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Plain willow-wood Dutch clogs, for everyday use

Clogs are a type of footwear. There are four main types of clogs. Clogs can be a type of shoe or sandal made predominantly out of wood. They can be a type of heavy boot or shoe with sides, uppers and typically thick wooden soles, and may have steel toecaps and/or steel reinforcing inserts in the undersides of the soles. A clog can also be a special kind of shoe worn while clog-dancing (clogging). They are similar to tap shoes, but the taps are free to click against each other, therefore producing a different sound than tap shoes. Nowadays, "clogs" also mean comfortable slip-on shoes. They are often made out of leather, but some clogs keep the bottom part out of wood. All-rubber clogs are often worn while gardening, because they can be easily hosed off and allowed to air-dry. Some clogs come with heels, and are usually distinguished from mules by their higher vamp. It is commonly accepted that men and women can wear low-heeled or high-heeled clogs.

Clogs were, and in some regions still are, widely worn by workers as protective clothing in factories, mines and farms.

Contents

Traditional clogs in Europe

Clog museum, Porcheresse en Ardenne, Belgium

Traditional clogs are made out of many different species of wood (willow, poplar, birch, beech, alder wood).

They are associated with the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden (though Swedish clogs do not resemble Dutch clogs) as part of the touristic "Holland"/Sweden image, where they are seen as a form of national dress.

Dutch Clogs

Native girls in clogs c.1890
Dutch man with clogs walking on ice

Because of the long association of Dutch people, especially rural workers, and clogs, Dutch people are sometimes nicknamed cloggies or clog-wearers. The traditional all-wooden Dutch klompen (clogs) have been officially accredited as safety shoes with the CE mark and can withstand almost any penetration including sharp objects and/or concentrated acids. The long association of Dutch with wooden clogs can be traced to the traditional creation myths of ancient Germanic Tribes who originally occupied modern Holland. Today, Dutch clogs are primarily a beloved tourist souvenir. Despite the fact that most Dutch no longer wear klompen for everyday use, clogs remain popular by people working in their gardens, farms and by planters. The Dutch also consider wearing clogs as being healthy for the wearers' feet.

United Kingdom

In England slats of wood held in place by thonging or similar strapping were known as "Pattens" and they were usually worn over leather or fabric shoes to raise the wearer's foot above the mud of the unmade road, not to mention commonly dumped human effluent and animal dung. Those too poor to afford shoes wore wood directly against the skin, and thus the clog was developed, made of part leather and part wood. The English tended to employ Welsh and West Country alder, Scottish birch and Lincolnshire willow for the soles. The Welsh favoured alder, birch & sycamore.[1] for their clog soles.

The wearing of clogs in Britain really took off with the Industrial Revolution, when workers in the mills, mines, iron, steel, and chemical works, workshops and factories needed strong, cheap footwear. The heyday of the clog in Britain was between 1840s and 1920s and, although traditionally associated with Lancashire, they were worn all over the country, not just in the industrial North of England.[2]

France

A Swedish clog

The French wooden shoe or clog (sabot) was associated in the 18th and 19th century with the lower classes. From this period, the word sabotage gained currency, allegedly derived from sabot reportedly describing how disgruntled workers damaged workplace machinery in France by tossing their shoes into the machinery mechanisms. However, according to some accounts, sabot-clad workers were simply considered less productive than others who had switched to leather shoes, roughly equating early use of the term sabotage with inefficiency.[3]

Italy

Clogs are traditional also in Northern Italy and southern Switzerland, where they are part of the traditional local costumes. In Friûl, clogs are called, palotis, galosis or dalminis. They are traditionally made with an upward pointing wooden sole and a leather hood.

Spain

Clogs of Cantabria (Spain)

In Asturias, Cantabria and Galicia, the self-governing territories in northwestern Spain, there is a long tradition of clog-making and wearing. These Asturian and Cantabrian clogs are unusual in that they have two 'feet' on the ball of the foot (see picture of the Cantabrian clog, below); so that with the heel, the whole clog is elevated from the ground as a short elevated tripod. This is said to be useful when working outside or in the barn. These clogs are still worn in many rural northern Spanish pueblos today. Traditionally, this form of clog is worn as a patten-type overshoe: the dirty clog kicked off at the door before entering the house (a slipper is worn inside the clog).

Clog-dancing

Traditional Lancashire clogs, used for clogging
Traditional Lancashire clogs with plastic on toe and heel to increase clogging volume

There is a theory that clogging or clog dancing arose in these industrial textiles mills as a result of the mill workers entertaining themselves by syncopating foot taps with the rhythmic sounds made by the loom shuttles. Clog dancing became a widespread pastime during this period in England. During the nineteenth century, competitions were held and professional clog dancers performed in the music halls.

Clog dancing is a continuing tradition in Wales. The difference between Welsh clogging and other step dance traditions is that the performance will not only include complicated stepping, but also 'tricks'. For example, snuffing out a lit candle with the dancer's feet, toby stepping - similar to Cossack dancing— and high leaps into the air.

Clog fighting

Clog fighting, known in Lancashire as 'purring', was a combative means of settling disputes. Clog fighting and its associated betting by spectators was illegal.

It is all up and down fighting here. They fought quite naked, excepting their clogs. When one has the other down on the ground he first endeavors to choke him by squeezing his throat, then he kicks him on the head with his clogs. Sometimes they are very severely injured.
Chris Brady[4]

Overshoe clogs

Pattens are an overshoe variant of sandals or clogs meant to protect other footwear by either covering or elevating it above the street. Geta are Japanese elevated-sole wooden-shoes worn outside the house, and are also worn in Korea and elsewhere.

Clogs in 1970s fashion

Swedish clogs became popular fashion accessories in the 1970s and 1980s for both sexes. They were usually worn without socks and were considered suitable attire for the avant-garde man.

Platform clogs in 1980s and 1990s fashion

Based on the clog model, platform clogs or sandals, often raised as high as 6 or even 8 inches right through between sole and insole, were another fashion of the 1980s and 90s in many western countries for women. This large mid layer was often made of solid cork, although some were merely of plastic with a cork covering. The sole, more often than not, was made of a light sandy-colored rubber. Some of the platforms of these clogs were encompassed about with a string-laced effect.

Images

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Traditional English Clogs Retrieved on 28 October 2oo8
  2. ^ A brief history of English clogs Retrieved on 28 October 2008
  3. ^ The I.W.W.: Its First Seventy Years, 1905-1975, Fred W. Thompson and Patrick Murfin, 1976, page 81.
  4. ^ Brady, C. (2007-11-12). "Up and Down Fighting". English Clogging. http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/clogmaker/clogmaker2.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-28.  

References

  • Shoes and Pattens: Finds from Medieval Excavations in London ISBN 0-85115-838-2
  • Stepping through Time, Archeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800, ISBN 90-801044-6-9

External links








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