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All about veldskoens shoes

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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"). 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 embedded into the Afrikaans psyche when the velskoen was used as the footwear of the Great Trek. Easy to make, lightweight and extremely tough, the vellie could withstand the harsh conditions of the great migration north. The vellie has become part of South African and Namibian society, worn by all classes and professions. Nathan Clark's company made the desert boot famous but the Clark shape is modelled after the same round toe last used to manufacture velskoen. Clark was inspired by the shape and design of the velskoen he discovered for sale in the bazaars 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.

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