Are Clarks Desert Boots Waterproof? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Since you have landed here, I assume you’re new to learning about Clarks’ desert boots, and your main concern is its waterproofing capabilities. But you have nothing to worry about because Clarks’ have been here for a long time, and they certainly know what they’re doing. 

In 1825, Clarks’ journey in England had since become one of the most well-known footwear brands in the United Kingdom and several of its overseas territories. 

It’s hard to think about Clarks without thinking of their uber-popular chukka, the Desert boot. The most popular chukka boot on Earth and possibly one of the most iconic boots of all time are Clark’s desert boots. 

The Clarks Desert boots are favorites of many as they are of outstanding quality, But when it comes to the waterproof concern, I am sure many of you are worried, and I get why. 

So for those of you who don’t know about Clarks’ Desert boots, and the waterproof bit is your main concern, I have researched and compiled all the information you need here. So, let’s dive in!

What to Expect from Clark’s Desert Boots

Clarks offers a few kinds of Desert Boots presently, but their most popular style would be ‘The Desert Welt’ from their Goodyear welted version, and these boots in the color‘ Oakwood suede’ have to be the most hyped styles these days.

These boots are the definition of a Chukka boot, and they are everything you can expect from a Chukka boot. The boots are made in Vietnam, and something worth noticing is that the boots are about 10.5 centimeters, ankle-high, to be specific. So if that’s what you’re looking for, these ‘open lacing’ boots definitely offer that.

Desert boots are simple, easy footwear that is quite casual.  This is because these boots are very lightweight and flexible, but the sole, manufactured from a form of latex known as crepe, shouts “casual.” 

Although crepe has several positives, if you think about it, such lightweight and soft boots won’t give you a formal appearance, which can be an issue for some consumers who are looking for a more formal boot.

Are Clark’s Desert Boots Waterproof?

Here’s the part you’re most interested in, and I will give you the brutally honest truth. Clarks desert boots are made of pure leather, and leather is a natural substance that can be molded into various designs while maintaining its structural integrity.

Because of their capacity to react to heat, leather particles can give this function. For all of us,  an ideal world would not need leather boots to be maintained because they would never become wet or dirty in a perfect world.  But we are all aware that it’s impossible, leather will get dirty, and we can’t avoid that. 

The truth is that natural, porous materials like leather can’t be completely waterproof. Clark uses their infamous GORE-TEX membrane for the desert boots to protect them in all climates. Still, the truth is, even though the boots can be amazingly weather-resistance, no pure leather boot is genuinely waterproof, and Clark is no different. 

But don’t be disappointed; there is soo much more to Clarks Desert Boots than just its waterproof aspect. So, any expert will suggest you waterproof your shoes yourself. This process may seem a little complicated at first, but I am here to help you with that.

How to Waterproof Your Clark’s Desert Boots

Now that you know pure leather can’t be truly waterproof, it’s time to get into the fun part, and that is how you can waterproof your boots and extend their longevity. 

From cleaning, and caring to waterproofing the leather, I have compiled everything you need in steps to start with how you can clean and care for the leather before you start waterproofing it. 

Cleaning the leather 

Before you start the waterproofing process, your boots need to be squeaky clean, and to achieve that, you have to follow these steps – 

Step 1: Remove the laces from the boot 

Remove the laces before you start cleaning leather and begin the waterproofing process. Leaving the laces in the boots will only get in your way and make the process complicated. 

It will also be hard to waterproof the leather tongue if the laces are not left out. Laces should be stored somewhere secure. You can reinsert the laces into the boots once cleaned and dried.

Step 2: Knock off the loose dirt from the leather. 

Secondly, remove any loose dust or mud from the boots before washing and waterproofing them. Firmly hold the boots against each other and knock the boots together to remove mud and dirt. In order to avoid leaving a mess of dirt and tiny pebbles in your home, I prefer doing this outdoors.

Step 3: Start cleaning the leather with a cleaning Gel.

