very once in a long while, a shoe appears that collects all the design elements we love and cherish about our favorite footwear and combines them with some unexpected surprises and welcome delights. I was just going about my business on a regular, run-of-the-mill workday when into my iPhone tumbled a message from my daughter.
"Have you seen the clog army boots by Vivienne Westwood on Solestruck? They're so cool! Very steampunk."
Needless to say, she had me intrigued as soon as she said "clog." But add on top of that "boots" and legendary British designer "Vivienne Westwood" and the fact that they're being offered by "Solestruck," and I had to wrap up whatever I was working on so I could fire up a browser and devote my attention to my computer.
And let me say, I wasn't disappointed.
A quick bit of digging on the Solestruck website led me to a product page bearing the following wonderful combination of characters:
CLOG ARMY BOOT MENS.
To which I can only add my own set of all caps: OMG!
Wooden sole! Nail head details! Toe plate! Lug sole! Interesting design touches!
I thought I heard angels singing. A little like this:
Just look at these clog boots!
OMG! Are they not everything we discussed and fantasized about years ago in the ongoing Guy Day Friday series of "if only they'd make cool clog boots for men" posts? (Start here in the archives and work your way back if you need to refresh your memory!) They are totally untypical. Absolutely exceptional. And fabulously fashionable. What's more, these are honest-to-DOC* men's clog boots, and Ms. Westwood and Solestruck have thoughtfully made them in sizes up to 12. Which means I can enjoy them with my tall size feet for sure, and my male readers can indulge themselves in a pair of cool clog boots that will definitely fit. Seriously. Solestruck is one of the planet's few shoe shopping sites that's actually designed for people who are interested in purchasing shoes. So when they post a new style, they always include a little evaluation of how that shoe fits. For this Vivienne Westwood pair the verdict is as follows:
Fits a full size large. Men's size US 10 (EU 43) insole measures at about 28.8cm. Each whole size is 1cm difference.
Is that not the most helpful thing that you as a long distance shoe shopper have ever seen? Knowing the physical measurement of a shoe has saved me from many a purchasing misfire. With my 11" long feet (28 cm), I can tell that the Men's 10 might be a bit roomy on me while the 9 might be a smidge tight. Thank you, Solestruck, for information we can truly use!
Now the sobering part. Of course, this tingling all over feel good moment comes at a cost. And I'm afraid to say these luscious lace ups carry a hefty sticker shock. Make the journey to the product page if you dare. And be sure you're sitting down.
Me? I'd love a pair. But I can't afford the price of admission at this point. I think the heftiest toll I've ever paid for a single pair of shoes was for a comparably amazing pair of tall clog boots from UGG. (Documented on ECHID with a suitable moment of obeisance here.) But at more than twice that price, I don't think I'll be adding these Vivienne Westwoods to my Wall of Infinite Pleasure anytime soon. I'm sorely tempted. But the truth of the matter is that unless that text I just got from Nigeria about receiving an unexpected inheritance is for real, I just don't have that sort of cash available.
On the other hand, Solestruck does love to have a good sale every so often. And you can count on me to come circling back fairly regularly.
It's a tough position to be in. I want to see clog boots for both gals and guys crop up more often than they do. And I want to support those adventurous shoe makers who will offer us some wooden goodness from time to time. But honey, I got bills to pay so I got to keep it real.
But let me know if you take the plunge. Or rather if you make the purchase and your back account takes the plunge. Photos please!
One last look before I move on.
* deity of choice
And While We're on the Topic of Going Bankrupt for Shoes
I was surfing merrily along on the waves of the web the other day when some happy conjunction of search engine and desire led me to a stunning clog style on the pages of Barneys.com. Barneys New York, if you don't know, is a luxury retailer with a chain of department stores located across the U. S. Their casual name, I believe, comes from an old Iroquois word that means "place where things cost so much it makes your eyes cross." And as impressive as this particular example of wooden footwear is, I did indeed find it giving me eyestrain. Behold the Esme platform clog from Rag & Bone! Rugged in all the right ways. Cloglike enough to be recognizable as such. But different enough to show that the designer wasn't just sleepwalking. I love everything about 'em...but the price.
