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My Quest for the Perfect Pair of Summertime Clogs

A roundup of clog sandals — The Strategist reviews them for summer

Summer is no holiday for the clog aficionado. While the boots we clomp around in during the cold months tend to be lined in heavenly feeling shearling, warm-weather clogs can feel hard underfoot and sweaty all around. The sandal clog iterations, with their ankle-skimming slingback straps, are notorious agents of chafing and blisters. What’s more, so many of the sandal versions share an unfortunately twee schoolgirl vibe — nothing close to the minimalist, jolie-laide shoes we typically associate with the jolie-laide word clog.

What’s a card-carrying member of the clogerati to do? In my case, when shorts weather arrived this year, I panicked and reverted to the white Birkenstock sandals that everybody was wearing four summers ago. But as a self-identifying lover of the Clog Life (and creator of the eponymous hashtag and Instagram account), I felt great shame in not being able to live up to the lifestyle that I’ve made such a big stink about promoting. So in search of the perfect summer clog I went.

In hopes of diversifying my pro forma Brooklyn writer-mom clog collection, which is predominantly made of No. 6 shoes, my first stop was Swedish Hasbeens, a popular brand known for its feminine twist on the shoe. My hairstylist is the most attractive person on the planet and is always going on and on about her Hasbeens, so I took a look.

Swedish Hasbeens Maria
$209 at Zappos

Most of the summer versions I came across were too towering and sex-kitten-y for my taste, but the Maria style, with a comparatively low heel, an open back, and primary-color palette, is indisputably handsome.

When strangers email me to tell me they are ready to take their clog-odyssey and ask me where to begin, I often direct them to the website of Sven Clogs, whose medium-heel Plain Clog is elegant and as clog 101 as it sounds (the hunter green is exquisite). So I checked out their selection. The brand’s cutesy sandals with back straps didn’t do it for me, but Sven also carries several models of summer clogs that adhere to an uncoquettish version of clogdom that I can stand behind. Their Weave Open Toe clog and the Peep Toe plain clog are adequately serious, and I could respect any woman in the 2 Strap Buckle Clog, which appears satisfyingly orthopedic.

The summer best seller from No. 6, the brand that put clogs on the fashion map, is the Alexis, a platform slide with cutout sides.

No. 6 Alexis Leather Clogs
$325 at Barneys

Fans say the chunky proportions make legs look like a pair of Twizzlers, but I don’t go to clogs looking for optical illusions.

No. 6 Alexis Flat Slide
$218 at Garmentory

I’m fonder of the brand’s flat version.

So is clog obsessive Jane Larkworthy, the beauty and food writer who wears the low Alexis shoes and calls them “slogs” (slides plus clogs). To assist, she directed me to another winsome cloggy summer alternative: the website of Tessa, an amazing company in Vail that specializes in the most edelweiss-y hand-painted footwear. A pair painted with goats reminded me of a pair worn by food writer Julia Sherman, of Salad for President. I reached out to her and was comforted to hear that in summer, she, too, is at a loss. “Summer shoes plague me,” she says. “The promise of a flat, strappy sandal never delivers anything for me besides blisters and chafing. She found her summer clog — a pair of wedges with soft green-leather uppers — at no less a #cloglife mecca than the No. 6 outlet store in rural Minnesota.

I dream of making the pilgrimage one day. For now, though, I returned to my mother ship, the New York No. 6 boutique, and bought the crossover Frida slides in a Georgia O’Keeffe muted pink sand. Open-toed and open back, they are the ideal crossover sandal. That said, these slides are not the only option for the hot and bothered clog lovers out there: All of the styles below will keep you in the clogerati, but keep your feet breathing, too.

Strat’s best picks for summertime clogs

No. 6 Frida Wedge Clogs
Photo: 18-03-05 Accessories AM2 B8 pattygranlund W
No. 6 Frida Wedge Clogs
$285 at Shopbop

The shorts-weather clogs our writer ultimately went for. More sizes are available over at No. 6’s online store.

Swedish Hasbeens Maria
$209 at Zappos

Those Maria Hasbeens, the ones that come in primary colors, are available in this bright cherry red in addition to the yellow ones above.

Swedish Hasbeens Helena
$159 at Zappos

In keeping with our writer’s preference for lower-to-the-ground clog styles, these sensible Hasbeens are an excellent choice for day-to-day wear.

Swedish Hasbeens Helena
$159 at Zappos

They come in black as well.

No. 6 Catskill Braided Slingbacks
Photo: 18-03-05 Accessories PM1 B8 pattygranlund W
No. 6 Catskill Braided Slingbacks
$285 at Shopbop

No. 6 can always be trusted, and this open weave means your feet will catch a constant breeze.

Joseph Studded Leather Clogs
$491 at Matches Fashion

The details on these 1970s-style Joseph clogs — the square cutout on the upper, the studs, the silver dollar-size buckle — make these a special choice. And they have a peep toe, so toes can breathe during hot weather.

MIA Greta Clog Sandal
$100 at Nordstrom

The Greta is a super-straightforward take on the clog sandal, and while it’s more sandal than it is clog, we do like the chunky, toothed sole, which calls to mind another Strat all-star shoe, the Charleston sandal.

Barneys Leather Clog
$325 at Spring

These clogs admittedly fall into the “towering sex kitten” camp. But that arch looks like something a mid-century-modern architect might have built, so we like it.

Free People Katja Clog
$239 at Spring

A classic look in the sandal-clog realm. Can’t go wrong with these.

Sandgrens Swedish Wood Clog
From $90 at Amazon

A similar look to the Katjas above, but with a lower heel and lower price tag.

Leather World Designs Leather Sandals
$67 at Etsy

The Etsy shop Leather World Designs carries a classic sandal-clog — wide leather crossover straps with a low, chunky heel — in a range of colors and at the easy price of $67.

Rachel Comey Avid Clog Sandals
Photo: 18-04-13 Accessories AM1 B8 dylanremis W
Rachel Comey Avid Clog Sandals
$450 at Shopbop

We’ll close out with these beautiful Rachel Comey clogs, which have a clean silhouette and some excellent contrast stitching around the foot.

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My Quest for the Perfect Pair of Summertime Clogs