Tag Archives: Desert Boots

A Mod Classic The Desert Boot


On page 22 of the Mods Book by Richard Barnes there is a pair of desert boots, along with white jeans, white polo and brown suede jacket. I have always loved the picture and the look. Like a lot of classic mod styles it is one that has stayed with me for many years.

The desert boot has been in the mods wardrobe since the early days and continues to be so so popular. Many people not just mods wear them, and on the scooter they do look the part on sunny days.

Nathan Clarke the designer of the Original Clarkes Desert Boot
Nathan Clarke the designer of the Original Clarkes Desert Boot

History wise it started with Nathan Clarke who designed them during the war, whilst out east in Burma. He saw guys in similar pairs and adapted the look for the public. So hence the poster below.

A massive seller for Clark’s in the fifties the boots have hung around since. Clarke’s make the original and some say the best.

10 mod shoes orginal poster from 40s clarkes

21 quadrophenia desert boots wall picture

I think a lot of us these days would have seen their first boots on the feet of the guys in Quadropehenia. The whole cast seem to be in them, Dave seems to be the only one not in the clumpy ones. I have been told that the boot is an Clark’s Desert Boot Lynx, am not convinced and welcome an answer on this.

In film they are worn with jeans and suits, I have not always been a fan with a suit, certainly the boot is rubbish for dancing, so wonder where this look comes from.

The answer maybe cost, you can get an ok pair of boots for not much money in most towns in the UK. And without close inspection you wouldn’t know you looking at a cheap or expensive pair.

In the picture to the right the cheapest is £30 and the most expensive £250! Number 7 by the way
The cheapest is £30 and the most expensive £250! Number 7 by the way

The boot does go with a lot of outfits and the stone colour is very forgiven with a multitude of outfits.

Which brings us neatly on to colour, there are literally boots in every colour out there. There are also two, three tone and pattern varieties to choose from. My fav colours are

17 mod shoes nice colour desert boots in a row

Stone – Dark Brown – Olive –  Dark Blue – Black

In the pictures that follow you can see many colours. The desert boots doesn’t escape accessories, but do we really need fringes, well I don’t but some do. Also not sure about the ones with the union jacks, but these have been popular.

12 multi colour desert boots clarks

A Friend from Cambridge has yellow and black desert boots, why you ask? Well Cambridge United play in those colours, why else !

A foot note is that Clarkes boots are very popular in the dancehall scene, a lot of the styles are worn there, this guys looks so cool, the red top I defo want.

clarkes desert boots jamica

The desert boot, is also very forgiven in sizing. The suede stretches well and fits around the foot, normally within few hours of wearing. I think I must have had a dozen pairs at various times, some lasting a long time at college.

There is some snobbery about cheap and expensive boots. Having looked many makes over the years, there are marked differences and a good pair do look better. That said the desert boot is worn by many to work as well as pleasure. So a cheap pair of Roamers or Warriors are great for the price.

16 mod-shoes-olive-green-mod-desert-boots-03I wore my ikon olive green desert boots for 3 months straight to work. The colour faded a little and of course they look worn, but the sole has much time left in it. With jeans the olive I thought worked well with many different polo shirts and shirt combinations.

Many many famous people have worn the boots or a variation on them. Music people such as Weller, gallaghers etc, have all been spotted in pairs. Many mod revival bands wore them as you can see below, The Purple Hearts and The Circles to name a few. Britpop to with Damon Albarn. Below even Steve McQueen gets close desert boots, in the film The Great Escape.

07 mod-shoes-gary-crowley-desert-boots 03 mod shoes the circles opening tassel loafers and desert boot

14 neol gallagher in desert boots

Going to end on why I think they have lasted so long. I have been wearing my most recent pair, as I have mentioned before for several months, I have also been wearing some DJ afterglows. The suede allows the feet to brief more than trainers.

They bring you up a few steps from trainers. I like trainers a lot, but Desert boots are less casual. The classic stone colour goes well with most colours, and of course jeans. Throw in a few colours to you collection and you can look great.

And if you look like this guy you look cool.

04 desert boots with white jeans


Who had the Smartest (MOD) Shoes !

Who had the Smartest MOD Shoes !

Thought it would be fun to do a Photo only(ish) blog. Below are some people who I feel best represent cool shoes, each is an icon in many ways, but when i think of them i think, yep “smart dresser” and always good shoes !

Finding pictures, with shoes in, was hard work for some, as we see them in films or videos for only a second !

I make no apologies ! this is my list! , and a very incomplete, but it will do as a start !

Enjoy Andy

I think smart dressing and cool shoes may have started here for me. Suggs was always stood out for me in his brogues and loafers. And i suppose because of the nutty dance you had to look at the feet!

Paul Weller
Weller of course he had to be in the list. Weller was my hero for so long, musically he inspired so many of us and i love the fact he is out there still playing with new sounds. Style wise he cant be bet most of the time.  Shoes wise he is normally a mile ahead of everyone ! except perhaps the next set of pictures.

The Small Faces
Yes all of them ! There are literally 1000’s of pictures online of Marriott  Lane, Mac and Jones. and in them they are always look brilliant including the shoes. The first picture here is my favourite picture of them.



Liam Gallagher
Liam enters the list because although i am bigger Blur fan, Liam is the archetypal rock star . He is one of the guys who can pull of anything and look cool in it. I am not so sure about the recent ‘Pretty Green’ range , i always think thats someone behind him ! but whether you like it or not Him, Neol and Damien all gave the MOD scene a big bloody kick in the 90’s

James Brown
James Brown is one the best dancers ever, anyone who has ever seen him slide across the floor will know that. But if you are going to slide across the floor like that, you are not going to be wearing rubbish shoes when the whole crowd is looking !

James Bond
Yes all of them ! James bond always looks cool, and whether it be Connery  Moore, Morgan or Craig ( i know there are others) they always look their best! Possibly not strictly MOD! but cool anyways.

Michael Caine
Yep another actor. In the famous picture below with the Shooter from Get carter look at those cuff links !!!! Again bit of mare trying to find a picture of him full length, but in the Italian job, Get Carter, Icpress file and countless others inc the Eagle Has Landed Caine looks ace.

and a button down shirt !!!!

George Harrison
My favourite Beatle. Since i think 6 years old i have wanted to be George in the Beatles. Why you ask ? when i was younger it was the guitar, and as i have got older he seemed like the cool one. John and Paul may have wrote some of the best songs ever, but George wrote two of the Beatles most beautiful tunes. ‘While my guitar gently weeps’ and ‘Something’. He was no slouch either as these pictures prove.

I dont think there is a summary or conclusion really. Just an excuse to look at cool people in cool gear. I hope some of you agree and welcome hot debate at who i may have missed out !

Desert Boots

I wonder if every real MOD that’s ever been has owned a pair of Desert Boots. I have lots of pairs, all slightly different. There are lots of pictures of MODS in Desert Boots.

The comfortable boot can be seen in the MODS book and has survived all the MOD revivals and still is a player. Fred Perry’s recent boots are very much a play on the style.