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 orthopaedic or back problems. In addition to clogs, Dansko sells loafers, sandals and boots.
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 £65 to £97 and are sold in more than 3,500 brick-and-mortar and online shops.
The backbone of the Dansko line is the Professional, a stapled leather closed-back clog with a 5 cm (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 colours, 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 UK size 5. People who wear half sizes usually size down -- a woman who wears an British size 8.5 will probably prefer a 42 over a 43 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.
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 -- 5 cm (2 inch) heel and rocker bottom loafers and sandals
Left Bank -- dressy pumps with 7.5 cm (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
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.
Dansko in the UK
If you are having problems finding a local stockist you can buy Dansko shoes online. Online Shoes, Shopstyle and Price Dumper (see Resources) all sell Dansko shoes to UK customers and price them in British pounds.