Clarks brand is strong but its shoes are ugly

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

2 March 2012

Clarks brand is strong, even though its shoes are ugly

Clarks brand of shoes is in a class by itself

A few months ago, I bought my first pair of Clarks. They were a simple and modern looking low-top pair of exceptionally comfortable leather dress shoes. What’s more, they were reasonably priced at $65. Walking with these shoes on is akin to walking on the clouds. Curiously, while I thought they were an attractive looking pair of shoes, nobody ever mentioned anything about them when I wore them.

A few weeks after that, without even enough time passing to break in my first pair, I bought my second pair of Clarks. This time I wanted the classic, Wallabees.

The irony in this is that Wallabees, when worn, are nothing like walking on clouds. Not even close. Paradoxically, I wear Wallabees quite a bit. What’s more peculiar is that they are infinitely less attractive than my first pair of “cheaper” Clarks, yet everyone comments: “Cool shoes!”

Clarks brandI am not going to pretend. My Wallabees are really ugly. With an inch of curious looking rubber on the bottom and funky, slipper-like stitching, they are anything but good looking.

So why is it that I only want to wear my Wallabees?

As I thought on this, an interesting notion came to me about the Clarks brand.

“All this means is that the brands we wish to style (not protect) our feet are those with a better sense of reflecting who we are or want to be when wearing them.”

Clarks brand is an original

Clarks realizes the value of its Original line of shoes — these being the Wallabees and Desert Boots (both of which were developed in the 1800s). By continuing to sell the Original line, Clarks has cultivated confidence and desire with buyers. We trust that when buying the Original brand, we are buying a pair of shoes that will stand the test of time.

We believe that these shoes are durable, cool, a little brazenly funky looking, and unique – which is the reflection of how I am when I wear them.

Sure, you are spending $140 on a pair of shoes that look like moon boots Jules Verne would have concocted, but we have happily paid for the reputation of a historic shoe made by a world famous shoe company.

This made me think of Converse All-Stars. For anyone who has worn these beyond the initial blister period, you are aware that it may as well make better sense to walk barefoot. How could basketball players have ever comfortably worn these in games? It’s impossible.

Yet the mighty brand of the Converse All-Stars still remans, although more as fashion instead of quality. The brand is intact and as vital as ever. Probably too, they are a much more recognizable classic shoe than even Wallabees.

All this means is that the brands we wish to style (not protect) our feet are those with a better sense of reflecting who we are or want to be when wearing them.


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