Bedrock by bike pioneer & maker of high end bike bags, Ronnie aka Ultraromance, offers behind-the-scenes reportage on some clog R&D in his home state of Connecticut. Read below for some fun commentary on the makings of your new favorite cool weather bike footwear. Follow Ronnie on @Ultraromance and @Ronsbikes.
Troy has been my loyal riding partner for well over a decade now here in the mild wilds of our tiny state of Connecticut along the long tidal river of our states namesake. We developed our bodies and dedicated ourselves to a 50/50 chill to ride ratio years ago; something that came intuitively to Troy, but less to me as a recovering, shaved from the waist down road racer.
Troy, a recovering art schooler (scholar?) had never worn spandex (aside from revealing swimsuits) before — and he’d certainly never used the stiff, performance oriented, bicycle specific shoes that (for someone like me at the time) would be seen as mandatory equipment for anyone calling themselves a “serious cyclist”. No shoes no spandex no service. Then came the penultimate podiatry moment that I changed our lives and foot tan lines forever. I suspect many of you who are reading this had a similar moment yourselves … your first bike ride in Bedrocks. A bit shy at first … does the world deserve to see my feet?? A few more pedal strokes, and you settle into the sensations— flex the toes and the air massages between them … a gentle salt and vinegar waft to remind you it might be time for a shower. Socks are old news, and rainy riding / stream crossings no longer mean trench foot on a long ride. Circulation returns to your feet after decades of squeezing them into ballerina fit cycling shoes, and the transformation is complete!
Troy feeling the breeze
The Author, Ronnie, Also feeling the breeze by bike.
Along with the occasional toes meet rocks n’ sticks, the only other problem was what to wear in cold weather, work, and most formal occasions. Were these elements ready for a shameless open toe manifesto?? To some of you, the answer is/was “yes, YES!”, but many of you I am sure are unsure at best. A few years ago, pre pandemic, Bedrock co-founder and fellow Connectican, Dan, let me in on a bombshell of an orthopedic podiatry industry insiders secret...Bedrock was working on a clog! I can remember fist pumping out loud at that email, something I usually reserve for dinner being ready. To understand this emotion, know that my go-to winter and formal event footwear has been the athletically imperfect German iteration. It’s actually an okay riding shoe, but when things get wet and peppery, the cork midsole and soft rubber just do not hold up to the continued abuse. A performance version of this by Bedrock was just what my size 13’s were looking for. Dan told me they would be years away… I was in for the long wait.
Troy took to riding in sandals intuitively. He chose Bedrocks for the majority of his year round rides; sometimes pushing into the 30s with those weird split toe socks. Several other cyclists I know, including myself do the same things … just showing off our (speaking mostly for me) weird feet to the world year round wondering if we should accessorize with matching anklets. Dan started sending me spy photos a year later, and they really looked promising. Every other email correspondence we’ve had since then I would bring up the performance clog to try and get some investigative journalism hot takes for the throngs of performance cloggers waiting in the wings, but as things go post 2020, every thing takes a long long time, and I went through 2 more pairs of low performing cork n’ leather clogs.
Spy photos from the Bedrock crew in MT
Then, just as the late autumn chill began to tickle the toes in 2021, I received an email with some photos and a query as to if I knew of anyone who was a size ……… wait…. 9. They had a size 9 sample. Waawaaawaaa welp, that’s certainly not me…. But Troy! I instantly got excited knowing how much Troy would appreciate being a performance clog test athlete. I was not wrong. As you can see in the accompanied photo set, he wore these leather sample clogs allllll through the winter. “4 season all terrain” was the touted consensus, and he would routinely comment on how warm and well circulated his feet were while most of us in constrictive normal shoes were feeling quite the opposite. The large toe box and breathability of a clog lets your toes move without compressing your wool socks, venting out the rear while blocking the wind from the front. Think of clogs on a bike as an engine vent scoop on a sports car — a full sized sedan in my case.
Fall Friendship Ride
There were a few instances in the snow and slush where Troy would put a foot down and flood his precious clogs, but other than that, his footwear choice was the envy of our ride group for all but the harshest cold and boggy conditions. They looked handsome enough for work, and functioned as Troy’s every day footwear on and off the bike. The tacky PRO outsole grips the pedal like a used car salesman’s handshake, and the tensioning system kept his foot in place with the same assurance as the venerable Cairns Pro sandal. Lightweight and breathable — and a few less bloody and bludgeoned toes for those who have the tendencies.
Wow, what a sales pitch by someone who’s feet are too big to be able to participate in this prestigious performance podiatry science for athletes. This is a common reality for a plus sized foot model, but the world is changing — looking forward to getting into a pair before late fall sock season 2022!
*update* the world is changing! After sending this in for edits, the folks at Bedrock found an unusually large piece of leather in the back of their factory — large enough to make me a pair. I just returned from a 5 mile trail run in them. They feel like performance clogs alllright! They also excel at sitting on the couch.
February 20, 2023
Hi Janis – both can handle getting wet but not designed as water shoes. Here’s a comparison between styles on our FAQ Page https://bedrocksandals.com/pages/mountain-clog-faq