Short Stories for Teachers

Types of Wooden Shoes
By:Mitchell Land

The term "clog" can refer to any shoe that is made of wood and is often associated with the popular Dutch variety; however, there are many types of wooden shoes that have developed out of various ancient traditions across the world. Wood has been a popular material for shoe production in many civilizations, such as ancient China, Japan and Europe.

Dutch Clog
The clog is Holland's traditional wooden shoe that dates to 1367. Clogs are made from balsa-white poplar trees, which are specifically grown for the purpose of making shoes. The clogs are fashioned from square blocks of wet wood that is shaped and smoothed to fit the foot. Traditionally, the Dutch clogs are painted yellow with red patterns, although many designs are now available. In the past, each village would have its own unique pattern for painting clogs. The wooden shoe is popular for its ability to repel water and its durability.

Geta
Geta are Japanese sandals made of straw and wood. The shoes resemble thong sandals that have a sole and platform fashioned from wooden blocks. Geta are often made with a flat, wooden sole and two supports, which are perpendicular to the sole. The straps can be made from straw or cloth. The geta were originally designed for workers in rice fields and helped elevate the feet above water and mud. These traditional sandals are still worn in contemporary Japanese culture and are frequently paired with kimonos. Specialized geta, outfitted with bells in the heels, are worn for celebratory events such as important birthdays and festivals.

Patten
The medieval patten was a slipper or overshoe made from wood. A patten could be made with different resilient materials such as leather, cork or wood. Most pattens had a high platform, and some had sections of metal attached to the sole for increased durability. They were worn over another pair of shoes to protect them from wear, water and mud. Wooden pattens were made by carving a thick, tall sole from a solid block of wood and attaching a leather strip to the top. The leather was usually dyed to match the shoes to the pattens that would typically be worn with them. The leather straps were attached to the base with metal fasteners.

Straw Shoe
Using straw to make shoes was popular in ancient China, where the inhabitants developed many different variations of straw sandals and boots. Ancient Chinese shoemakers used bamboo needles and thread from flax to fashion straw shoes as early as 7,000 years ago. Straw footwear was revolutionized in the Shandong Province by attaching straw boots to wooden soles. These wooden soles were either ridged or smooth. Eventually, straw boots were invented that had removable ridges, which were used by early mountain climbers.






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