Clogs originated as workingman's footwear designed to keep the feet to warm and dry in cold and damp environments. (Think the medieval equivalent of garden clogs.) The all wooden variety with upturned toes are recognized the world over as symbols of the Dutch culture. Scandinavian countries are also traditionally associated with clogs, though France and England also had their versions of wood soled footwear. This pair of antique clogs was actually discovered in France by eBay seller brocantosorous. Julie and her husband left their native Scotland to live in the French countryside. The home they purchased had been owned by a 92 year old woman named Elise Lambert. As Julie explained to me, this pair of French sabots came with the house.
She was an amazing lady, never married, who was 99% self sufficient. She grew all her own fruit and veg and kept rabbits, chicken and goats for meat, eggs, and milk for goat cheese. The only thing she bought regularly was bread. She passed away peacefully in 2005 in her field, lying watching her goats feed. These were her clogs, a wonderful, old pair of French leather sabots with hobnails in the soles and heels. Peasant shoes for work in the fields. These are dirty, used and worn - both outer heel edges are worn down, most of the heel nails are worn away and the leather is solid now rather than pliable. And there are worm holes in the wood!
(Pssst. For something just as wooden and just as French, but a whole lot more contemporary, stop by tomorrow for a peek at the work of an exceptional new shoe designer.)