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Dansko Kelsey sport clog

Dansko's Acadia Sport collection includes lightweight, low-profile clogs that SNEWS testers say are so comfortable you won't want to take them off.

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Some of us at SNEWS® have been big fans of Dankso clogs — even though we have taken them on fewer trips recently because of their heft. But there are others here who never did like the clunky look or the weight.

So when Dansko came out with the new Acadia Sport collection in late 2009, which includes lighter-weight, lower-profile shoes, we were eager to see how they compared to previous clogs. Several of us tried them at trade shows, flights, on vacations, and generally knocked them around for a number of months. They’re not only lighter and appear less chunky, but they also have a footbed that you can remove to allow for personal orthotics or other footbeds, and the sole is a bit more slip-resistant. One last feature is the distressed leather, which per Dankso has a “more organic feel.”

We loved the fit of the shoes and their weight. So much so, that once we put them on, we didn’t want to take them off. They didn’t shred up our heels or our socks like other clogs we have worn in the past. The distressed leather and lower profile looks great not only with jeans but also with casual pants, and frankly even skirts with tights. And we found the sole made us a bit happier on outings to snowy cities — no, not truly grippy, but not like wearing glass on your shoes.

The slightly roughed-up distressed leather is a nice, less polished look and indeed appeals to our tastes. One tester in fact spilled hot chocolate on them and found they cleaned up without a glitch. They also provide a bit more insulation than some slip-ons, but not so much to leave your feet sweaty.

The only problem we found was how quickly the distressed leather became, well, a little too distressed. One tester said that after she wore them around town a couple of times and used them during a trade show, the fronts of her clogs were scuffed and the sides a bit worn, actually revealing a seemingly barren leather. The recommendation we discovered after we had worn them for that first round was to put on a bee’s wax conditioner before the first wearing. Too bad that suggestion didn’t come in the box. We tried to wipe them up and put on basic conditioners, but the leather remained scuffed and barren — albeit cleaner. You don’t want to put on a regular polish because that would ruin the non-shiny distressed look.

One of our testers had a stone color and that showed less wear that the brown models, which showed it pretty dramatically. One tester has found them so comfortable and therefore worn them so much in a few months that the outer edge of the heel is already wearing down a bit, too. Still, the opinions differ, with one calling them “well-worn” and noting, “maybe that’s what you get with this kind of leather,” while another tester said they looked beat-up after only a month of relatively minimal wear — and she expected more durability for $120.

We’ll still wear them since they are so comfortable, but unfortunately, they have already been downsized to the more casual wear where the scuffs and marks won’t leave us feeling less-than-professional.

The Acadia line debuted in late 2009 with five women’s styles — Kelsey (a traditional closed-back clog that we tested), Kate (Mary Jane style), Kim (closed-back clog), Kari (slip-on) and Kipling (an ankle boot) — and expanded for spring 2010 with the Kiera (a fisherman-style Mary Jane). Dansko plans to introduce four more styles for fall, plus five styles in the new men’s Walden companion collection, all ranging from $125-$150.

SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

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