Veldskoen

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Veldskoen (or vellie, colloquial, veldskoene plural, alternately velskoens or velskoene plural; pronounced "FELL-skoons") are Southern African walking shoes made from vegetable-tanned leather or soft rawhide uppers attached to a leather footbed and rubber sole without tacks or nails.

The name comes from Afrikaans vel ("skin") (later assimilated to veld ("field")) and skoen ("shoe"), and their design is believed to be based on the traditional Khoisan footwear observed by the first Dutch settlers in South Africa. The footwear was later enculturated into the Afrikaans psyche when the velskoen was used as the footwear of the Great Trek. Easy to make, lightweight and extremely tough wearing the vellie could withstand the harsh conditions of the great migration north. Since those days the vellie has become a huge part of South African and Namibian society, worn by all classes and professions. The most famous brand is the Brother velskoen, manufactured in Swakopmund, Namibia since 1938. Clarks made the desert boot famous but the Clark shape is modeled after the same round toe last used to manufacture velskoen. Nathan Clark was inspired by the shape and design of the velskoen he discovered for sale in the bazars of Cairo, which were imported to Egypt from South Africa.

They are sometimes considered light boots, although their topline is considerably lower than those of chukka boots or desert boots, which are otherwise similar. Veldskoen soles are sometimes cut from old car tyres rather than crepe rubber. Veldskoens are familiarly referred to as "vellies" in South African slang.