Don't let my complaining about cost fool you. If I were confident they'd fit, I'd probably place an order for this unique pair. But further research suggests that this stunning rethink of the basic clog actually runs small. While I occasionally can hold out hope that the largest size they have listed (a 41) will actually accommodate the entire length of my size 11/size 12 feet, their breakdown of sizes suggests that this shoe will actually only satisfy someone who wears a 10. Phooey.
And While We're on the Topic of Shoes I'd Buy Immediately if They Came in My Size
I'm finding myself on a Free People kick lately. Not surprisingly. Their boho aesthetic is totally in keeping with my left of center, draw outside the lines approach to style. And just this past month, I've added a couple of new things from their catalog to my collection: a pair of flared leggings and a boxy, chunky knit sweater (both depicted later in this blog). But because they love all things bohemian in their shop, the Free People family have been letting their freak flag fly with an ongoing and evolving selection of clog styles. And look what I just discovered on their website: the Phantom clog boot. Way fun!
Those clog fans among us who are blessed with normal sized feet can immediately reap the benefits of this sturdy new style. The rest of us will just look on appreciatively and hope someday that FP will expand their listings to include those of us who need something larger. (Again, a 41 seems to translate to a size 10 for this retailer. Very frustrating to see as someone who owns a handful of size 41s that I wear regularly.)
I Know I Need to Move on to the Next Topic, But Damn! Those Free People Boots Are So Cute!
And then, while scrolling through the jeans listings on FreePeople.com to see if I could find some other photos, I happened on the product shots for these skinny jeans that had me ready to start babbling incoherently. Big ol' chunky wood soled shoes with a pair of leg-flattering pants! Ggjwma ek gkko wlvvlr bksmw ssiigqo cnwlgem ehhs!
Shopping Research Update
So a couple weeks back I mentioned the Cinndi oxford clog bootie from Steve Madden.
I was smitten enough with its many charms that I gave Mr. Madden's size 11 a try. But alas, the goddess of fit did not smile down on me. I would have willingly embraced its faux-wood base and figured out some way to work taupe into my much more colorful wardrobe. But no, it was not to be. Not even my handy trick of putting a lift into a snug shoe to give my toes more room would make any difference in the wearability of this pair. A blessing on all e-tailers who make product returns easy!
Your win some and you lose some when you shop for fun fashion. And while I may appear to have struck out on the wooden goodness I've listed thus far, you won't hear me wailing with discontent. Far from it. I was busy rockin' my workdays this past week with a healthy assortment of previous purchases!
Tardy bootie in red from Jeffrey Campbell (with chunky knit sweater from Free People)
Carberry clog bootie in black from UGG (with flared leggings/pants from Free People)
Night Lita Spike from Jeffrey Campbell (with suede and leather paneled jeans from Superfine)
Has anyone seen my heels? I seem to have misplaced them!
(Yes, they are easy to walk in.)
Pilar clog bootie in tan from Koolaburra
And finally, a fashion fave: the Lita in black from Jeffrey Campbell.
They made the young man with blue hair at the check out counter at my neighborhood Whole Foods whoop with delight when he spotted me earlier this evening. Now isn't that what wearing fashion is all about???
This Just in from Jeffrey Campbell
The Copland. Lots of wood. Lots of laces, too. I'm guessing it would be a shoe one does not pull on in a hurry.
Reading For Extra Credit
A couple corners of the internet worth further exploration should you have the time and interest.
The creative spirit behind the blog annekata wrote about turning to Shoes Or No Shoes for inspiration. "Shoes Or No Shoes? What is that?", I wondered. The answer is that it appears to be a museum in the Netherlands that has set about to document footwear in all its iterations and variety.
From their awkwardly translated About page:
Almost every human being owns a pair in one or another execution. On the one hand this universal object leads a visitor of SONS through all ethnic cultures and peoples, from the first foot-covered footsteps of humans till today. On the other hand through the world of modern art, highlighted out of a surprising perspective.
From what I can tell, they've assembled collections of footwear from a cross cultural perspective, from their status as celebrity owned, from their depictions in cartoons and fiction, and more. I haven't explored very deeply, but it could be worth a visit when you find yourself with an idle moment or two.
Meanwhile, over in the U. K., the BBC documents the imminent passing of a family trade: Will the Dutch clogs soon become a thing of the past? Kudos to staff reporter Anna Holligan for kicking off her Adidas in order to brave the perils of trying to walk with a pair of wooden capsules on your feet.