Clarks Vs. Rockport- A Close-up Review of their Quality, Durability, and Comfort

by Purposeful Footwear - Last Updated: April 10, 2018

Clarks has a wide variety of boots and shoes. They specialize in designing super lightweight and comfortable footwear that you can comfortably wear all day and all night. Unfortunately, many of its shoes and boots require a lengthy break-in period and are not durable. Although it is difficult to compare an entire brand against another one, we do generally recommend the Rockport brand to anyone who wants a decent pair of comfortable, stylish, and reasonably durable boots and shoes.

As John Wildsmith put it, you are either in your bed or your shoes. Thus, it is essential to invest in both. However, the fact that you need to spend wisely on the best footwear does not necessarily mean soaking up your budget. If you are out shopping for a frugal pair of boots or shoes, the Rockport and Clarks emerge as our top-of-the-list recommendations.

In the eyes of the public, these two brands stand out for pushing pretty decent shoes at decent price tags. They also have lots of things in common, including the use of full grain leather for most of their kicks that are germane to different dressed-up occasions and even for work.

That being said, considering that they market their products to the same buyers, it is not surprising to find a Rockport boot or shoe that is pretty similar to another one on Clarks’ line. Take the Clarks Men’s Stratton Limit Chukka Boots and the Rockport Rugged Buck Waterproof boots above, for example, or the Men’s Escalade by Clarks and the Leader 2 by Rockport slip-on loafers.

These are some of the boots and shoes from these manufacturers that create a good deal of confusion when placed next to each other. However, despite their close resemblance, at first sight, there are several features that distinguish the two brands.

Our close-up review will help you weigh in on the differences between these two brands and identify the one that better meets your preferences, and offers a good value for your money.

Let’s dig in!

Clash of the boots

There is no doubt that Clarks and Rockport are pretty competitive in the boots arena. The two manufacturers display several styles, most of which are very similar in style and colors. Even then, they all have some telltales that differentiate them from each other.

 

Clarks Stratton Limit Chukka Boot

The Stratton Limit is hands down one of the most handsome boots that Clarks has on its line today. This is a super flexible boot that requires a relatively short break-in period to offer tons of comfort after that. Its three color choices – Brown, Black and Black leather – present it as a boot that you won’t struggle dressing up or down with.

True to Clarks’ tradition, the upper is made from seemingly high-quality leather that feels nice and soft. The collar has an excellent padding to it and should be friendly to your ankle area.

The Clarks Stratton Limit Chukka is a great example of a boot that defines comfort from bottom up. It features Clarks Plus Comfort technology that encompasses an ortholite molded footbed and a super flexible rubber lug sole for all the support your feet need.

A mesh inner lining on the inside underscores this boot’s moisture management system and comfort levels. This padding also has an antimicrobial treatment that provides a healthy shoe environment.

Image of the Clarks Men's Stratton Limit Chukka Boot,Brown,10.5 M US

There is more to talk about Clarks Plus Comfort technology including a solid heel support, and a 1.25-inch heel that aims at offering you a more confident standing and walking position.

To sum it all, the Clarks Stratton Limit Boots have a 3-eyelet lacing system, and the collars open wide enough to allow you to slip in and out of the boot with less hassle. There is also a suede pull-on loop at the back to make putting on much more comfortable.

 

Rockport Rugged Bucks Waterproof Boot

The Rockport Rugged Bucks is similar to the Clarks Stratton Limit, in several ways including design. This is an A-grade boot that takes the Stratton Limit’s features to even higher levels to offer you an intricate kick that can do anything that you throw its way without quitting.

But I don’t want you to just take my words for it. Let us dissect the boot and figure out what it has to offer.

At a glance, the Rockport Rugged Bucks is a pair that won’t look misplaced both in the urban and rural environments. If this tan-colored design won’t match your style, Rockport offers the boot in several other versions. There is a black model that will make a great addition to your work footwear and a tan-suede version if you want something with a bit of dash.

The Rugged Bucks features a sturdy full grain leather upper, with a blend of double and triple stitching that is visible even around the collar. A standout highlight with this boot’s design is its slightly higher design and a nicely padded collar that work together to offer optimum support to your ankle.

Speaking of support, the Bucks feature a bio-mechanically designed outsole with a heel measuring approximately 1-inch to promote natural walking motion. These boots also boast Rockport’s comfort system that includes a plush inner lining and lightweight shock absorption for versatility and comfort.

But its most striking highlight is its Hydro-shield Waterproof construction. This manufacturing design involves a proprietary amalgamation of seam sealing and high-grade waterproof materials that render the boot as a top dog even in the most unexpected situations.

