LAST year the fashion shoe hot footing it around the planet was the Hush Puppy; 1997 looks like being the turn of the Desert Boot. Created by Nathan Clark - a great grandson of one of the family company's founders - the Desert Boot made its debut at the Chicago Shoe Fair in 1950.

Clark based his design on the footwear he'd seen during the second World War being worn by members of Field Marshal Montgomery's 8th Army who were supplied by the Cairo bazaar - hence the name Desert Boot.

Clark's design, which remains unchanged from its first appearance almost half a century ago, was an immediate success with the American public, aided by an enthusiastic endorsement from the fashion editor of Esquire magazine. To date, some 10 million pairs have been sold. The Desert Boot only came to Europe in the mid 1960s where its style perfectly suited the more casual approach to clothes then coming into vogue. The same laid back spirit now around may be one reason why the boot has returned to favour once again. That and its enormous comfort - not to mention the low price for a high fashion item.