Men’s clogs may not be a new trend, but the style can still be a confusing one for many guys. The footwear toes a superfine line between looking cool and looking clueless. But those who can pull it off know there are benefits, including no laces, easy on and off, and incredible comfort. To help you master the look, we asked stylish men who own clogs, an actual stylist, a style director, and a few fashion editors for advice on what clogs to buy and what to wear with them.
For a starter pair of clogs, all the folks we spoke with suggested avoiding anything too fashion. Olie Arnold, style director at Mr Porter, puts it this way: “There’s nothing sadder than spending a lot of money on something that just sits in your closet. Trendier, more fashion-forward styles will probably have a shorter shelf life, but something like a Birkenstock will be around for a long time.” Another unanimous opinion: Because men’s clogs are inherently casual, the clothes you wear with them should stay in that lane — informal and comfortable; neat, but not necessarily preppy (two of our cool people say clogs are not the best choice if your go-to summer pants or shorts are, say, seersucker). Below, the clogs — and socks, shirts, and pants to wear them with — recommended by our stylish sources.
Best men’s clogs
We spoke to a total of nine clog authorities, and all of them suggested this as the best pair of starter clogs (unsurprisingly it’s the same pair Chris Black likes). GQ’s site editor Chris Gayomali likes the way Bostons look — but loves the way they feel even more. “I slip into them a couple of times a week, and basically live in them on the weekends.” Masato Tsuchiya, who works as a freelance fashion consultant for brands in the United States, Europe, and Japan, wears his Bostons everywhere, and likes them because “they feel like a slipper, but look like a normal shoe.” His go-to outfit to wear them with is tapered denim, a long-sleeve T-shirt, and a pair of “crazy dyed” socks. Artist and avid surfer Ty Williams says that throughout his years of slipping into Bostons, he’s worn them to work (at a bar) and when he’s surfing somewhere cold. “I always loved the ease of the slip-on Birkenstock closed-toe shoe. They don’t look terrible and are easy to clean. I love to just slip them on after surfing and hop in my car. Plus, if I’m surfing cold water or somewhere cold I hate having to fool around with laces.”
Two men we talked to prefer the black-suede Boston over its taupe sister. Jake Woolf, co-founder and editorial director of the retail app Seam, says that he and his business partner have the same pair, and will both slip into them when they get to work (leaving their “outdoor” shoes at the door). “I like the idea of an office uniform — it’s like the Margiela lab coats but with black clogs. Basically, this is so we don’t wear our dirty shoes in the house, but also so we don’t feel weird about being barefoot in front of company. That isn’t to say I haven’t worn clogs outside, but right now I only have one pair and don’t want to taint them with Brooklyn street grime.” If you’re not into the taupe or the black suede, Birkenstock makes them in regular leather too.
Best (less expensive) men’s clogs
We’ve written about the EVA Birkenstock sandals before (they’re another favorite of Black’s), but not about the EVA Bostons, which are half the price of the suede pairs (and come in a handful of colors beyond black). Andrew Hermida, an illustrator and a die-hard clog fan, suggests getting suede Bostons to wear out of the house, and EVA Bostons to wear in it, like he does. “I work from home, so I also have those plastic Birks that I just wear around the house all the time. In the summer, I wear them barefoot.” Hermida also likes the clogs from New York–based brand Aurora, which he wears in the winter with wool socks.
Best clogs that aren’t Birkenstock Bostons
Several people we talked to say Birkenstock-inspired clogs are a great option if you like the look but want to stand out among Boston-heads. Arnold suggests these, from Yuketen, as a slightly less-crunchy pair that’s still easy to style because of their streamlined shape, flat sole, and minimal details. “I’m particularly fond of the Yuketen pair,” he says.
This on-sale pair shares the Birkenstock Boston shape, but with more of a No Doubt aesthetic than that of Phish or DMB.
Best garden-core clogs
Two of the men we talked to swore by this pair of camouflage Crocs (but one of them did compare wearing Crocs to listening to Sum 41). Still, you can’t deny their legitimate trendiness — though Gayomali suggests one DIY modification to consider. “With Crocs specifically, I don’t like it when people use the strap. I cut mine off. The strap defeats the purpose of being able to slip easily into clogs in the first place. Live on the edge!” Photographer Jack Davidson also praises this style, saying it gets him more compliments than any other shoes he owns (though he disagrees about losing the strap). “Some people think they’re ridiculous, but they’re actually the only shoe that I wear that consistently gets tons of compliments (and I wear Common Projects and Red Wings, things that most people really enjoy).”
Best clog-sandal hybrid
When he’s not wearing his Bostons, Williams puts on this clog-sandal hybrid — which he’ll wear with socks, or in hot weather as an alternative to sandals (because he doesn’t like showing his toes). He’s not alone: Arnold also mentioned less foot maintenance as a benefit of wearing clogs.
Best socks to wear with clogs
Socks were the first thing everyone mentioned when we asked what to wear with clogs. But if you do wear socks with clogs, the general consensus is that they have to be chunky. “It depends on the season obviously, but I like something tonal and something chunky with texture,” according to Arnold, who is not a fan of wearing clogs with shorts, dress socks, or no-show socks. “It’s either chunky sock or no sock.”
Davidson, Gayomali, and Tsuchiya, along with stylist stylist Donnell Baldwin and Mr Porter senior editor Lili Göksenin, suggest tie-dye socks as a way to lean even further into the men’s clog aesthetic. “I wear Birks to work a few times a week, always with socks — either tie-dye, or white or black Nike crew,” says Gayomali.