A Clog Primer & Review
A few weeks ago I posted the photo below on my personal Instagram story while getting my shoes ready for fall and unwittingly set off a flurry of clog inquiries. Flurry might not be the right word, honestly it was more of a blizzard. I posted the photo just after getting home from work and answered questions until I went to bed, then woke up to more questions in the morning. I had no idea that so many of you had burning unanswered clog inquiries! Rather than respond to every single person with a full review of every clog I own I figured it would be easier to write a post about them. I'm breaking the post up into sections about each brand, Sven, No.6, Bryr, Sandgrens, and Swedish Hasbeens including company info, the pairs I own, my review, and my picks which is essentially what I'd buy from each brand right now if someone gave me a credit card I wasn't responsible for paying. There are a million more brands out there but these are the 5 I have experience with so they're the ones I'll be discussing.
Before we start I thought I should tell you a few general details about my feet so that you can better visualize how the fit and comfort of these might be applied to your own feet. As far as size, I generally wear a US women's 6 / 36 and am on the narrow side. I have extremely high arches, my footprints are the heel and front of my foot unconnected at the middle, and because of this I also have a high instep. My feet are also very prone to blisters and if a blister is possible, it will happen. I have sciatica in my right leg caused by my L5 vertebrae which you may find important if you also have lower back issues. I am either standing or sewing most of the week (with the exception of Monday & Friday which are my computer days) on a wood floor at work, and I have worn all of these on typical city excursions which usually involves walking on pavement for over a mile. I'm also not a clog expert, I just own a lot of pairs, so keep that in mind. Now with that said, lets get into my clogs! Please note that I have paid for all of the clogs in this post and all opinions are my own.
A well fitting clog should not slide completely off your foot when you walk, nor should you step out of it, though you do want your heel to slip slightly in clogs with a back since the base doesn't bend. My first adventure into the world of clogs was in college, before J.Crew made a real size 6 shoe. I bought a pair of the cutest (at the time, it was 2001 so...) brown clogs which were way too large, and scuffed around campus trying in vain to keep them on my feet. Eventually I very sadly donated them thinking that clogs just weren't made for my feet. It was 2013 before I decided to give clogs another try after that experience. I now realize that not only was the size of those clogs all wrong, but the shape of the leather is also important. The leather of the J.Crew clog was sort of a generic shoe shape; too round and bulbous to form to any foot I can imagine. You'll notice the clogs below have more narrow leather uppers, meant to form to the shape of your foot and hug them as you walk. As far as the noise of the clogs, the better fitting the clog, the less clomping you'll do, but for the most part the clomp depends on the type of base, what sort of rubber is applied to the base, and how you walk.
Style: Peep Toe Clogs Base: 3" Austrain High Heel Leather: Black Nubuck
Style: Sling Strap Clogs Base: 3" Austrain High Heel Leather: British Tan Leather
Style: Vintage Closeouts Base: Vintage Swedish Heel Leather: Celery Suede
Style: Shearling Boot (mine have no straps) Base: 2¾" Austrian Mid Heel Leather: Black
About: Founded in 1974 Sven Clogs are made by hand in Chisago City, MN with leather from around the United States and Sheepskin from Texas, and the bases are from either Austria or Sweden. You can read more about the company here. Sizing: I find these to run true to size. I'm a solid 36 in both my clogs and clog boots and find the width perfect for my slightly narrow feet, though as I mention below the leather is super soft and has molded perfectly into the shape of my feet. I have no problems with the height of the instep either. As I mentioned above I have super high arches and experience no discomfort wearing these. My Thoughts: I love Svens and have 4 pairs currently. The clogs are really well made and very very comfortable. I wear a pair of Svens probably at least 4 days a week during the spring, summer, and fall, and during the winter I wear my shearling clog boots just about every day. I find that Sven has the softest leather of all the clog brands listed here, and I've never ever had any sort of break in period with my clogs or gotten a single blister. The leather of my traditional Sven clogs has molded perfectly to the shape of my feet with wear as well and sometimes when I put them on I swear I can hear my feet sighing with comfort. I purchased my first pair around 2013 and they're still in rotation after being resoled once. I have 3 different bases on my 4 pairs of clogs, but the Women's 83 Austrian 3" High Heel Non-Bendable base (on the black and brown pairs) is the one I wear the most. I stand in them all day at work, operate my sewing machine and serger, take the dog for walks, errands, etc. without any trouble or sore feet/back at the end of the day. If you're overly concerned about the loudness of your clogs, try the Austrian base, it's a bit quieter than the traditional Swedish base. Hot Tip: If you're new to clogs, try the Closeouts section of the site. There are tons of great styles at lower prices so you can see if clogs are for you without investing a pretty penny.
