Friday, January 8, 2016

Who Invented Wooden Clogs?

Who Invented Wooden Clogs?

Clogs may be a fun, breezy fashion statement today, but they were once the fashion equivalent of the steel-toed boot. Some of the first clogs, wooden shoes invented by the Dutch, were worn out of necessity rather than beauty. Since their early birth in Europe, clogs of every type have surged into mainstream fashion and are now made of a variety of materials. Once a staple, wooden clogs have now become more of a rarity unless, of course, folks trek to the fishing docks and marshy fields of the Netherlands.


    The clog kicked off as the durable, impenetrable work shoe in the fields of France and the Netherlands. The shoe was called a "sabot" in French and a "klompen" in Dutch, the site said, and their main purpose was utilitarian. With the heavy material and closed design, the sabots or klompens kept feet clean, dry and shielded from the dangerous farm tools that could otherwise stab through a foot top or slice off a toe. The clogs were so popular with the Dutch that they wore them to special festivities, too. Rather than trudge about in the old farm clogs, however, a Dutch person would usually have a special pair that were painted in fine patterns or otherwise enhanced with decoration.

Time Frame

    Clogs were first worn in the marshes and farmlands of the French and Dutch in the early 1900s. The Dutch preferred the purely wooden variety while the French attached leather to a wooden base. Clogs popped up again in the trenches of World War I, worn by soldiers forced to endure great lengths of time in muck and mire. The 1960s kicked clogs into high gear in the fashion world, with cork-heeled platform clogs all the rage. Since the 1960s, clogs have tromped through the fashion scene as a versatile, stylish shoe that is now found in all colors, styles and materials.


    The clog has gone many miles since the early days of the simple wooden shoe. Clogs are now readily available in leather, wool, light fabrics, canvas, faux fur and even rubber. Often the top is connected to a sturdy rubber, wood or other stable base. Some, like the rubber clogs, may be made of the same material through and through. The clog can have either an opened or closed back and include numerous embellishments from buckles to bangles to a smattering of feathers.


    Wooden clogs were once associated with the lower class and are still worn by manual laborers in the Netherland today. They were a shoe made from rough, cheap materials that could be fashioned inexpensively by hand. Clogs were still chiefly made by hand up through the 1910s. Folks would never catch a queen in a clog, nor are they found very often on Hollywood's red carpet. Even those made of materials other than wood remain fairly clunky, chunky and lack the elegance of a delicate open-toed sandal or the sleekness of a high-heeled boot.


    While clogs may be dandy for traipsing about at a walking pace, they are not made to run in. A major danger is having the shoe slide out from beneath your foot in mid-stride, causing you to stumble and fall. Open-backed clogs are also pretty dreary in the rain, with the back of the foot exposed to the elements. The harder-soled clogs also sometimes lack a cushy arch support for the foot and can be uncomfortable unless they are properly broken in or until the foot gets used to such a contraption. Full wooden clogs don't allow any air to circulate around the foot, causing great bouts of sweaty feet that may also begin to smell.

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