Growing up in Sweden, I wore clogs from the moment I started walking. I have always loved them – when they were hip in the 70s (like the white platform clogs my Mom bought me for my 7th grade graduation – awesome!), not so hip in the 80s, 90s, and now, when they’re finally in again!
But Swedish clogs have come a long way from the basic ones I wore as a teenager (not that there was anything wrong with them). I once refused to wear anything else through an entire winter and slipped my way to school in a pair whith heels so worn down that snow sloshed into them with every step I took (my parents were very patient people!). These days though, clogs come in all kinds of designs, from the old classic wood and black leather to ultra-chic high heel metallics.
Last summer, I was home in Sweden on vacation and happened upon the cutest little store in Gamla Stan (the old part of town) called Kungens Lilla Piga (the King’s Little Maid).
I had put “new clogs” on my list of what I had to get in Sweden on that trip (I always stock up on as much as I can when I’m there) but had not had any luck finding a pair that I liked. Well, at Kungens Lilla Piga, I found a pair of Calou clogs and they were the most comfortable shoes I have ever tried in my life. Soft springy soles, even softer suede upper, and wide enough so that you don’t end up with sore and swollen feet after a long day of shopping. And look how cute they are! I ended up buying this pair
I also found these adorable ones from Dala, painted in a traditional folk pattern (called kurbits) from Dalarna – a region in the middle of Sweden (where Carl Larson lived) known for painted furniture and horses, among other things. I was only going to get one pair of clogs, but after trying these on… I happened to be wearing a black linen skirt and a black sleeveless top, and these clogs looked so great with the outfit that I had to buy them!
Designed and handmade in Sweden, Calou’s clogs have leather uppers and super comfortable soles made of springy polyurethane that you can walk on all day. Most of their styles are more on the classic clog side, no spiky heels or crazy colors, but a nice range of soft colors and styles that you can wear anywhere. For those who are looking for something a little bit dressier, they do have designs with higher heels as well.
There Goes The Neighbourhood
Speaking of heels… these awesome clogs by Swedish designer Åsa Westlund have wooden soles, leather uppers, and each is hand painted in that same traditional Swedish kurbits style as my Dala clogs above. Åsa studied design in London, worked in the fashion industry in Paris and then returned home to revamp the old Swedish classic. We’re all thrilled that she did, and her shoes will be available at Anthropologie stores this summer.
An offshoot of just such an old Swedish classic (Troentorp), Maguba’s are wild and crazy clogs! They are handmade in a family-owned factory using all natural materials, and for every pair they sell, Maguba makes a donation to plant new woodland.
They come in four different styles: the low heel Visby (classic design), the high heel strappy Barcelona, the high heel peep toe Bologna, and the solid high heel slip-in Stockholm. All styles come in several different vibrant (to say the least) color combinations, but they also have a few that are a bit less bright (wood, brown, black and natural). But, in case you don’t see anything you like, you can design your own – just pick a style and then choose your sole and upper colors.
Maguba’s are available from their website.
These are fast becoming a classic in the “chic clog” genre. Emy and Cilla (the founders) were inspired to start their company in 2006 when Emy found 300 pairs of high heeled clogs from the 70s in the basement of an old clog factory. All their clogs (and bags and belts) are inspired by the 1970s and handmade of wood and ecologically prepared natural grain leather.
They come in a bunch of styles: braided peep-toe sandals (in four different heel heights), lace-up boots, slip-ins, and jodhpurs. Popular in Sweden for several years now, it seems that the word is out elsewhere as well. Sara Jessica Parker has been spotted wearing the jodhpurs and rumor has it she will be wearing a pair of the nude peep-toe ankle strap ones in the next Sex and the City movie.