Though often reviled for their ugliness, clogs have hung around the edges of fashion for almost one hundred years—falling in and out of style but never disappearing, always ready for another generation to discover them. In its most basic definition, a clog is a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Aligning closely with their culture of manufacture, three main styles of clogs have been identified: wooden upper clogs, where a piece of solid wood is hollowed out to make a combined upper and lower (these can completely cover the foot like the traditional Dutch klomp or only over the toes like the Italian zoccolo); wooden soled clogs, which combine a wooden sole with a different upper (this can be leather as in English clogs, an open sandal like that Japanese geta, or with a toe peg like the Indian paduka); and overshoes, which combine a wooden sole with straps meant to be worn over other shoes for protection (as in medieval pattens). The history of clogs likely stretches back millennia (possibly to Ancient Greece), though the oldest surviving wooden footwear is proto-klompen found in the Netherlands that date from 1230 and 1280—for all their many centuries of use, there has been very little change in the style or production of clogs within each culture.

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