The History of The Desert Boot

28th January 2014


If you have something of a beatnik outlook on life, or you’re simply keen to look stylish as well as feeling comfortable, you’re almost certainly familiar with the Desert Boot. Popular with rock stars such as Liam Gallagher, politicians and film and TV wardrobe departments alike, the Desert Boot features a simple design that allows it to complement a range of looks from indie to dressy. Its innate comfort is one of the main reasons why it has remained successful for decades and this, along with the name, harks back to its origins.

Nathan Clark, of the famous shoe manufacturing family, was stationed with his army unit in Burma, when he became aware of the shoes worn by off-duty officers. They were smart but comfortable low boots with a crepe sole and suede upper, leaving them both lightweight and hard-wearing. The design turned out to be a variant of a Dutch-designed army boot which was worn and produced in North Africa and, on his return to England, Clark formulated his own version and patented it under the name Desert Boot.

Initially, the boots enjoyed sales success on mainland Europe, but later became popular throughout the US and Britain as well, particularly among the beatnik and mod cultures. As sought-after today as they were during the 1960s, Clark’s Desert Boot has sold more than twelve million units, attracting new devotees in spite, or because of, retaining the original design. It’s a ‘must-have’ accessory for those who appreciate a true design classic.


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