There are certain things in life that have been — fairly or unfairly — established as “the best.” You want a pair of rain boots? Hunter. Looking for cast iron? Lodge. But sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong, or at least not one size fits all. In our series As Good As or Better Than, we seek out the things that top — are prettier, longer-lasting, or just plain cheaper — the historic favorites.
I love a good pair of orthopedic-looking, ugly shoes — in the summer, my go-to sandals are all-black, plastic Birkenstock Arizona sandals — and I live in Brooklyn, so it shouldn’t be a huge shock that I was enchanted by a pair of Swedish Hasbeens, which we once described as “the official shoe of the Brooklyn Mom.” These sandals, with a chunky wooden sole and delicate-looking braided toe strap, look like they’re straight out of an episode of Charlie’s Angels, and after eyeing them for months, imagining all the bell-bottoms and jumpsuits I could dress up with them, I pounced a couple of summers ago when they went on sale at Zappos, from over $200 to $108.
These Hasbeens have not disappointed on the style front, and I get excited to bust them out the moment the weather becomes reliably warm. But I don’t wear them as much as I would like because they’re finicky. The manufacturers of Hasbeens are very insistent that you “do not use your shoes in the rain, wet grass,” or any other equally humid environments, but those conditions are hard to avoid during a New York City summer. (Plus, wood isn’t a material that’s super comfortable to walk around in for too long.)
So when I started looking for a pair of wooden, backless clogs (so I could live my best Alison Roman–inspired life), I was hesitant to spend close to $200 on another pair of Hasbeens because, though adorable, they’re not the most practical. Then I spotted a friend wearing what I assumed were Hasbeens; when I asked her about them, she confided that they were actually another Swedish clog brand called Lotta From Stockholm — and they were less than $100. I went home, bought them immediately, and today, I’m in love.
The styling of the Lotta clogs is nearly identical to that of the Hasbeens, as is, upon first inspection and wear, the quality. (They also bear some resemblance to the culty No. 6 old-school wooden clogs, though it’s not as perfect of a match.) The sole is definitely solid wood, which creates a satisfying clomping sound when I walk, and the upper is beautiful, tanned leather.
All of that is to say that my Lottas are about as water-sensitive and comfortable as my Hasbeens, but for the price — only $60 for these wooden clogs on Amazon, as compared to $159 for the most comparable style from Hasbeens — I don’t feel as bad if these clogs from Lotta From Stockholm get a little scuffed, stained with grass, or warped because of water damage. It’s the right amount to pay for shoes I love but can’t wear every single day. But that probably means I’ll end up wearing them even more once spring arrives.
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