I asked Jacob would he be up for doing his top Clarks for us.
Here is what made Jacob’s Top 8…
My name is Jacob, Iam 25 and a Trainee PLM for Clarks Originals. My love for crepe soled
footwear started around 4 years ago (been into trainers for a few years longer, mostly New Balance).
I’ve been working here for just under 2 years, and it been wicked. I am a Somerset native, and I
studied in Street (where HO is based). I have been asked to talk about a few of my favourite Clarks
products, which is no easy task when you have an archive spanning almost two centuries. Please
note that the opinions below are my own, and not reflective of Clarks.
That centre seam and that toe shape alone make this shoe a straight up belter for me. Add that
jovial hiker on the heel though, and it cements this shoe as an absolute classic. The 70’s were a
golden age of footwear design & innovation (particularly for brands like Nike) and the Trek
beautifully personifies that. Some of the my all-time favourite treks we have ever made are actually
out at the moment as part of the SS16 collection; we have used premium antelope leather so they
are soft as anything. Hopefully that does’nt sound like an advert, I just genuinely love them and they are mega.
Desert Boot MIE
The Made in England Desert is irrefutably one of my favourite products we have ever released. It
was an expensive shoe (as is any product that is completely cut-to-box in the UK) but it’s one of the
most premium products we have ever made, we used the finest Cordova suede from C F Steads in a
ridiculous colour (meaning that only the finest parts of the skin were used to not show
imperfections), veg tan runner board, archive stitch-per-inch & box stitch details. We included items
from some of our favourite UK independents. Shout out to Christian Hilton, TRiCKETT, Mamnick,
Peter O’Toole, John Conway, Chris Law, Dan Newton and a bunch of the other guys from our office
for contributing massively to something really special. I managed to get a pair and wear them all the time.
Wallabees were the first pair of Clarks I actively purchased rather being forced into as a child, and
they completely changed my perception of footwear (and at a deeper level, my career!). They are
the natural smart shoe for anyone into trainers, and I started to get heavily into casual footwear.
My favourite thing about the Wallabee is how democratic it is. My grandpa wore it, and Ghostface
wears it. Now I wear it. You can’t say that about many shoes. I have got around 30 pairs, and I just keep
buying more. Mad comfortable, they go with anything, and it͛s up there with Desert Treks, Nature
and New Balance 575 as one of the best toe shapes going. I’ve got a pretty good collection, but it is
nothing in comparison to some of the vintage goodness that fellow Clarks Aficionado and all round
legend Christian Hilton has in his.
If you chuck a Wallabee in a sweat lodge for 8 months to discover its spiritual inner self, the
Weaver is the result. Inspired by a Wallabee upper that had been turned inside out, its equal parts
mental and masterpiece. It’s most recognizable feature is the whip stitching along the quarters. We
just brought it back for SS16 and its proper good to see it back in shops.
The most recent product on here for sure (2014), but this is honestly a phenomenal shoe. Prad, the
fella that designed it is a very talented guy. It is based around a nature form last that promotes natural foot movement. Aesthetically it looks like a trainer, but it has a veg tan in sock reminiscent of
a dress shoe that moulds to the shape of your foot over time through perspiration. It’s most
distinctive feature is its 3 part decoupled vibram sole unit (which has been split in such a way that it
mirrors the natural flex-ing motion of the foot). The product has an asymmetrical last shape,
representative of the shape and contours of the human foot. It͛s a really technical and modern yet
classically made moccasin. I see a lot of hybrid footwear products in the market place and I know I’m
biased, but I think this is one of the purest expressions of that concept.
I͛m a sucker for anything aesthetically quite orthopaedic Nature II is the epitome of geography
teacher chic, thanks to that polyveldt construction and burly PU sole. If you ask anyone what is a
Clarks shoe they will probably say this one. It just has that aesthetic and DNA. You could take the
Clarks logo off and you would still know that it was made by us. It͛s ridiculously comfortable, super
casual and easy to wear. The toe shape is phenomenal and this is definitely the most underrated
product on this list. It deserves a lot of love (particularly in the mahogany c/w). Chuck some hiking
laces in that shoe and you͛ve got a hikerdelic casual masterpiece.
Caravans/Deep Country/Wallabee Ridge
This elusive beauty goes by many pseudonyms. I bought an OG pair of these off eBay last year for
around £120, they really have to be seen to be believed. The amount of crepe on this shoe is just
next level. They were released around 1970 (again, the golden age!) we believe, and for a pair of
shoes that are pushing 50 years old, still look stunning. We rereleased them a few years ago with the
good chaps over at Oi Polloi (If anyone͛s got a pair of the maples in a UK 9 let me know…)
If you have an original pair of these and the soles haven͛t been decimated by hydrolysis then I am
beyond jealous. The Oberon is not just the best Clarks product ever made, but it’s genuinely one of
the best pieces of footwear ever developed. Designed by a genius named Derek in his garden shed, it
patented a new type of shoe construction (polyveldt, the stitching of the upper to the sole unit via
an extended flange) and also revolutionized the use of polyurethane sole technology. This was a big
shoe back in the day. It also has a really unique last shape with a very aggressive toe spring. Every
part of this shoe is unconventional, and certainly for the time period it released (70s) it was ground
breaking. We have a couple of pairs in our archive that I had the chance to handle (although I had to
wear white gloves). The shoe has chunky butted seams that all tie into that aesthetic with the
polyveldt midsole. It just works as a shoe.