Why Did The Dutch Wear Wooden Shoes?
Like tulips and windmills, wooden shoes are a symbol of the Netherlands, but they are odder. You might be wondering why the Dutch loved this specific style of footwear so much. So I put on my own wooden shoes to find out more about the wooden shoes of the Netherlands.
The reason the Dutch wore wooden shoes to walk was that they were cozy, strong, affordable, water-resistant, well insulated, and offered good foot protection. That made wooden shoes ideal for farmers and other manual laborers, who made up a sizable portion of the population at the time.
Discover why the Dutch loved their cozy, water-resistant, and protective wooden shoes so much by reading on.
Dutch Wooden Shoes: Did The Dutch Invent Wooden Shoes?
Given that wooden shoes are such a recognizable symbol of The Netherlands, you might wonder if the Dutch invented them.
The sandals worn by the Romans were modified by the Dutch, not invented by them. Instead of the Roman wooden sole with leather straps, the Dutch wore all-wooden shoes. In their colder environment, wooden shoes were more comfortable and offered better water protection.
The “calceus shoes” worn by the Romans about 2000 years ago are where the concept for a wooden shoe first emerged. These wooden-soled Roman “calceus shoes” have leather straps on top and resemble sandals. Between 40 and 400 AD, The Netherlands served as the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, and the large number of Roman soldiers who roamed the country wearing their calceus shoes there served as an inspiration for the Dutch to develop their own design of wooden shoes.
During an archaeological dig at the Nieuwendijk in Amsterdam, the first complete pair of wooden shoes in the Netherlands dating to 1230 were discovered. However, it’s likely that completely wooden shoes were made and worn in The Netherlands much earlier.
Are Dutch Wooden Shoes Comfortable To Wear?
You might believe that wearing wooden shoes is uncomfortable, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Contrary to popular belief, because they are customized for the feet, wooden shoes are comfortable. Clogs made of wood with leather tops are the most cozy footwear. These clogs are worn by people who have physically demanding jobs, like nurses, for comfort, posture correction, and shock absorption.
In cold weather and in hot weather, wooden shoes keep your feet cool. In order to protect the skin on my feet and to increase comfort and warmth, I wear socks with my wooden shoes. A Dutchman wearing wooden shoes without thick woolen socks is extremely rare.
On grass or farmland, wooden shoes are more comfortable to wear than on paved roads. The best way to make your wooden shoes more comfortable is to wear thick socks.
Your feet will remain warm and dry, so it doesn’t matter if the wooden shoes get muddy and wet. You can walk into the house wearing socks and leave your wooden shoes at the door. Due to the fact that their wooden shoes were left outside, many farmers now only take their coffee breaks while wearing socks.
Why Are Dutch People Known for Wearing Wooden Shoes?
Farmers, fishermen, and workers wore wooden shoes all over Europe. What makes wooden shoes associated with the Dutch, then?
The Dutch are known for their wooden shoes because Holland has a long history of trade. The Dutch traded goods like wooden shoes all over the world. Because of this, many people thought that the wooden shoes originated in Holland.
Dutch wooden shoes are distinguished by their distinctive painting and embellishment. The typical wooden shoe from the Netherlands is yellow and decorated, frequently with tulips or windmills.
Do Dutch People Still Walk in Wooden Shoes?
The Netherlands no longer has as many wooden shoes as it once did. In the countryside, though, you can still see Dutchmen walking in wooden shoes.
Wooden shoes are still a favorite among many Dutch farmers because they are practical on muddy, wet farmland. Furthermore, because they offer the most comfort, contemporary Dutch clogs with leather tops are preferred by those who perform physically demanding jobs, such as nurses.
Wooden shoes are much easier to clean than leather shoes, so it doesn’t matter if they get soiled. Despite not being a farmer and not living in a rural area, I have wooden shoes that I wear when working in the garden.
Even more comfort and flexibility are offered by contemporary wooden shoes (clogs) with leather tops. These clogs are both very cozy and shock-absorbing. People who have physically demanding jobs, such as nurses, chefs, and butchers, are fond of these fashionable clogs. They are frequently worn by those in these professions for comfort, posture correction, and shock absorption.
How Should Wooden Shoes Fit?
You must purchase the proper size for your feet if you choose to purchase wooden shoes for yourself.
- When trying on various sizes of wooden shoes, wear thick socks. When you are not used to wearing wooden shoes, thick socks will make walking in them much more comfortable.
- In the wooden shoes, move your feet as far forward as possible.
- You can tell you have the right size wooden shoes if your index finger fits perfectly between the back of your feet and the wooden shoe.
- If the wooden shoes are the right size for your feet, you should be able to put them on and take them off without difficulty and walk comfortably in them.
Where Can I Find Dutch Shoe Manufacturers?
There are still about a dozen traditional wooden shoe factories in operation in The Netherlands if you’re interested in visiting one.
The map below shows the locations of the remaining traditional wooden shoe factories.
Typically, there are exhibits and a store where you can buy a pair of wooden shoes to wear when you get home.
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By: Travel Pixy