ his younger brother, James as an apprentice. James decided to utilise the off-cuts from the rugs to make slippers, and the Clarks we know today was born.
Moving forward to the 1940s and Nathan Clark, the great-grandson of James Clark, was an officer in the Royal Army Service Corps posted to Burma in 1941. Before leaving home, his brother Bancroft tasked him with gathering information on footwear that might be of use to the Clarks Shoes company while he was travelling the world. Nathan's main discovery and design was the Desert Boot.
While in the army, Nathan came across a suede ankle boot, which had been manufactured in the bazaars of Cairo, Egypt. The boots was perfect for the North African climate, practical and light, but Nathan also saw potential for the boot to be worn by civilians too. He sent sketched and rough patterns cut from newspaper back home, but when he arrived back himself, no work had been done. In fact, no one else at Clarks liked the idea of suede boots. In the UK at the time suede shoes and boots were associated with 'lounge lizards' and other disreputable characters.
Nathern perservered. He made his own prototype of the desert boot and took it to the Chicago Shoe Fair in 1949. The Americans loved it immediately. Esquire magazine ran an extensive editorial on the boots in early 1950 and they were soon available for sale in the US, long before the UK. Eventually it took off in the UK too in the 1960s, initially sold through shops in Regent Street, London and featuring a Union Jack sewn onto the tongue, aimed at tourists - but it was the 60s Mods who took the Desert Boot and made it a defining element of the Mod style.
Wearing Desert Boots with both smart and casual attire, the simple suede boot appealed to mods for it's clean cut look, versatility and practicality. The Desert Boot looked good worn with mod suits and fishtail parkas, as well as Levi's jeans and gingham shirts.