The Ultimate Spring Footwear

The right footwear is integral to a look. It’s quite literally the foundation of an outfit and said to be one of the first things that others will judge you on.

So today we take a look at a classic, versatile option that can be dressed up or down with ease: the desert boot. Brought to public attention by British footwear brand Clarks 65 years ago, the desert boot is both streamlined and lightweight, making it perfect for the spring season. And though it’s commonly lumped in with the chukka boot, there’s one distinguishing feature that sets it apart: the crepe sole.

Designed by Nathan Clark, inspiration for the silhouette came from the shoes that were made in Cairo’s Khan elKhalili bazaar for British Eighth Army officers, which he saw when he was stationed in North Africa in 1941. When he returned home in 1949, he set out on a plan that saw him launch a small collection of the boots in France, Italy, England and America – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here we break down how to style yours to get the most wear out of them this spring.

Dress Them Down

For many, the idea of wearing shorts with boots can be problematic – the juxtaposition of bulky, heavy duty footwear with classic summer attire is just too much. Yet suede’s natural softness combined with the desert boot’s low profile makes pulling off the look a lot easier.

Try teaming yours with a matching jersey shorts and sweatshirt set (see below) or simple white tee to keep the look firmly casual; the boots will elevate the ensemble in the smallest of ways.

Image: Farah SS15

Make It Pop

When you’re deciding what to anchor your white trousers or jeans with this season, go for a pop of colour. Though desert boots traditionally come in soft tans and light browns, you’ll also find rich navy and dusty emerald versions on the current market that contrast wonderfully.

Finish with a lightweight jacket or raincoat in the same hue and a simple Breton top.

Image: Burton SS15

Distressed Denim

A rugged pair of desert boots makes the ideal partner to distressed denim or light wash jeans – both key SS15 trends.

Emphasise the masculine, workerwear undertones by combining with a long-sleeved Henley or check shirt.

Image: Mango Man SS15

Roll With It

No matter what trouser you decide to wear, consider rolling them. The ideal way to show off your footwear, fold your chinos up an inch or so above the top of the boots for a look that is on point and seasonally-appropriate.

Match with a technical jacket and crisp white button-down – the sleeves too can be rolled – and you’re ready to head out into the sunny day.

Image: Digel

Dress Them Up

Don’t be afraid to elevate the desert boot to tailoring status. Although a full-on three-piece would be slightly too formal, separates offer an ideal way to smarten up.

A pair of chinos teamed with a polo shirt and lightweight blazer sits right in that smart-casual sweet spot, just like your desert boots.

Image: H&M

Recommended Desert Boots
  • Clarks Originals Desert Boots
  • Clarks Originals Nubuck Desert Boots
  • Selected Homme Leon Suede Desert Boots
  • Ask The Missus Cookie Desert Boot
  • Ask The Missus Cookie Desert Boot
  • He By Mango Suede Desert Boots
  • Churchs Sahara Suede Desert Boots
  • Mark Mcnairy Crepe-soled Suede Desert Boots
  • Tods Suede Desert Boots