Our Story

Introduction

Clarks Originals are of the moment. Always have been. Always will be. From iconic styles that have never gone out of fashion to designs that are right for the times. Classics are revived and replicated, legends reinterpreted. Stunning new looks are inspired as much by our past as by the here and now. And superb materials from the four corners of the globe are fused with the signature Originals crepe sole. For men and for women there is nothing quite like Clarks Originals. Never has been. Never will be.

Desert Boot

The Clarks Originals original. The Desert Boot was designed in 1949 by Nathan Clark and launched at the Chicago Shoe Fair a year later. Its inspiration was a crepe-soled boot made from rough suede in Cairo’s fabled Old Bazaar and the footwear of choice for off-duty Eighth Army officers. The simple lines and conspicuous comfort were an instant hit and the first ever casual shoe was born. The rest. as they say. is history. Often imitated but never bettered. Sometimes different but in spirit always the same. Long live the Originals Desert Boot.

Wallabee

Following in Nathan’s footsteps Lance Clark created another Clarks Original – the Wallabee. Inspired by a moccasin made by a company called Sioux it was developed in 1967 at the Clarks owned Padmore & Barnes factory in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Originally called ‘Grasshopper’ (for copyright reasons the name Wallabee was coined when the shoe first crossed the Atlantic) it was constructed around the nature form last. And it still is. But while the Wallabee is sublimely comfortable, it’s the simple, uncluttered design that over the years has earned it millions of dedicated followers.

Desert Trek

Another decade. Another original. Based on a style discovered in Holland by the wife of an abstract artist and refined in Clarks’ Republic of Ireland factory by Lance Clark the debut of Desert Trek in the early 70s couldn’t have been timelier.

For millions, the oil crisis meant leaving the car at home and walking. Comfortable shoes were called for and Desert Trek was the answer. Unlike its original name, ‘Six Toes’ and briefly ‘Hike‘, Desert Trek’s special combination of nature form last trademark crepe sole and distinctive centre seam survives to this day.

Lugger

Can a shoe change the way you feel about life, the universe and everything? Probably not. But it can help you relax, keep a cool head, perhaps, when all about you are losing theirs. Especially if it’s Clarks Lugger. Unveiled in the 80s, Lugger took as its role model the Wallabee. It uses the same nature form last shape and crepe sole to deliver simple styling combined with supreme comfort.

Natalie

Another decade. Another unexpected source of inspiration for Clarks Originals. Traditionally boots used in the sport of curling have a crepe sole that wraps all around the upper. Our designers took the look but cut the crepe just keeping it on the toe and heel, to create Natalie. Following in the footsteps of all the other Clarks Originals Natalie has become a classic loved the whole world over.

Shoe Making

The crepe sole has been an essential feature of Clarks Originals since the very first Desert Boot was launched in 1950. One of nature’s great shock absorbers and water repellents crepe’s made from latex tapped from the para rubber tree. Mixed, mashed and dried, it’s rolled into sheets before being trimmed to size. With any off-cuts recycled, it’s entirely natural and it’s sustainable. So it’s good for the planet as well as your feet (it also looks pretty cool). Another constant in the Originals story is our suede. Now, as ever, it’s supplied by Charles F. Stead. a north of England tannery with roots going all the way back to 1893.

As well as the suede other materials chosen with care include vintage leathers from America and hand-woven Harris Tweed from Scotland. With wear and over time they all play their part in helping to make each pair of Clarks Originals as individual as the individual who wears them.