midweSTYLE: Desert Boots Resoled

So, after a little over two years, I wore a hole straight through the crepe sole of my Clarks desert boots. After a round of violent weeping and gnashing of teeth, I was prepared to hold a burial service, or another memorial of similar gravitas. These felt like the boots I became a man in, or something. 

While the term "essential" is egregiously overused, desert boots are one of a handful of items that actually deserve the title. They go with damn near everything, and I found myself wearing them almost every day for a year or so—a default for my feet. Thus, when they were finally unwearable, I was just short of devastated. 

Then came the decision. Do I pitch them? Buy a new pair? Do I spring for a resole? WHAT DO I DO NOW?

What it really came down to was whether I should re-support Clarks, who was probably going to just fine if I didn't, or whether I should put money toward a local cobbler to hook me up with a new sole. 

In that light, the answer made itself abundantly clear. 

Tucked away in the shadows of the Francis Quadrangle's infamous columns, on 8th Street in Columbia, Missouri, sits a little shop called Dawson's Shoe Repair. I had walked by countless times, never giving the unassuming brick storefront a second thought—that is, until I wore a hole in the sole of one of my most beloved possessions. 

Inside, I was greeted by a friendly man named Bob who took my Clarks, offered me a slew of resoling options, and promised to do his best with the monster ripple soles I had chosen. Bob, who has worked at Dawson's since he completed his service in the Air Force in 1971, made quick work of my order and after a few days, I had fallen back in love with my old, worn-out desert boots. When it was all said and done, the price tag came to $75 to have my well-loved boots resurrected with a patina and sole that I don't think you'll find anywhere else. Compare that to the $100 I might have spent on a pair of new boots, and I'd say I came out with the better end of the deal.

The only task left is to find a fitting nickname. Suggestions welcome.

On Cameron: "The Henley" in California wash by Baldwin Denim; green waffle henley by Old Navy; striped shirt by Steven Alan; submariner watch by Military Watch Co.; whiskey tortoise "Preston" eyeglasses by Warby Parker; desert boots by Clarks, resole by Bob Wood at Dawson's Shoe Repair. 

Photography by Jarred Donalson.


  1. ooh, love this resole. how rad!

  2. Nice looking boots! I've been wondering about a crepe resole as well. Really debating finding someone to put a Dainite sole on them, but that will be much stiffer than the original crepe and I'm not sure how I would like it.

    Was this the case with your new ripple sole? Any difference in the feel when walking? Also, those boots have an awesome patina to them! Did you use any leather conditioner or wax on them?

  3. I was equally sad when my knee high black leather boots had worn out heels. Took me over a year to realize it would cost $30 to get them reheeled over umm the $150 to buy a new pair of boots. Good call supporting local business!

  4. Now they look like dinosaur teeth.
    It is always a good day when you get your favourite shoes resoled. Enjoy!

  5. Dude thats awesome. Never imagined desert boots with that sole. I think I kinda like it. Just out of curiosity, how much would it have been to just get another crepe sole put on there?

    Chinos & Cheesecake

  6. wonderful boots! i always love coming across another midwest blogger.


  7. "Tonkas!" Those treads are rad.

    Jason Thomas

  8. amazing blog!!!
    xoxo Sienna

  9. Nice boots! And I just referred a family member to Dawson's. I have to ask though, you really wore that outfit in this heat?

  10. Those are quite awesome. Desert boots are simply the best.


  11. @xts77 - The ripple sole was definitely stiff for the first few walks across campus, plus the uppers felt a little tighter for awhile, but they relaxed back out soon. And as far as maintenance, I just remove any excess dirt with a wet rag and apply a coat of mink oil every six or so months, the patina on these bad boys is getting crazy!

    @Desmond - The cobbler I used was unable to order the stock crepe sole that Clarks uses on their DB's, but resole.com has a deal with Clarks where they can resole with a crepe for about $60, plus shipping I believe. Check with a local place first though, they may be able to hook you up!

    @John - Nice recommendation! Dawson's is a fantastic business. And, well, these were taken on a cooler evening in mid-May (admittedly, I didn't need the overshirt, haha).

  12. First I have to say that I stumbled across your blog about a month ago and love it! I had a pair of Desert Boots that became so tattered and torn that I just threw them out because of a lack of confidence in resoling. Shortly after, I decided to take a chance and had some Cole Haan's resoled. They came out like new and I immediately regretted not resoling my desert boots. I bought a pair of desert malis last winter and there is no doubt that I will resole them once they reach the end of their usable life. I may even consider staining them to add a completely new look. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Nickname? You're not just going to tell people they're from Camilla Skovgaard?

  14. These look amazing!
    Where could I purchase those soles to take to a cobbler?

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. What color and brand is that sole if you dont mind me asking?

  17. Just wanted to say a huge thanks for the ripple sole idea on a Clarks DB. I showed my local cobbler the picture of your shoes and he fixed me up nicely. Resoled my Clarks DBs with a ripple sole and added in a wedge so that it wouldn't feel so flat and like i was walking leaning back. Here's a pic: http://instagram.com/p/QSj2eTJGTG/

  18. Hi, I know this a super old feed, but I love these soles. Do you know the specific sole that was used?

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    Love those jodhpur boots. I'd request something from Septieme Largeur yet I'm stressed over getting a custom patina and finding the shoes don't fit!


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