The ‘ugly’ shoe that defines our times

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This sentiment was the driving force behind the inception of California clog brand Santa Venetia  which began in 2017. “I always wanted to be into clogs, but they never quite fit my aesthetic,” says co-founder Gemma Greenhill over the phone, explaining that it was a friend’s pair of 1960s clogs with entirely embroidered uppers that swayed her.

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These were the shoes that formed the template for Santa Venetia’s first design, Greenhill notes, “and since then we’ve been creating clogs that are a bit unexpected, just a little bit different from your regular clog”. This includes a collaboration with Panache, featuring hand-painted sushi, fruit, martinis and hot dogs, and an elevated take on the rubber-soled nursing clog, a comfort-forward design that Greenhill notes was 2021’s most popular style. “I think that, right now, people want to have a bit of fun within the parameter of practicality.” 

Indeed, Mechling affirms that the only clogs worth investing in are ones that feel good. Her other top choices include California label Beklina’s ribbed clogs, which she describes as “powerful and ladylike” and New York brand No. 6’s shearling-lined boots (“a bubble bath for the feet”). “Uncomfortable clogs defeat the entire point of clogginess,” she adds conclusively, “which is liberation and self-celebration”.

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