Since high school, I’ve been known as a shoe guy (with all the stereotypes and mockery of that thrown in). I’ve always enjoyed good shoes – be it skateboarding kicks, basketball or leather dress shoes. Through all of that, though, one shoe has been a constant: the Clark Wallabee.
Technically, it hasn’t been the actual “Wallabee” each time – I’ve done the Stinson, the Shacre, the Wallabee, a Chukka or two, etc. But let’s be real – they’re all visually about the same. For whatever reason, I just love this boot. I find it extremely versatile. It looks great with jeans or khaki’s, I can wear it to a football game or a dinner out. The Suede Wallabee Original was my go-to shoe to sorority formals with my wife during college.
Indeed, I have worn my current pair of Stinson’s for the last 10 years. They’ve become a staple on my feet every fall/winter/spring, and they’ve held up remarkably well for a sub-$100 shoe. Unfortunately, they soles have recently started to show their age, and they’ve almost broken through. If you aren’t familiar the Stinson sole is different than the classic Wallabees. I believe it is still listed as “crepe” like the others, but it feels like a harder rubber, and it’s constructed differently. Instead of a solid sheet of rubber, it’s hollowed out in a grid, letting the sole sit higher than the Wallabee. It also has not gummed up like the normal crepe tends to do.
Unfortunately, it seems that most cobblers are not re-soling this style of boot – both due to the time and effort, and the difficulty in sourcing crepe soles. I contacted Clarks directly and was also told they do not offer any type of re-soling service, and was directed to purchasing another pair. Huge bummer, especially for someone like myself that really likes the idea of long term shoes. Plus, my Stinsons have an incredible upper that is perfectly worn in and super soft/comfortable.
I bit the bullet and ended up buying 2 new pair of Clarks: a Shacre Beeswax to replace my Stinsons, and a Suede Wallebee Originals to recapture those amazing pair I had in college. The Shacre is a cheaper version of the Wallabees Originals, and I was interested to see if I could tell the difference.
There are quite a few differences, though both shoes seem well made. The Shacre’s have a noticeably squarer and more narrow toe box, which I do not like. They also do not have any type of lining on the interior of the leather upper, unlike the Stinsons and Originals. So far the upper has been less comfortable than either the Originals or Stinsons, but time will tell as they break in. The upper does seem very good, with good, thick rich brown leather. I was also happy to see these came with a nicer insole – a big upgrade form the paper thin insole on the Stinsons.
The Originals are, without a doubt, the way to go if you can swing the extra money. The suede version is the most comfortable shoe you’ll ever wear, and the profile is perfect. The toe box is a bit more rounded off and does not extend quite as much. The leather liner feels supple and nice, though a bit difficult to get on with socks as it’s also a suede texture.
Overall, I’m still in love with this boot over 15 years since I first put it on. I can’t think of a better value when it comes to $/wear over the years. I’m a bit down on these Shacre’s over the first few weeks, but if anything it will just give me an excuse to pick up a new pair of Originals in beeswax 🙂