Easy Ways to Wear Men’s Desert Boots


Desert boots are some of the most stylish and versatile shoes a man can own. Wondering about the best ways to style this staple piece of men’s footwear fashion? Check out our definitive guide on easy ways to wear men’s desert boots.  

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Desert boots are a great addition to your wardrobe. They can take you through the whole year, and are suitable for both formal and casual events. You can make the most of your purchase by taking them everywhere.

Invest in a good pair and they’ll last years. But, with a wide variety you don’t have to limit yourself to just one pair. Why not suede? Why not leather? The possibilities are endless. Despite their versatility, many men are still afraid to wear desert boots as part of their outfit. Well, don’t be. Check out the rest of this style guide for the best easy ways to wear them.



Best Desert Boots

The desert boot was made popular during the 1950s due to the shoe brand Clarks. They were originally a military shoe that soldiers in Africa would wear during the Second World War. However, in the 50s, C&J Clark Ltd decided that the boot could easily be popular with a commercial public market.

Clark desert boots are undoubtedly the most famous in history. So much so that they have barley changed the design in over 50 years. Although there are many other shoe retailers that sell variations of desert boots, Clarks are always going to be the best around.

Typically, a Clark desert boot is an ankle high shoe, in either a suede or leather material. They have a distinctive crepe rubber sole and a simple upper with minimal detail. They also have a small lace section holding the boot on.

People Doing it Well

Testament to how great the desert boot is, it’s often the shoe of choice for many celebrities. Offering a perfect smart casual look, this boot is right for wearing out and about. Also, due to the unassuming nature of the desert boot, it’s a good choice when you’re trying to keep a subtle look. When it comes to celebrities, it means they can look stylish without being snapped wearing ridiculous clothes.

Eddie Redmayne wears his in a great smart casual look. He mixes it up with a dress shirt and cardigan to stop it from becoming to formal. On his legs, the rising Hollywood star is wearing some dark blue chinos to contrast with the lighter cream cardigan.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManShirt | Jumper | DickiesChinos | Clarks OriginalsBoots

Ryan smartens his up by pairing with chinos, a slick shirt and a matching waistcoat. The desert boot is clearly one of the easiest pieces to add to any outfit. This is an understated smart casual look that is effortlessly stylish.

SHOP THE LOOK: SelectedShirt | Waistcoat | DickiesChinos | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots

Smart Casual

As you may already know, desert boots are great because you can wear them with a more smart outfit, as well as a casual look. This therefore makes them the ultimate footwear style for men. If you’re going on a night out clubbing then this look is exactly what you want. You don’t want to look like you’re heading into the office. But, you also don’t want to appear as if you’re heading to the gym.

There are many ways to create a great looking smart casual look. However, the simplest way to achieve this style is to team a shirt with a pair of jeans. Much like the desert boot, jeans are one of those versatile items of clothing that work in more or less any clothing situation.

Smart Causal Desert Boot Outfit

Heading on a mad night out? Keep your outfit casual by teaming your boots with skinny jeans, keeping it looking young and fresh. By adding in the patterned shirt, you’ll smarten it up but keep it low key with the print. The boots are a great idea for wetter nights out.

This grey and red checkered shirt, £19.90, from The Idle Man, is perfect for keeping your look stylish and smart, whilst also being casual. Combine it with this pair of dark blue denim jeans, £88.90, to get a nice balance of colours within the outfit. The dark blue of the jeans will create a uniformity with the darker colours of your shirt also.

Finish the look off with this pair of Clarks originals tan desert boots, £94.90. The brown from your shoes will add some extra detail to your look and stop it from becoming too dark and monochrome.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManShirts | NudieJeans | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots


Just as you can wear desert boots in a more casual environment, they’re also perfect for when you need to dress up formally. Whether it’s to the office, a wedding, or any other formal event, these boot are easily adjustable. Particularly a black pair. It is the boot’s simple design that makes them so versatile. If worn correctly they can look just as smart as a pair of formal shoes.

Pair these tan desert boots, £94.90, with a crisp white shirt. A plain white dress shirt is the ultimate base layer for any formal outfit as you can literally layer anything on top without it clashing. Next, add a dark navy suit to your formal look. Although you can wear any outfit, a navy suit is particularly nice with desert boots.

Much like desert boots, navy suits are great because of their versatility. Wear a navy suit with some black leather shoes and you have a professional look that is ready for any office. On the other hand, wear a navy suit with some tan desert boots, and you will still look extremely professional, but with more stylish detail and flare.

