There is much debate about the true origins of the veldskoen shoe. The word “veldskoen”, meaning “field shoe”, was first documented by the Dutch settlers almost 400 years ago, and were initially worn by farmers and hunters. However, history is written by the victors and some argue that the Khoisan were wearing a similar design, nearly 1000 years earlier. Regardless of the true origins, the veldskoen shoe has become more than just footwear in South Africa; they are a piece of cultural history, a patriotic fashion icon and most importantly, a durable choice of footwear.
The design of the shoe is simple; created with only two pieces of leather to create the “upper”, the shoe is admired around the world for its minimalism and resilience and has formed the basis of many other types of footwear that has followed. It is well known that Nathan Clark, of Clarks shoes, was serving in the second world war when he noticed these “strange leather shoes” and used them to form the basis of what is now known as the “Chukka boot” in Europe and North America.
The veldskoen was one of the earliest designs we used and one of the only which we have not based off an original design – why fix something that isn’t broke? We started making the shoe in 1990 and such has the demand for them that we now offer a variety of variations in our range; the standard veldskoen comes in a suede, as well as in veg tan and full grain leather options. In more recent years we have added narrower last options, as well as the ‘build a vellie’ which allows customers to customise their design with a combination of different colour leathers, sole and laces as well as different shaped lasts to fit any foot.