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Walking on wood
Feminine touches put the old, heavy '70s shoe back in step with today's fashion

Clogs are back. Woodn't you know it?

Models wore them on the runway at Chanel. They're in fashion magazines. And now you're seeing them in stores and on Web sites.

But the '70s-inspired shoe has gotten a makeover for 2010. The difference?

"A true clog has the wooden base and the full heavy coverage on top. It's a heavy shoe -- both in appearance and weight," said Deborah Tangelder, owner of Get Heeled, a women's shoe boutique, and the Perfect Gift, 6000 Goodrich Road, Clarence Center.

Functional clogs of other types have also long been favored by many chefs, gardeners and medical professionals.

In fashion, what we're seeing this spring is the lightening up of clogs -- and some feminine touches, Tangelder said.

Today's clogs have wedge, platform and high heels. They sport plenty of studs and other embellishments such as braided trims.

Some also have straps, hollowed-out heels, peep-toes or cut-out designs that expose the foot, Tangelder said.

The March issue of InStyle magazine devotes a page to a new generation of high-heeled clogs, including styles from Nine West, Chanel, Donald J. Pliner, D&G and Stuart Weitzman.

At ShoeFly at 801 Elmwood Ave., a similar style clog sports a 3-inch heel.

"I would wear them with dresses or a trimmer jean or legging," said owner Sue Marfino.

Many women will recall wearing clogs in the 1970s. Clogs were easy to slip on and off. They weren't the best shoe for racing across campus to class, and your foot could easily slip off the base while stepping off of a curb -- or simply standing.

Still, they went with everything in the casual wardrobe and were heavy enough to toss down the laundry chute to dislodge jammed clothing.

"I remember wearing clogs in the 1980s. They have never completely gone away, but they quieted down. I believe that there was a resurgence about seven years ago and in the last three years, particularly, there has been a clog for all seasons," Tangelder said.

"Now, people want to make them more versatile and use them to make a fashion statement instead of just having a comfort shoe to throw on," she said.

They're still a laid-back shoe, however.

While the distinction may be subtle, a higher vamp and more casual appearance generally separates a clog from, say, a mule -- which can be quite dressy.

As ShoeFly's Marfino put it: "I'd wear clogs to a football game, but I wouldn't wear them to a dressy dinner. I wouldn't wear mules to a football game, but I might wear them out at night."

e-mail: smartin@buffnews.com

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