The history of wooden shoes in Sweden

Swedish wooden shoes

The history of wooden shoes in Sweden

We are super proud of our own clog maker Christian Stoltz who represents the third generation of clog makers in his family. Every shoe that we sell is made by Christians talent and now they are on people's feet around the world.

We get a lot of questions about the Swedish tradition of wearing wooden shoes, so to answer we did this quick course.

Tip! If you want to check out Christians work, here you can find the wooden shoes we sell. 

Traditionally farmers wore wooden shoes

Wooden shoes, also known as clogs, have a long history in Sweden and many other European countries. In Sweden, as in other Nordic and Baltic regions, wooden shoes were traditionally worn by people in rural areas, particularly farmers and those working in agriculture.

Practical purposes

Wooden shoes were initially worn for practical reasons. They provided protection for the feet while working in fields, forests, and other outdoor environments. The wooden sole offered insulation from the cold ground and protected against sharp objects.

Note: Wooden shoes is still appreciated for it's practical use. For example people working with nursing often use them. We actually have a collection with wooden shoes just for nurses

Made from local wood

Traditional Swedish wooden shoes were typically made from locally available wood, such as birch or alder. The shoes were carved from a single piece of wood, and the design varied depending on the region. The shape and style of wooden shoes could also indicate the wearer's social or occupational status.

Different styles depending region

Different regions in Sweden had their own styles of wooden shoes. For example, the Dalarna region in central Sweden is known for its distinctive and ornately decorated clogs. Each region had its own variations in terms of shape, size, and design.

Note: We actually use the names of different Swedish cities when we sell our shoes. 

Wooden shoes for dances and party

In addition to their practical uses, wooden shoes held cultural and symbolic significance. They were often worn during traditional folk dances and celebrations, becoming an essential part of Swedish folklore. Wooden shoes were also considered a symbol of Swedish rural life and craftsmanship.

The craftsmanship almost disappeard

With industrialization and changes in agricultural practices, the everyday use of wooden shoes declined over the years. Modernization brought about new materials and footwear designs that were more comfortable and suited to contemporary lifestyles.

The return of the wooden shoe

Despite the decline in everyday use, there has been a revival of interest in wooden shoes in Sweden and other countries. Some artisans and craftsmen continue to create traditional wooden shoes, often incorporating artistic and decorative elements. Wooden shoes are sometimes worn as part of folk costumes during cultural events and festivals.

While wooden shoes are not as commonly worn in everyday life in modern Sweden, they continue to be appreciated for their cultural and historical significance. They serve as a link to the country's rural past and traditional ways of life.

If you want to learn more about our work in creating Swedish handmade wooden shoes you can check out our products here

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