Dansko Shoes for Women – 21 styles and models that deliver comfort!
Rocker sole clogs may be the first go-to style for women experiencing foot pain, but did you know even the originators of the clog trend in the U.S., a company called Dansko, has expanded beyond clog footwear to include styles such as sandals, heels and athletic shoes? Dansko is a Pennsylvania-based footwear company that helped begin the U.S. clog craze in the 1990s. The husband and wife founders had discovered the amazing comfort which clogs can provide while they were traveling in Europe. If you are not familiar, clogs typically have a stiff, curved bottom that allows your foot to make a rocking movement instead of flexing to take steps. Some have a rounded sole only in the front by the toes. This can help you roll into the step instead of flexing your toes as much. These can be great choices for some women to reduce the plain of plantar fasciitis and hallux rigidus. But at Barking Dog shoes we know that gals who love shoes may want a life beyond rocker clogs!
Dansko: a part of the Barking Dog Shoes story
Dansko clogs are also close to the heart of barkingdogshoes.com, literally helping founder Kirsten Borrink realize that women with problem feet needed an easier way to find comfortable stylish shoes. Borrink was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her 20’s while teaching junior high Spanish. A flare up forced her to adjust from being a very active teacher in her classroom to feeling like her feet had daggers in them when she moved. The pain made basic classroom tasks a painful proposition. No longer was it easy to hand out homework, pace during lessons, or welcome students at the classroom door. Her school made accommodations, even ordering a rolling chair for Borrink to scoot around in. But she was frustrated. Desperate to help her feet and find a way to keep teaching, she spent 30 minutes in a department store known for its impressive shoe collection. It was failed effort! She felt overwhelmed and left without that hoped for pair of shoes to save her feet. Venturing out into her local mall, a helpful clerk at a smaller shoe store took her to the Dansko clog display. Borrink recalls how slipping her feet into a simple black Mary Jane clog provided instant improvement in her foot pain and her worry. It seemed like fate when Borrink turned over the shoe and saw its name…“Kirsten”, the same as her first name.
In 2007 when Borrink began reviewing comfortable shoes for women on barkingdogshoes.com, Dansko clogs figured heavily in the rotation of reviews thanks to their rocker soles and supportive design, many of which are made with stapled construction. Today Dansko has branched out beyond just clogs into 11 different types of footwear for women according to the categories on their website. As they’ve expanded, so have the categories of comfortable shoe reviews that include a pair of Danskos on this blog. Dansko footwear fans are a loyal bunch. Like this post calling them “The Best Shoes in Existence”. We get the ‘love’ for this brand. And we wanted to provide an overview of the types of shoes and styles Dansko makes and offer some of our reviews to help you pick the right pair for your feet.
One other thing to know about Dansko… if you like a collection or style you should buy it sooner rather than later.. as they frequently change and discontinue styles more often than you are prepared for.
Overview of Dansko shoe styles and categories
Professional clogs and Dansko Pro XP
We can’t talk Dansko without talking about the flagship Professional clog. This classic rocker sole is 25 years old and still has the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance and remains a favorite among healthcare professionals. It’s kinda what many women think of as their only option when diagnosed with problem feet. They are surprised when they see the many patterns and colors offered in this traditional comfort shoe, and many also like the 2 inch heels. We’re also happy to be sharing how many styles and options beyond clogs women with feet problems can find even by looking at just Dansko.
Sometimes women are turned away from Dansko because they try the Professional but the sole just feels too hard for their feet. Did you know the Professional comes in a high performance version? Dansko Pro XP clogs have added features including a certified slip resistant sole, plus they come with a triple density (EVA, PU, and memory foam) insole that’s actually removable if you need an orthotic. The Pro XP styles also weigh a bit less than the Professional. They are a few dollars more but many women like the cushier feel of the Pro XP.
Catering to their customer base, the shoemaker recently launched a line of comfortable shoes just for healthcare professionals. The Work Wonders line comes with wipe clean uppers and removable footbeds and non marking soles. We love the potential of the Mary Jane-style Work Wonders Clover. There are definitely mixed reviews online from longtime Dansko wearers as to whether these Work Wonders measure up to the more pricey styles.
We’re excited about the stylish wedges from the Dansko brand. Many have 1 1/2″ sculpted rubber wedge soles. This little bit of heel helps absorb the impact of your steps like a shock absorber. Many women like wedges cause they give you height but still support your foot. Your shoe is completely flat against the ground which can provide more stability than a typical heel. The footbed contains extra memory foam cushioning at heel and forefoot. And some styles come with removable footbeds to accommodate orthotics. Speaking of orthotics, did you know you can search the Dansko website in a category that just includes collections which come with removable footbeds? Other features we love: In the wedges and other Dansko styles the shoe itself may actually be made with a steel shank to provide extra support and stability around the arch area in the middle of the shoes.
