Clog (shoe)
A clog is a type of footwear
Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations....

 made in part or completely from wood.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a clog as a "thick piece of wood", and later as a "wooden soled overshoe" and a "shoe with a thick wooden sole".
Clogs are found in three main varieties: whole foot, wooden soled and overshoes. Whole foot clogs make the complete shoe out of wood, such as the familiar Dutch pattern clogs. Wooden soled clogs use wood for the sole only, the uppers are made from leather or similar material (for instance Swedish and English clogs). Overshoes are wooden soles with straps designed to be worn over other footwear for protection.

Whole foot clogs need to be close fitting and can be secured by curling the toes. Wooden soled clogs are fastened by laces or buckles on the welt and therefore the toes are relaxed as in shoes. Most clogs have a rounded sole, the toe rising upwards. This enables the wearer to roll the foot when walking or running, rather than flexing it as with shoes. Some overshoes do not have this feature, relying instead on raised "feet" on the sole about which the foot can pivot.

Clogs were traditionally worn in heavy labor. They remain in use as protective clothing in some factories
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

, mine
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

s and farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

s. Wooden soled clogs may have steel toecaps and/or steel reinforcing inserts in the undersides of the soles. Whole foot clogs can give sufficient protection to be used without additional reinforcements.

Several different styles of dance use clogs. When worn for dancing an important feature is the sound of the clog against the floor. This is one of the fundamental roots of tap, but with the tap shoes the taps are free to click against each other and produce different sound to clogs.


The origin of wooden footwear in Europe is not precisely known. De Boer-Olij reference to the high, thick-soled boots of the Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 tragedy actors in Antiquity (the buskin
A buskin is a knee- or calf-length boot made of leather or cloth which laces closed, but is open across the toes. It was worn by Athenian tragic actors, hunters and soldiers in Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman societies....

) and to the shoes worn by Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 soldiers (the caligae
Caligae are heavy-soled hob-nailed military boots worn by Roman legionary soldiers and auxiliaries throughout the Roman Republic and Empire. Worn by all ranks up to and including centurions, no other shoes in history stand as much symbol for the expansion of an empire than the famed caligae...

). However, there is a possibility that the Celtic and Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 peoples from Southern- and Northern Europe were familiar with some sort of wooden foot covering. Archeological finds of these are not known. Wooden footwear often ended up as firewood and, because of its nature, wood will rot away in the long run. The oldest surviving wooden footwear in Europe is found in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 and Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and dates from 1230 and 1280. These finds look very similar to the wooden shoes as they are still worn in The Netherlands.

Since wooden footwear was a hand-made product, the shape of the footwear, as well as its production process showed great local and regional diversity in style. At the beginning of the 20th century machine-made wooden footwear was introduced. After WW2, in particular, wooden shoes disappeared from sight. They were replaced by more fashionable, all-leather and synthetic footwear. At present, only the so-called Swedish clogs (wooden bottom and leather top) is still seen as a trendy fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

 item. Often as ladies’ high heel boots. Nevertheless, traditional wooden footwear is still popular in several regions in Europe and with some occupations. This for its practical use. Some historic local variations have been replaced by national models today.


The French wooden shoe or clog (sabot) was, in the 18th and 19th century, associated with the lower classes. During this period, the years of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, the word sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

gained currency. Allegedly derived from sabot, sabotage described the actions of disgruntled workers who willfully damaged workplace machinery by throwing their sabots into the works. However, according to some accounts, sabot-clad workers were simply considered less productive than others who had switched to leather shoes, roughly equating the term "sabotage" with "inefficiency".


German clogs are like Dutch and French clogs in that they cover the top of the foot. Compare them to Swedish or British clogs which have wooden soles and leather uppers.


Clogs are traditional also in northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 and southern Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, where they are part of the traditional local costumes. In Friuli, clogs are called, palotis, galosis or dalminis. They are traditionally made with an upward-pointing wooden sole and a leather hood.


Because of the long association of Dutch people and clogs, Dutch people are sometimes nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

d clog-wearers or cloggies (although in England this term can refer to Lancashire, see below). The long association of the Dutch with wooden clogs can be traced to the traditional creation myths of ancient Germanic tribes who originally occupied the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Today, Dutch clogs are primarily a beloved tourist souvenir
A souvenir , memento, keepsake or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. The term souvenir brings to mind the mass-produced kitsch that is the main commodity of souvenir and gift shops in many tourist traps around the world...


Despite the fact that most Dutch no longer wear klompen (clogs) for everyday use, clogs remain popular among farmers
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

, market gardeners and gardeners
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

. The traditional all-wooden Dutch clogs have been officially accredited as safety shoes with the CE mark
CE mark
CE marking is a mandatory conformity mark for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area . With the CE marking on a product the manufacturer ensures that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives...

 and can withstand almost any penetration including sharp objects and/or concentrated acids. They are actually safer than steelcapped protective shoes in some circumstances, as the wood cracks rather than dents in extreme accidents, allowing easy removal of the clog and not continued pressure on the toes by the (edge of) the steel nose. Some of the Dutch also consider wearing clogs as being healthy for the wearers' feet.


In Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

, Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

 and Galicia, the self-governing territories
Autonomous communities of Spain
An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

 in northwestern Spain, there is a long tradition of making and wearing clogs. 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
A tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object. The word comes from the Greek tripous, meaning "three feet". A tripod provides stability against downward forces, horizontal forces and moments about the...

. This is said to be useful when working outside or in the barn. These clogs are still worn in many rural northern Spanish villages today. Traditionally, this form of clog is worn as a patten
-People:*Alice Patten, English actress, daughter of Chris Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes*Arthur B. Patten, American clergyman and author of books, hymn texts and poems*Barry Patten , Australian Olympic alpine skier and architect...

-type overshoe: the dirty clog being kicked off at the door before entering the house (a slipper is worn inside the clog).


The Swedish Clog has gained recognition as being one of the more popular styles of clogs. This is mostly due to the vast popularity Swedish clogs received in the 1970s and 80s. This popular trend phased out; however, the Swedish clog style remains a commonly worn footwear. Historically, Swedish clogs were a simple construction of a leather upper secured to a wooden footbed. Although the quality has considerably changed since, the basic construction of the Swedish clog still remains today.

United Kingdom

In England, slats of wood held in place by thonging or similar strap
A strap, sometimes also called strop, is an elongated flap or ribbon, usually of fabric or leather.Thin straps are used as part of clothing or baggage, or bedding such as a sleeping bag. See for example spaghetti strap, shoulder strap...

ping 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
Effluent is an outflowing of water or gas from a natural body of water, or from a human-made structure.Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as “wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers...

 and animal dung
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

. Those too poor to afford shoe
A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

s 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
Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

, Scottish birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 and Lincolnshire willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 for the soles. The Welsh favoured alder
Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

, birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 & sycamore
Sycamore is a name which is applied at various times and places to three very different types of trees, but with somewhat similar leaf forms....

. 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. Men and women wore laced and clasped clogs respectively, the fastening clasps being of engraved brass. Nailed under the sole at toe and heel were clog irons, called calkers or cokers, 3/8" wide x 1/4" thick with a groove down the middle to protected the nail heads from wear. The heyday of the clog in Britain was between the 1840s and 1920s and, although traditionally associated with Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, they were worn all over the country, not just in the industrial North of England.

The Cloggies
The Cloggies
The Cloggies, an Everyday Saga in the Life of Clog Dancing Folk, was a long-running cartoon by Bill Tidy that ran in the satirical magazine Private Eye from 1967 to 1981, and later in The Listener from 1985 to 1986. It gently satirised northern British male culture, and introduced a shocked nation...

 was a long running cartoon strip satirising Northerners. The cartoon popularised the existing use of cloggie to refer to people from the Northern industrial areas, particularly Lancashire.

Although associated in the popular mind with dancing, clogs are still used in industry and are available tested to EN345. Such clogs are particularly advantageous in metal working industries where hot swarf or spashes of molten metal may be found on the floor.


Clog dancing should not be confused with Morris dancing
Morris dance
Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and bells may also be wielded by the dancers...

 which may be performed in clogs.

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
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. 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.


To prevent their long kimonos
The is a Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. The word "kimono", which literally means a "thing to wear" , has come to denote these full-length robes...

 and yukatas
A is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton. People wearing yukata are a common sight in Japan at fireworks displays, bon-odori festivals, and other summer events. The yukata is also frequently worn after bathing at traditional Japanese inns...

 from getting dirty, Japanese
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 people traditionally wear elevated wooden footwear called getas. This sandals
Sandals are an open type of outdoor footwearSandal may also refer to:* Sandal Castle, site of the Battle of Wakefield in the Wars of the Roses* Sandal, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England* Sandal, Afghanistan* Šandal, village in Slovakia...

 type of wooden footwear is worn bare footed, although in winter sometimes toe socks (tabi
are traditional Japanese socks. Ankle-high and with a separation between the big toe and other toes, they are worn by both men and women with zori, geta, and other traditional thonged footwear. Tabi are also essential with traditional clothing—kimono and other wafuku as well as being worn by...

) are used. Getas remain popular and are in summer time also worn with Western clothing.

Overshoe clogs

Patten (shoe)
Pattens are protective overshoes worn in Europe from the Middle Ages until the early 20th century. Pattens were worn outdoors over a normal shoe, held in place by leather or cloth bands, with a wooden or later wood and metal sole...

 are an overshoe variant of sandals or clogs meant to protect other footwear by either covering or elevating it above the street.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Swedish clogs became popular fashion accessories for both sexes. They were usually worn without socks and were considered suitable attire for the avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....


In the 1980s and 1990s clogs based on Swedish clogs returned in fashion for women. Platform clogs or sandals, often raised as high as 6 or even 8 inches right through between sole and insole, were worn in many western countries. The 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.

In 2007 Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf is an Amsterdam-based fashion house. The company was founded in 1993 by designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren .- History :...

 introduced high heeled Dutch clogs on the catwalk, with their winter collection of 2007/08. In 2010, Swedish clogs for women returned again in Chanel's
Chanel S.A. is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods . She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France...

 and Louis Vuitton's
Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Malletier – commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton , or shortened to LV – is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label is well known for its LV monogram, which is featured on most products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes,...

 Spring / Summer 2010 collection.

External links

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