The Clog Master of Sweden

Los Angeles, California

I’ve been walking around New York City in wood clogs I designed myself, with the semi-abusive help of a Los Angeles-based Swedish woman who calls herself the “Clog Master of Sweden.” My first encounter with the Master occurs one sunny November afternoon, in a small glass-fronted store that feels like a cross between a doctor’s office and a key copier. A half dozen chairs line two walls of the linoleum-tiled store. The fifty-something Clog Master cavorts in the back with her fellow employees (all two of them) in a way that wouldn’t look out of place in an Old World saloon. She conforms neither to Swedish nor L.A. stereotype: her hair is dark brown, her skin pale, her brusque manner borderline insulting.

On one wall is a rainbow array of display clogs suggesting the mix-and-match possibilities. Swatches of leather and suede hang from a peg next to shelves of Dr. Scholl’s foot products and various professional chachkas: a Culinary Award of Excellence, bestowed in 1996 by the American Tasting Institute for her Plus Slingback Strap No. 0914 (restaurant workers, who stand on their feet all day, comprise her core clientele); a magazine review; a medical poster of the bones and muscles in the feet; a numbered treatise on why you should wear clogs (item number 2: properly cut and fitted, a wood base is still the best shock absorber); and finally, a poster of Brian May from Queen playing guitar in… clogs.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Amy Barrett

Amy Barrett is a writer and filmmaker. She wears her clogs in New York and Maine.

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