6.16.2015

thrifted: Dansko perforated clogs

secondhand Dansko perforated clogs

Clogs are one of those shoe styles people either love or hate. Men supposedly tend to hate them—as discussed in shaming tones on fashion sites here, here, and here. For famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin, clogs sound like donkey hooves—clop, clop, clop. Yet his beautiful red-soled dress heels are designed, he says, for the male gaze and not for female comfort (which he abhors). But there's good reason donkeys and horses have hooves: built-in walking shoes.

I'm pro-clog in theory but can't wear the original, authentic Swedish versions from companies like Hasbeens and Sandgrens or American producers like Sven—the latter based in the Scandi-immigrant haven of Minnesota—because their unlined leathers tend to be too stiff for the blister-prone, like me, especially since clogs usually look better without socks. Louboutin may be correct that wooden shoes clomp, though most Swedish-type clogs are now soled in rubber to limit this. Podiatrists and naturopaths tend to be anti-Swedish clog because the authentic two-to-three-and-a-quarter-inch heel heights are too high and the soles are too rigid, among other reasons. (See, for example, the stunning, high pair of Miranda Peep-Toe sandal clogs by San Francisco artisan producer, Bryer.) Plus, clogs are infamous for turned ankles because their bases are narrower than the uppers (see comments, for instance, here).

But in addition to Birkenstocks, I can wear Danskos, an American comfort-shoe take on Scandinavian clogs widely worn by nurses, chefs, and elementary-school teachers: people on their feet all day (or night). The problem—along with Danskos being made in China—is that Danskos aren't exactly known for high style even in the clog world but comfort and practicality. Their bases are synthetic rather than wood, and the leathers are cushioned and fully lined. I once owned a brown pair of Dansko oiled-leather professional clogs that were comfortable in all but thick socks (sadly, a sales clerk had wrongly sized me in the narrow version) but made me feel like an elf, so I ending up donating them to Goodwill a few years back (though now I know I could have easily sold them on eBay). 

For the record, I've now mostly given up on thrift-store shoes since with all my troubles with fit and blisters, I'd rather have exactly the style I want in the size and width I need. This is why, after much reflection, I recently bought a new pair of ever-comfortable leather Birkenstock Gizehs and will save my older refurbished pair for off-the-pavement summer walking in areas that don't require the stability of my fugly Keens.


thrifted Dansko perforated clogs with brass tacks

So imagine my surprise this weekend at Goodwill when I happened upon a like-new pair of perforated Dansko pro clogs from 2013 in a brandy shade with brass tacks in my exact size—as if they were sitting there on the shelf waiting for me. They were $50, which is a lot more than I expect to pay for secondhand shoes, but they were in such great condition and still cost much less than their $120-and-up retail price that I submitted. They look super-cute with leggings and over-sized shirts, which has basically been my work uniform for the last year. And the leather looks and feels even more luxe in person than in photos. So now I have another pair of multi-season, cute, comfy shoes. Take that, Louboutin!

And in case anyone needs another reason why shoes by default should be comfortable and not torture devices, check out these photos of some of the last elderly women in China who had their feet bound in youth—horrific mutilation of the female body.

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