Finish the formal look off with a tie. Because of the white shirt, you can more or less wear any kind of tie you want. Although be careful that it doesn’t clash with the blue of your suit.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManBlazers | Trousers | Shirts | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots
PHOTO CREDIT: Desert Boots

First Date

Due to their smart casual potential, desert boots are the perfect footwear style for a first date. They’re smart enough to make an impression and demonstrate that you’re a stylish man. However, they’re also casual enough to not overload your outfit and make you seem like you’re trying too hard.

You’ll be looking to impress on a first date so will want to look fresh and smart, without trying too hard. Again keep the boots low key in brown, and style with slim or skinny jeans. Wear this smart Gant Rugger jumper, £94.90, for added formality, and a shirt to add some more stylish detail to your look.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManShirt | Gant RuggerJumper | FarahJeans | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots

Desert Boots with Shorts

When you think of wearing shorts, you probably think of summer days, chilling in a park or at a festival. However, you probably don’t think about wearing shorts with desert boots. You probably assume that you always have to wear desert boots with suit trousers, chinos or jeans.

Well, when desert boots originally came into existence, as an all purpose military boot for soldiers in Africa during the Second World War, men would often wear them with shorts. As you may have guessed, the desert boot name originates from the hot desert-like terrain that soldiers would wear these boots in.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManT-Shirt | Shorts | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots

Wearing desert boots with shorts can therefore be an extremely stylish and classic look. If you’re going to attempt this style then it’s probably a good idea to stick with more autumnal and monochrome like colours. Olive green, brown and grey are perfect for this look.

Stick with the heritage feel and wear a pair of olive green chino shorts, £24.90, with a pair of dark brown leather desert boots, £98.90. This will keep in tune with the classic military feel that wearing desert boots and shorts brings with it.

On top keep it relatively smart with a polo shirt, £13.90. Make sure you do the buttons up to the neck. To layer your look and to stop it from becoming too school-boyish, add a loose fitting grey hoodie, £24.90, over the top. The white and grey of your shirt and hoodie will contrast nicely with the darker green and brown of your lower half. This will produce a balance within your outfit that is stylish and subtle.

SHOP THE LOOK: The Idle ManHoodies | Polo Shirts | Shorts | Clarks OriginalsDesert Boots

How to Clean Suede Desert Boots

If you’re wearing boots in suede then you’re probably worried about getting them dirty. Many men still fear wearing suede shoes in case they ruin them as soon as they get dirty. Although it is a good idea to protect your suede shoes before wearing them with some crepe protect spray, £9.90, it isn’t the end of the world if they get a bit dirty.

To clean suede boots, you will need:

  • Shoe brush
  • Suede rubber
  • Suede brush
  • Nail brush
  • Clean cloth

Begin by using a shoe brush to remove any loose dirt on the surface of the shoe. Next, use a suede rubber or nail brush to disturb the nap of the material and get the deeper set marks. If this doesn’t get them, use a clean damp cloth to get stuck in. Finally, restore the nap of the boot with a suede brush. If you’re still not sure, here’s a helpful video.


Originating in WWII, the desert boot has been around for several decades. The footwear was favoured in the hot conditions of Africa as they were extremely comfortable due to the suede material. Also, The crepe sole was flatter, allowing the surface area to be better spread over the ever-changing sand.

Nathan Clark, of Clarks shoes, was stationed in Northern Africa and realised their potential. After returning home, he started creating his own version. He sourced the best materials and used a pattern from a sandal that Clarks Shoes already had. Clark began to experiment with different styles and ways of construction to make these famous boots. They even incorporated orange thread to further distinguish the shoe.

how to wear desert boots

The desert boot grew in popularity and has found its way into our modern wardrobe, and looks like it’ll be staying around for a while. It played a massive role during the 80s and 90s with the mod scene. Bands such as Oasis further cemented the boots in mainstream culture and the public went wild for them.

Easy Ways to Wear Men’s Desert Boots

Brown desert boots are the ultimate smart casual shoe. Try wearing them with some jeans or chinos for a smart style. If you want a more formal outfit then get yourself an all black pair. Get some in suede for a classic look that adds detail to any ensemble. If you’re wearing suede, make sure you maintain the material properly with a suede rubber and Crep Protect.

On That Note

Despite finding it’s way to us from a uniform, which most of our wardrobe staples do originate from, the desert boot always manages to stay hip and modern. The choice between suede and leather leaves you with endless possibilities of outfit looks, a great investment if you’re looking for an item to last you all year round.

You can literally take these bad boys through an a-z list of events and find an outfit every time, possibly even several. The options are endless so if you haven’t already, make sure you get yourself a pair of the classic desert boots.


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