WOODEN SHOES (Klompen)
All Dutch people are required by law to wear wooden shoes. Okay, I made that up. The image of a happy Dutch couple wearing wooden clogs in front of a windmill is an enduring stereotype even if it is far from the truth. However, wooden shoes or klompen are still manufactured, sold and worn by people in the Netherlands. They are also one of the most popular items for tourists to bring back from Holland.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Wooden shoes have a long history and can be traced back to the earliest recorded history all over Europe. Wooden shoes were worn by the early Germanic tribes that occupied Holland. People wore clogs because they were sturdy and cheaper than shoes made from leather. In Holland, where the ground was very swampy, wooden shoes were ideal because they were watertight and easy to kick on and off when going about daily chores. Artisans from various regions of Holland placed special marks on their clogs which gave them their own unique appearance. Over time, wooden shoes became a part of the Dutch national identity.
HOW WOODEN SHOES ARE MADE
Originally, wooden shoes were made by hand by special artisans. Special carving tools were used to shape the shoes and to hollow out the insides. This time consuming process allowed a shoe maker to produce only three pairs of klompen each day. Over the years, special manufacturing tools were invented that allowed shoemakers to turn out a much greater number. Today, wooden shoes are made on larger machines that follow special patterns. They are painted and decorated largely by hand.
DANCING IN WOODEN SHOES
THE ADVANTAGES OF WOODEN SHOES
Wooden shoes are very sturdy. They will protect your feet from nails, rocks, and other sharp objects in your yard or workshop.
Wooden shoes are comfortable. You can kick them on or off in a second. The soft wood is very easy on your feet.
Wooden shoes are perfect for gardening or yard work. You can slip them on, do some planting or weeding, and then kick them off before you go back inside. They withstand mud, rain, dirt and puddles.
Wooden shoes are good for the environment. A good pair of wooden shoes will last a long time and has a very small carbon footprint – pardon the pun.
Wooden shoes are fun. Wear a pair at your next party and you will definitely stand out.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY WOODEN SHOES?
Outside of making a trip to Holland, you can find wooden shoes on the internet. At Kaas and Co., we sell wooden shoes in all sizes. We even sell "Kloggies" which are yellow house slippers in the shape of a wooden shoe!