The Clarks Desert Boots are a classic on par with the 501 Levi’s or a pair of Chuck Taylors. Canonized into style manuals on the global web and co-signed by fashionable people of generations, this is basically a perfect shoe. Since its official introduction to the masses in 1949, the Clarks Desert Boot has been the quintessential hot-weather boot, growing from its origins in military attire to various civilian-style tribes. Although the desert boot has been reiterated over the years, the silhouette has remained largely intact. So far.
To celebrate its 70th birthday, Clarks introduced a new take on its desert boot – and it’s a head spin. It’s nicknamed Desert Boot 221, but a more apt name might be the Double Stuffed Desert Boot. That’s because this new version features a heavy sole that’s been stacked with an extra portion of crepe rubber, literally elevating the shoe to new heights. Unlike the OG’s lean profile, the 221 is unabashedly heavy without stepping into platform shoe territory. He’s always instantly recognizable as the spring-ready daily driver you know and love. Now the mileage is better. In our era of wide-leg cropped pants, the 221 has what it takes to keep you in the low-end.
Aside from its outwardly glorious gains, the 221 also made a few changes to the interior. While the original Clarks desert boots are lined with soft leather, the 221 are unlined, making them even more ideal for summer, despite the added weight. The suede upper, on the other hand, has been tanned without the usual chrome chemicals, which means it’s also much greener than its predecessors. In other words: they swelled in the right places while shedding fat.
The 221 comes in the midst of a torrent of bigger and bigger shoes, including (literally) huge hits like chunky puddle boots from Bottega Veneta and massive chain loafers from JW Anderson and chelsea boots. And yet, Clarks’ update to one of their most iconic models doesn’t seem like a jumping trend at all; instead, it reads like a natural, beautifully executed evolution of an all-time great shoe. The suede better with age, the easy-to-wear silhouette, the plush crepe sole – it’s all there, but now there’s more. And in this case, anyway, not really anymore is After.
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