So, after a little over two years, I wore a hole straight through the crepe sole of my Clarks desert boots. After a round of violent weeping and gnashing of teeth, I was prepared to hold a burial service, or another memorial of similar gravitas. These felt like the boots I became a man in, or something.
While the term “essential” is egregiously overused, desert boots are one of a handful of items that actually deserve the title. They go with damn near everything, and I found myself wearing them almost every day for a year or so—a default for my feet. Thus, when they were finally unwearable, I was just short of devastated.
Then came the decision. Do I pitch them? Buy a new pair? Do I spring for a resole? WHAT DO I DO NOW?
What it really came down to was whether I should re-support Clarks, who was probably going to just fine if I didn’t, or whether I should put money toward a local cobbler to hook me up with a new sole.
In that light, the answer made itself abundantly clear.
Tucked away in the shadows of the Francis Quadrangle’s infamous columns, on 8th Street in Columbia, Missouri, sits a little shop called Dawson’s Shoe Repair. I had walked by countless times, never giving the unassuming brick storefront a second thought—that is, until I wore a hole in the sole of one of my most beloved possessions.
Inside, I was greeted by a friendly man named Bob who took my Clarks, offered me a slew of resoling options, and promised to do his best with the monster ripple soles I had chosen. Bob, who has worked at Dawson’s since he completed his service in the Air Force in 1971, made quick work of my order and after a few days, I had fallen back in love with my old, worn-out desert boots. When it was all said and done, the price tag came to $75 to have my well-loved boots resurrected with a patina and sole that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else. Compare that to the $100 I might have spent on a pair of new boots, and I’d say I came out with the better end of the deal.
The only task left is to find a fitting nickname. Suggestions welcome.
On Cameron: “The Henley” in California wash by Baldwin Denim; green waffle henley by Old Navy; striped shirt by Steven Alan; submariner watch by Military Watch Co.; whiskey tortoise “Preston” eyeglasses by Warby Parker; desert boots by Clarks, resole by Bob Wood at Dawson’s Shoe Repair.
Photography by Jarred Donalson.