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In loving defense of the humble, comfy clog


It's gritty time of the year, that time when dirt and salt are in every crevice of my car, my home and my shoes. And with this grit, the time arrives to revisit my classic footwear.

Stilettos? Sandals? Ballet flats? Nope.

In March, month of slush and mud, it's time to head to the trenches and grab the workhorse of footwear: the ever-wonderful, ever-practical clog.

Shoe designer Christian Louboutin once remarked, "I hate the whole concept of the clog! It's fake, it's ugly, and it's not even comfortable!"

Wow. Christian obviously had some anger toward those shoes that have been such constants in my life.

Yes, heels have their place, but right now that place is in my closet. Will heels clomp through the snow, the slush, the ice of March? I think not, Monsieur Louboutin.

And while, sure, clogs might be ugly, I beg to differ about their comfort. I'll tell you, my Danksos are workhorses. I can walk miles in those babies - through snow, sleet, rain. And they slip on, slip off, keep my toes dry, my heels cozy, my feet happy. I've hiked in clogs, walked miles.

Clogs were my footwear of choice when I lived in Alaska. Really. I thought Sorels would be my must-haves while living in the Last Frontier. Au contraire! The clogs never disappointed. In fact, with a thick pair of socks, they made walking - even hiking - far more manageable than boots would have.

I must clarify: I am not here to celebrate wool clogs, though I do know those are haute couture here in New Hampshire. No, I'm a fan of the wooden, Scandinavian clogs - the wooden soles, the leather uppers, the closed backs. I've sported these old-reliables for decades, having bought my first pair in high school in the '80s. I like that they can work inside and outside, and are prized by teachers, chefs, nurses - those scores of workers whose feet are used incessantly to move, to dash, to stand, to climb.

Ah, you say, but isn't this a column of vogue? Of fashion? Of budget? Where do clogs fit in? Well, dear readers, the brown pair of Danskos of which I speak have held up very nicely for more than a decade. Yes, these clogs were new when a Republican was president, were new before I joined AARP, new before the iPhone 5 arrived.

And, I predict, my feet will remain happy in them well past the arrival of the iPhone 17. My feet will not need an upgrade anytime soon. These Danskos are fine, thank you very much.

A solid investment? You bet. Clogs can range from $75 to $100 new, and I've found several pair in my thrift haunts. I've never had a clog regret, never cringed upon putting them on. I have only sighed with gratitude and relief at the comfort.

That's for you, Monsieur Louboutin. There CAN be comfort in clogs.

Beauty? Well, maybe not. But I do know one thing: Painful arches have never left my countenance anything but miserable. Now that simply is not a good look for me.

Clogs, on the other hand - er, foot? Joy, relief, ready to move. What better welcome to the wonderful world of clogs?

Happy, sloggy March, dear readers. Enjoy your gritty journeys.

"Budget Vogue " appears here the first Sunday of each month. Susan Dromey Heeter's other column, "Down to Earth," appears the third Tuesday of the month in the Union Leader's At Home section. Email her at dromeheet@comcast.net.

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