That feeling was the driving force behind the creation of California-based clog brand Santa Venetia which debuted in 2017. “I’ve always wanted to be in clogs, but they never really match my aesthetic,” said the co. -Founder Gemma Greenhill on the phone, explaining that it was a friend’s 1960s pair of clogs with fully embroidered uppers that influenced her.
These are the shoes that formed the pattern for Santa Venetia’s first design, notes Greenhill, “and since then we’ve created some kind of unexpected clogs, just a bit different from your usual clogs.” This includes a collaboration with Panache, with hand-painted sushi, fruit, martinis and hot dogs, and an enhanced version of the rubber-soled nursing clog, an avant-garde design that Greenhill says was the most popular style of 2021. “I think right now people want to have a little fun in the practicality.”
Indeed, Mechling says the only clogs worth investing in are the ones that feel good. Her other top picks include ribbed clogs from California label Beklina, which she describes as “powerful and feminine” and sheepskin-lined boots from the New York label (“a bubble bath for the feet”). “The uncomfortable hooves go against the whole point of the obstruction,” she adds conclusively, “which is liberation and self-celebration.”
And if you liked this story, subscribe to the weekly newsletter on bbc.com features, called The Essential List. A hand-picked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.