In the modern fashion, clunky backless slip-on shoes are generally referred to as professional clogs. Historically, the clog was a shoe defined by its chunky shape, heavy sole and sturdy material. Initially, professional clogs were scrubs shoes worn as protective footwear over shoes by farmers, manufacturing area workers and miners in Scandinavia. In the Netherlands professional clogs gained popularity and were worn in place of shoes and not as overshoes.
Professional clogs are descendants of the “galoce”, a high wooden shoe worn by peasant women from the Ardenne region to protect their shoes from dull dirt streets. Records of wooden shoes date back to the Roman Empire.
The original professional clogs were shoes with heavy, rigid wooden bottoms. Mainly made of willow or other woods, these sturdy shoes provided both warmth and safety for the working class foot. The durability of these wooden shoes made the clog well liked style of footwear for the working class.
Although generally associated with Scandinavian countries, wooden shoes were worn throughout continental Europe, the British Isles and Mediterranean areas, including such countries as Italy and A holiday in greece. They gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution as a protective shoe for the working class.
In Europe, the war years of the 20th century found governments advocating its citizens to embrace wooden shoe usage due to too little of leather supplies. We were looking at largely and unsuccessful in their efforts due to the continued perception of wooden shoes as footwear or the working or peasant class.
The wooden shoe did not find popularity in the united states through to the 1960’s when Doctor. Scholl introduced a wood bottom slip-on that was hailed as therapeutic footwear. In the 1970’s, professional clogs became a fashion trend following the lead of the popular singing group Abba which performed wearing platform boots and Swedish professional clogs with leather uppers and thick (and noisy) wood bottoms.
While some professional clogs today retain the look of the 1970’s clog, the wooden sole now has a skid resistant rubber bottom. Often, professional clogs are now made of rubber or other synthetic materials that withstand water and heat. The popularity of Crocs, which started as gardening shoes, has exploded and these shoes are now available in a multitude of colors for men, women and children.
Today’s professional clogs are available in a range of heels heights; some come with optional heel straps. Leather uppers remain popular but rubber professional clogs have gained popularity among nurses as they can be sterilized in an autoclave or with over the counter cleaning materials. Operating room personnel have long worn professional clogs citing less foot and back fatigue from long hours of standing. The firm rubber or wooded bottoms of the clog offer all day support, providing an enterprise foundation for weak arches and plantar fasciitis. The original mid heel height of many professional clogs takes pressure of the lower back by helping the individual stand straighter.
For individuals such as nurses or other healthcare professionals, the natural foot shape and wide toes of the clog helps keep feet from feeling constricted and pinched. This helps to take the pressure off from problem foot areas such as bunions and hammertoes. For nurses who do more standing than walking, such as operating room personnel, wood soled professional clogs are often the preferred option. Nurses who walk miles every day engaging in patient care may prefer the more flexible rubber sole.
Regardless of choice, wood or rubber, professional clogs have become a major component of the nursing shoes industry. Most clog manufacturers offer their shoes in a range of colors, including white for the healthcare industry. In addition, several nursing uniform suppliers have expanded their uniform lines to include clog footwear in colors to match their uniform scrubs.
Most clog wearers insist that they wear professional clogs for the comfort, but the simplicity of slippage in and out of these shoes is also a major benefit, both for healthcare workers and travellers. With security regulations at air terminals making it mandatory that travellers remove their shoes at security checkpoints the clog has become popular travel footwear.
Today, professional clogs have obtained their popularity as a durable work shoe and with the addition of improved, more cushioned inner bottoms they have joined the ranks of the “comfortable shoes” among both nurses and the general population. The long tradition of professional clogs over the centuries continues as professional clogs continue to find new uses.