America’s coolest clogs are handcrafted just 40 minutes north of the Twin Cities. Sven Original, located in Chisago City, produces some of the most fashionable shoes ever to clomp the concrete in Brooklyn. (Those No. 6 clogs worn by all the hip mamas in Park Slope? Yup, #MNmade.) Sven also makes comfy styles that work for chefs, nurses, and anyone else who stands on their feet all day.
The company was founded in 1974 by master cobbler Sven Carlsson; he learned the ropes at 174-year-old Sandgrens in Påryd, Sweden. Carlsson eventually sold Sven to Marie Rivers, a former factory seamstress who runs the business to this day. Her output remains consistent thanks to rock-solid construction and quality materials — sheepskin from Texas, wooden bases from Sweden and Austria, etc.
Sven makes clogs for men, women, and children in every imaginable style (sandals, mules, flats, boots) and print (leopard, floral, polka dots, holographic). The base is the big difference: One version is made with lightweight wood and a bendable polyurethane sole that doesn’t skid or squeak when you walk. The other, with glued-on wooden souls, is more traditionally Swedish. They’re Clydesdale-on-cobblestone noisy but offer best-in-class arch support.
Though you can order Svens online, clogs are best tried on in person because the sizing varies so wildly. And now is a great time to go: Sven’s annual summer sale wraps up on August 3 at 6 p.m. We were worried the selection would be picked over five days into the sale but still found tables and racks overflowing with $40 clogs. Everything else in the shop is 20 percent off, too, including kicks from Minnetonka Moccasin and Red Wing Shoes.
For our final haul, Andrew Parks scored handsome navy kitchen clogs for $40 and Ashlea Halpern made out like a bandit with shearling-lined mid-heel clog boots for $99 (usual retail price: $385).
If you can’t make it to Chisago City this summer, mark your calendar for Sven’s next big sale — slated for Black Friday. Or stop by the outlet seven days a week to browse its regular selection or to order a pair of custom clogs, starting at $83 for kids and $185 for adults.
Sven Factory Outlet Store
10000 Lake Blvd., Chisago City, MN; 651-257-4598.