Never has there been a better time to shop for waterproof shoes. More and more sneakers have been equipped with Gore-Tex as the gorpification of fashion requires our kicks do to do more. But if you're looking for something a little more classic, Clarks also dresses its iconic Wallabees in the reigning water-resistant material.
The Wallabee, as well as Clarks other boot offerings, have had a Gore-Tex offering for years — and the brand is rolling out new three new variants for the season. Suede, tumbled leather, and canvas uppers each come with their own neutral color scheme that should fit seamlessly into your wardrobe.
Sneaker fatigue is real in a landscape where the most desired sneakers are all but impossible to buy, but the Wallabee is a versatile alternative that can be dressed up just as easily as down. And with well-known co-signs from the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas, it's just as much of a hip-hop staple as an Air Force 1 or Timberland boots.
Anything but suede — If I were intentionally wearing a shoe for its water-repelling abilities, the last thing I'd want is suede. The material never looks the same when introduced to water, which makes it a curious choice for a shoe so overtly branded with Gore-Tex.
The other two options are much more sensible, as black canvas and an off-white tumbled leather will hold up better in the rain. A tiny Gore-Tex tag on the heel tips you off to the water and windproof membrane lining the upper, and two removable, contrasting hang tags are adorned with the two brands' logos. It's a shame, too, because the purple tag coming with the gray suede boots is most worthy of staying attached — but, again, you don't want to wear suede in the rain.
Underneath is a durable sole from Vibram, another venerable third-party manufacturer in the world of outdoor gear. If you hit these Wallabees with a protector spray before wearing them out, you'll have a clean partner in the rain for many years to come.
Out now — Clarks' latest Gore-Tex Wallabee lineup is available now directly from the source, with some sizes already beginning to sell out. At $240, the waterproof upgrade is more expensive than the shoe's usual range of $150 to $190 — but consider it money well spent when your toes are dry after getting caught in a downpour.