those red garden clogs of mine? birkenstocks!

EVERY MONTH when I post the garden chores column, I get emails asking where the garden clogs in the accompanying photo come from. And the answer is:

They are my vintage pair of “Super-Birki” clogs from Birkenstock (seen in apple green above), a polyurethane shoe that I have slipped my feet into on the way out into the garden so many times over so many years that I cannot count. A number of gardening friends have had theirs ever-at-the-ready by their doorsteps even longer. Indestructible.

Long before there were Crocs, there were Birkenstock clogs, including the poly ones, which were (and are) favored by people who worked in labs, restaurant kitchens, or hospitals—people likely to have their footwear get splashed on or otherwise damp. Technically, a slightly higher-backed “professional” version than my Super-Birki, called Profi-Birki, (in black, above), is what may of those workers probably preferred. I suspect we Birki-wearing gardeners—whether higher- or lower-backed—stole the idea from them.

Super-Birki’s, which are stiff not spongy, are lined with an inserted cotton-covered cork footbed that’s contoured, like the one inside all Birkenstock footwear. They come in various colors these days—not just like my very-undainty ruby slippers (below). (Browse them on Amazon, for example.)

important safety note about clogs

I DON’T WEAR any kind of clog, but rather a proper closed shoe or boot that cannot slip off, for chores where safety would be a concern: when mowing, for instance, or even when digging. I love the ease of clogs for spontaneous morning jaunts, when the grass is wet with dew; for when I am just going to be doing chores like weeding, or snipping some herbs, or sowing some seeds—or for those moments when you can’t stay inside one more second but must go see what the garden has to offer.

(Disclosure: Purchases from Amazon affiliate links yield a small commission.)

  1. Tina says:

    The green ones always make me feel like a frog when I catch
    sight of my feet! I like the other colors better. The black ones
    get too hot in the sun so I prefer something in a lighter shade
    for the summer.

  2. Susan says:

    One caution. Do not use these or other clogs for digging (pushing in a shovel or fork into soil especially clay). You really want a stiff-soled boot or shoe otherwise the foot doctor will be a frequent companion!

  3. Barbara says:

    If Birkenstocks don’t work for you as they don’t for my foot, I have had a pair of Jolly garden clogs which are german. They also have a removable and replaceable cork insole and are indestructible too! I went through a lot of cheap clogs over the years and these along with the Birkenstocks are the best.

  4. Deborah Banks says:

    My favorite garden shoes are a waterproof shoe made by Clark. My original ones stood up to 12 or 13 years of hard wear outside, and had to replace them last year with a model called Muckers Ruck. They are easy to slip on as I head out the back door and very comfortable. And completely waterproof.

  5. Katie French says:

    I’m wondering how practical these are for gardening, since the footbed is cork. Wouldn’t they disintegrate from getting wet?

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