Style: Classic Halo Strap Leather: Black Nubuck
About: I don't know much about No.6 aside from the fact that they're based in NYC as their website has no about section. The clogs are made by Sven and while some bases are the same, I don't know whether the differing bases are from the same place, nor do I know if they source their own leathers or use what Sven does. The nubuck seems similar to that of my open toe Sven pair, though I can't say for sure. Sizing: I found my one pair of No.6 clogs to run normally, though the instep on this pair is slightly lower than my Svens. No. 6 has a great Clog FAQ page here that answers a lot of sizing and other random cloggy q's. My Thoughts: I really like this pair though I don't find them quite as comfortable for day to day wear as my Svens though I've never blistered from them. The shape of the base is slightly different from the rest of the clogs I own which I think is the contributing factor. Hot Tip: No. 6 are made by Sven so if you want No.6 quality without the price tag or sometimes insane styles try those. The Sven store also has been known to have discounted No. 6 clogs if you're in the area of Chisago, MN!
Style: Emma Cross-over High Heel Leather: Blush Nubuck
Style: Millie Lace-up Clog with Kilt, High Heel Leather: Whiskey Leather
About: Bryr was founded by Isobel Schofield and is based in San Francisco, CA. They make all their clogs in house and use leathers sourced around the US. They have super modern clogs with really great color combinations! You can watch a cute short video about their process here. Sizing: I've heard from others that they think Bryr clogs run large and I'd agree with that. I find them about a half size large. In the sandal I have it's not a big deal at all, especially since my feet are usually a little swollen in the high humidity of Chicago. The closed toe pair I just bought is great because I can wear them with handknit socks, but if I want to wear them without socks, I just tighten the laces up a bit. I think a size down (to a 35) would be too small on me. My Thoughts: I love Bryr! The styles are so cute and strike the perfect balance between classic and current, and the colors! So good! I also really love supporting a fellow small woman-owned business. As for the quality, it's great on the pairs I own. The first pair I purchased in April of 2015 and they still look great and the suede is so soft and comfortable. The leather is a bit stiffer than my Sven but feels great and also hasn't needed a break in period for me. A few people asked me about the leather back on the kilty clogs shown above, whether that's annoying or not. In my opinion if you've got the right sizes clogs you don't even know its there. I don't notice it with or without socks. My Bryr clogs feel similarly in comfort to my Sven and I've worn them all day at work with no problems. If you need clogs in a rush then Bryr isn't for you as there's a 30 day delay from ordering to delivery, more when a new collection launches, but it's pretty fun when the clogs you forgot you ordered arrive out of the blue! Hot Tip: Bryr sells leather samples on their site so you can see which of their amazing colors looks best with your wardrobe before you order!
Style: Chukka Cap Toe (mine are sans cap) Leather: Grey Suede
About: According to the Sandgrens website the brand was founded as a leather tannery in the 1800's and has been making clogs for well over 100 years, which is completely blowing my mind right now. The clogs are handmade at their factory in Sweden which you can see in the video on this page. Sizing: I think these clogs are right on for sizing. I'm typically a 36 as mentioned above and I went up a size to a 37 so that I can wear them with my handknit socks and they're a perfect fit! They seem average width for a clog and I have no trouble with the instep, though these are a tie clog so likely it would be hard to really tell because of this. My Thoughts: I really like the pair of Sandgrens chukkas I have and the leather/suede on this pair is really soft, pretty on par with my suede Svens. The quality on my pair is top notch and have survived 3 winters so far; the comfort level is great as well. I wear them a lot with wool socks in the winter and I think they're so cute with my handknit pairs. This is the pair of clogs I get the most compliments on hands down. Actually Sandgrens has some of the cutest clog boots and closed back clogs I've seen while researching this post so I'm really hoping to get my hands on another pair before spring. The 70's inspired colors and dark clog base are so up my alley right now! Hot Tip: I've got no hot tips on this one, but their Instagram account is super cute!
Style: Jodhpur Leather: Black Leather
Okay guys, this is where things get real. I do not like Swedish Hasbeens clogs. The leather on this pair of boots is beyond stiff. To the point where within 10 minutes of putting these shoes on, with or without socks, parts of my feet are bloody. I've talked to a good amount of people who also own Swedish Hasbeens (including the comments on this IG post) and this has been their experience with both the boots and sandals, leather super stiff and hard to break in. It's a shame because when talking to people who tell me they can't wear clogs, or have tried and they don't work for their feet, or hurt all the time, many of them tell me they tried Hasbeens as their first pair. I'm SO glad that these were about my 4th or 5th pair of clogs so I could identify it was the shoe, not me, because if this had been my first pair I would never have tried another pair again. So that's my take on these suckers. I have no picks because even if someone else was footing the bill I still wouldn't take a pair. If you've got tough feet these could be for you, but they're definitely not for me!
Okay so that's a lot of info and photos! I really had no idea this post would become so long, but if you have any cloggy questions, comments, concerns, advice, whatever, pop it in the comments below! Lets discuss!!