The 10 Best Desert Boots for Men Use Virtually Everything 2023

Let’s face it: summer is not the season for boots. We’d prefer not have a swamp forming in our boots than wear those Vibergs with your chinos. The desert boot has arrived, a charmingly rough, incredibly light, and informal staple in any man’s wardrobe. Are you ready to jump in? Let’s begin with Teeanime to figure things out. What Exactly Is a Desert Boot?

What Is a Desert Boot?

The desert boot is a type of chukka, which is a short boot that usually just covers the ankles and has two or three pairs of eyelets. From the late 1950s until the mid-1970s, numerous Hollywood stars, like Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando, donned desert boots in their informal attire! They have remained a mainstay of casual wear since then.

Desert Boots vs Chukka Boots

The chukka is a shorter version of the boot, as previously stated. The height of chukkas differs from that of a standard boot: they are less than 6 inches tall, usually about 4 or 5 inches.

The desert boot is a variation on the chukka, however there are three distinctions. The most obvious distinction is that desert boots have crepe rubber soles (or, at the very least, white rubber soles), whereas chukkas can have anything from Dainite to leather soles.

Second, in terms of construction, a Goodyear welted desert boot is more uncommon than a Goodyear welted chukka; most desert boots are stitchdown. Finally, desert boots do not often have much structure; they are more floppy than sophisticated.

Desert Boots and Crepe Soles

Let’s talk a bit more about the biggest thing that makes us different. Most people think of desert boots because of the crepe sole.

Most of the time, crepe comes from nature. In many parts of South America, rubber trees are tapped the same way maple trees are tapped for syrup. Rubber trees, on the other hand, make a liquid that will become the crepe soles of your shoes.

Most desert boots have crepe soles, but polyurethane soles like Vibram’s Gumlite or Christy soles have become popular in recent years. No matter how the squishy sole is made, it makes the desert boot a very casual shoe choice and a surprisingly tough boot for the warmer months.

Desert Boots and the Military

The desert boot was invented by Nathan Clark, the great-grandson of Clarks’ founder. While stationed in Burma during World War II, Nathan spotted several soldiers wearing a variation of the desert boot. Originally intended for soldiers in North Africa, Clark sought to create this design for possible buyers back home in England, but had little success. (At the time, suede and crepe were deemed “low class.”) During the late 1940s, Clark chose to sell his desert boots in the United States, where he had enormous success.

1. Best Original Desert Boot: Clarks Desert Boot

Buy the Clarks Desert Boot here!

There is no full essay about desert boots without mentioning THE desert boot: Clarks! This style alone has over eighty years of history as one of the top boots for men.

Clarks Desert Boot Highlights

These boots have a suede upper, stitchdown construction, and a crepe sole in its classic version. It’s not the cheapest desert boot on the market, but it’s reasonably priced for retail, especially given how popular it is. These can’t be resoled because they’re made with suede from Britain’s world-famous C.F. Stead tannery, but the overall design is truly legendary — you can’t get more desert boot than this!

Overall, this is an amazing choice for the purest desert boot style! The remainder of the people on the list might not have been born if it hadn’t been for this boot.

2. Best Vegetable Tanned Desert Boot: Jadd Desert Boot

astorflex greenflex cesert boot

Jadd is a new player in the game. Jadd was a family-owned business that began in 1998, creating individual orders in the backroom of their shoe repair shop. Today, Jadd produces a variety of desert boot-inspired types.

Jadd Desert Boot Highlights

Their desert boot type is similar to the Clarks version, with a crepe sole and stitchdown construction. The distinction is due to their prevalent use of vegetable-tanned leather. It’s stiffer and more expensive, but it’s more traditional, tougher, and matures wonderfully. The style seen here has a full-grain vegetable tanned upper, insole, and crepe outsole that are all stitched down.

This boot is the pinnacle of what the Clark’s desert boot was: a high-quality made in England model with excellent materials.

3. Most Environmentally Friendly Desert Boot: Astorflex Greenflex

La scarpa buona” is Astorflex’s tagline: the good shoe! These desert boots follow that same principle by being eco-friendly.

Astorflex Greenflex Highlights

The uppers are tanned with water, oak bark, and mimosa, and the soles are made with all-natural rubber. The lack of dyes in these materials and the focus on water-based glues make this a very environmentally friendly product. The result is a great-looking boot that has the same shape as a desert boot but is a bit lower and has a more avant-garde look than most boots.

