tan vellies sitting on chair

African Origins

Veldskoen, more commonly known as vellies, date back to the Dutch settlers of the 17th century. The settlers found themselves quite unprepared for the rugged terrain that greeted them in Southern Africa. The Dutch therefore looked to the local people for guidance and drew inspiration from the traditional footwear designs of the Khoisan people. The Khoisan were well adapted to the arid landscapes of Sub Saharan Africa and well equipped with expertise and knowledge. The Khoisan had a unique construction method known as ‘the stitch-down’, which the Dutch implemented in their own footwear crafting.

IT’S ALL IN THE STITCHING

The stitch-down, a method of stitching the upper leather to the mid-sole makes for a sturdy and durable shoe. Essentially, this method negates the need for any tacks or nails and ensures a weather tight shoe. The stitch-down itself is a construction method that was invented in Africa and is widely practiced today. The Dutch designed the ‘veldtschoen’ based on this method, a shoe specifically crafted to conquer the veld of South Africa. Traditionally, the veldskoen had a soft rawhide upper, stitched to a chunky leather sole, therefore making it ideal for the veld.

Vellies RISE TO FAME

Vellies rose rapidly in popularity because they were crafted with such ingenuity and became incredibly common within the Dutch colony. The veldskoen boasted resilience and longevity, and in turn was worn by the Dutch migrating North, in the Great Trek. Subsequently, the veldskoen has been recognised as an integral part of Afrikaans heritage.

The Brits were faced with a similar dilemma to that of the Dutch when they arrived in South Africa. The English soon found that their footwear was better suited to the cobbled streets of London, than the unforgiving veld. And in turn, they too chose the lightweight vellie as the practical shoe of the day. This extended to Queen Victoria’s soldiers throughout South Africa, who opted to trade in their uniform boots for veldskoen. Local vellies offered unrivalled comfort and support, therefore proving to be far more practical than combat boots.

Vellies proved their resourcefulness under the scorched earth tactics of the British during the Anglo-Boer war. The shoes continued to be favoured across Africa, from the Rhodesian war to the Egyptian bazaars. The design even inspired C & J Clark’s ‘desert boot’ which remains an immensely popular style worldwide.

THE FASHION OF THE DAY

In contemporary times vellies are commonly made from a soft rawhide upper stitched to a rubber sole without tacks. The veldskoen is an iconic South African shoe that boast both durability and comfort, in a stylish manner. Proving themselves as practical shoes for everyday activities means that they’re still a popular choice amongst society. The veldskoen is robust and steadfast, and can be seen bridging the gap in fashion, between casual wear and formal wear.

STYLISH DESIGN

vellie shoe illustration

STYLISH DESIGN

vellie shoe illustration

AWESOME COMFORT

Thanks to our premium leathers, advanced insole and shock absorbent polyurethane outsole

EXCELLENT DURABILITY

Legion shoes are made from tough and durable materials. Our stitched down designs make for long lasting shoes.

legion Vellies

vellie ankle boot illustration
THE MOST COMFORTABLE VELDSKOEN YOU WILL EVER OWN

Legion Vellies are crafted using soft yet durable genuine suede leather. This combined with our unique insole and polyurethane outsole makes these your new favorite shoes.