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Top 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next Pair of Clarks Shoes

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1825, James Clark took a look at all the off-cuts and castoffs created in his brother's Somerset, England, tannery and had an idea. The Clarks shoes slip-on slipper was born. From there, Clarks shoes for both men and women have been popular for their wide array of styles, affordability and distinct style. Its Desert Boots, known as the Chukka boot elsewhere, was created in 1949 after one of the Clarks noticed off-duty British officers in Burma were adopting simple suede boots with crepe soles while off-duty. The fit, both cool and sophisticated, helped form the basis for a variety of Clarks Originals boots and shoes for men, women and children. Its shoes, sandals and boots are popular choices for wearing casual, athletic, sports and even dress wear, particularly since they don't just come in black leather but many other colors. Here are some tips on finding just the right pair of Clarks shoes.

1. Get the Right Size for Comfort

Shoes that are the wrong size are never comfortable, and can even cause foot and joint problems. A common mistake, particularly with men, is that feet stop growing at the onset of adulthood. Feet change size throughout a person's life, often growing and occasionally shrinking, meaning that measuring feet every year or two (if not more) can be important. Get measured around mid-day, since feet generally swell a bit during the day. A shoe that fits well first thing in the morning may feel too small in the evening. Men and women should also try to wear the socks or type of socks they plan to wear with the shoe. While being measured, try getting measured both standing and seated; if there is not much difference between the two measurements, the professional doing the measuring may advise getting inserts to provide more arch support. Pay attention to both the length and the width of the foot, since a shoe that is too wide or too narrow is as bad as one that is too long or too short.

British vs. American Sizes

Clarks is headquartered in the United Kingdom, and many of its shoes are still designed there. If listed in UK sizes, remember many of these shoes run smaller than American sizes. For example, a UK size six men's shoe is the same size as an American size seven shoe. Before buying a pair of Clarks shoes, boots or sandals, you need to convert between UK and American shoe sizes. Many shoe stores in big cities will have a handy conversion chart like the one below, or you can look online to convert sizes. 

Shoe Group American Size Increase over UK

Men's shoes


One size larger


Women's shoes


Two and one half sizes larger


Youth's shoes


One size larger


Toddler and baby shoes


Two sizes larger.


In addition to standard sizes, Clarks sells many of its shoes in up to four different widths. The four options are narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide. The most common shoes are medium and wide; narrow and extra wide sometimes must be custom-made. Just remember, a shoe that fits properly should not squeeze or distort the foot.

2. There is No Reason to Wear Uncomfortable Shoes

Many people are under the impression that a new shoe that feels uncomfortable might break in with use and become more comfortable. While this does happen with some shoes, particularly if they are all leather, the problem is that the shoe is too stiff; the shoe may be the wrong size, or the wrong width for your foot. Some shoes even get less comfortable with use. The safest bet is to buy shoes that feel comfortable already, and then let them get even more comfortable as they break-in and soften. Some people wear uncomfortable shoes simply because they like the look of a particular shoe and can't find a pair in his or her particular size, but this shouldn't be the norm. While Clarks sells comfortable shoes in a variety of styles and color, everyone's feet are different.

3. There is No Reason to Wear Worn Out Shoes

Even the best shoes wear out over time. Even if the shoes still look good, they may no longer provide proper support and could cause serious foot problems, including painful plantar fasciitis. Depending on how often a person wears a given pair of shoes, it's usually best to replace them after no more than two years.   If a favorite pair of Clarks gets old, do not try to get a little more use out of them, buy a new pair.

4. Consider How Often and How Long these Shoes Might Be Worn

Clarks are durable and comfortable, but not all styles are right for daily wear. The famous Desert Boots, for example, have higher tops than a slip-on. High-topped shoes provide more ankle support, which is good for occasional use, but they're not great athletic shoes and can actually weaken the ankles over time. Wearing a sandal too often also can cause foot problems. For occasional wear, high tops or sandals are fine. 

5. Be Cautious About Buying Used Shoes

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