The famous Dutch product, The wooden shoe

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  • By J van Erp
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The famous Dutch product, The wooden shoe

Every Dutchman knows them, after all, we live what the little country is known for, among other things. It used to be very normal to wear wooden shoes. Especially in rural areas, these were indispensable. This is different at the moment! Only a small part of the Dutch population still walks on wooden clogs or has ever walked on them. Nevertheless, it remains a well-known Dutch product for foreign guests. And it is still quite normal here.

The famous Dutch product, The wooden shoe

Everyone from the Netherlands knows them, after all it is what the little country is known for. It used to be very normal to wear wooden shoes, especially in the countryside it was impossible to imagine. Today it is different. But only a small part of the Netherlands is still walking on wooden shoes or has ever walked on them. Nevertheless, it remains a well-known Dutch product. And it is very normal.

Making wooden shoes was not just done, it was quite a craft in itself. It took about an hour before one wooden shoe was ready. It used to all have to be made by hand, so it took so much time.

Nowadays it all goes with the machines and it is only about five minutes.

From a tree to a shoe

The process from the material of the wooden shoe to the end result to your feet is a long way. Finding the right wood is not entirely unimportant, after all you want to have a good sturdy wooden shoe. Soft woods such as willow or poplar wood were the popular materials. It starts with sawing the tree, then letting the wood dry until you can work it properly. Ultimately, the wooden shoe is designed in a raw condition and finally adapted to the correct size and model. The photo shows a clog maker from 1914.

A wooden shoe for every occasion

When people went to church on Sunday, a Sunday outfit had to be taken out of the closet. The black wooden shoes for the man and natural lacquered with floral decorations for the woman. On normal days, just plain bare wooden shoes were worn. I might see you thinking, what about the weather? Wooden shoes were worn all year round, when there was ice there were wooden shoes with metal tips underneath them so you could walk on the ice without slipping. The wood ensures that you are never cold and do not get sweaty feet in the summer. You could say ideal shoes.

The first wooden shoe

We are already talking about the Middle Ages. It is difficult to find out when and where exactly the first wooden shoe was made. Peoples from Europe in the past have suspicions that the wooden shoe was worn, but people are not sure because wood rot quickly in the earth. However, a wooden shoe was found in Amsterdam that came from 1230. So it shows that clogs have been worn for at least 800 years.

The centuries-old wooden shoes therefore carries a long history. To this day, we still know the traditional wooden shoe makers in the Netherlands. Although it is now more of a tourist feature, we still carry it with us from generation to generation.


  1. Stella Stella

    I bought a pair of Simeon clogs at the factory after a tour there. I had put them away for which reason I don’t remember. This eas in 2017. I was cleaning out my closet and found the clogs. I put them on and this time and I so surprised how good they felt, I now wear them everyday. It took five years . I have had total knee replacement on both knees and on both hips. I am 84 and have trouble finding a comfortable shoe. I recently found the Oofoos and the Hokas and they are very comfortable. But the Stimson clogs give the support I need and my body feels perfectly aligned. I love them.

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