It’s time! Time to share all my thoughts on these Bryr clogs that so many of you have asked about. I’m going to do my best to do a mind-meld between my brain and yours to tell you everything I’ve experienced with these bad boys. I’ve gotten lots of questions about them, especially on Instagram. I shared a few months back that I was taking these closed-toe clogs for a winter test drive. Long story short, the folks over at Bryr Studio challenged me to the notion that these shoes were warmer and more comfortable than I might think. Thus, the winter challenge was born.
I took to wearing them two-to-three times per week for 30 days, taking notes on weather conditions, comfort and fit. I styled them with socks, with tights and no socks. I wore them on damp days and I wore them on dry days, with jeans, with skirts, on a box, with a fox…
FIT & ORDERING
When I first got my clogs, the leather was pretty stiff, to the point that I almost thought they were too small. Before choosing my clogs, I chatted with Isobel about the proper sizing. She suggested I size down from my usual Euro size, 41, and get a 40, and she was right! Even though they seemed small at the onset, and the back strap seemed short and hard to buckle, all that changed with time. The last thing you want is a loose, flappy strap in the back (something I experienced with a cheaper, not-to-be-named clog brand, as the leather stretched out more and more). Now my feet slide farther into the clog, and the back strap buckles easily. I have moderately wide feet and these shoes fit me snugly all over.
The toe-box on these clogs is much more feminine than clogs I’ve worn in the past, and I really like that. It’s less boxy and more fitted to the natural shape of the foot. I think that’s part of the secret of what makes Bryr clogs look so good in photos. You’ll never be accidentally mistaken for wearing clown shoes (a real concern for the size 10 club).
I chose to go with the mid-heel over the high-heel because my lifestyle is pretty kid-centric. And I didn’t want these clogs to sit in my closet and only get pulled out on special occasions. Also, I’m a decently tall gal (5’7″) and I feel like I’m going to tip over if I start getting into the three-inch range.
I have particularly finicky feet. They like to be comfortable and I find a lot of shoes to be too flat or unsupportive. That’s part of why I love Birkenstocks and Frye’s so much. They have great supportive footbeds. (Gosh, I’m starting to sound geriatric over here.) Clogs often work for me because I like the moulded footbed, it feels much more supportive than a flat footbed. These Bryr clogs have a small incline because of the heel, but the footbed is still comfortable. By the last week of my experiment – which may or may not have been interrupted by a giant snow storm – these clogs started feeling really comfortable on my feet. I taught Sunday school, which meant a lot of time on my feet, playing and dancing with the kids, and I felt great. Don’t get me wrong, the wood is hard, and can feel hard on your feet, but that is usually only an issue when doing a lot of standing still/standing around. Somehow moving and walking seems to negate the hardness factor.
The walkability of these clogs is pretty good. The heel is a bit narrow compared to some of my other shoes, and seems a little more narrow than some other mid-heeled clogs . But the only time I felt truly wobbly was on the post-snowstorm gravel that is on so many of Portland’s sidewalks right now. In general, I’d say they are a little delicate for places like the playground, but they rock the casbah at any setting where I want to feel dressed up a touch but not overdone.
WARMTH & DURABILITY
Now this was the million dollar question for me. Would my feet be cold? Could I wear them in wet weather? As you can see above I wore them in a lot of cool temperatures. This winter has been chillier than usual, so I really got to put these to the test. I spent a lot of time wearing them with merino and regular wool socks, even thick tights (probably my favorite set up). And on brave days, or when I was outdoors less, I went sockless. On one particularly cold night I met up with a girlfriend for beers and layered with a cozy sweater and warm, insulated jacket. By the end of our evening my feet were actually a little hot! The thick leather is pretty insulating, it was mostly my ankles that I kept warm with my socks, not my feet. I think when the weather hits the 50’s (F) I won’t have to think twice about wearing these without socks.
I mostly stayed away from wearing my clogs on rainy days. The wood Bryr uses is treated to withstand water, but I still felt chicken to get them too wet because, I just didn’t want to take the risk. On damp, slightly sprinkly days I wore them, but on so many of our winter days it has been pouring, so I opted for something more rainproof. Honestly, much of my shoe closet has been getting the shaft this winter because of all the wet and snowy days. I suspect the longer I have these and the more ‘lived-in’ they look, the braver I’ll be with wearing them in the rain.
The hard part about clogs is the fact that the pretty, light wood eventually gets dirty. However, for all my tromping around these clogs still look pretty good. They just show minor signs or wear/dirt on the front and back ends of the wood. But I am also learning to embrace when my shoes look a little more ‘lived-in.’ When my clothes feel broken-in, that is when I love them the most. Because they feel like mine, like I’ve put my stamp on them. We walk on shoes for crying out loud. Of course they are going to show wear and look like a full-grown human has been standing on them. Somewhere along the way I think we just fell for this falsehood that our clothing should always look brand new. Even when it’s not. It doesn’t make sense. (However, I do fully advocate for caring for our items so they wear and look their best. But let’s not sweat it so much.)
Bryr clogs are, hands-down, some of the most beautiful clog designs I’ve seen (anyone follow their Instagram? Talk about a clog paradise!), and their standard of construction matches their standard of design. How did they fare on this winter challenge? Are they a winter shoe? It depends where you live. If you get to enjoy a mild winter (I’m looking at you Bay-Area folk) you could wear these near constantly. In Portland, I could probably wear them during the winter here about 25% of the time. But they will make fantastic “shoulder season” shoes. In the spring when I’m so tired of socks and boots, clogs. In the fall, when I am over my sandals but not ready for socks, clogs. And all the 50 degree days in between.
If you’re not familiar with their story, it’s a good one. Isobel Schofield started Bryr just a handful of years ago after 15 years working in the apparel industry. According to Bryr’s website, she desired a better way to make better things after spending time high up the chain at a major US retailer. Today Bryr Studio is based out of San Francisco, where they design and make all of their shoes. If you’re lucky enough to live in the area, you can visit the shop in person. Bryr is another example of an outstanding, female-owned and operated business. I feel very strongly about supporting other women in business, that’s why I love to share small makers and designers with you. It’s an amazing community to be a part of, and I’m so thrilled to dabble in the world of Bryr and share some of their work with you.
Special thank you to Bryr Studio for sending me these clogs for review. As always, all opinions and viewpoints are my own.