A Brooklyn Mom's Guide to Clog Boots
Last week, the NYT published The New Mom Uniform of Park Slope. After reading, and then losing a few brain cells, I knew that I had to hop onto the clogwagon*. Not out of defensiveness for getting clumped into the Park Slope crowd (I am a Brooklyn mom who lives in Bed-Stuy). But instead, to assist my fellow Brooklyn moms in choosing which clog boot would work best for you! There is a whole world out there beyond No. 6.
I have been eyeing these clog boots on the streets for the past decade. They catch my eye every time I see them. And I don’t care what that NYT writer wrote, I think their aesthetic is completely stylish and funky. Plus they work with everything.
I literally spent the last 2 years researching these boots before purchasing. Why 2 years? Because these are the most expensive shoes that I have ever purchased and I needed to save money make sure that I was making an informed decision. The price of these boots is equivalent to one or more weekly daycare payments. As a Brooklyn mom raising a kid on two non-profit salaries, this had to be thought out and well worth it.
I received my boots in November 2018 and I’m IN LOVE. Lovey love love love. I don’t believe in consumerist self-care (Although getting my nails done probably falls into that bucket). To me, self-care is a long dinner with close friends and family, reading a gorgeous book, saying “No” when my plate is full . . . But damn, these shoes were worth every penny. I get so much joy when I wear them, look at them, receive compliments on them. Somehow this purchase comports with many of my values like quality over quantity, finding joy, style+function+comfort+durability, thoughtful spending. The last purchase that gave me this much joy was my favorite purse. And I spent FIVE years researching that one . . .
Note that these are not my first pair of clogs, just clog boots. During grad school I owned a pair of the traditional Dansko clogs in Stone Leather. They lasted 10 years. But those are an aesthetic insult** in NYC. They are for grad students, hospitals and Vermont.
(Most) moms in Brooklyn don’t wear Mahnolos and hail cabs all day like Carrie Bradshaw. We walk. A LOT. These clog boots are not just a righteous display of aesthetic comfort, but a justified display of aesthetic comfort. On a cold winter’s day, I walk an average of 2 miles. When the weather is nicer it’s closer to 3-4 miles. This does not include exercise, leisure… This is just the walk to daycare, train, work, home. And do you know how many pairs of shoes I have been through while living in NYC? A LOT. We have a different shoe shelf life than those who live in the suburbs. Each year, after winter, I have to throw away my leather booties, even after re-soling them. So these clog boots are the perfect counterstep to my regurgitated yearly black leather bootie buying. Swedish clogs were literally created to avert harsh weather and outdoor conditions. The wooden soles are wear & tear’s largest nightmare.
CLOG BOOT REVIEW
I am going to discuss every brand that I seriously considered and the one that I purchased. There is no way to post every link that I read and discussion that I had, but I think this clog primer is really helpful for novices like me. After reading about every possible clog boot brand out there (including obscure Swedish brands that we don’t have access to in the US), I narrowed it down to Dansko, No.6, Swedish Hasbeens, and Sandgrens.
1. Dansko Maria Clog Boots, $169.95
This is a 100% employee-owned company based in Pennsylvania. The buildings are LEED-certified with solar panels and a rooftop garden. All 155 employees wear clogs and they have an expansive kitchen for them!
They are more affordable than other brands.
Dansko clogs are durable and would last for years.
These specific boots have great reviews and comments online.
Made in West Grove, Pennsylvania (If that matters to you).
They lack the quintessential clog boot shape that I was looking for.
They have a polyurethane sole, whereas I wanted the real deal wood sole.
Conclusion: I was close to buying these in order to absolve any guilt I would potentially have from spending more. I’m really glad I passed though. It would have been akin to eating a key lime nutrition bar when I really wanted the decadent key lime pie. Nothing can satisfy the craving except for the pie
2. No. 6 5” Leather Clog Buckle Boot, $395
They are absolutely stylish. I admit to having stopped one too many people in the street to inquire about these boots.
You get to join the Brooklyn Mom Club!
Made in Chisago, Minnesota (If that matters to you).
$395 for a pair of clog boots.
They get uncomfortable after walking a lot (See anecdotal daycare mom statement below).
They have a polyurethane sole.
You have joined the Brooklyn Mom Club.
Conclusion: These are the eponymous boots from the aforementioned NYT article. A staple in “the Brooklyn mom’s” wardrobe. Insider info: Sven owns No. 6 and they are both made at the same factory in Chisago, Minnesota.
I don’t think I could ever get over the sticker shock. Having said that, a daycare mom has a few pairs of them and we walked together on three occasions to specifically discuss her No. 6 boots. She is actually from Minnesota and only purchases her boots at the outlet store in Chisago, MN. So she saves a lot of money on her boots. Her synopsis is that they are undeniably stylish, she loves them, yet in Brooklyn, where we walk a lot, they get uncomfortable by the end of the day. I admit that if I were able to slash 70% off like her, I might have considered these.
3. Swedish Hasbeens Jodhpur Clog Boots, $299
$299 for a pair of clog boots (when not on sale).
They have the worst reviews overall.
They are uncomfortable to walk in and don’t break-in (See anecdotal colleague statement below).
Conclusion: These were the easiest to cross of my list. I just couldn’t ignore the plethora of bad reviews that essentially said they look good and feel awful. In September 2018, a social worker in my organization walked in with these boots. I stopped her to discuss (of course). She said she had been saving for years for those boots and decided to go for the splurge. She mentioned that they were stiff and not completely comfortable but she had only had them for a week. In anticipation of this piece, I spoke with her last week. She frowned and lamented, “They look cute, but they are just not comfortable”.
4. Sandgrens New York or Manhattan Clog Boots, $269-279
They are absolutely stylish.
They have a wood sole.
They have a low heel option.
They are really comfortable from the first time you put them on. No need to wear them in.
The best online reviews and comments of all the clog boots.
Handmade in Påryd, Sweden (If that matters to you).
$269-279 for a pair of clog boots.
Conclusion: WINNER. The only difference between the Manhattan and New York styles are the color of the wood sole. I preferred the light sole so went with the New York. But the million dollar question was whether I was going to order the HIGH heel or the LOW heel. After pondering for about two weeks, I chose the New York low heel, due to the amount of time I spend walking. And yes, I used the evil empire (Read: Amazon Prime) because it was the only way that I could order and return for free in the event that they didn’t fit. However, I just went onto the Sandgrens site, and they have recently edited their policy! You can now return to their US site within 30 days of ordering, but you still have to pay for shipping (my pet peeve).
I adore these boots. They were comfortable from my first wear, where I walked for about an hour in them. I highly recommend them.
* Can we agree to table the strap conversation for another day?
** Yes, I totally borrowed that from page 14 of The Leavers. That was such a memorable line.
All snark aside, let’s discuss clog boots! What are YOUR favorites?