Clarks Trigenic. Very Right! Very Wrong?

Guest post by Newcastles finest, Scratch.

The thoughts behind this were sparked by a conversation I recently had with Well Dressed Dad and his requirement for a… get this, a pair of trainers! (WDD comments: I think I asked about some lightweight summer shoes…)


Ha ha no, I cannot really imagine it either but there you go and it just shows you’re never too old to be surprised. After running through the usual suspects of Stan Smiths and so forth I did tumble to the suggestion of this new and rather bravely weird beast from Clarks. The Trigenic.

I say new, they were released in a flurry of PR fanfare in 2014 which resulted in – as far as I can see – a lot of “likes”, Pinterest activity and not really many pairs sold. I am yet to see a single person (apart from me) wearing them in real life.



Two models hit the market – the Trigenic Dune which was a sort of hybrid of a desert boot and a weaver and the Trigenic flex which is far more obviously “sneaker” in its appearance. Both riding on a super futuristic vibram sole unit that wilfully clashes with its upper design.

Now, I’m not quite sure what the intended market is here – is it Clarks fans who want something sort of more trainer? Or is it sneakerheadz (sic) that want something a bit smarter? Or is it old folk who have knackered feet?


I honestly don’t know – they seem to be touted very much as a trainer alternative but go on, have a look at them… they don’t really look very “trainer“ to me.

Either way I grew to quite like them – the Flex’s not so much but I did like the super neo x old fashioned mashup that the Dune offered. The original PR for the shoe showed them in lovely tumbled leather with removable insoles and so forth. See pics.

These are not Mrs Scraches fancy sandals, but the removable Trigenic insoles

These are not Mrs Scratches fancy sandals, but the removable Trigenic insoles


While searching out a pair of these it became obvious to me that for reasons known only to Clarks, they weren’t really released despite featuring heavily in the initial launch. The Dunes that were widely available were without the kinky looped footbeds and in flat dull leather. Gah. Disappointment and thwartation.

Photo 16.06.2016, 21.04.37

Cut a long story of extensive internet surfing short, incredibly I have managed to lay my hands on a pair of the brown ones just like in those pictures and very nice they are too. The sole unit is very interesting indeed and is perhaps what the shoe is all about. I have not seen any other shoe on this unit so I can only guess it was developed exclusively for this project by Vibram. It has a very barefoot feel to it – looks cushioned but it isn’t really. Closest I’d say is that it’s like walking in sandals – a firm and natural ride without giving the posture correction as say a Nike Free 3.0 tries to coax you into.

Photo 22.06.2016, 12.54.26


They are an acquired taste without a doubt but they fill a hitherto unoccupied hinterland being neither a trainer nor shoe. Clarks have invented a quite new category here to my mind and it’s one that goes mighty fine with chino’s, denim or fatigues; and new is good man, in this world of tired retro’ing everything and “heritage” this and “heritage” that, progression and experimentation should be supported.

Photo 22.06.2016, 12.55.03

How long these oddities will be around for is anyone’s guess. It looks like the Dune model sold exceptionally badly as it already seems to have ceased production and Clarks are backing the Flex model as its moneymaker. Shame really but that’s business I suppose.

I think a lot of time, imagination and effort has gone into the Trigenic project – it is brave and very singular. It’s not an obvious choice by any means so I would say no matter what sort of footwear you’re into, think a bit outside the norm and have a look at the Trigenic. You probably won’t end up getting some but you never know, you might just surprise yourself.

Photo 22.06.2016, 12.55.20

*A word of warning. If you do take the plunge on these, the bitter voice of experience recommends staying vigilant for dog eggs at absolutely all costs.

And while the Dunes look to be all gone and no more, the Flex version appears to still be available:


teal trigenic flex


  • Brandon 06/07/2016 at 22:16

    I enjoyed the article, although I’d certainly have to vote for “very wrong.” At best, these sort of look like something Visvim would sell for $1200. I think that if you’re looking for something very comfortable or light, like a sneaker or a trainer, there are better options both from a comfort perspective and an aesthetic one. I think if you’re really into the trainer/running shoe trend a pair of New Balances is sufficiently “dad” worthy and affordable, as well as being comfortable and in their own odd way (a modern) “classic.” Still not my fancy…

  • Scratch 05/08/2016 at 11:41

    Thanks for the comment Brandon. It is a marmite shoe as they say – I happen to like ’em.
    Like everything in this life, there is always better looking and/or more comfy but I like these for the oddity and rarity that they are rather than being necessarily the best at anything if that makes sense?

  • Heiron 09/10/2016 at 15:03

    Greetings from the bottom of the world (Australia)!

    Similar to you I quite enjoy the look of the Trigenic dunes and am quite disappointed that they never dropped fully :(.

    Seeing that you did manage to snag a pair of the brown leather’s I was wondering where you managed to get it?

    • nick 09/10/2016 at 16:19

      The Clarks online outlet had a few pairs!

  • Toby W 26/02/2019 at 23:18

    I took the plunge and bought a pair on eBay today. I like the trainer shoe concept. I also like the fact that they are a bit different. By wife doesn’t like them at all but whatever.. loads of good deals online for them.


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