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.)

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.


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