At just over 5 feet tall, I’m always on the lookout for shoes that give me a few extra inches. So when I discovered brown leather clogs in the fifth grade, I was in heaven. The 2-inch heels gave me newfound confidence, and even though I made one helluva racket clomping around the halls of my elementary school, it was well worth it. I was here, I was wooden heeled, get used to it.
For the uninitiated, clogs are chunky shoes made entirely out of wood that were originally used as working shoes by farmers and miners. Wooden shoes go way back, with the oldest pair dating back to Amsterdam circa 1230. In the 1970s, clogs made a comeback, thanks to their popularity with groovy musicians and celebrities like Carly Simon, who wore the shoes on the cover of her legendary No Secrets, and of course, ABBA, arguably the most influential band of my childhood.
But then clogs fell out of fashion. Or so I thought.
On a recent trip to Joshua Tree, California, with a group of women, one of my fellow travelers, Tulani Bridgewater, a music manager, writer, and “future clogging champion” wore Mia Abba clogs (shown above) with her effortlessly cool Southern California outfits. When asked about her penchant for clogs she said they “make me feel happy in that ebullient way you feel when you’re a child. There’s an innocence to clogs. You can’t help but feel a little lighter, sillier, and joyous. I mean, you sound like a Shetland pony, so you’ve gotta laugh a little with every step.”
Nina Collins, founder of TheWoolfer.com and the trip’s co-leader, dashed about in metallic Maguba clogs and flowy dresses, the very embodiment of Brooklyn chic. A longtime clog devotee, Collins even wrote about them in her book “What Would Virginia Woolf Do?” and owns at least eight pairs.
I was baffled. How had I not worn clogs for so long? I took to Google — as one does — and discovered that there’s a powerful clog cabal that’s been stomping around right under my nose. Lauren Mechling, who coined the term “clogerati,” penned a piece in The New Yorker perfectly summing up the new clog aesthetic: “Clog life is not lived off the grid but grid adjacent. It’s a fuzzy, fancy realm, littered with alpaca sweaters, Rachel Cusk novels, and trees that grow indoors, in charmingly primitive ceramic pots.”
On a mission to find the perfect clog, I went a bit nuts shopping online and soon had a living room full of boxes. (The cat was thrilled.) And though I returned almost all of them, I found a few that made the cut. Better yet, I had the chance to experience the wonder of clogs in all of their glorious forms. From classic and comfy to over-the-top designer, here are some you may want to add to your shoe closet this summer.
The It clog for the past few years, No. 6’s patent leather Alexis is good for a night out when you don’t have to walk far ($325).
How can you not smile when you see Swedish Hasbeens’ sassy bright red and yellow Ulla sandals? ($239).
Troentorps’ classic clogs in eye-catching apricot suede have an anatomically constructed footbed with arch support ($125).
Worried about twisting an ankle? Then you’ll want to opt for strappy clogs like the metallic Harriet from British brand Boden. ($98).
Madewell’s pretty antique coral nubuck leather clogs are very comfortable thanks to extra padding, yet they don’t look dowdy. ($168).
Grab your caftan and these ribbed white Beklinas for lounging poolside ($270).
Dansko is a favorite among women (and men) who value comfort above all else, as well as professionals who stand all day (chefs, doctors, teachers). The company’s Maci mule has a cushioned foot bed for those of us with tender feet ($140).
A 3-inch heel, silver hue, and adorable punch-hole design give Sven’s clogs an edge ($239).
Channel your inner rock star with black riveted leather clogs from Rachel Comey ($450).
Sadly, these patchwork Prada stunners are sold out everywhere, but aren’t they something else?
Photos: Courtesy of the companies