Historically, clog shoes were made entirely of wood, fashioned after the famous Dutch shoes. Factory workers across Europe wore wooden clogs because the wood was readily available, the shoes were durable and inexpensive, and the contours of the shoes provided relief to feet during long days at the worktables.
Shoe historians note that clogs hold a lofty position in the evolution of footwear by meriting a mention in politics. During the Industrial Revolution in Europe, rebellious factory workers chucked theirs into the machinery to stop production during labor strikes. Because of that historic role, the French refer to clogs as sabots, named for the word sabotage.
In later years, these shoes were manufactured using a two-piece design; the soles were still made of wood or cork, but the uppers were fashioned from leather. Clogs are normally designed as open-backed shoes with a covered toe area. Despite the changes through the years, one thing remains constant in the design: the bottom portion of the shoes are contoured with an upward curve going from mid-foot to the toe area. That curved front allows for a heel-to-ball rocking type of gait that is easy on the foot while the curvature of the interior base provides support for feet and legs.
Many people find clogs exceptionally comfortable, making them ideal for those who spend hours on their feet. People working long shifts, such as nurses, doctors, and medical assistants, have embraced them as their shoe of choice. They are great for people of all walks of life, available in men's, women's, and even children's sizes.
Today's clogs are produced in a wide variety of styles, colors and patterns. Some are plain and simple, while others come with fashion details such as decorative straps, embossed designs, or charming cut-out patterns. The uppers of the shoes can be made of leather or suede, cloth, or even plastic. Lightweight and flexible designs are made entirely of synthetic plastic compounds, eliminating wood all together.
Quality shoe manufacturers have joined the ranks of companies producing clogs, and they are available in a range of styles, materials, and prices. These shoes have been popular for generations, and it's likely they will endure into the future. They can be used as working shoes, outdoor garden slippers, or fashion statements. Regardless of their somewhat humble appearance, clogs have countless loyal fans because of their versatility, durability and comfort.