“Oh my god, girl. What kind of shoes are you wearing?” Cecilia Tidlund is on her knees in front of me, examining my bare feet. She picks up one of my Converse All-Stars, examines the bottom for walking and weight patterns, then grabs the top and bottom and wrings it like a wet rag. It twists around itself easily. “You should never wear a shoe that you can actually wring out,” she says.
After a gentle admonishment over my sneakers, Tidlund scans the rows of shoes and selects a pair for me to try. At first their wood platform feels hard and the leather is tight, but after a few laps around the room I shudder to think of taking them off. Tidlund explains that her clogs have an arch support and proper rolling motion that supports my fallen arches, and wearing supportive shoes like clogs will take away some of my knee pain. What she says next worries me: “The foot problems that used to appear in 50- and 60-year-olds I now see in 20-to-30-year-olds.” She blames utterly unsupportive flip-flops, ballet flats and my aforementioned sneakers, and says that foot problems will lead to issues with ankles, knees, hips and alignment, and continual wear of an unsupportive shoe will cause a knee replacement twenty years earlier than normal. I want to throw my sneakers out the hotel window.
After thirty-one years in the business, Tidlund’s clogs are unrivaled (thanks in part to intense training with orthopedic surgeons). She’s the only clog-maker in the world to personally size and evaluate each client (which is why she doesn’t do Internet orders), then sends her meticulous instructions to a facility in Minnesota, the last place that makes custom clogs in traditional Swedish fashion. The orthopedic benefits are impressive, and doctors regularly refer patients with detached Achilles, fractured bones and plantar fasciitis to Tidlund.
Once I select a style, I make my other custom decisions: base, color, thread, stitch. The shoe will take three weeks to arrive, but I don’t care. Perfection takes time. (Molly Each)
Visit clogmaster.com to view Tidlund’s tour dates and to learn more about Clogmaster clogs