Typically, you will find cleaning gels in aerosol cans, which will make it easy for you to spray it on the leather surface; the containers come with instructions, so all you need to do is just follow through with the instructions. A pro tip would be to let the gel sit over the leather for one hour or more from when you apply it to the leather. After an hour or more, take a clean rug to rub off the cleaning gel and all the dirt collected from the leather.

A pretty good alternative to a cleaning gel can be a 1:1 mixture of water ad white vinegar if you don’t prefer to use a cleaning gel. If vinegar doesn’t sound good, you can also use all-purpose saddle soap bars, which you can quickly get in attack stores, and it’ll easily clean the boots. 

Step 4: Rinse away and dry the boots.

Now that the boots are ready to be rinsed run the boots under a light stream of water from your bathroom sink or rub. Soaking the boots won’t be necessary, so once the leather surface is rinsed, turn off the water and move to the drying.

To dry the boots, I suggest giving the leather at least 24 hours. If you’re working on this on a bright, sunny day, it will help speed the drying process if you leave them outdoors. 

But if you’re in a hurry and want to speed up the drying process, take two sheets of newspaper or any random paper you have lying around, and use them to absorb the extra moisture that’s on the leather surface. 

Paper will help absorb moisture from the leather and fasten the drying process, but a mistake I have seen many people make is using a blow dryer when they are in a hurry. I suggest you never do that because it will crack your leather. 

Allow at least 24 hours for the boots to air dry. Place the boots outside to dry if it is dry and sunny. Stuff one or two pieces of newspaper inside each boot to accelerate the drying process. The newspaper helps absorb the moisture, drying your boots faster. Do not use a blow dryer to dry the boots, as it can cause the leather to crack.

Step 5: Take some conditioning oil and rub them into the boot leather. 

After the boot is completely dry, it’s time to pull out the conditioning oil. The oil should have thick cream consistency. For that, I suggest you use your fingers to scoop a decent amount of conditioning oil and rub the oil into the leather while holding the boot from the inside with your other hand. 

Many people tend to skip this step, but it’s essential because leather is a material that needs conditioning in order to retain its moisture. This step will ensure your leather doesn’t dry out over time and keeps looking polished. 

Conditioning oil should only be applied once the boots have fully dried. The consistency of this oil is like thick cream, so use your fingers to dip out a quarter-sized scoop of conditioning oil. Hold the boot from the inside using your other hand, and then rub the conditioning oil into the leather.

Waterproofing the leather

After the leather is all clean, it’s time to start working on the waterproofing, and waterproofing your leather is much easier than you think! 

Take some waterproof wax and apply the boot leather. 

Waterproof wax is very easy to find, and it comes in a tin or plastic container. Take a clean rag and dip it in the waterproof wax to waterproof the boots. Now use, massage the wax on your leather exterior circular motion. Make sure to thoroughly rub the wax and go for one section at a time. Focus on rubbing the polish in one area, and when you’re done with that, focus on the next section. To maintain the longevity of your boots, waterproof your leather boots at least once a year, and your boots will be good to go for months.

Waterproof sprays are a great alternative if you’re in a hurry 

Waterproofing spray is a very quick and easy way to waterproof your boots. These sprays come in an aerosol can, so if you’re in a hurry and want a quick fix, spray the waterproof spray on top of your leather and it will save you time. 

But one thing to keep in mind is, that you should never ever rub waterproofing spray, they are only meant to be sprayed and not rubbed. To be extra careful, I suggest you go through the directions in the packaging to get optimum results from your waterproof spray.

Even though it’s a very quick and easy way to waterproof your boots, you need to remember that an easy fix may not be sustainable. Waterproofing spray will definitely waterproof your boots but the spry will not soak as well into the leather as wax would. As a result of this, you will need to spray waterproofing sprays in wintertime regularly. 

Finally, let your boots dry before you wear them 

Despite the waterproofing method, whether you used wax or a spray, what’s important now is, that you have to let the leather dry completely and let it absorb the chemical goodness before you wear the boots out. Until the leather is dry to touch, air-dry the boots, and when they are dry, they will be all waterproof and ready for you to wear. 

