Did you know that there are around 1 billion sheep in the world, and more than 200 unique breeds? Even with all that diversity, Merino sheep make up over 50% of the wool producing sheep world wide. The popularity of Merino wool has led to consolidation amongst farmers, leaving many farmers of other sheep breeds at a financial disadvantage.
In the case of many of the rarer sheeps wools there is simply such little demand that the breeds themselves have become endangered, their numbers dropping into the thousands. One such breed is Austria’s native Stonesheep (Tiroler Steinschaf), with its estimated Austrian population to be around 4,000 sheep, and 14,000 world wide. Learn more about our wool supply chain.
Our Species Preservation initiative is a joint effort between Stegmann Austria and Stegmann USA designed to support sheep breeders in Tirol and other parts of Europe who breed endangered sheep species. We use the wool of rare species such as the Tyrolean Stone Sheep and Shetland Sheep of Scotland to create a unique model that uses only the wool from these sheep. By utilizing these uncommon wools for our production, we can help continue to safeguard and support the sustained breeding of these special sheep. The EcoWool Clog line was created to enable us to support these small farmers and rare sheep breeds.
The Tirolean Stonesheep is one of the oldest still existing sheep species on earth. Its origin lies in the Neolithic sheep, an archaic race. The sheep have been bred on remote mountain farms for centuries in Tirol for their meat, milk, and wool. Their wool was in high demand especially in the 20th century to produce loden cloth. Today, the Tirolean Stonesheep is a rare species. The estimated Austrian population is around 4,000 sheep, and 14,000 world wide. With our Tirolean Stonesheep EcoWool clogs, we support the breeding and preservation of this species.
Characteristics: A very robust breed of sheep that is well adapted for the sparse conditions in the alpine mountains. Lives in alpine pastures, sometimes higher than 2,500m above sea level
Wool Characteristics: The undercoat is very dense and crinkled with fiber lengths of up to 15cm, while the upper wool grows up to 30cm. Due to its beautiful mottled look, it is used for traditional dresses and costumes and felt shoes. The felt is known for its uniqueness, depth of color and its resilience.
Shetland sheep are native to the Shetland Islands in Scotland. The race belongs to the Nordic heather sheep and has been recorded in history since the Stone Age. Shetland sheep are very robust and have adapted perfectly to the sparse and nutrient-poor soil.
Characteristics: The Shetland has adapted to be capable of walking long distances. They are small in stature, yet are a robust breed that is able to thrive in harsh conditions.
Wool Characteristics: Wool colors can differ significantly between individuals. The wool of the Shetland Sheep is of superior quality. Once a year, in the springtime, the sheep shed their wool. At that time the wool can be easily loosened and detached without shearing but rather by picking it. The wool is very warming, smooth and elastic which guarantees a high wearing comfort. The natural coloring of the wool has approximately eleven main wool colors that go from white through honey brown to black.
As of September 2019 Stegmann is now offering American (medium) Fit in all wool styles and Euro (wide) Fit in women’s wool clogs in select styles.
American (Medium) Fit - This fit is similar to what you may be familiar with from the 90’s and early 2000’s Stegmann wool clogs. Our American Fit is a Medium (B) width clog and runs true to size for most. Please make note of the custom fit tips in blue on each product page. They will provide more specific information on fit and a summary of feedback from our customers.
Euro (Wide) Fit - Our Euro fit is a Wide Width (D) clog and runs large. If you have wide feet, need extra room in your shoes, or plan to wear thick socks, you might prefer our European width. If you have wide feet you should order your normal size; women with medium feet should size down a half size as they do run large. For the last several years, this is the only width that has been available from Stegmann in the USA. This clog is felted using a European last that results in a more spacious fitting clog.
Our Men’s wool clogs run true to size, but we recommend sizing down a half size for narrow feet.
Our leather clogs fit true to size and will loosen only slightly with wear. Leather is available in US Whole sizes only. If you are between sizes we recommend sizing up. If you prefer a very snug fit or have a narrow foot you may consider sizing down.