In November, following an especially filling helping of Thanksgiving leftovers, I sat down to peruse Zara’s Black Friday sale and immediately zeroed in on a pair of clogs. They were tan, bulky-looking, and made of rubber. The pair in question, called “Lightweight Sport Sole Clogs,” brought to mind Bottega Veneta’s now-famous — or, infamous, if you ask some — bulbous, ankle-height Puddle Boots, minus the boot part and the $650 USD price tag. (At the time, Zara’s iteration cost $35.90, though, they all sold out after being discounted to under-$10.) They also resembled classic Crocs, albeit slightly chicer, thanks to muted colourways and a lifted sole, and featuring no holes.
As someone who doesn’t do much of anything outside these days, thus eliminating any uses for an outdoor shoe, I didn’t need them at all. But I wanted them. And after spending the holidays all by my lonesome, I deserved them. Three to five business days later, they were mine.
At that point, I hadn’t yet become aware of their true purpose. I wore them as “inside shoes” — footwear you slip into after ditching your germ-infested outside shoes at the door — but called them “gardening shoes,” because they resembled pairs I’d seen from outdoorsy brands like Hunter and Birkenstock. It wasn’t until I posted my clogs on social media, that I realized what their destiny really was: A cross between a Croc and a rainboot, my Zara clogs are the ultimate dog walking shoe.
Soon after posting my clogs to Instagram, I got a Slack message from my coworker, entertainment editor Morgan Baila: “So you know I got a dog, right?” (Her dog Lucca has his own Instagram account named @luccabailathelagotto.) “I wanted to get Crocs because I’m running in and out all day, but then I saw your story,” she said. “Should I get Crocs or Zara?” Having become inseparable from my own Zara clogs, going as far as to purchase a second pair in black, I suggested the latter. A few weeks later, I spotted them on her feed. She wore them to walk her dog, ditching the black UGG boots she previously wore for the outings.
When I asked for her review, Baila shared — quite poetically I might add — this about the style's allure: “A mix between a Croc, a garden shoe, and a floating device, these clogs are light as air and have a comfortable sole perfect for running behind Lucca on shorts walks and playing in muddy grass,” she wrote. “They're so ugly that they're kinda hot.” She added that because they’re made of rubber, Lucca can also chew on them without ruining them. In her words, they’re puppy-proof.
As a proud feline-owner myself, I didn’t have any means of fact-checking her. So I called on another dog mom named Karyn Fiebich, who, like Baila, after seeing my clogs on social media, bought herself a pair. She now wears them to walk her dog, as well as make flower deliveries for her Portland-based flower shop Osa Floral. “My black lab daughter Gemma and I go on a lot of walks in varying elements,” Kiebich tells Refinery29. “Not only are rubber clogs weather-proof, but they also add a little bit of personality and drama during my every day, usually uneventful activities.” Drama is right. “It's a ridiculously oversized, cloud-like shoe that is literally the most comfortable thing I've worn on my feet,” she says.
Of course, Zara didn’t invent rubber clogs. As previously mentioned, the Spanish fashion brand’s take is just a slightly elevated version of Croc’s signature slip-ons, which have, too, been making the rounds in fashion. In fact, The New York Times declared that they “won 2020” in September, following Bad Bunny’s collaboration with the function-first brand.
Sadly, as Zara’s been known to do, they sold out of the style soon after slashing their prices to single digits. And as winter weather approached, they were replaced with quilted snow boots and lug-soled Wellies. That being said, a quick tour of the footwear market led me to a whole slew of stylish gardening options that you (and your dog) will love just as much. If you don’t believe the cat lady, ask a fellow dog-owner — they’re probably wearing a pair right now.
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