The formation of clay minerals was investigated in Spodosols developed in the subalpine belt, with similar exposure, climate and age, but deriving from different parent materials. All the soils were classified as Haplic Podzols and showed the characteristic eluviation and illuviation features of Fe, Al and organic carbon. However, varying parent material lithology led to different clay mineral assemblages in the soil. Smectite could be found in the E horizons of soils developed from granodiorite and tonalite materials. Its formation was strongly dependent on the presence of chlorite in the parent material. If nearly no other 2:1 mineral components, such as chlorite, are present in the lower soil horizons, then a residual micaceous mineral becomes the dominant clay mineral. The latter derives from a mica-vermiculite interstratified mineral.