It’s nearly taken 100 years, but Clarks shoes are finally cool
Spread your wings Clarks, this is your moment
It’s 2008, you’re 11 years old on a regional high street and your mum drags you into Clarks. Another year, another pair of plain, boring and “practical” school shoes. It’s busy, the crunchy brown carpet is as dull as the footwear of choice and the room is filled with OAPs and pissed off children who wanted to buy Kickers instead. A kind elderly lady in navy velcro Mary-Janes measures your feet in what can only be described as a mouse trap, and you walk out with a pair of clunky leather lace-ups that you resent with all your being. As your grandma (who also loves Clarks) explains, “you’ll grow into them.”
But here we are in 2016, and you’ll never guess who’s at the forefront of the trainer revolution. Now, Clarks are releasing trainers that sell out instantly and go for as much as £235 on eBay, their Depop sales have gone up 43 per cent against last year’s and they’ve got 53.9k followers on Instagram. They’re being written about on footwear news sites, sold in retailers like Size?, and overcame their lame-school-shoe vibe this year when a boy was banned from wearing them to school because they looked “too much like trainers”.
But how did they undergo the transformation from OAP footwear shop to the streetwear shoe-de-jour? Maybe seeds were sewn in 2010 with Vybz Cartel’s Dancehall song about the brand, or a few years after when Alexa Chung and Florence Welch were spotted in the Yarra Boot. Now, they’re worn by celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Wu Tang Clan and Ghostface Killa. Even Supreme have done a Clarks Collaboration, with Wallabees being sold for hundreds in The Basement.
James Meredith, PR Manager at Depop, thinks the Supreme collaboration is what really kicked it off: “It was definitely the collaboration that really helped the brand, moving Clarks into the view of streetwear fans. They’ve always been great, but we’ve seen a huge increase in demand for them this year especially, going up 43 per cent since last year.”
And it’s not just the trainers either. Their brogues, desert boots and ankle boots have had a huge revival too. They’re incredible quality, light as air and their wedged ones have special technology to stop your feet from hurting so you actually can wear them all day.
So, if you hear someone talking shit about Clarks again, show them this article or show them these beautiful trainers. Or these ones that are sold out everywhere or this picture of Drake wearing them with Rihanna. They’ve always been known for their durability and comfort, but now they’re actually cool as well. There’s never been a better time to go to your local high street and get a sturdy old pair of Clarks, because their moment is here.