The Astorflex Greenflex isn’t just another high-quality desert boot; it also has an interesting philosophy behind it.

4. Best American Made Desert Boot: Red Wing Weekender Chukka

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Being the classic Americana bootmaker, Red Wing is usually known for a tough, heritage style boot.

Red Wing Weekender Chukka Highlights

That being said, they also create something very comparable to a desert boot they dub the “Weekender Chukka”. These are really comfortable, thanks to a few robust leather alternatives, a solid stitchdown construction, and a flat crepe sole. Red Wing is famed for its American craftsmanship and very thick, robust leather, which results in a chukka that is both stylish and durable.

This is an excellent entrée into the desert boot style, especially if Made in the USA is important to you! Not to add, with a few tough leather alternatives, the uppers can withstand a lot of abuse.

5. Best African Desert Boot: Jim Green Vellie

The sub-$200 boot market is a battleground. In the retail industry, there are direct-to-consumer giants like Thursday Boot Company, as well as smaller manufactures like Jim Green.

Jim Greene Vellie Highlights

South African brand Jim Green makes robust, basic, elegant shoes. The Vellie is one of the most economical at $90, but it’s also the most “shoe-like”: casual, certainly, but the eyelets are far enough apart that many wouldn’t call it a chukka at first glance. In addition to these qualities, the Vellie has a rubber crepe sole and stitchdown construction.

Vellies are great for shorts and sunny days. It’s not called the official South African shoe for nothing.

6. Best Value Desert Boot: Thursday Boot Company Scout (Rugged & Resilient)

rancourt chukka

Thursday Boot Company is the best place to buy boots for the money. Almost everything they sell is made with a Goodyear welt, they have a huge range of great leathers, and you can’t beat their quality-to-price ratio.

Thursday Boot Company Scout Highlights

Thursday’s Rugged & Resilient Scout is no exception. The Vibram wedge sole and waterproof leather alternatives create a durable, weatherproof boot that may also be resoled, ensuring longevity. In addition to the value offer, Thursday has some of the best customer service; the price is incredibly appealing for everything you get. While most Scouts lack the iconic white sole of a desert boot, the “Rugged & Resilient” variants have, and their leather requires almost no care or conditioning.

Because of the Goodyear welt, robust leather, and affordability, the Scout is unrivaled in terms of value. It can be a strong contender if there is a lot of non-desert weather!

7. Best Moccasin Style Desert Boot: Rancourt Acadia

clarks bushacre

Rancourt is one of the big handsewn manufacturers here in the US, and they’re especially beloved for their moccasins and rugged New-England style footwear.

Rancourt Acadia Highlights

The resulting hybrid is tough moccasins and the Rancourt Acadia. Now, I understand that some people might not consider this a desert boot, but with all of the attributes coinciding with the Platonic ideal of a desert boot, plus a moccasin style toe / construction, I’d consider it a desert boot variation in the best ways. It has superb craftsmanship and is created in the United States, with the cherry on top being the unusually tough leather uppers such as Chromexcel.

The Rancourt Acadia is a desert boot; the difference is a formula tweak that adds the distinct attraction of a handsewn moccasin construction!

8. Best Sub-$100 Desert Boot: The Clarks Bushacre 2

john lofgren desert boots

Let’s face it: you were looking forward to seeing Clarks again. Their Bushacre (the 2 or 3 model) model is an example of decreasing costs where they are efficient while keeping them where they are important.

There are just minor variations between the two and three models. The most important element is that the 3 incorporates a redesigned replaceable footbed. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the Bushacre 2, a more common model.

Clarks Bushacre Highlights

The Bushacre 2 does not have a crepe sole; instead, it has a synthetic sole that may last you longer. The leather options are more limited than with the original Clarks Desert Boot, but they’ll suit most tastes! These options range from the traditional tan suedes and beeswax leathers to more unusual hues like blue and even a blacked out variant. Essentially, the Bushacre is an excellent choice for men looking for a less expensive Clarks desert boot with a more robust outsole.

While some purists may dismiss the Bushacre 2, you can expect a fashionable and functional shoe for your wardrobe!

9. Best High End Desert Boot: John Lofgren Bootmaker Desert Boot

This company was started by John Lofgren in an effort to capture the vintage American style he loves with Japanese craftsmanship. The combination resulted in some of the finest non-bespoke boots on Earth.

