Clarks Bushacre 2 Review: Is it Better Than the Original?

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 24, 2020
Clarks Bushacre 2 Review  Shot of Beeswax Clarks Bushacre 2 on Plain Background

Chukka boots are style staples, but when you search for the best pair, you’re barraged by different brands. To make things even more confusing, some of the biggest names like Clarks have multiple versions.

We took a close look at one of the top chukkas, the Clarks Bushacre 2, and broke it down piece by piece so you can decide if it’s the right boot for you.

A chukka built for durability

Clarks Bushacre 2

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Bottom line: The Clarks Bushacre 2 has the same casual vibe as their classic Desert boot, but it has a harder rubber sole. The rich pull up leather is durable and fairly water resistant, too.

Ratings:

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At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • The pull up leather is supple and excellent quality considering the price
  • The Bushacre 2 has a durable rubber sole
  • Same iconic silhouette as the Clarks Desert boot.

Cons:

  • Can’t be resoled
  • Slippery in wet conditions

A few months ago, I reviewed the Clarks Desert Boot. As I was doing my research, I kept coming across the same question:

What’s the difference between the Desert Boot and the Bushacre 2?

Being the curious person I am, I couldn’t help but pick up a pair of the Clarks Bushacre 2 boots to test the differences for myself.

Like the children of famous parents, the Bushacre 2 boots have a lot to live up to. I dove into the details, so keep reading for my full thoughts.

Clarks Bushacre 2 Overview

model walking down stairs in bushacre 2 chukka

The Clarks Bushacre 2 boots are remarkably similar to the brand’s more famous Desert Boot.

70 years ago, Nathan Clark brought a version of the Desert Boot home from abroad after the second World War. His family business put it into production and the boot became renowned worldwide.

But as the years progressed, shoe technology became a little more advanced and folks started to shy away from the simple crepe rubber sole.

The Bushacre 2 was released in 2005 exclusively to large retailers. The shape and construction is nearly identical. But the sole is completely different.

Using a more modern vulcanized rubber sole, the Bushacre 2 solves most complaints people have with the Desert Boot.

comparison of sole between Clarks Bushacre 2 and desert boots

As we discussed in our Clarks Bushacre vs Desert Boots comparison, the Bushacre 2 is more durable and the sole looks much more clean. The tradeoff? The hardened rubber sole isn’t as comfortable as the crepe rubber you find in its forbearer.

Clarks Bushacre 2 Chukka Boot

The Clarks Bushacre 2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get a classic boot at an inexpensive price point. Because the sole is so durable and the leather upper is richly packed with oils and waxes, you’ll get great mileage from these boots, even though you won't be able to resole them.


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Things to Consider Before Buying the Clarks Bushacre 2

How often are you planning on wearing these puppies? And are you looking for something casual? Or do you need a dressier boot for work?

The biggest consideration when buying a pair of Clarks chukkas is the level of formality you need.

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The Bushacre 2 doesn’t keep its shape well. Unless you’re meticulous with shoe-trees (or crumpled newspaper) and you don’t wear them more than three times a week, these boots tend to deform around the toe.

It’s not just Clarks—I’ve noticed this with several other brands doing the chukka/Desert Boot style.

If you are looking for a new boot for work, we recommend choosing something with a little more structure: a Chelsea boot or an Oxford boot will suit you well.

But if you want something to slip on with a pair of jeans and head out for a relaxed weekend, the Clarks Bushacre 2 is a fantastic choice.

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In short, consider the scenario in which you’ll be wearing them. Don’t expect to go too formal (even business casual is a bit of a stretch for these boots).

Clarks Bushacre 2 Review

First Impression

I picked up the Bushacre 2 in the natural beeswax colorway. There were a few options to choose from in-store, but when I ran my hand over the beeswax leather, it felt the richest. Plus, I like the natural look and I’m excited to see how these patina.

