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Though there are many variations on the theme in different parts of the world, there are two basic designs of clog; the shoe and the overshoe. In the latter case, many types - especially in the Middle Ages and sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - were almost synonymous with pattens. That is, they consisted of deep wooden soles held to the feet by straps, ties or buckles and were worn on top of soled hose or soft shoes (see Patten). This type of clog con- tinued in use into the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, where a clog might be designed to fit over and conform to the materials of the shoe, such as the brocade one illustrated. The wooden clog, attached to the foot by straps or cords, is traditional to the more primitive parts of the world with a warm climate. Here, the clogs were not worn as overshoes but on bare feet, the deep sole being necessary to protect the foot from stony ground. African examples, for instance, are of carved and brightly painted wood with decorative cords or leather straps. Similar are the Japanese geta or gaeta, which have deep wood soles some three to four inches in depth and are painted in bright colours and designs. The straps of velvet or cord are attached between the toes. Here, the geta is an overshoe, for it is worn in addition to the tabi, the sock-like Japanese footwear (see Japanese dress).
The clog which is in the form of a shoe has been worn for centuries in northern Europe and also in the East. The Chinese version has a very deep sole, more like the European chopine (see Chopine). This is of wood or, sometimes, felt or leather and the upper is decorative, made of richly embroidered silk.
|*The wearing of sabots by French workers led to the term sabotage. The French verb Saboter means to make a noise with sabots or wilfully to damage. Sabotage therefore came to incan the wilful destruction of plant and machinery by dissatisfied workmen. The term came into general use after the French railway strike of 1912 when the strikers cut the shoes (sabots) holding the railway lines.|
| © Ragnar Torfason|
2006 March 28