I was looking for a cognac/tan sort of shade in a heeled sandal sort of style (i.e. not Danskos or Crocs) to have as a slightly dressier option for warm weather outfits than my Birkenstock Mayari sandals
but had a little more personality than my Born strappy block heeled sandals.
The “Madeline” style (which seems to be new this season) from the Swedish brand MIA was available from Nordstrom (and Zappos) and looked like they’d fit my criteria. It was $109.95 + tax with free shipping.
I wanted clogs pretty much just for the looks (and hopefully longevity) rather than any particular desire for wooden-soled shoes.
These only come in whole sizes, and the site suggested to go a size up. Reviews on Zappos for this style (and generally across the heeled styles for MIA) were saying anywhere from 1-3 sizes up, with the odd review saying they had to size down. I decided to start with an 8 as I’m normally a true 7.5. My shoes are mostly 7.5’s with the occasional 7 or 8. For reference I wear a US Women’s 7 in classic Dr Martens 1460s and they fit a tad on the loose side and I have a 7.5 in all four different types of Born shoes I have.
Unfortunately while the footbed on the 8 seemed comfortably sized and shaped for my foot, my big toe jammed into the leather uppers at the end.
Happily, the size 9 seems to fit. My toe just brushes the end but isn’t jammed. I haven’t walked in them out of the house yet though so I can’t comment on long term comfort. There’s a bit more width as well, although I don’t think it’s enough to be an issue for my foot sliding around.
I also ordered the “Bety” style in an 8 because I figured an 8 would work in an open-toed style, in case the 9 in the close-toed t-strap mary jane style were too loose.
However, the “Bety” footbed feels quite different – besides having a lower heel and platform, it’s smaller in area all around, and I found that the particular curvature it had just felt wrong with my feet.
While the size 9 in the “Madeline” platform seems a good match for my feet, this is a new type of shoe for me and I can tell that there’s going to be a break-in period for my foot and leg muscles to acclimate to the style. I’m going to wear them around the house for a few days before taking them for a full day outside (and definitely starting with a day at the office, not walking miles for errands). This post from CiCi Marie has a nice write-up with some general tips for breaking in this type of shoe (tbh I think they apply to pretty much any other kind of shoe, though for something like docs you might want thicker socks to start with).
Style and Color
The “luggage” color for the “Madeline” is a rich brown and I’d say the “tan” is closer to a yellow-y orange. While not quite immediate-recoil levels of bad, I felt like the tan clashed with my skin tone.
Overall I’m glad the “Madeline” fit better. While the style of the “Bety” is fine, I think at that point of sandal-ness I might as well have just gone for a normal sandal with a cushioned footbed. I think the more aggressively clog-y high-platform style is also better for injecting some personality into 70s inspired looks.
I also just like T-strap styles for some reason which I haven’t put my finger on yet 🤔
Clogs Generally and the “Madeline” Specifically
TLDR rougher finish to these shoes. These not your sleek formal kicks.
I actually didn’t know this until the first pair of these clogs arrived, but traditional Swedish clogs are made with the leather nailed into the wood, and many modern ones are assembled with heavy duty staples. Looking back at the stock photos now, it’s apparent there too. I think my brain is just so conditioned that shoes are glued and/or stitched together that it simply didn’t read the staples as metallic, but as white thread.
Despite it being a surprise, I’ve decided I’m okay with this detail. That being said these are def not a high-polish sorta shoe.
Another thing to note is these are solid wood and as such the heel shows a bit of what can read as dirt, but which AFAIK is just natural variation from the wood.
The way the rubber soles are molded also ends up with a rather choppy finish. This was not a surprise, as it was super obvious it would be that way from even just the stock photo thumbnails. I’d guess this will smooth out over time.
And one last detail to note is that the T-strap is not going to be centered on the shoe itself, but rather to your foot. I like this but I can see that peeving some people. It does look quite asymmetrical when not on a foot.
Anyway, I hope that these aren’t horrible to break in and that they will bring some fun retro vibes to my outfits.
Edit: I was impatient and decided to just wear them to work today instead of wearing them at home for a week first and bring sneakers in case it was horrible. Turns out that these didn’t have a painful break-in at all! I was mostly worried about the sole, since the leather is pretty soft on the inner face. I’m still not quite used to walking in them and it’s a little weird to have the extra weight of the sole hanging on, but it’s definitely workable. Overall they’re easy to stand and walk in, although I find that the strap is not secure enough to run in or climb stairs quickly. If you’ve worn platform sandals before I expect getting going in these would be quite easy.
Edit 2: After several more wears, I’ve decided that these are definitely not shoes I can run in as I’ve rolled my foot a few times (nothing with lasting effect, thankfully) when trying to speed up to cross a street or catch a bus (unlike some of my 3.5″ pumps from the Born brand which I am confident enough to run short distances in). Still comfortable for lots of standing and walking, just not being in a hurry.
What are y’all’s thoughts on clogs? Crocs? Danskos? Clogs with socks? Hoping to get an outfits-with-clogs post up eventually and I’m planning to try styling them with socks at least twice.