Closeup of Clarks Bushacre 2 boot

This boot is very simple—the upper is attached to the sole by a single stitch around the welt. Because there are only two eyelets, this boot is easy to slip on and off, so it makes for a great casual footwear option.

Leather Quality and Care

The leather is the star of the show with the Bushacre 2. With such simplicity in the design, an inferior quality leather would be difficult to overcome. But for this boot, the upper is made with pull up leather, which is richly packed with oils and waxes.

Model wearing Clarks Bushacre with jeans on hardwood floor

Because of this, the boot will rarely need conditioning and the leather is fairly water resistant without being treated. I wouldn’t take the Bushacre out in a rainstorm because it doesn’t stand much of a chance at keeping your feet dry, but at least there’s consolation knowing that if you get caught in the rain or step in a puddle, the leather won’t get water stains or shrink too much.

With pull up leather, creases appear after just a few steps. This lends a rustic charm to the boot, but makes it a hard sell if you need a boot for anything formal.

I recommend getting a different leather if you’re considering the Bushacre 2 for the office (Clarks suede options are a solid bet). The Beeswax colorway is my favorite, but I like the rugged, worn-in look. If you need a neat presentation for work, you’re better off with a more uniform color.

For an in-depth guide on how to care for your Clarks Bushacre 2 boots, check out our YouTube video on cleaning the Desert Boots. The leather is very similar on the Bushacre so the process is the same.

Sole

The Bushacre 2 is outfitted with a vulcanized rubber sole. This is a major departure from the Desert Boot, which has a crepe rubber sole.

closeup of clarks bushacre 2 rubber sole on white background

It’s a fairly basic sole—standard on what you’ll see from other shoes and boots at this price point.

The sole is durable and slip resistant, but it’s not the most comfortable for standing all day. I’m not on my feet for lengthy periods of time, so I never felt soreness when wearing these, but if you work in an industry where you’re standing for hours on end (service, medical, etc.) you may want to look at another boot with more cushion.

The pattern on the bottom of the sole mimics the original crepe sole found on the Desert Boot, which I feel is a lost opportunity. Clarks could have gone for something with a little more grip, but they stuck with the completely flat bottom.

closeup of clarks rubber sole on bushacre 2 chukka boot

Considering the price, this sole is decent. I’m not blown away by it, but it’s definitely durable enough to last for a year and a half to two years of consistent wear.

Fit and Sizing

This is now my second experience with Clarks boots, and I recommend you pick your true size. Don’t try to “game” the system by ordering a size larger or smaller.

model standing in front of brick wall wearing clarks bushacre 2 desert boots

I picked up a 10.5 in the Bushacre 2 and it fit perfectly right out of the box.

There’s a lot of heel slip for this style of boot. Because there are just the two eyelets, your foot won’t feel super secure right away. But if the width is good and the boot fits in the toe, your heel will sink in as the leather forms around your foot and that heel slip should go away.

Break-in Period

The leather is so pliable that there isn’t much of a break-in period to speak of. Besides the heel slip issue I mentioned above, the Bushacre 2 is comfortable straight away.

The heel slip disappeared after about five wears, so that goes to show how quickly the leather adapts. I started my Bushacre 2 journey in the middle of a hot and humid North Carolina summer, so it may take a little longer if you’re not in such a warm climate.

Model wearing Clarks Bushacre 2 on metal staircase

What do Other Reviewers Say?

The Clarks Bushacre 2 has over 9,000 Amazon reviews at the time of writing and averages a solid 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Most of the reviews reflected thoughts similar to my own, though there were a few discrepancies. First, some people felt the boots ran a bit large. This might be because the boots sold through Amazon are produced in a different factory than the boots sent to the retailer I shopped with.

I still recommend going with your true size if you shop through Amazon. The company has an excellent and easy return policy, so even if you end up with a boot a half-size too big or small, you can get the right fit in just a matter of days.

Clarks Bushacre 2 Chukka Boot

The Clarks Bushacre 2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get a classic boot at an inexpensive price point. Because the sole is so durable and the leather upper is richly packed with oils and waxes, you’ll get great mileage from these boots, even though you won't be able to resole them.