For some folks the traditional supportive Dansko clogs can sometimes feel too hard. Readers say options like the Lulu ankle strap wedge are amazingly comfortable. And the wider toe box can accommodate bunions. Read more in my review of the Lulu.
If plantar fasciitis is your issue, several Dansko wedges may be helpful. Check out all the Danskos in my review of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis. You’ll find cool buckle details and even a shoebootie or shootie…depending on what you call it in the Lynn.
When the seasons turn and you need shoes for fall and winter, Dansko now offers several styles of boots for women. You can give your feet a break from clogs in styles like the Maria with its light Scandanavian look. Their stylish boot sections feature built-in arch support and cushioned insoles. And they have a wide calf Dansko boot too!
Shoes for Teachers
As I learned years ago Danskos may save a teaching career. Allowing valuable educators to stay on their feet as they teach like I did with my RA. The Martina with a closed toe and open back is a nice back-to-school and Fall transition shoe.
And I love to see a model just like the ones I discovered in the 1990s for my barking dogs. Check out the Dansko Sam ankle strap clog. You can find these and more in my review of amazing comfortable shoes for teachers (5 styles not to miss)
Dansko for hallux rigidus/hallux limitus
If you’ve got the stiff, sore, or rigid big toe of hallux limitus/hallux rigidus, Danskos can deliver shoes that may help keep you with less pain in the feet. You’ll find the Mabel in my reviews of cute shoes for hallux rigidus.
The best footwear for this condition will have a roomy and higher toe box to keep pressure off the big toe joint. You’ll also need shoes with a rigid sole to keep the big toe from bending past its limited range of motion. Readers say the Mabel is among the styles that have a stiff forefoot but don’t look like orthopedic shoes. And the insole is cushioned.
I’ll give a shout out to the Dansko professional woven for protecting the stiff toe joint of hallus limitus. The rocker sole helps protect the area as you step and the roomy and high toe box don’t put pressure on the joint. Some who feel too structured in a clog may prefer the Pro XP with its more cushy and more lightweight style. Some color and size combos come in narrow and wide widths too!
Heels and Sandals
Most podiatrists recommend shoes with at least a half-inch heel but no more than an inch or two. Heels from this maker come with cushy insoles and other features to provide support. You might enjoy the Debby healed sandal when temperatures warm or a warm destination vacation is calling your name. For gals dealing with bunions, the Dansko Joanie is a platform sandal with support and adjustability across bunions. If bunions are bugging your shoe search you can see more bunion-friendly shoes in my review of best shoes for bunions.
I’ve been recommending Dansko sandals for years. Many have their signature rocker bottle sole which helps roll your foot forward. This extra support may also help those with metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain) or a neuroma. They also feature comfy padded insoles and adjustable straps, such as the Mabel. You can also check out Dansko’s Spring 2016 collection for styles and colors you may love.
If you need support for activities like walking the dog and getting the kids from school, you might consider sport clog type styles from Dansko. Our review of the Celeste highlights the rubber non-skid outsole and removable insole which could allow for an orthotic. These supportive sporty styles may work for women with plantar fasciitis and hallux limitus/rigidus.
Similarly you may wish to consider the walking shoes offered by Dansko. The Shayla is no longer available in wide release but our review highlights some of the built-in features that may keep your feet comfortable walking in this brand.
Finding the right fit
We should note that Danskos are sized according to ‘Europeon whole sizing’. Most retailers will have conversion chart but we didn’t want you to be thrown off when you see your choices as sizes 35-40.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the shoes are made, the Dansko website has a special page devoted to the process of making their shoes from design thru heading out the door for delivery to their 2,800 independent, national and online retailers.
More to come
Dansko just started its next quarter century and we look forward to continuing our reviews. We’ve heard buzz about new oxfords… the open back Linda and the lace up Louise. And as often as the Dansko lines change, they’ll always offer new comfortable supportive shoes to consider for problem feet.
Their website now includes categories for rain boots and even flats. We look forward to sharing our reviews and experiences with the expanding line of shoes from this beloved maker.
We’d love to hear from you. What Dansko shoes are your favorites? And what feet problems have they helped with?
Feel free to comment on our blogs and posts, or join our active Barking Dog Shoes Facebook community to share your sole… or favorite pair.
Note: the above content is not intended to be medical advice or substitute for seeking the advice of a qualified medical professional. We’re talking shoes here.