Crafting clogs

The original craftsmanship

The Craft:



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"Have you ever wanted to know how wooden shoes were made in the pre-industrial age with only a handful of tools and without machines? Or which models of wooden shoes are worn in Holland? Then you're at the right address."

This is the story of Martien van Gasteren, wooden shoe maker by profession. He learned this profession from his father and he practiced it from his youth in the 30ties onwards. To him it was always a grateful job because it produced convenient and affordable footwear.

Because this craftsmanship, creating a wooden shoe by hand, is dying out, he intended to record as much of his knowledge and experience as possible, and to provide it to you via the internet.

Information from these pages, including the pictures, may solely be used for educational purposes. No information whatsoever may be published or reproduced in any way without the written consent of the author.

Martien van Gasteren says:


I felt a certain urge or need to record "how to make wooden shoes by hand" with pictures and images. This documentation is now offered to you via the Internet for the following reasons:

First of all because of my concern that the skills of this beautiful profession may be lost.

Secondly I believe that when a young wooden shoe maker has sufficient skills at his disposal, it could very well be possible that he can put a full fledged product on the market with simpler and cheaper machines, even at a competing price. Especially when he can passionately talk about this profession and demonstrate the craft he then has got the advantage that with a small niche he can still earn a reasonable living.

In that case, the profession of wooden shoe maker may last. True enough on a small scale, but it could be of a great benefit to our wet little country, Holland. With an uncertain climate as ours, there will certainly remain a need for a cheap wooden shoe. Hence this humble product from my pen, including some practical details about the craftsmanship of the wooden shoe maker.

How it started

When a boy wanted to pursue the profession of wooden shoe maker about 50 to 70 years ago, he went, with his father or mother, to a wooden shoe maker for a visit with the request to be apprenticed to him.

Often in that time, the profession of wooden shoe maker was handed over from father to son as well. There were even masters who only taught orphans a profession. Most of them however became a painter or a carpenter, only a few however became a wooden shoe maker. Read the story about this craft with the help of the menu on your left or by simply clicking on the wooden shoes below.