To speed up the drying process, you can put the boots under a fan at room temperature air, or keep them under the sun if a bright sunny day blesses you.

Are Clarks’ Dessert Boots Worth it?

By now you know that Clarks have been there for a long time but you might still wonder if they are worth your bucks even if they had dominated the market for years. 

Made from weatherproof leather, the Clarks desert boots don’t need to be conditioned on a regular basis because of the oil and moisture in the great quality leather. The leather is soft and comfy, but Clarks also uses crepe rubber soles, which are arguably the softest soles on the market.   

Clarks Desert boots are popular for their great quality leather and simplistic design. The soles of these boots are delicate and soft as I have mentioned, but not only that, they nevertheless offer enough cushioning for added comfort for everyday use. But it’s wise to switch shoes here and there. 

Clarks Deserts boots are well worth your money for many reasons and here are a few of them – 

Leather Care and Quality

Clarks has done an excellent job of emphasizing the delicacy of the leather in their Desert boots. Even though they provide quality leather, Clark’s website doesn’t mention the leather quality, but if you do enough digging you will see that they’re manufactured with leather that’s somewhere at either full-grain or top-grain. Even though it’s not the best quality great out there, it’ll still be great.

These boots are made with pull-up leather, which means that the leather is saturated in waxes and oils. If you bend the boot, you’ll notice the creases are lighter than the rest of the boot.  

Another perk is that You can easily get rid of light marks by just rubbing them away with your fingers, and they’ll go away. Doing this also redistributes the oils on the leather to create an even tone.

It’s not over yet. Pull-up leather also has the benefit of requiring less conditioning than other forms of leather. Which is good news for lazy people like me who prefers low maintenance. 


The crepe sole of Clarks Desert boots is what sets them apart. Coagulated latex is what makes crepe rubber. Few refinements can be found in crepe rubber when compared to other boots on the market. 

 It is because raw sap was extracted and processed in this manner, and  Despite being entirely raw, this rubber is very pliable. As a result, the crepe bottoms of Clarks Desert boots are soft and cushy. But it has both advantages and disadvantages.

However, they’re quite easy to walk in daily, whether it is sidewalks or other flat areas. This is partly because of the crepe’s excellent traction on dry surfaces.

In contrast to rubber soles, crepe soles wear out more quickly. The edges of these soles are prone to wear and tear due to chipping, pilling, and abrasion. Even after you’ve just put on the boots, your soles have a big chance to be covered in a thick layer of filth and grime in no time.

Sizing and Fit

Clarks Desert boot comes in D-width sizes which work for most people. However,  it can be a bit too tight for people with a narrow fit, but most people generally find them to be comfortable. One advantage of the leather is that it stretches quite rapidly. As a result, if you have narrow feet, you won’t be in pain for a long time as your feet will get comfortable super quick. 

So overall, I would say these boots are worth your money in terms of quality. If they fit your liking and your budget, then you should definitely go for them.


Are Desert Boots Good For Hot Weather?

Due to their design, Clark’s desert boots are often considered to be the ideal summer shoe! All year-round, these boots are as stunning as ever.

Who Are Clarks Desert Boots For?

To anybody seeking an iconic style that will elevate any casual ensemble, and have amazing longevity and comfort, Clarks Desert boots would be the boot of choice.

Are Clarks Desert Boots Good for Winter?

In winter times, you should avoid wearing your Clarks Desert boots anywhere that is even slightly damp, or it snows.


There you have it. I hope going through this article clears all your confusion. If there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this article, it would be that pure leathers are never waterproof. So the wisest thing to do is waterproof the boots yourself, which I’m sure you now know exactly how to do! 

Richard Nelson

Richard is the Head of Content here at Bootpedia. From an early age, leather boots have been a passion for him. So, he thought why not share his knowledge with the rest of the world? 

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