About Dansko Shoes

by Melanie Novak

Dansko is an American shoe company that sells men's and women's comfort shoes. Chefs, doctors, nurses, teachers, retail workers and other professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet often wear Dansko stapled clogs for its shock-absorbing non-slip soles and stability, as do people with orthopedic or back problems. In addition to clogs, Dansko sells loafers, sandals and boots. Dansko clogs and selected other styles were given a seal of acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

About the company

Founded by Peter Kjellerup and Mandy Cabot, a married Danish man and American woman, in 1990, Dansko clogs have an established reputation for comfort. Kjellerup and Cabot discovered a type of closed-back clogs on a trip to a small town in Denmark. The two began bringing the clogs home for friends and family, and eventually established a business selling the shoes. The Dansko name means "Danish shoe." Dansko promotes its green and sustainable practices. The company's LEED-certified Pennsylvania headquarters using wind power, has a green roof, and boasts the use of recycled materials. Dansko shoes retail for about $100 to $150 and are sold in more than 3,500 brick-and-mortar and online stores.

Dansko clogs

The backbone of the Dansko line is the Professional, a stapled leather closed-back clog with a 2 inch heel on a polyurethane rocker base. A thermoplastic toe box protects toes, a foam-and-leather liner absorbs sweat, and the design of the base increases stability. The bottom sole is slip-resistant, even on greasy floors in restaurant kitchens. Dansko clogs also have high arch support. The Professional comes in a variety of colors, including white for nursing shoes, and in polished, oiled patent or waxy leather. You can buy variations of the same basic shoe. For example, the Sonja is a backless version of the Professional and the Ingrid is backless with a strap. Danskos come in men's and women's European sizes. A 38 is the equivalent to a woman's American size 8. People who wear half sizes usually size down—a woman who wears an American size 8.5 will probably prefer a 38 over a 39 in Dansko. Narrow sizes are sold in some styles. The Professional closed-back clog should be large enough to allow your heel to slip in and out of the shoe as you walk. They can be worn with or without socks. "If you have pain in the balls of your feet (metatarsalgia), Dansko clogs are terrific because they don’t flex," wrote Dr. Jenny Sanders, a San Francisco podiatrist, on her blog Dr. Shoe. "People having plantar fasciitis (arch/heel pain), can also benefit from Dansko clogs, because of their built in arch support and torsional stability."

Other Dansko shoes and sandals

In addition to the Professional and Sonja clogs, Dansko also produce a wide variety of shoes, sandals and boots for men and women. The styles are divided by foot bed and have different styles of uppers. Women Cambridge—flat, highly cushioned comfort soles Capri—low-heeled sandals Charleston—slip-on shoes with the rocker bottom of a clog Chatham—cork and rubber slip-on shoes Golden Gate—2 inch heel and rocker bottom loafers and sandals Left Bank—dressy pumps with 3 inch heels Louvre—wedge-heeled sandals Next Gen—almost flat and with a sporty look Notting Hill—mid-heel pump Sausalito—looks to clogs, but lightweight and flexible

Men Next Gen—sport, high-tech style Stockbridge—casual loafers Telluride—outdoor shoe for active wear

Sanita and other similar shoe brands

Until 2007, a company called Sanita manufactured Dansko clogs. Dansko clogs are now made by a variety of manufacturers, and Sanita now sells clogs under its own name. Sanita and Dansko clogs are very similar, with small differences in the width of the toe box and the heel. Other similar clogs include Nursemates, Klogs USA and Cherokee. Similar comfort shoes include Merrill, Birkenstock, Finn Comfort and Ecco.

Buying Danskos

A number of online retailers sell Danskos. Zappos (www.zappos.com) offers free shipping. Specialty retailers such as www.clogscentral.com can make recommendations on fit and style.

About the Author

Melanie Novak has been a writer and editor for more than 10 years and holds a master's in journalism and a bachelor's in comparative literature. Her work has appeared in numerous regional and national publications. She writes mainly about music, medicine, house and garden, environmental issues and design.