News

Booty call

shoes-booty-call

When it comes to shoes for work, I actually prefer boots. Slip-on boots. Maybe it’s that they take no effort putting on, and maybe it’s that they’re, I dunno, slightly bad-ass. Maybe it’s that they help me stay connected to my weekend self – the guy with the tool belt who fixes stuff. Or maybe it’s because, for a guy with a 31-inch inseam, they make my legs – and, by implication, my unit – look longer. Whatever the reason, I love me some slip-on boots.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of great looking boots out there. So I’m constantly on the lookout. I look online. I accost people on the street, “What kind of boots are those?” I peer into shop windows and try things on whenever I get the chance. But my favorite mode of boot-exploration is to order eight or ten pairs from Zappos – the most excellent shoe store on earth. Of course, I almost always send them all back. Some are too long, some too narrow. Some have high heels, and some just look plain stupid. Like I said, there really aren’t many great shoes out there.

But every once in a while I hit the jackpot. Recently, during one of my routine drive-bys of Zappos, I checked out the latest Clarks, a usual suspect for me. What’s this?! New slip-on boots?! No way! I promptly ordered six pairs – two models in two sizes and two different colors. When they arrived, I was ecstatic. Two very distinct styles, each with its own singular strengths. I kept a pair of each – unheard of.

Here’s what I bought:

One pair of black Clarks Parthenon.
These are slightly on the dressy side, especially for Clarks, with a high-gloss leather and a slightly tapered, yet boxed, toe. They remind me of a pair of sweet Rockports I had a long time ago. They have a soft, comfortable insole and are easy to slip on, thanks to the two elastic panels at the ankles. But they fit snugly once they’re on. I wear these mostly for evening events or fancier daytime needs – like new business pitches. They have a hint of “pointyness” and that generally means an after-hours shoe for me.

One pair of black Clarks Rider.
I wasn’t sure about these at first. They are broad and round at the toe, and the leather is a dull, almost oiled finish. The sole is thinner than the Parthenon and much more rugged looking, and way rougher around the edges. Interestingly – like the Parthenon – the shoe is built of two main pieces of leather and has a double-stitch seam right up the center, from toe to shin. This must be the new thing, I thought to myself. And while I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, now I’m really digging it. It’s like a racing stripe. These boots are way more of an everyday deal for me — in fact, I’m now wearing them 3-4 days a week. They are simple, rugged, comfortable, and I, for one, think they look cool. What more could you want in a shoe?

— Burke Andrews

Case Studies