The midlife clog
The anti-hustle culture shoe
I started noticing “the shoe” a few weeks ago as the weather turned colder in my neighborhood.
Situated 4-5” inches below the hem of various pants (cuffed jeans, work pants, leggings or sweatpants), I observed a specific type of footwear; one I historically associated from my time working in restaurants or glimpses of my aunt hunched over her garden, tending to her chrysanthemums during Connecticut high summers.
Nestled below a chunky wool sock: the clog.
Once I took heed to this shoe, I couldn’t unsee it. I’d count 4-5 pairs per block, multiple times a day. All different colors, shapes and sizes, but true to form: slip on, easy, a bit broken in.
As I saw a woman whizzing by on her bike, all that would register was her clog. As I saw a woman stepping out of a vehicle, clog first, I’d think, there it is again!
Most often, the clog would present itself over a chunky wool knit sock, so darn adorable and cute, my interest piqued.
On a recent visit to Salter House, a little shop with #todiefor items in Brooklyn Heights, I was again haunted by the clog, in particular the Gardana Clog, made from hemp. I registered its appeal: the neutral hues; the apex of cottagecore, post-pandemic comfort-first fashion, and gorpcore. I showed the shoe to a friend who was visiting from out of the country.
“This is the shoe of the season!” I said.
“What? THAT?” She looked at it, puzzled.
“Yes”, I gloated.
While on my September trip to Maine, the clog was everywhere. Maine is its own subculture of New England, a very specific Northeast style of comfort over trend. The clog makes sense.
The most interesting thing about the clog that I’ve taken notice to is the women who wear them. Finally, we have a trend that belongs to the 34-48 female age range. I’m tired of seeing the Gen-Z trends dominate headlines and fast fashion. You keep your low rise flared jeans that traumatized me in 2006, I don’t want those.
What I do want is a comfortable shoe that serves as function just as much as it is adorable.