Shoes that have utility are always prized in menswear over shoes that do not. Most recently the trend has been toward work boots, even in situations that call for more formal shoes. We like our footwear to have a sense of purpose; however, we also like to show off when we get the chance. A popular combination of these two impulses over the past few years has been the desert boot, which is still riding high as a shoe of choice for the many stylish gentlemen, the fashionmister. The reason it endures is that it serves a purpose while still looking distinctive. It is utilitarian while still possessing dramatic flare.
Desert boots are ankle-high boots, allowing greater freedom of motion for the foot than would be had in a calf-high boot. They also offer less protection than a calf-high boot, which is understandable given their origins. Clark, the American shoe company, first introduced the desert boot to the public in 1950, and as their name suggests they were inspired by the boots worn by British soldiers in the Egyptian desert during World War II. They are distinguished by their suede leather exterior, as well as their soles: they have soles of rubber that are mostly flat, but are wrinkled and rumpled along their expanse, and so they are called crepe soles. Classically, desert boots come in light tan, to better blend with the sand, but these days they can be found in almost every color: brown, black, navy, white, sometimes even red or yellow.
We recommend that the desert boots you wear be in a classic color, at least so long as they are your first pair. Experimentation can come later; what a FashionMR should be focused on initially is quality and classic styling. As they are the shoe’s inventor, Clark is still the go-to company for desert boots, such desert boots are sometimes called ‘Clarks.’ However, you can find other models from esteemed companies, such as Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, Opening Ceremony, and Grenson. Find a pair in classic tan and wear them casually, with blue jeans or chinos and a crewneck sweater on top. They make good accompaniments to a leather jacket and even a more woodsy sport coat, something in tweed. This is one trend you should have no fear of joining.