The Dutch and wooden shoes

Did the Dutch ever actually wear wooden shoes? If so, when and why?

(I find it hard to believe that wood was the best material available for shoes.)

Swampy ground + lots of trees = wooden shoes See Here for details.

My Dutch friend tells me they’re excellent for working in a muddy garden. They’re still worn today for that purpose.

Although not quite the same, wooden soled shoes (or clogs) were worn in the industrial parts of Northern England. I have heard people reminiscing on television saying that one of their enduring memories of childhood was hearing the sound of these clogs on the cobble-stoned streets as the workers were walking to and from the factories and mills.

Here is a link :- clog making

I second what Garry T says altho’, I suspect it was not the same friend.

I also have a pair of clogs that were worn by my grandfather, a vicar in rural north Wales.

They still wear them. When I was in the Netherlands, we went to a place where they were making them. They are used in industrial plants (very comfortable, which I can vouch for, and extremely strong…like all over steel boots!), for gardening and just milling about. It’s really cool to watch them being produced. I almost bought a pair, but decided they wouldn’t get too much use, and it would be a waste of 40 Euro.

My daughter clumps around in a pair that my son brought her from Holland.

I used to wear a variant of them in Sweden, as did just about everyone else, they are very popular workwear and almost everyone in health care institutions wears them.

The Swedish ones have leather uppers and woodenTräskor soles.

Those Swedish shoes sound very much like the English “clogs” I mentioned further up this thread. Glad to here that they are still around.

Oh yes, clogs are definitely still around in Scandinavia. My sister-in-law who works in a hospital lab has a pair with white leather uppers for work, and many gardening-mad folks I know have a pair for puttering around outside in.

It seems to me that wooden soles on shoes were popular over much of north-western Europe at one time, because they helped to keep feet dry in a damp climate. The only difference between the stereotypical Dutch shoes and those their neighbors were wearing is in the uppers; the Dutch shoes are carved entirely from one piece of wood, while in the rest of the region the top portion would be made of leather or canvas.

Hence the Dutch name for this type of footwear, “klompen”. Klomp klomp klomp. :slight_smile:

And yes, you can buy handmade wooden klompen in many places in the Netherlands. They’re sold in tourist traps, of course, but some real people wear them in real life too. Very durable!

Modern clogs are also popular with health care professionals in the US. They are made by brands like Dankso.

Also, the French at the time of inustrialization wore a kind of wooden shoe called a “sabot.” Hence our terms, saboteur and sabotage, so called for the shoes thrown into the machinery to foul it and prevent production.

The wooden-soled shoes worn in the Industrial North of England were also used by clog-dancers. Troops of these performers, akin to Morris Dancers, are still active. I have heard that modern-day tap-dancing could be descended from clog dancing.

Here is a link :- Clog Dancing

My girlfriend’s father was born in Holland and she got to go last year to visit some family. Yep, they still wear them and my gf says they’re extremely comfortable.

I should have had her bring me a pair. Shoot.

There is a clog factory not all that far from me, you can go in and watch the manufacture.

Clogs were worn in heavy industry around this area until fairly recently, up to the 1950’s and a little beyond, and children went to school some while into the 60’s.

They were pretty cool to wear as well, get lots of segs in them and slide down concrete ramps, leaves lots of scoring marks, which didn’t endear you to the ramps owner, but the sparks were amusing.

Forgot to mention that I used to live in Whitby, a former fishing town on the Yorkshire coast, and in summer the town’s harbour would be filled to bursting point with Dutch trawlermen, all ‘Klumping’ around in their klumpers.

Are they comfortable (the traditional wooden-upper ones, that is). It seems to me they’d be very very rigid and wouldn’t mold to your foot, and that your toes and ankles would be rubbed raw. Are they usually worn with socks?

Daughter never complains about them, she’s not here now to ask.
The Swedish ones were odd at firs but were quickly adjusted to and wlking in conventional shoes then becomes a bit odd.

The Dutch fishermen always wore thick socks, Laura just wears ordinary socks.