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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Clarks Bushacre 2 Alternatives

Clarks Desert Boot

model standing on staircase wearing clarks desert boot with cuffed jeans

The most direct contender to the Bushacre 2 is the classic Clarks Desert Boot. Made with the same leather upper and construction, the most significant difference is the sole.

If you prioritize comfort over longevity, check out the Desert Boot.

Further reading: Clarks Bushacre vs Desert Boots: Which is the Better Chukka?

Clarks Desert Boot

Clarks Original Desert Boot is the iconic style that put chukkas on the map. It's been 70 years since these went into production and they're beloved around the world.

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Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka Boot

Made with a Goodyear welt, Red Wing’s chukka boot can be resoled, which gives it an immense advantage over the Bushacre 2.

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That said, it’s much more expensive.

If you’re looking to buy a top quality boot and you’re willing to care for it throughout the years, you may find more value in Red Wing. But if you’re not the sort who will take your boots to get resoled every two years or so (depends on how often you wear them), the less expensive option is usually better.

Red Wing Heritage Men's Weekender Chukka Boot
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J.Crew Macalister Boot

The Italian suede found on the J.Crew Macalister boot practically melts over your foot. This boot is very soft and comfortable, so it makes a great alternative to the Bushacre 2.

That said, the Bushacre 2 looks cleaner for longer. The leather is stiffer and holds its shape better over the months. The Bushacre 2 sole doesn’t pick up as much dirt as the Macalister boot either.

If you’re looking for a super relaxed boot, the J.Crew Macalister will give you that worn-in look in just a few months.

My Thoughts Overall On the Clarks Bushacre 2

What I Like

  • It’s difficult to find this quality of leather upper at the price point. The leather is excellent and should last several years, even with little maintenance.

  • The sole on the Bushacre 2 answers a lot of the complaints we had with the crepe sole on the Desert Boot. It’s much more durable and easy to keep clean.

  • I like the iconic silhouette, simple construction, and slip-on two-eyelet build. This is a classic looking boot and goes with a variety of outfits.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because the sole is cemented to the upper, you aren’t able to resole the boot.

  • The sole can be slippery in wet conditions.

Who is the Clarks Bushacre 2 for?

The Clarks Bushacre 2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get a classic boot at an inexpensive price point.

Because the sole is so durable and the leather upper is richly packed with oils and waxes, you’ll get great mileage from these boots.

The Verdict

The Clarks Bushacre 2 offers solid value. Outfitted with a durable sole and high quality leather, this boot is a great entry-point for anyone looking to boost their style with a new boot.

We love the iconic style Clarks offers, and that’s a big consideration when investing in a boot.

Speaking of investment: I rarely get boots now without considering how long they’ll last. My biggest let-down with the Bushacre 2 is that I won’t be able to resole them. Once they’re worn out, there’s no amount of sprucing that will bring them back.

But for the next year or two, I have an iconic boot with a beautiful, rugged leather upper.

In my book, the price is well worth that.

Clarks Bushacre 2 Chukka Boot

The Clarks Bushacre 2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get a classic boot at an inexpensive price point. Because the sole is so durable and the leather upper is richly packed with oils and waxes, you’ll get great mileage from these boots, even though you won't be able to resole them.


Check Best Price on Amazon Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

What is the difference between Clarks Bushacre and Desert Boots?

The sole. The Bushacre 2 has a hardened rubber sole which is more durable. The Desert Boots have a crepe rubber sole which is more comfortable

What is Clarks Bushacre?

The Clarks Bushacre 2 is, in many ways, an updated version of their Desert Boot. It’s constructed the same, but has a more clean and durable sole.

How do I clean my Clarks Bushacre 2?

The Clarks Bushacre 2 need very little maintenance. Use Venetian leather balm every six months or so to keep the leather soft and supple. Otherwise, you can just use a horsehair brush to knock off any dust these boots collect.

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