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Clogs a Shoe-In for All Walks of Man

Physicians, Chefs, Even Mechanics, Turn to the Soothing Footwear

November 20, 1998|BETTIJANE LEVINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Check it out. Some of the most elite men's feet in L.A. are into clogs. The unique Scandinavian shoes are showing up all over town, on men in work clothes, workout clothes, evening clothes and three-piece suits with ties.

At hospitals in Pasadena, Orange County and L.A., doctors in and out of surgery are standing tall on the wood or polyurethane platforms that claim to be the last word in comfort--starting at the soles and radiating up from there.

"It's a unique feeling when you wear clogs," says Cecilia Tidlund, (a.k.a. the Queen of Clogs), owner of the Clog-Master shop on La Cienega in L.A.

Her diverse customer list includes celeb-chef Wolfgang Puck, actor Anthony Edwards (Dr. Greene on TV's "ER"), Brian May of the band Queen, and Ira Steven Behr, executive producer of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9."

Screenwriter Mitch Markowitz of Pacific Palisades walks his dachshund every day in Tidlund's clogs.

"The feeling of feet rolling on wood is out of this world," he says.

But it's not just the entertainment industry that's awash in clogs, Tidlund says.

"Anybody who is on their feet a lot: kitchen staff, hairstylists, artists, musicians, auto mechanics--they are tossing out athletic shoes in favor of wooden soles." Tidlund prefers the traditional wood version because "you can't demolish or flatten wood. It keeps you aligned and standing straight, relaxing the 26 bones, 33 joints and 38 muscles in each foot."

At the Birkenstock shop on Melrose in West Hollywood, owner Simon Setton says his "brisk business" in men's clogs includes orders from as far as Tokyo and as close as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a few blocks away.

He says cameramen, directors, chefs and others who stand on their feet a lot have taken to clogs as "a way of life. They develop a real passion" for the fit and feel, Setton says. "They get hooked on them and won't wear anything else." Maybe it starts out being just for comfort, he says, but "men become used to the way they look as well, and so it has turned it into a big fashion thing."

Dr. George Weinberger, a gynecologist in L.A., says that except for a pair of running shoes, his entire shoe wardrobe is composed of Clog-Master clogs.

"I started wearing them for comfort when I was an intern," he says. "Now I don't own anything else. I wear clogs everywhere, every day. When I dress up in a tuxedo, I wear my black dress clogs."

Steve Martin--not the actor, this one works for California Celebrations, an event planning firm--says: "I'm on my feet 13 hours a day, setting up parties, cooking, helping run the event. I couldn't do it without clogs; my back would give out. My girlfriend complains that it's the only kind of shoes I ever wear. But she will never get me to stop."

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