Shoe of the work­ing man

Landscape (UK) - - History And Heritage -

Clogs are an an­cient form of footwear go­ing back as far as Ro­man times. The English clog evolved over the years. Orig­i­nally slats of wood held in place by straps, they were of­ten worn over footwear to el­e­vate the wearer above the mud and ef­flu­ent on un­made roads. Those who were too poor to af­ford shoes wore clogs di­rectly against their skin. Dur­ing the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, clogs be­came the work­ing man’s footwear, as they were cheap, strong and hard-wear­ing. Pop­u­lar be­tween 1840 and 1920 with mill­work­ers in the North, par­tic­u­larly Lan­cashire, they were also worn by min­ers, dock­ers and mar­ket stall hold­ers. They were su­per­seded by the hob­nail boot. Clogs are not al­ways suit­able for out­door wear. As they do not bend, mud or snow sticks to the soles, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing rapidly. This is where the term ‘clogged up’ orig­i­nated from. Clogs are still worn to­day by met­al­work­ers and shot blasters, as they last much longer than a nor­mal pair of boots. Jeremy makes up to five pairs a year for one such man. Nor­mally, a pair of his clogs lasts be­tween 15 and 30 years, de­pend­ing on wear and tear. Orthopaed­i­cally ad­van­ta­geous, clogs are very pop­u­lar with those with fallen or bro­ken arches. This is be­cause they are rigid, but curved, of­fer­ing great sup­port.

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