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Friday, 24 February 2017

Clarks Originals: My top 5.

For those who know me or who have been reading the blog since the hazy days of 2013 you'll know I dig a pair of Clarks originals or two, or thirty four... They're a shoe I've bought with nearly every pay cheque since then and they've started to pile up. What started out with just liking a shoe has quickly grown into an almost obsession. I mean, what's not to like?

Clarks are among some of the most established brands when it comes to British street style. The vast majority of people have been touched by the hand of Clarks in some way, shape or form over the years. From the school shoes you wore as a kid to the crepe soled beauties which adorn your feet now with every step. Clarks are in our make up and are a staple in any lad/ladies wardrobe whatever Sub-culture they attach themselves to. You know you're hooked when you're awake at 2am trawling through eBay in the hope that you'll come across some deadstock model from A/W 09 which you hardly ever see about. That's Modernism alongside obsession for ya! See many people ask me, "Why always Clarks?" I just reply with, "No one makes better, that's why!" Yeah granted there are a lot of good shoe brands out there, I own a good amount of em, but there's just something about Clarks...

It all started with that battered pair of chocolate brown Desert Treks my Grandad gave me in my early Mod days. I remember putting them on and thinking, "Mint these, don't know anyone who has them either." They were and still are so different to the hundreds of brutal eBay-bought Desert Boots you see around. Here we are 8 years on and i've managed to accumulate 34 pairs all with their own individual story. Clarks constantly re-invent themselves just like Modernism and this was one of the huge draws the brand had over me in the first place. So without further a do I thought I would talk through my current top 5 models in my collection in no particular order.

Clarks Originals Wallabee Ridge X Oi Polloi

A pair I've longed to own since their original release back in 2014. I bagged these recently on the bay for a reasonable price! Where to start with the Wally Ridge eh!? Easily one of the best silhouettes in the Originals archive which showcases the brands wealth of classic design. Originally coined, 'Clarks Caravans' many moons ago, one of the Wallabee Ridge's most distinctive features is the large wrap round crepe sole. My first pair of these were acquired some time back in a tan leather and they've been worn for everything from footy, to gigs and of course for boozy nights out. Anyway back to the Oi Polloi collab pair. They come in a rich Maple suede which looks great worn with selvedge denim or a nice chino. The innersole comes in gold foil print which is exclusive to this model. These are easily one of the best collaboration models Clarks have done to date and the fact that only the sussed have them is a bonus! A shoe that needs to be re-issued more regularly, but then again it would be shit if everyone had a pair of these! There's enough 'Geordie Shore' types who are wearing Clarks Originals badly across our land, we don't need another shoe ruining! Anyway great shoe using top materials paired with a great design.

Clarks Originals Wallabee X MF DOOM

Now these are special. I managed to bag them on the outlet site last year long after their initial Feb 2014 release. I was initially a bit sceptical about my Modernist self pulling these off due to their streetwear overtones but how wrong I was! I got them and slipped them on for the first time and the first word that entered my mid was QUALITY! The quality on these is simply stunning, made from 100% Antelope leather in a rich chocolate brown colour-way with accompanying signature crepe sole the MF DOOM Walla are a force to be reckoned with. You can't forget the 3M stitching which holds the upper together! It glows in the dark and looks ace on a dance floor, not that I do any dancing. As with all Clarks Originals the MF DOOM mantain the comfort level of 'Walking on Air'. I can't forget to mention the DOOM logo to the side of each shoe which really sets them apart from your bog standard walla. An all round brilliant collab which will hold its own for many years to come!

'Wallabee Soft' Cognac Suede 

Ah the Wallabee Soft, cool, classic and a real head turner. I bagged these on the bay around 18 months ago after years of looking. They feature a slim crepe sole with a distinctive wallabee shape, however, they're a boot and look superb on. Definitely a pair for the drier months pair with decent selvedge or even trousers in some cases (choose carefully here). Mega different pair of trotters these, I've never seen another soul in em! I'm always careful when wearing these, making sure no beer spilt on them is a must. Another shoe which should reissued and would give people an alternative to their usual Wallabee or Desert Boot purchases. They're definitely a modernist classic these and really showcase the Originals back catalogue! Superb!

'Skiffler' Blue Nubuck 

Wow. Clarks Originals 'Skiffler' are a modern day classic. I once coined them as the most Modernist inspired Clarks shoe since the Desert Boot and I stand by that statement.  Made from a smooth Blue Nubuck leather the Skiffler are a split sole driving shoe designed for taking a stroll to the boozer in. A really stunning piece of design and they just look cool as! My first pair of these were in brown Nubuck and I wore them to death and still have them now. I had to have another pair so when these blue beauties popped up they were mine! They take comfort levels off the scale and continue to look good when well worn. Originally released around the year 2000 Clarks decided to reissue these again for SS12 if my memory serves me correct. For me they show Clarks' European influence and these could easily be worn in the likes of Milan or Paris and even the streets of Teesside. I'd love to see a few suede pairs of these crop up in the next few years and I promise I'll buy them all!

'Desert Boot' Sand Suede

Where would we all be without this boot ey? A boot which has stood the test of time and withstood many a fashion fad. The Clarks Original Desert Boot has been often imitated but never bettered! I stress the word 'NEVER' here as this is definitely true! Many companies and people reckon there's a better DB out there than Clarks but I'm sorry guys you're just wrong, nothing touches the Clarks Desert Boot. My favourite pair are seen here in a nicely battered sand suede. They're comfy as and look great after years of gigs, beers and other social occasions. I bagged these in my first year of uni and they stood out among the brutal shoes seen at the SU on a Saturday night 'Pound a Pint'. They're a very versatile pair of originals which can be worn wit trousers, jeans and even chinos. I've got several pairs of these now but the sand suede pair just screams Modernist at me! Realistically they're the first pair of Mod esque shoes we are aquatinted with and the first pair we wear to death. They're in our make up as followers of this fine Sub-Culture and should be forever linked with the Modernist fraternity.

So there you have it my current top 5, a top 5 which changes everyday in all fairness!

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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger