As much as we love the tried-and-true Clarks joints, variety is the spice of life—and thanks to Mr. Clark’s early efforts, there’s a bevy of top-notch options to choose from. So we sifted through them all to find the absolute best desert boots for men, from exquisite designer riffs to beefed-up, sneaker-esque hybrids. Once more unto the breach, dear friends. We promise we’ll make it worth your while.
The Best Desert Boots, Period
It doesn’t get any more classic than this. Clarks’ desert boot changed the game forever, cementing its legacy as an icon of the genre in the process. It’s a favorite of stylish fellas like Anthony Bourdain, Drake, and dancehall don Vybz Kartel—not to mention countless GIs and civilians through the decades. But the shoe’s impressive CV wouldn’t mean much if the quality wasn’t up to snuff. Which is why Clarks’ equips its hero product with crepe rubber soles and ultra-comfy suede uppers sourced from the famed C.F. Stead leather tannery. As far as ankle boots go, they’re about as comfortable as a pair of well-worn sneakers—and you definitely don’t have to enter a raffle to grab a pair.
The Desert Boots Worth the Upgrade
OG Clarks a touch too dainty for your dogs? For a few extra Jacksons, upgrade to Astorflex’s made-in-Italy joints. What, exactly, do your hard-earned dollars get you? Leather-lined suede uppers and added backstay support, both of which translate to a reassuringly beefier silhouette and sturdier construction. Your money also goes towards more environmentally-friendly materials like vegetable-tanned leathers and natural rubber soles, which make for a cushy ride no matter how many miles you log.
The Best-for-Your-Buck Desert Boots
J.Crew’s MacAlister boot has been one of the brand’s quietest best-sellers for years. Supple suede, natural crepe rubber soles, and Italian craftsmanship—coupled with stitchdown construction—make it easy to see why. It’s a touch sleeker than other styles on this list, but that doesn’t compromise its versatility. It’s a quality buy at full price, but with the Crew’s frequent discount cadence, it’s an absolute no-brainer on sale.
The Best Well-Suited Desert Boots
The original desert boots earned their stripes serving the military, but these were destined for an even higher calling: as the shoe of choice for Daniel Craig’s James Bond. The suede is noticeably more luxurious, the construction is hefty enough to withstand a car explosion (and comfortable enough to help you outrun the bad guys on foot), and the moccasin-adjacent silhouette sure doesn’t hurt, either. Trust us: if they can handle the everyday rigors demanded of Her Majesty’s secret service, they can handle an unexpected sun shower on your way to work.