fixed my own footwear

These are my work clogs. They are about 10 years old and going strong, the thick supple leather is like saddle leather and the stitching unbustable. The wooden soles are great so long as you keep something underneath them. I am not good at the stitch in time saves nine stuff and wore through the treads and have been walking on the wood for some time. You can see how much I wore the heals down but as of this weekend I now have composite clogs with new oak heals. I made the treads from old conveyor belt I have been using this stuff for several years for my pole lathe drive strap and it seems to be pretty well indestructible so I’ll see how it lasts underfoot.

I remember my dad telling me about wearing clogs as a kid on the farm, back then clogs had irons rather than wooden treads and they kept a box of spare irons and nails for fixing clogs. It was the kids jobs to keep their clogs in good order and if they were ever found wearing them without irons they were in big trouble. Having work down the wood and had to deal with building it back up again I will from now on be making sure I keep the tread on them. 
I find it an empowering thing to be able to fix my own footwear. Particularly this week as the news is again full of the horrors of another factory collapse in Bangladesh and the appalling effects of the West’s insatiable craving for cheap throw away clothing and footwear. There are alternatives and they don’t need to be any more expensive than the throw away stuff. These clogs were made by Jeremy Atkinson and so far have cost me about £16 a year but they will go on a while yet and are getting better value all the time.

5 Responses to fixed my own footwear

  1. Mike April 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Footwear like this is obviously hard-wearing and suitable for very wet farmyards — not to mention places where you might drop something on your toes. Another option in the old days was pattens, which you fastened over your shoes when you walked across damp and muddy yards. You can see a pair in the corner in the famous Jan van Eyck Arnolfini Wedding painting:, I'd be loth to wear something like this myself unless I had a specific need for the toe-protection and the raising out of the mud. Specifically I wouldn't walk in them. The trouble with footwear like this includes, though is not limited to, the raised heel, the lack of flexibility in the sole, and the weight of the shoe. More on that here: days I generally wear flat, light, thin-soled "minimalist" shoes like moccasins.But I guess there are conditions that would suit the clogs, and what fun to make them!

  2. Robin Wood April 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    yes it's true, clogs are quite un natural, as are clothes, houses, fires and living past the age of 40. Jerry's clogs are made with a whole lot of thought to the posture and gait of the wearer. My friend Owen Jones the swill basket maker whilst being about my height has enormously long legs, this gives him a long stride, Jerry takes this in to account when adjusting the amount of spring at the the front of the clog. I personally find that my posture and walking is different, and more comfortable in clogs then most shoes. I do also like the fact I stand a good 1 1/2 taller in them which makes them great for music gigs. I can understand that they do not look like they would be good to walk in and when I had a pair of flat soled Walkley's clogs they certainly were not good but I have done many miles walking in these not to mention dancing all night and they are extremely comfortable.

  3. jdware May 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Robin, how are these clogs on hard surfaces, like cement or tile? Making knives, I spend most of the day standing on a hard cement floor, with a little time sitting on a stool.J

  4. Robin Wood May 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    J these are at their very best when standing on cold concrete. In fact one of the last places where clogs are still commonly used is in foundries where the insulation properties of wood are important, you may think standing in molten metal with a wood shoe would not be good but it is far better than in a plastic shoe. My friend Owen Jones the swill basket maker sits or stands most of the day on a wet concrete floor and swears by his clogs. The place they are not so good is on cobbles they can be ankle breakers on hard uneven ground.

  5. Jeremy June 22, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Well done Robin, though the height of the heel could make them a little unstable and also have a canterlevering effect on the tip of the sole. I like the sole lift at the toe to be just enough not to wear more than the rest of the roll curve. I noticed that my clogs are now featured by a middle aged model in a photo journal mag. I must admit there did seem an adequate amount of “cast” on the soles. I’ve been doing a bit of work with a clog dance teacher. Her favourite pair are standard Walkelys Beech. For Durham dancing at least very little cast is wanted with a very forward balance point to enable rapid heel beats. Trefor and Phil’s clogs also have far less cast than mine and are more optimized for dancing, though I’m not entirely sure that both of them realise that. Several clog websites refer to Ash being the best dance wood. But I’ve found more difference in sound between different trees of the same species than between Beech Ash and Sycamore, and neither of the first two is particularly stable, they have a tendency to warp, depending on where they are stored. Whilst my spelling is appalling I do at least know that Knighthood starts with a K………. American spell checker?