The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 21; A 70 Year Old Icon

written by @coombstw

A style icon for seventy years and to truly understand, you need to go back to the beginning and Nathan Clark, the army and a design that took over the world.

In 1941, Burma a gentleman named Nathan Clark noticed the style of boot his comrades in the army were wearing, it was not what was issued to them.  He found out these were commissioned by the British Eighth Army officers as the issued boots couldn’t hold up to the conditions of the desert they were based in.

Nathan Clark took the design and sent samples and ideas back to his family’s show business.  Eight years later the design was brought to the public in Chicago and rest as they say is History.

The desert boot was started by the army but redesigned and what we see today by Clark, the suede upper the rubber crepe sole, it is simple and stylish and it obviously has staying power.  My Dad and his brothers had a pair, my grandparents owned a pair, they were built to last and many brands designs still are.

I was trying to decide on another style of boot, I have high boots and walking boots, I have elegant shoes, suede shoes of all kinds.  But they are very one purpose, dress up or dress down, but could I find something for my relaxed style that is also slightly dressed up.  The desert boot was high on the list and after a few months of thinking I decided to get a pair, in a classic light tan colour and even though a style which is seventy years young they can be worn in a modern style with skinny jeans, turn ups or slim jeans.  Shirts, jackets, t-shirts and hoodies, they just go with just about anything and are now my staple work shoes.

I got this pair from Thread and are Red Herring, they were the style I wanted and were in the sale, they are currently back to full price of £50 and have had good pairs of this brand before.  They have a cushioned insole which really gives them a walking on clouds feel, the upper is the classic medium thickness suede and the outer sole is rubber crepe, the latter is what makes this style and if you don’t have these, it is not a desert boot.

I have been wearing them for a week now and have found a new favourite.  The weather is turning and before it gets any worse and my high leather boots are needed, keeping these protected with spray every week or when getting wet for now until a good solid build up of spray.

The desert boots are basically made to go with Jeans and complements any style brilliantly, I have worn them with a slight bit of ankle showing in a rockier look and also in slim jeans a shirt or t-shirt for a more dressed up casual look.  The desert boot is uber versatile and as it is not going anywhere and Autumn (Fall) is around the corner, it is the perfect time to invest in a pair.