A Tale as Old as Time: The History of Clogs

A Tale as Old as Time: The History of Clogs

There is a story hidden within the crisp lines and smooth curves of a Swedish clog. In fact, it is a beloved cultural icon that represents the pride of a nation.

Few clothing and shoe designs celebrate such a storied history like the iconic wooden clog. In fact, the first clogs can be traced to the 1300s.

The first guild of clog makers date back to 1570 in Holland, and people in the Netherlands have been wearing the wooden shoes for more than 700 years. But back then, function was emphasized over form and clogs were regarded as protective footwear in the field instead of the high fashion runways of the modern era.

Most worn out wooden footwear of centuries past wound up as fire wood, so little documentation has been found aside from works of art and illustration.

By the time of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, clogs were popular throughout Europe, and there are theories that clog dancing got its humble start when workers passed time by using their wooden soles to tap syncopated rhythms on the factory floor. It is said that this also inspired the creation of modern tap dancing.

The current incarnation of clogs date back to the 1970s, the decade that also bestowed upon us the maxi dress. In the 70s, clogs really took off thanks in part to the Swedish super group, ABBA. Suddenly, clogs were unisex and seemingly everywhere. ABBA even released their own line of clogs and then, a song that translates to mean “The Clog People.”

Today, even as we apply modern trends to such definitive footwear, clogs maintain their appeal by delivering on comfort. The more you wear them, the better they seem to look. No matter what the revolving door of fads reveal, there remains the classic designs of clogs that surpass such fleeting popularity.


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