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How Wallabees defined the aesthetics of 2021

Anatomy of the ultimate dad shoe

How Wallabees defined the aesthetics of 2021 Anatomy of the ultimate dad shoe
David Beckham
Todd Snyder x Clarks Originals
Todd Snyder x Clarks Originals
Sweet Chicks x Clarks Originals
Supreme x Clarks Originals
Raheem Sterling x Clarks Originals
KITH x Clarks Originals
END. x Clarks Originals
Aimè Leon Dore x Clarks Originals
Aimè Leon Dore x Clarks Originals
Drake
Lebron James
Lucien Clarke
Woody Allen
Wes Anderson
Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad"
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator

One might be tempted to speak, referring to Clarks Originals' Wallabeee Boots, of a "great comeback" that has taken place in the last two years – but the truth is that the Wallabees have not returned as they have never left. This year, however, their role of protagonism has emerged with a power that was not there before: a cultural buzz demonstrated by the huge number of collaborations of which Clarks' boots have been protagonists: the latest, this month, with the Sweet Chicks restaurant chain owned by Nas, and Aimè Leon Dore; just a week before the one with Todd Snyder, in November with Kith and the New York Yankees, at the end of October with MAGIC STICK, in September with One Block Down, Supreme, BEAMS BOY; in June with Levi's, in March always with Beams, in February and instead, in 2020, with atmos Tokyo, Palm Angels, Raheem Sterling, END., OVO and again Todd Snyder and Aimè Leon Dore. And this without considering the release pinwheel of original tye-dye models, with Gore-Tex sole, with silicone details or patchwork uppers. In 2019, Stussy (who is increasingly becoming an oracle of footwear trends) had made a collaborative version of it while last August JJJJound had produced a similar silhouette with Padmore & Barnes – original manufacture of the shoe. 

Aimè Leon Dore x Clarks Originals
Aimè Leon Dore x Clarks Originals
Todd Snyder x Clarks Originals
Todd Snyder x Clarks Originals
Sweet Chicks x Clarks Originals
Raheem Sterling x Clarks Originals
Supreme x Clarks Originals
END. x Clarks Originals
KITH x Clarks Originals

A series of releases that, therefore, not only says something about their popularity but highlights one of the reasons behind their spread: the Wallabee is infinitely remixable, rewritable, updatable – the proverbial blank page, like the Converse Chuck Tayler or the Crocs, on which every artist or creative can leave their mark.  The Wallabee Boot is, in fact, a regular of men's footwear since the 60s, everyone knows the smart-but-casual appeal that the boot has had on the 80s and 90s hip-hop scene overshadowed by the clamor raised around sneakers during the streetwear wave of the 10s and then re-emerged, in 2020, with that return to elevated basics, normcore and timeless designs born in response or as a result of circular time,  repetitive and flattened of the Covid Era – in which it is the waves of viruses that mark the passing of the months and fashion trends seem imaginary things, considering that today you can go out but tomorrow you do not know. 

Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad"
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator
David Beckham
Drake
Lebron James
Wes Anderson
Woody Allen
Lucien Clarke

Another notable addition to the Wallabee myth actually came from the world of television series: the Wallabee Boot is still for many Walter White's shoe in Breaking Bad – and in fact if you think about the importance given during the series to the looks of the protagonist and the way in which TV events manage to influence our shopping habits (as Squid Game did for the Vans Slip-On,  the enduring popularity of Breaking Bad may have played a role in reaffirming the status of the ultimate dad shoe at wallabee Boot in recent years, as well as their appearance at the feet of Tyler, The Creator at the 2020 Grammys. Another probable or additional hypothesis that motivates this "new life" comes from the saturation of the sneaker world, in which collaborations have multiplied at such an exhausting rate that it was obvious, at a certain point, that the public looked elsewhere in search of alternatives: and in fact in the last two to three years, between hairy mules and hiking boots,  alternative and "ugly" shoes have proliferated almost everywhere. 

But given the huge amount of variations, imaginative colorways and eccentric re-designs that Clarks' boot was the protagonist of, one cannot even be content to close the matter by calling their design "reassuring and timeless". On the contrary: Wallabee Boots have done everything, at least in their most recent versions, to expand, enrich and diversify their offer. So their versatility is back in play, their ability to be a silhouette that can make traditionalists and avant-garde happy – after all this year what is retro has become, depending on the readings, or expression of a self-validating tradition or product alien to the anonymous and often irrelevant innovations of modern footwear design. In this sense, the Wallabee is doubly versatile: on a level of easy use as a formal-but-not-too-much shoe, smart and casual together (but ghostface Killah and the Wu-Tang Clan had already told us this); in terms of cultural significance, as a white canvas that is always renewable, a vehicle of the latest trends (see the fuzzy version of Aimè Leon Dore that reactivated the craze in 2020) and above all a model of a certain hyper-comfortable elegance that has shown the fashion world that there is an alternative to both streetwear and the very pointed boots of Hedi Slimane.