The Return of Hutton Famous Desert Boots

| 11 Nov ’15 | 3 Comments

A Prototype for the return of Hutton Desert Boots

“Desert Boots The Way They Used to Be Made”

That’s the slogan for the latest re-emergence of a classic heritage brand, Hutton aka Hutton of Northampton. For those followers of The Weejun and any online reference to suede chukkas, Hutton will of course be known as the original makers of the classic playboy chukka as worn by ‘you know who’, Steve McQueen.

Despite the legion of online stories to the contrary (some references insist that McQueen wore Tod’s when the brand didn’t even exist until after his death) it wasn’t Sanders’ now-classic boot that Steve loved to wear both off and onscreen, but the Hutton boot.

How can we be sure of this? Well, Hutton of Northampton had a patent on the construction of the playboy chukka for many years and fought infringements rigorously. There were imitators of course, such as Bates Floaters but they are instantly recognisable with the applique heel piece and their foam rubber soles were a poor substitute for the delights of real crepe.

Sadly, as we know, Hutton went bust a few decades ago leaving a big gap in their wake. Little known, though, is the fact that Hutton also made a plethora of other suede and crepe combo shoes, not the least of which were classic desert boots.

Made in UK?

Making desert boots in the UK is a non starter these days. Witness Clarks’ marketing ploy with their 75th anniversary model made in the village of Woolaston (the birthplace of Dr Martens) which retailed at an eye popping £250.00 a pair. Sure they looked lovely (apart from them messing around with the original stitching and last yet again) and if Clarks hadn’t moved their production offshore you can bet that would be the price in 2015 pounds we’d be (not) paying for a pair of their iconic desert boots.

As it is, the standard models are pretty expensive for a made in Vietnam boot, and as an owner of more than a dozen pairs, I can attest to the wild variation in quality of the making and the suedes they’re using. So I was suitably animated to return from a long dry spell from posting when I learned of the return of Hutton, albeit a desert boot so far and not the playboy chukka – yet.

Hutton Famous Desert Boots

Made in Italy!

As I understand it, these new Hutton Desert Boots will be handmade in Italy and will go a long way to addressing the lack of options for a premium desert boot – ‘how they used to be made’ – as Hutton’s new slogan goes.

We all know that despite the alleged British origins of desert boots (really they’re Dutch South African ‘veldt’ shoes) and their huge success in the USA in the 50s and 60s, it’s been the Italians who’ve kept the traditional desert boot alive ever since, leading up to the fashion revival in the last decade that forced Clarks to finally take their desert boot seriously again.

Certainly, if the photo of the early Hutton prototype from their Facebook page is anything to go by, these boots are going to be pretty nice.

No confirmation on prices yet but I suspect they must retail for more than the regular Made in Vietnam Clarks Originals – after all they are handmade in Italy from local materials, and that still counts for something.


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Category: Campus Ivy, Ivy League, Ivy Look, Ivy Style, Shoes

Comments (3)

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  1. Roger C. Russell,II says:

    I am excited about the news of a quality Desert Boot coming back to the market place. I signed up to be on the Hutton email list. The photograph you show here looks like a great boot. The sole has a noticeable quality about it. This does not appear to be the same boot that Hutton has pictured in their reply to my
    sign up request. The color is different and the sole is completely different.


  2. Hutton Boots says:

    Hey Roger. Sorry for the confusion. The image above is of a sample we asked the factory to make for pattern purposes only. We then spec’d up the boots to the max, using the best suede, leather footbeds and rare natural ‘blond’ crepe as opposed to the more common and cheaper amber colour on this sample on The Weejun. Most modern desert boots use amber crepe or cheaper white milled crepe. We wanted to recreate the best classic desert boots as they were in the 1950s and 60s, hence the natural blonde and the choice of Acorn Sand for the classic colour.
    Thanks for signing up to our list and sorry for any confusion we inadvertently caused by sending out the original sample images. We were just really excited to be getting our project off the ground…

  3. Peter Knock says:

    These certainly look to be a quality boot and they have the essential ‘high line’ profile with the highest point at the rear(the smaller photo more clearly shows this) Desert Boots that drop down at the rear,just never really cut it. I noticed recently that Margaret Howell have a ladies Desert Boot, identical silhouette to a Clarks, but weightier,leather lined, a superior product.These are made in Italy and (wait for it..) £425 but in her sale, a snip, at £300.

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