The ultimate men’s shoe collection staple: how to wear desert boots in style


Discover what makes desert boots a sophisticated and timeless shoe style with our handy guide.Have you got a pair of desert boots in your ever-growing shoe collection? If the answer is no, think again!

This trendy footwear design is a shoe rack essential for the modern gent. Bursting at the seams with history and sophistication, we think their smart-casual vibe is timeless.

But what are they and how should you style them? Our handy guide reveals how to wear desert boots, where you can grab yourself a pair and everything else in between.

These boots are made for walking!

The history of the desert boot

This versatile boot offers a modern twist to a casual outfit, making it a go-to for strutting down designer runways or your local high street. But this signature style actually originated during the Second World War in Northern Africa, when certain officers were spotted wearing suede shoes with a crepe sole.

These suede beauties that were created in the bazaars of Cairo were found to be extremely comfy and breathable, more durable than the traditional army boot and their flatter sole made it easy to walk in the unpredictable sandy terrain.

Nathan Clark brought the idea back to London and created his own take on the shoe which soared in popularity during the ‘50s. The demand for these funky boots didn’t stop there; they played a huge role in the ‘80s and ‘90s, with bands such as Oasis further cementing the shoe as a mainstream fashion must-have.

What are desert boots?

So what exactly do desert boots look like?

Their simple concept includes just three components; a shock-absorbing crepe sole is combined with two pieces of sturdy suede stitched together to make an ankle-height boot.

They’re commonly found in beige or khaki-coloured suede, but there are no limits nowadays – other versions experiment with colour, material and even sole types too.

Desert boots vs. chukka boots

A useful tip to distinguish the two styles all desert boots are chukkas but not all chukkas are desert boots.You may have heard the phrase “chukka boots” used interchangeably when talking about desert boots – but actually, they aren’t the same.

Agreed, both styles hold similar characteristics (for example two or three eyelets for laces and ankle-length).

However, there are three slight differences:

  • Sole – the main contrast is that the sole of a desert boot is typically crepe, whereas chukkas have soles made of leather or rubber
  • Laces – desert boots have thicker and flatter laces to suit their casual feel, but chukka boots have thinner and rounder ones
  • Stitching – visible side-stitching is used on a pair of deserts, while chukka boots usually have stitching that is a bit more hidden (this depends on the brand)

How to wear desert boots

As we’ve previously mentioned, these boots are super-versatile and their simplistic design has made them a firm favourite across the globe.

But how should you wear them for different occasions? Whether you want to kick back and relax or have a fancy dinner in your calendar, we’ve put together a few ideas to ensure you’re best-dressed.

Suited n’ booted

Teaming this fairly relaxed boot with formal clothing is a fresh and modern way to tackle a dressier occasion.

Try wearing a pair of dark coloured desert boots with a crisp, white shirt and formal black trousers in a tapered silhouette for the ultimate professional attire. (For fancy events or business meetings, we’d recommend avoiding rolling up the bottoms of your trousers to steer clear of an informal look).

Smart-casual chic

The desert boot is the master of the smart-casual divide.

Their understated design means they should be your go-to when you want to feel comfortable but still put together (especially handy when you’re in a rush!).

Boots in classic colours like brown, beige and black are ideal for a more laid-back vibe, but we say, why not try experimenting with colour?

Wear with some black jeans or chinos and a fresh shirt with rolled-up sleeves for a sophisticated edge.

‘Dress-down Friday’

Desert boots are ideal to pair with your favourite jeans for a relaxed vibe.Dressing down this type of boot is popular as it ensures you stay bang on-trend with minimal effort – bonus!

For a chilled-out vibe, try wearing some frayed jeans with a neutral tee and open flannel shirt; wearing denim with some classic beige desert boots gives an instant relaxed feel.

How to style desert boots

So, we’ve talked about the history behind these iconic boots, what they are and how to wear them, but how do they offer so much variety?

They can be categorised by two main features: material and colour. Keep reading for the low-down on how to style desert boots, so you can find the perfect pair for you.

Opt for the originals

Despite being a more informal material than leather, suede ensures a relaxed outfit is always stylish. This lightweight and breathable material is what makes these shoes suitable for all the seasons.

With unpredictable British weather usually looming, you may be thinking, “can you wear suede shoes in the rain?” Well, it’s probably best not to (they were made to be worn in the desert after all!).

Although a quality pair of shoes won’t be instantly ruined after an April shower, the texture will become slightly stiff and water marks may appear – don’t worry though, our cleaning and shoe care guide will help you out here.

Trade in your suede

ou don’t have to stick to suede – leather desert boots add a smart, polished feel to a more formal outfit.Although leather isn’t as common, it’s perfect if you’re looking for a slightly more formal version of this shoe. While you could still rock some leather desert boots for a more easy-going look, these also make any outfit business-ready.

Look out for a pair made from quality leather to make sure they won’t let you down. We think it’s best not to worry too much if they pick up a few scuffs here and there – it gives an edgy and care-free feel to laid-back clothing.

Break colour boundaries

We’ve already mentioned how black and beige desert boots can be styled depending on what look you’re aiming for, but they come in various other colours too:

  1. Brown – similar to the classic beige colour, brown desert boots are easy to pair with anything in your wardrobe – they go especially well with a pair of blue or black jeans too.
  2. Coloured – add a modern twist to this timeless shoe with a pair of green or blue desert boots; a subtle way to add a pop of colour to any outfit!
  3. Grey – can’t decide between black or coloured? Grey desert boots offerthe balance between smart and casual – just throw on some black jeans and a shirt and you’ll ooze sophistication.

We hope our guide has told you all you need to know on how to wear desert boots. Ensure you have a pair of these iconic shoes in your collection and shop the range of cheap desert boots for men at Wynsors today!


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