In the arena of dress and casual shoes, two brands stand out as top contenders in the industry. Both enjoying a well-established and trusted reputation in the market, the Ecco and Clarks brands both have a solid line-up of top quality shoes in a variety of styles and designs.
In many ways, both of these brands have a lot in common. Especially considering that they cater to the same niche of buyers. Even then, there are some differences that set them apart from each other, so making a choice between the two not as simple as it seems.
Learn more about what these two top brands have to offer and find out which one meets your needs, standards, and preferences better with our definitive brand comparison and review.
Leather Shoes for Every Occasion
Probably the most competitive style for the men’s shoe category is leather shoes. Both Ecco and Clarks take pride in their ability to produce high-quality leather shoes. Designed for work, dressed-up occasions, and even everyday use, these shoes add a touch of sophisticated style to any outfit which makes them a definite staple for any guy’s wardrobe.
Ecco Leather Shoes
Ecco has quite a number of men’s leather shoe designs, including the New Jersey Slip-On Loafer which could potentially be their most popular option online. The design uses a full-grain leather upper which gives the shoe a sophisticated look, perfect for special occasions and office use.
The slip-on design is ideal for easy and speedy wearing, with a large opening to accommodate wider feet. They also incorporate an elastic-goring on both sides to further improve fit and ease of use.
With a soft fabric, leather-covered insole, a direct-injected polyurethane outsole, and shock point supply distributed along the inside of the sole construction, the shoe is very comfortable. This makes it an ideal pick for buyers who want a reliable, stylish, and comfy pair of kicks for daily use in the office.
Clarks Leather Shoes
A close contender for the New Jersey Slip-On Loafer from Ecco is the Clarks Escalade Step Slip-On Loafer. This leather shoe features a similar design, but definitely offers a slightly more rugged appeal that was lacking with the contender from Ecco.
Much like the New Jersey though, this shoe uses full grain leather uppers, fabric insoles with leather covers, and synthetic outsoles. The main difference with construction is the soft insole cushion with Ortholite material, which definitely puts the Clarks a step above their Ecco counterpart.
It also pays to keep in mind that the Clarks can be significantly more affordable than the Ecco leather shoes. At around just half the cost of the Ecco shoes, the Clarks are a practical choice for buyers on a tight budget.
Some other formidable contenders from the Clarks brand include the Tilden Cap Oxford Shoeand theTilden Free Slip-On Loafer. Both of these options have much sleeker, slimmer silhouettes than the Escalade Step, which makes them great for formal occasions.
There are some pretty heavy trade-offs with both brands’ leather shoe designs. With the Ecco, you basically get a more durable shoe that can last you some time even with daily use. The main downside is that they cost up to double the price of the Clarks.
If you’re particular about comfort though, the Clarks might be a better choice. They’re also much easier on the wallet, so you don’t have to worry about spending over your budget. Of course, they’re not quite as durable, but then again, you get what you pay for.
Battle of the Boots
While neither brand really corners the boot market, they both have some choices to offer those looking for reasonably durable boots.
The Track II Mid Gore-Tex Boot is possibly Ecco’s best boot design currently on the market. It features a full-grain leather upper, a synthetic slip-resistant sole, and a robust lacing system that uses D-rings and speed-hook eyelets that give the design a more outdoorsy feel.
Despite the rugged look though, the Track II’s might not actually be suitable for nature trips and heavy outdoor work, as they’re not built to withstand that kind of a beating. So more than anything, they are for casual use.
With such great differences between them, it might seem that Clarks boots are in a completely separate category from the Ecco’s. Sure, both of them are designed for fashion purposes, but the Clarks offer a much more style-forward design that doesn’t try to mimic work or hiking boots.
For instance, the Bushacre 2 Desert Boot features a matte leather or suede upper, a thin synthetic sole, and minimalist laces that make the boot look sleek and sophisticated. Needless to say, it’s quite a handsome shoe indeed, and when it comes to cost, the Desert is definitely loads cheaper than the Ecco’s Track II.
In terms of comfort, durability, and breathability, the Track II from Ecco takes the cake. The boot design offers much more padding and takes contours of the foot into account to give you an ergonomic shoe design that’s really easy on the feet.
However, while it does take inspiration from work boot aesthetics, the influence ends there as the boots aren’t necessarily designed for demanding work environments.
