Last year I wrote about a shoe shop selling shoes for three inch lotus feet when I was in Malaysia. A couple of months ago I came across another interesting shoe shop selling wooden clogs at Cijin Island at Kaohsiung in the south of Taiwan.
The shop is called Ah Yung, and is very basic and quite small, typical of Taiwanese local shops. They sell wooden clogs like the ones you see here. Personally I'm not a big fan of clogs. Actually, I'm not a big fan of peep-toe shoes as I like to keep my foot covered. Unless of course it's raining, but then these clogs wouldn't be much use. Anyway, I was with my sister and she was looking for some gifts for kids, so I came in to browse around.
Apart from ready made wooden clogs, Ah Yung also does customised ones. Here are the clog base on the left of the photo. They come in all different sizes and a few different styles. I'm told they have their own factory and the base are made of solid treated wood. Having said that, the clogs aren't that heavy otherwise it would be too difficult to walk in.
The customised part of the wooden clog is really the top strap. You can choose between all these different types of design. You'll notice they're all a bit girly or kiddy like. There aren't that many options for guys unless you like bright colours to match your outfit.
ASSEMBLING THE WOODEN CLOGS
My sister chose the base and straps, and now it was time to assemble them. The owner works from his workbench, a little table by the front door.
First of all he trims the top strap so it fits nicely over the foot. He doesn't use any guage or tape, just experience. Then he nails them in with a nice round stud. You can also have a backstrap, which would be handy for children. He cuts the strap to the right length, again using experience. Then he slots it in between the side of the base and the top strap before he assmbles them all together.
And here's two of the three pair of clogs my sister bought. The photo quality is not the best as I accidentally deleted a lot of photos from this trip including some of the better ones of the wooden clogs. I also took a video of the owner assembly the clogs. That got deleted as well.
A WEIRD LOOKING PAIR OF WOODEN CLOGS
Whilst I was waiting for the clogs to be assembled, I browsed around to kill time. Suddenly I noticed a pair of clogs sitting on the shelf. That's the red pair on the top left of the photo. It's like a pair of high heels, but the heel was a raised stand. It looked weird. I was very intrigued to see how one would walk in that.
I tried them on, and expected them to be quite awkard to walk in. Surely the stand wouldn't flex with my heel when it was held down by the base? But I was wrong! They were actually quite comfortable to walk in. Somehow the stand fitted well with my heel as I stepped forward and I didn't feel as if I was going lose balance at all. It was weird, and the design worked. I walked around the shop for a little while and have to say it was quite comfortable. I was half tempted to buy them.
Luckily, I've never been a compulsive shopper and I know I wouldn't wear them, so common sense got the better of me. Some things you try and not buy, and this was one of them. If you ever visit Cijin in Kaohsiung, come and check out these weird pair of wooden clogs.
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