Friday, August 16, 2013

Barefooter's best shoes-Dansko clogs

Dansk "Karl" clogs, and early hit that set the standard. Photo by Infinity Shoes.

It’s funny how Dansko Clogs seem like original clogs, even though they are only original as an imitation. Danskos surges in mainstream popularity; people quickly learned that their price of 90-or-so dollars was worth it since they were comfortable and would last. They were the clogs that made clogs cool in America.

They were the first serious success at clogs with synthetic soles. There were lots of imitations back in the mid-1990s, when clogs surged back to popularity among college women and we suddenly saw wooden clogs on campuses from Colorado to New Hampshire and everywhere in between, as well as on the west coast.

So many imitations had soles that quickly split to reveal the foam under layers and then the shoes were useless and bound for the trash. Then there were Danskos. The soles weren’t real wood, but they were really sturdy and so are the clogs. Almost Barefoot isn’t a fan of synthetic soles, but Danskos have certainly earned a reputation for durability, comfort and good design.

Danskos’ platform slope is gentle and especially kind to the wide foot, as is the roomy toe box. The uppers are thick and supple and the clogs will because like slippers as a result.

After all, Danskos were designed in Denmark, a great place that lies in the cradle of clog evolution. Sadly, they are no longer made in Denmark.

We quite ok with Danskos being made in Poland, since Poland is a free country with people who take pride in craftsmanship, and because Poland is also a place where clogs are a mainstay for many people. It was even noted a biography of Poe John Paul II how he walked in them for miles as a young man back when his native land was under oppressive occupation and he had to walk miles to work at a chemical plant.

It’s too bad that Dansko didn’t choose Poland for crafts’ sake-they were only seeking cheaper labor, hence the reason the clogs are now made in China. The last pair of Danskos Almost Barefoot tried out in the rigors of manufacturing work did hold up for nearly two years of every-day use despite being made in China, so we won’t write them off as B-grade products, but due to are made by slave labor and don’t have a wooden bottom, we can only give them a grade of B+.

What can we say? We’re purists, and so we like wood-bottom clogs made by people who aren’t exploited against their will.

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