Clarks is best known for their classy, sophisticated, dressy shoes that prioritize style. The brand offers hundreds of different shoe designs for men, each one with their own unique aesthetic so you can be sure to find a good fit for your preference. Despite their extensive selection of shoes however, two models have caused some confusion among buyers.
These two Clarks shoe designs are the Stinson and the Wallabee. At a glance, anyone might think that the two shoes aren’t any different from each other. And perhaps when it comes to appearances, there really isn’t much of a discrepancy. But take a closer look at the shoes, and it becomes apparent that they are completely different models.
Based on my experience with both shoes, I’d have to recommend the Wallabee over the Stinson. The shoe just feels like its made of higher quality material, boasting better craftsmanship all together. It proves this by giving you a few extra features and design characteristics that clearly place it above the Stinson. But don’t just take my word for it – here’s a comprehensive comparison on why the Wallabee puts your best foot forward.
More About the Clarks Wallabees
The Wallabees first debuted on the market back in the 60’s. Much like the Desert Boot and the Rambler, the Wallabee went on to become one of the most iconic designs offered by the Clarks brand. Their premise was simple – design a timeless shoe that would transcend current fashion trends. Needless to say, the brand did succeed, and the Wallabees remain one of their most popular offerings to date.
Most Wallies come in suede or leather, but there have been lots of variations throughout the years. Because the overall silhouette of the shoe is simple and uncomplicated, it makes a great choice for designers who want to collaborate with the Clarks company.
True enough, there have been lots of collaborations with the Wallabees throughout the years. Some of the most notable collaborations include those with Woolrich and Uniform Experiment which took different spins on materials and colorways to produce unique yet familiar Wallabees designs.
More About the Clarks Stinson
The Stinson entered the market fairly recently and rather unnoticed. The reason behind that is because it looks almost exactly like the Wallabee – so not a lot of people thought it was a new shoe all together.
Much like the Wallabees, the Stinson’s use leather and suede as the most common upper of choice. They also come in a variety of colors, some of which are more daring than the classic Wallabee.
Anyone seeing both shoes side by side for the first time would say they’re different versions of the same design. And in many ways, that might just be true. There are some things that set both of these shoes apart though, and I’m going to try to bring those to light.
Make and Material
When it comes to make and material, the uppers for both of these shoes rarely differ. Sure, there are lots of different upper designs to choose from, but essentially, the materials used are the same. That is, any full grain leather used for Wallabee uppers is likely available under the Stinson design as well. The same goes for the suede selection.
The only thing I can say changes with the uppers is that they’re somehow sturdier on the Wallabees. Whether the materials go through extra processes and treatments for the Wallabee model isn’t explicitly stated anywhere. However once you touch the shoes, you can definitely feel a difference in structure.
Generally, the Stinson’s feel a lot softer, like they’re likely to conform to the movements of your feet. They also generally seem to scuff up a little more than the Wallabee design, which could be an indication of an extra treatment process used on the latter to create a sturdier upper construction.
The main difference lies in the sole. The material used for the Stinson outsoles is EVA, as compared to the Wallabee which commonly uses crepe. In my opinion, the crepe sole is slightly more durable and more forgiving. So as you wear the shoes, they’re likely to mold to your unique foot shape for greater comfort.
With the Stinson, the soles aren’t quite as comfortable. They also don’t break-in even after years of use. It does pay to keep in mind though that EVA tends to give in to wear a little faster than crepe. Ultimately, this affects traction over the long haul, making your Stinson’s slip a little more against different surfaces.
Craftsmanship and Design
First impressions of both designs would suggest that they’re exactly the same. But upon closer inspection, you will find a few differences that set them apart. For instance, you’ll notice that the Wallabee comes with a slightly squarer toe shape. This gives you more room for dress socks, and accommodates wider feet more readily.
A much less apparent difference is the stitching. At a glance, the stitches on both shoes seem pretty much the same. But the company claims that stitches used on the Wallabee are much more durable compared to the Stinson. The threads are oiled and waxed, giving them greater resistance to wear and tear, unlike the Stinson’s which use typical, untreated threads.
In terms of design, both the Wallabee and the Stinson come in boot and shoe variations. The Wallabee boot option’s shaft measures approximately 4 inches from the heel, while the Stinson measures slightly lower at 3.75 inches.
It also pays to consider that the Stinson comes in two different shoe variations – the Stinson shoe and the lo boot. The lo boot features a lower shaft than the shoe, giving the version a slightly more casual appearance.
Durability and Comfort
The last thing that differs between the Wallabee and the Stinson is that they offer differing levels of durability and comfort. This is mostly because of the more detailed craftsmanship that goes into each Wallabee design. Plus the fact that they use crepe soles, they become better fitting as time goes on.
The difference in quality is apparent once you hold the shoes. Ultimately, the Wallabees feel like they’re a lot more durable, with greater structure and more resistance to damage, wear, and tear. The Stinson’s, while they do feel structured without comparison, tend to feel slightly less durable in the hand. In fact, they might feel like the kind of shoes that fall apart after some time of use, so they’re definitely on the losing end when it comes to durability.
Counting the Cost
Of course, after all that’s been said, it’s only obvious that the Wallabees would cost more than the Stinson’s. The price difference can be close to a hundred dollars, depending on the models and materials you choose. But what you’re getting is ultimately an iconic footwear selection that maximizes your money’s worth.
So if you’re willing to splurge a little more on your shoes, the Wallabee design is guaranteed to satisfy you from all angles. These shoes are made with expert craftsmanship that proves just why they became such a hit in the 60s.
If you’re set on copping a pair of Wallabees but you’re trying to work within a budget, the Stinson’s might be a suitable substitute. These shoes look virtually the same, so to anyone who isn’t particularly aware of either design, you could pretty much pass them off as the more popular Wallabee mode.
Keep in mind though that you ultimately get what you pay for. So if you’re paying less, expect to get less comfort, durability, and support out of your chosen pair. Nonetheless, both of these shoes offer some pretty solid aesthetics.
The Bottom Line
No doubt, Clarks has come out with tons of different designs with the intention of satisfying all of their buyers. That’s why they’ve put out options like the Stinson which basically mimics the Wallabee with slight sacrifices to make them more practical for budget consumers. This is their way of catering to everyone without sacrificing the aesthetics that many of their buyers and prospects have fallen in love with.
In my honest opinion, the difference you pay for the Wallabee is definitely worth what you’re getting in return. Sure, they cost a little more. But with the price tag comes a sturdy, reliable, comfortable, and iconic shoe that you can truly be proud of. The Clarks Wallabee, I believe, is more of a footwear investment. So if you’re really out for something that you can wear for the long haul, the Wallabee is the obvious choice.
Nonetheless, the Stinson isn’t a bad option either. If you just want to be able to wear your iconic Clarks now and again, the durability that the Stinson offers might very well be enough to satisfy your preferences.
All that said, I can recommend both shoes. But as long as you can afford the Wallabee, I say go for it. The shoes are designed to the highest style and durability standards, so you can make sure you’re getting something that will last much longer than any budget option.