The Champ: The Rugged Bucks

Following the two main bellwethers that make a go-to boot; style and comfort, it is with no doubts that the Rockport Rugged Bucks takes the medal between these 2.

The most notable gripe that buyers have with the Clarks Stratton Limit is that it is not waterproof.  That being said, it is not the best for rainy conditions. On the other hand, the Rugged Bucks have a superior waterproof construction design that encompasses a seam sealing, and specially formulated waterproof insoles. The Bucks also have superb breathability that makes them all-weather boots.

There is also another irresistible catch with the Rugged Bucks. Rockport designs them with extended sizes and widths. This means that you can get a stylish boot with just the right width that you look for in a killer boot.

Mind you, the issue of sizing is another note of concern with the Clarks. In fact, the manufacturer admits that the sizes and widths are messed up. You will need to go a whole size down and also be cautious with the width when ordering.

Admittedly, the Rugged Bucks could be several folds pricier than the Clarks depending on your size and version, of course. However, it’s worth noting that you are getting an anatomically structured, all-weather proof boot that transcends the limits put on the cheaper version from Clarks.

 

How do the Rockport and the Clarks shoes compare?

Each of the two has several top-notch slip-on loafers that have been designed for running errands, catching meetings, and dashing out for dinner downtown. Several of the shoes that I have paraded here combine style, versatility, and comfort to sculpture a pair that you can rely on for all-day wear regardless of the time of the year.

 

Clarks Escalade Step Slip-on Loafer

The Clarks Escalade is a handsome pair of boots designed to offer you a classic dress profile any moment. Among some other notable aspects, the Clarks Escalade features a plush leather upper that houses a roomy toebox.

This shoe is creating a good backlash with its Flexlight construction. It employs lightweight leather and a super flexible synthetic sole at the bottom, to offer you a customizable feeling all day long.

As some of the reviewers attest, these shoes are so lightweight and comfortable that you could consider running in them. It could also make a superb pick if you are looking for a low-profile pair of shoe for use in the office.

Some other honorable features with this model include a slip-on closure with an elastic gore that makes putting on and off fuss-free, a soft leather-lined interior, and a padded insole.

 

Rockport Style Leader 2 Slip-on Loafer

At just a few bucks above what the Clarks Escalades cost, you could also get the Rockport Style Leader 2 Loafer. They are pretty similar in most aspects yet very different on the ground.

Similar to the Escalades above, this loafer has full grain leather and a synthetic sole ingrained in its construction. Its construction is also biomechanics-inspired and has tons of flex to allow you enough freedom in all directions.

The Rockport Style Leader 2 Loafer also has Dewix anti-microbial lining that offers a glove-like fit, when doubled with Rockport’s custom-designed extended widths and sizes. This padding also wicks moisture besides putting bad odor at bay.

 

The Champ- Rockport Style Leader 2

It is somewhat difficult to pinpoint some differentiating factors between these two shoes without appearing discriminatory. If weight and cost top your list of the irreducible minimums, the Clarks Escalades is what you have in mind.

These shoes utilize slightly lightweight materials that significantly reduce the weight of the shoes as you walk around.

The major downside is that they tend to have an extended break-in period which could be annoying at times. The Escalades are also squeaky on polished floors when brand new and might keep on attracting everyone’s attention whenever you move around. Fortunately, this will subside after the bottoms are scuffed up probably after 3-4 days.

On the other hand, the Rockport Style Leader 2 has a more rugged appearance and looks more durable than the Escalade. Its outsole is equally flexible but a tad tougher. Most of its buyers also confirm that it requires a minimal break-in period, unlike its immediate contender.

Better still, buyers praise these shoes for their true size and width design and excellent traction. That being said, we have no option but to crown the Style Leader 2 as the best leather shoe despite being a notably pricier option.

 

Bottomline

Both Rockport and Clarks have noteworthy shoes and boots that have good value for your money. The Clarks are great regarding saving you some dollars and being lightweight thanks to the nature of the leather and outsoles utilized.

Unfortunately, this is a trade-off between comfort and durability which could take you back to the drawing board after several months of wear.

On the other hand, Rockport adds some seriousness to the design of its boots and shoes to offer you something that will serve you for long. Its shoes and boots might be notably heavier than the Clarks. Fortunately, Rockport makes up for that by engineering its footwear with customized extended sizes and widths.

On the flipside, most shoes and boots from this brand come at a slightly higher price than Clarks’. So, be ready to dig a little deeper for these.

Important

While we highly recommend Rockport boots, do know that there are variations in quality within this brand and some better choices from Clarks. For instance, we highly recommend the Clarks Stinson and the Wallabee to anyone looking for some stylish, less sophisticated, casual shoes.

 

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