In our fashion, clunky backless slip-on shoes are generally referred to as blockages. In times past, the clog up was a shoe defined by its large shape, heavy sole and sturdy material. Initially, blockages were worn as protective footwear over clogs for nurses shoes by farmers, manufacturing plant workers and miners in Scandinavia. In the Netherlands blockages gained popularity and were worn rather than shoes and not as overshoes.
Blockages are descendants of the “galoce”, a high wooden shoe worn by peasant women from the Ardenne region to protect their shoes from dull dirt streets. Records of wooden shoes date back to the Roman Empire.
The original blockages were shoes with heavy, rigid wooden bottoms. Mainly made of willow or other woods, these sturdy shoes provided both warmth and safety for the working class foot. The durability of these wooden shoes made the clog up popular style of footwear for the working class.
Although generally associated with Scandinavian countries, wooden shoes were worn throughout continental Europe, the British Isles and Mediterranean and beyond areas, including such countries as Croatia and A holiday in greece. They gained popularity during the Industrial Wave as a protective shoe for the working class.
In Europe, the war years of the the twentieth century found governments advocating its citizens to take wooden shoe usage due to too little of leather supplies. These were largely not successful in their efforts due to the continued perception of wooden shoes as footwear or the working or peasant class.
The wooden shoe did not find popularity in the united states prior to the 1960’s when Doctor. Scholl introduced a wood bottom slip-on that was hailed as therapeutic footwear. In the 1970’s, blockages became a fashion trend following the lead of the popular vocal group Abba which performed wearing platform boots and Swedish blockages with leather uppers and thick (and noisy) wood bottoms.
While some blockages today retain the look of the 1970’s clog up, the wooden sole now has a skid resistant plastic bottom. Often, blockages are now made of plastic or other man made materials that withstand water and heat. The popularity of Crocs, which started as gardening shoes, has exploded and these shoes are now available in a multitude of colors for men, women and children.
Today’s blockages are available in a number of heels height; some come with optional heel connectors. Leather uppers remain popular but plastic blockages have gained popularity among nurses as they can be sterilized in an autoclave or with over the counter cleaning materials. Operating room personnel have long worn blockages citing less foot and back fatigue from extended stays of standing. The firm plastic or wooded bottoms of the clog up offer all day support, providing a good foundation for weak arches and plantar fasciitis. The original mid heel height of many blockages takes pressure of the lower back by helping the individual stand straighter.
For folks such as nurses or other healthcare professionals, the natural foot shape and wide toes of the clog up assists in maintaining feet from feeling narrowed and pinched. This helps to take the pressure off from problem foot areas such as bunions and hammertoes. For nurses who do more standing than walking, such as operating room personnel, wood soled blockages are often the preferred option. Nurses who walk miles every day engaging in patient care may choose the more flexible plastic sole.
Needs to be choice, wood or plastic, blockages have become a major part of the nursing shoes industry. Most clog up manufacturers offer their shoes in a number of colors, including white for the healthcare industry. In addition, several nursing uniform suppliers have expanded their uniform lines to include clog up footwear in colors to match their uniform scrubs.
Most clog up wearers insist that they wear blockages for the comfort, but the easy sliding in and out of these shoes is also a major benefit, both for healthcare workers and travellers. With security regulations at airfields making it mandatory that travellers remove their shoes at security checkpoints the clog up has become popular travel footwear.
Today, blockages have obtained their popularity as a durable work shoe and with the addition of improved, more padding inner bottoms they have joined the ranks of the “comfortable shoes” among both nurses and the general population. The long tradition of blockages over the centuries continues as blockages continue to find new uses.