The Desert Boot from Clarks may be a great budget pick for style-savvy buyers who want something a little more fashion-forward. At a much cheaper cost, it’s also possible to purchase up to 4 pairs of Desert Boots for the price of a single pair of Track II’s.
The downside is that they’re not as durable or comfortable. But hey, if you really want to look pressed and polished, then some aching feet might just be worth it.
Considering Some Casual Shoes
Again, casual shoes come in a great variety between the two brands. So no matter what your sense of style, it’s impossible that you won’t find something to suit your fancy. Both brands shine in different aspects though, so depending on your preference, one might be a better choice than the other.
Ecco Casual Shoes
It’s typical for Ecco casual shoes to look much more athletic and sporty than Clarks. The brand leverages white wall soles and a sneaker silhouette that gives each pair a preppy look to them.
The Soft 7 Fashion Sneaker is a major hit among buyers, featuring a soft leather upper that makes them ideal for everyday use. The soles are synthetic and boast Ecco’s signature Direct-Injected design. A soft fiber-enriched insole gives the footwear exceptional breathability, and a soft, light feel for all-around comfort.
Clarks Casual Shoes
Unlike the Ecco casual shoes, the Clarks have a much more grown-up look to them. The black wall soles remain, and the designs simply take on a bulkier look with more intricate stitching to give them a more laid-back appearance.
A prime example of the typical Clarks men’s casual shoe is the Portland 2 Tie Casual Shoe. This footwear design uses a full-grain leather upper, a rubber sole, and a whip-stitched toe for added aesthetic appeal. A padded collar adds comfort to the design, and makes it look much less formal for casual, everyday use.
Two main considerations buyers make when buying casual shoes are comfort and style. And while the Clarks might offer some comfort, it seems the Ecco brand wins this category.
The brand offers superior comfort with its anatomically accurate footwear design, its soft leather uppers, and fiber-enriched insoles. Sure, the price tag might be much steeper than the Clarks, but ultimately, you get a pair that you can really get the best of. Not just in terms of comfort, but when it comes to style as well.
It can be tough to pit women’s shoes against each other because the designs are endless and the specs are almost always the same.
For instance, both brands offer leather booties that basically take cues from each other’s designs. The Sculptured 45 Ankle Bootie from Ecco and the Spye Astro Boot from Clarks resemble each other in lots of ways.
The main difference between the two designs are their soles – with the Ecco’s made from synthetic material, and the Clarks made from rubber. Other than that, they use the same full-grain leather and feature a soft cushioned insole for extended use.
The Shape 75 Dress Pump and the Brier Dolly Dress Pump are also very much alike. Again, with the sole exception of sole material, the pumps hardly differ from one another in terms of comfort, aesthetic, and durability. So the choice here really depends on what your budget will allow.
When it comes to all the different women’s shoes available, what really sets your choices apart is the price tag. For those who are willing to splurge a little extra, then the Ecco’s might be a good pick. But if you’re not too keen on putting a dent on your wallet, then the Clarks can be a reasonably budget-friendly choice.
Without any available kids’ shoes, it seems that the Ecco brand has forfeited this category to Clarks. In fact, Clarks seems to have taken that as its cue to corner that area of the market, which is why they’ve released hundreds of different kids’ shoes that take all the specifics into account.
Some of their releases for children simply downside adult shoe designs like the Clarks Desert Ankle Boot for toddlers. The boot features the exact same aesthetic as the men’s design, and even offers a number of sizes and shades so you can find something suitable for your little walker.
Other notable releases for children include the larks Club Walk, the Genius Love Flats, and the Rhea Wish Mid Calf Boot which all lend some fun, fashion-friendly appeal for your kids without sacrificing comfort.
When it all comes right down to it, both of these brands bring something unique to the table. The Ecco brand definitely wins in terms of durability and, in terms of casual shoes, even aesthetic. But they do tend to cost much more than the Clarks, so you may find them on the pricey side if you’re trying to limit your budget.
On the other hand, the Clarks take the cake when it comes to comfort and boot aesthetics, and they’re definitely a lot cheaper than Eccos. However, keep in mind that budget-friendly does mean a little less robust, so don’t expect them to last you a lifetime.
On the overall, are both of the brands worth spending on? I would have to say yes. Sure, each shoe has its flaw, but at the end of the day, both Ecco and Clarks provide buyers some pretty reliable options that won’t put your money to waste.