If you think you have been seeing more and more people wearing these funny-looking clogs, you are not alone. Dansko, which has been selling shoes in the U.S. since 1990, has always had a cult-like following, especially among industry professionals like nurses, chefs and teachers. Despite the fact that the company does very little traditional marketing, the word-of-mouth buzz for these shoes has become viral, and Danskos are now becoming more and more mainstream.
The Dansko Professional clog, which provides substantial arch support, stability, shock absorption and a rocker-bottom sole to propel the foot forward when walking, protects the feet, legs and back during long hours of standing or walking. The Danko Professional carries the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
Because the Dansko Professional fits very differently from a traditional shoe, it is important to understand how to correctly size and fit these clogs to your feet. If you are purchasing your very first pair of Danskos, you would do well to personally visit a shoe store with Dansko fit specialists who can answer your questions and help you find your perfect fit.
Convert your shoe size to the Dansko designation. The Dansko Professional clog comes in European whole sizes only. In general, a U.S. shoe size 6.5 or 7 would be a 37, a 7.5 or 8 would be a 38, an 8.5 or 9 a 39, and so on. However, you should try on a size up as well. For example, a U.S. size 9 should try on both a 39 and a 40.
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Resist your urge to immediately slip your foot into the clog. Instead, take some time first to look at the construction of the shoe. This will help you to better understand how the Professional should fit and feel. Notice the curved upper, which is designed to follow the natural contour of the foot, and the toe box, which allows the toes to move comfortably. Notice how the instep collar is generously padded. This will provide comfort during wear but will feel tight when you first slip your foot in. Notice the heel counter which acts as a natural shoehorn and allows the foot to move up and down when walking. Now look inside the shoe at the footbed and arch support. The inner frame (which is built in to the outsole) is what provides support, reduces torque and provides lateral stability. The outsole is also what provides shock absorption and flexibility.
Wear a sock or stocking that will be similar to what you will be wearing most regularly with your Danskos. Slip your foot in and push your heel down even if it feels tight at first at the instep. Now stand up and do three things. 1) Try to feel your arch on the arch support. Your arch should be centered and fully supported on the arch support. 2) Wiggle your toes. Your toes should be able to move freely in the shoe (toe box) and should not be hitting or be jammed to the front. 3) Slip your pinky finger between the back of your heel and the heel counter. First-timers often think the clog is too big, but the correct fit should allow space between your heel and the heel counter -- enough to easily slip your pinky finger in.
Try walking. If this is your first time in Danskos, resist the urge to curl or press your toes to hold the shoe in place. The Dansko clog is designed to move freely up and down at the heel, just like a backless clog. For first-timers, this movement may take some getting used to. But if you are fit properly, the shoe will not fall off your foot, and you will soon feel as if you are walking on air. Again, you should not feel your toes hitting in the front, and you should feel that your arch is fully supported. As you walk, pay attention to the rocker motion of the outsole and how it propels your foot forward. When standing, you may also notice how the construction and support of the shoe help to keep your posture upright and proper, contributing to good foot, leg and back health.
The Dansko Professional clog is made by hand (you can see where the upper is actually stapled to the outsole), and each one fits a little bit differently. It may be helpful to try on several pair in the same size to find just the right fit. This is especially helpful for people who are in between sizes and need a fit that is either slightly bigger or slightly smaller.