John Lofgren Desert Boot Highlights

When it comes to shoes, this guy is a bit of a perfectionist. To put things into perspective, these Desert Boots are manufactured in Japan, the birthplace of precision (see Grand Seiko Spring Drive). There will be no loose grain, frayed threads, or poor quality with John Lofgren. You’ll also have the assurance that only the best materials are used: Among them are German steel shanks and a thick veg tan insole, traits not found on any of the other boots on this list.

The Desert Boot by John Lofgren is the ultimate nerd desert boot; this is desert boot form at its finest!

10. Best Well-Balanced Desert Boot: Taylor Stitch Unlined Chukka

Taylor Stitch is a brand that specializes in high-quality menswear at economical pricing. (Among other things, we’ve evaluated their Chelsea boots and Ojai jacket.) Their current footwear assortment is an intriguing mix of tough and fashionable workplace.

Taylor Stitch Chukka Highlights

Although called a chukka, the Taylor Stitch’s Chukka unlined is more of a desert boot. The chukka is unlined and made of rich brown waterproof suede with a Goodyear welt and a brick red Vibram Gumlite sole. The result is an excellent balance of toughness, durability, and grip.

The Taylor Stitch Unlined Chukka hits that sweet spot, resulting in a well-rounded, premium desert boot. However, in true Henry Ford flair, it can be any color as long as it is brown suede.

How To (and How not to) Style Desert Boots

Desert boots are simple; they don’t require complexity and can be dressed down. Goodyear welted desert boots work well with chinos or dark denim, while Clarks Bushacres and John Lofgrens are more casual. Traditional pairings include T-shirts, polos, and denim jackets.

Desert boots are best worn for an avant-garde look, not in formal occasions. Crepe sole and unstructured design create a blobby, unrefined aesthetic. Desert boots are harder to dress up than chukkas because of their white soles.

Wearing Desert Boots Casually

Desert boots are most likely to be seen on a crowded street or in a mall. These boots aren’t for business professionals, but they do make a great casual outfit. Desert boots were traditionally worn with denim, t-shirts, and highly casual outerwear such as patterned cardigans, trucker jackets, and others. Consider pairing a pair of brown suede Clarks Desert Boots with some rich medium blue denim pants and a basic white t-shirt for an usual terrific casual look. This combination is stunning on its own, and a neutral colored trucker jacket completes the look for a more late summer/early fall vibe.

When you start dressing up, the boundary between wearing desert boots and wearing them casually fades. The secret to wearing desert boots in a business casual look is to match your colors and make sure the rest of your outfit follows business casual rules: everything should fit flawlessly.

Due to the vastness of the business casual range (ranging from an oxford button down and chinos to a sport coat and trouser combos), desert boots will most likely cater to your more “casual” business casual choices. The ideal ensemble will now include a smaller desert boot, similar to Taylor Stitch’s universally appealing style. A beautiful pair of tan chinos, a light blue oxford, and if you’re feeling a little fancy, a navy blue hopsack blazer matches with most business casual combinations.

Are Desert Boots Really for the Desert?

As you might have guessed from the name and the title, the desert boot was originally made for the desert. It was already said, but the British used this design in their North African campaign during World War II. Many people think that desert boots should not have linings so they can breathe better in hot places. In this way, the desert boot is really only worn when it’s warm outside.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t desert boots with tougher features. Thursday made a really tough desert boot with a Goodyear welt, a chunky Vibram Christy outsole, and a soft glove leather lining for the rougher times of the year.

In conclusion, all unlined desert boots can be worn in warm places, but only a few can be worn in the rain.

Should I Wear my Desert Boots with Shorts?


There are, in fact, ways to do this! I won’t lie and say that anyone can do this, but the look does require some confidence. Nick, the founder of Stridewise, got a lot of criticism for saying this in his review of Clarks Desert Boots.

I think the trick is to find a pair of desert boots with a short shaft. I mean shoes that are lower than Clarks, like Jim Green’s Vellies. Because vellies are short and are often worn with shorts in South Africa, it’s pretty fine to wear shorts with them.

Wrapping Up

The realm of desert boots is a bit hazy, and while we stretched certain definitions here on Stridewise, we firmly established their status as chukkas with casual crepe/rubber soles. We presented ten excellent candidates for the majority of factors, as well as a brief but useful guide on styling desert boots. Thank you for reading Top Ten Desert Boots here at Stridewise!