Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clarks Wallabees

To understand Clarks Wallabees-first meet the Clarks Desert Boot

Clarks Wallabees trace roots back to Nathan Clark, the great-grandson of a founding Clark brother, who introduced the original Clark Desert Boot in 1950. This boot-like shoe was vastly different from any preceding Clarks' shoe. To quote Nathan Clark himself, "I got the idea from crepe-soled rough suede boots which officers in the Eighth Army were in the habit of getting made in the Bazaar at Cairo. 1" While the boot generated large volume orders after its introduction at the 1950 Chicago Shoe Fair, they were ultimately, not deemed fashionable by U.S. consumers and found a cult following among generations later called Beatniks. Meanwhile, in Europe, Clarks Desert Boots became widely revered as a basic and comfortable boot with an attitude. Because of this, they quickly gained fame and appreciation around the world. Over time, they have bound rock stars, athletes, politicians, environmentalists and suburbanites together by what they have simply chosen to wear against the soles of their feet! Literally, as many sport them with bare feet.

What makes them unique?

Look to the 1960's and you find the metamorphosis of classic Clark Desert Boots to what might be the world's first comfort shoe, dubbed the Clark Wallabee. In 1965, Lance Clark1 introduced a simple, yet revolutionary leather moccasin built on the traditional Clarks' naturally formed, crepe sole that allows the wearer's toes to spread and feet to flex naturally. The inside is an EVA foot bed with a leather sock liner that, whether worn bare foot or in sock feet, will keep feet comfortable and dry1. The inside sole quickly takes the shape of its wearer, memorizing it and becoming a personalized pair of moccasin-like shoes. Like its predecessor, Clarks Wallabees became a classic. A later modernization came with the introduction of Clarks Desert Treks in 1974, when the oil crisis had many people walking.

What do Clarks Wallabees followers have or not have in common?
Ultimately, people around the world have always been in pursuit of a shoe that brings comfort, and more importantly, understated and universal style. In an effort to further spread Clarks Wallabees appeal around the world, Lance Clark1 introduced them in France where they were affectionately dubbed, 'Les Clarks' by generations of youth from the 1950s to present while American youth were wearing saddle loafers or cloth high-tops. In the 1980s, the paninare or Italian preppies wore the Wallabee as their shoe of choice, again while American preppies were wearing uncomfortable penny loafers. School uniform codes in the U.K. have called for Clarks Wallabees or similar shoes for decades now. So, what do they all have or not have in common? Europeans knew that comfort and oddity could also mean style while Americans thought that style was important enough to sacrifice comfort. Hmmm, whose feet would you rather have at the end of the day?

YOU make the shoe

With the new millennium, the full Clarks Originals line has newfound interest as a new generation rediscovers the same shoes and boots generations before them wore and loved. The full line, priced between $95 USD and $120 USD includes The Clarks Desert Boot, Clarks Wallabee Boot, Clarks Wallabee Oxford and Clarks Desert Trek. You can spot them on CD covers, designer runways, in fashion magazines and on musicians, starlets, politicians and even your neighbor! Among such trendsetters, there is deep appreciation for new color and pattern introductions to the Clarks Originals collection, which now include all-black crepe soles with all-black, smooth leather uppers or Desert Treks for women which are covered with multi-color ribbon and simply called "Treks Ribbon".

Who's who of Clarks Wallabee wearers

Steve McQueen was onto something when he wore them in The Great Escape. Jason Lee stated about his basic wardrobe, "And I love Clarks Wallabees. 2" Look to the cover of The Verve's Urban Hymns and you'll see Richard Ashcroft sporting a pair of Clarks with the word "Cool" stamped over the Clarks logo. Even Wu-Tang Clan and Gallagher boys are wearing them, proving they are worthy of transporting a rock or movie star into, what are you waiting for, ditch your Crocs or Birkenstocks for a pair of Clarks Wallabees. After all, ugly just went chic!


1. Choose from: Black or brown leather, tan suede or full color
* Black leather is not deemed the most attractive, but being different can make a statement and work to your advantage
* Brown leather is somewhere in between being a trendsetter with the black or ultra-conservative with...
* Tan suede is the classic, first color created, and also perhaps the most conservative choice
* If a lack of choices leaves you feeling dull and expressionless, full color choices are now available, especially among women's versionsSelect from: Low-top or high-top
* Low-tops are a classic choice, but also mean you may "show a little sock"
* High-tops are preferred most for pants wearers. Warning: Shorts, plus Wallabee high-tops are not deemed cool anywhere in the world!
2. Call 800-4clarks to order or view online catalog at

Clarks' new mantra for the millennium summarizes it all: original, versatile, authentic and understated. You might say that the timing of Clarks Originals return to the fashion forefront is perfect as we head into an age where fashion is often more about comfort, universal appeal and going with your own style. Afraid all this might lead to just another new hyper-trend? Rest assured, Clarks Originals remain virtually unchanged from their original creation meaning despite a lack of broach fashionable appeal, they will always have a sort of cult following and will always be comfortable...just like comfort food for your feet!

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