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It seems peculiar that a company started by Quaker businessmen during the Georgian era would be known for its pop culture associations rather than, say, its old-fashioned quality, workmanship, but the youthful associations of some iconic Clarks styles remain a driving force behind the brand to this day.

The most famous Clarks shoe of all, the Desert Boot is an adaptation of a locally produced style of boot in Cairo that was popular amongst British officers stationed there during World War II. The design, a suede, ankle length silhouette with a crepe sole, is simple but instantly recognizable.

They were instant favorites with wild but sharply dressed subcultures like Jamaican Rude Boys (just wearing Clarks in Jamaica was enough to provoke a police response) and English Mods.

It isn’t difficult to see why. The Desert Boot encapsulates the appeal of the smart-casual sensibility. They are youthful without being juvenile, comfortable without being untidy, and sharp without being stuffy. You don’t even have to make it through a dancehall rumble to get a pair.

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