They say to truly understand someone; you must walk a mile in their shoes. Obviously, this is meant metaphorically, as whipping off someone’s shoes to go for a stroll isn’t going to provide much information. You’ll likely end up with a potentially serious case of athlete’s foot! However, it’s a powerful metaphor nonetheless meant to emphasise the importance of empathy for our fellow man.
That is, however, until you hear Billy Connolly’s take on the quote – he said:
“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away, and you’ve got his shoes!” ― Billy Connolly
We don’t know about you, but this version of the quote is our favourite, especially if that man’s shoes happen to be vellies shoes! In that case, we suggest running a mile in his shoes; that way, he can never catch up, and you’ll have a pair of gorgeous veldskoen shoes for your efforts.
Vellies or veldskoen shoes are iconic of our South African heritage, much like our braais, potjie kos, boerewors, and umqombothi (traditional South African beer). But what makes them so special to Saffas both at home and abroad?
History and meaning of vellies shoes
Veldskoen is an Afrikaans word that directly translates into English as field shoe or vel (skin shoe). According to some well-thumbed history books, during the 17th century, when the Dutch arrived in South Africa, they adopted this shoe design from the local tribes, particularly the Khoisan. Made from soft rawhide (animal skin), these shoes were hand stitched to a tough leather sole to create a shoe capable of handling rough terrain during the Great Trek.
Other legends state that Nathan Clark (Clark’s shoes) discovered veldskoen shoes during the Second World War when he saw Saffa soldiers wearing these beauties! However, whichever legend, history book, or story you prefer to believe, one thing is blindingly obvious, vellies shoes are truly South African!
For many South Africans, wearing vellies shoes South Africa is a way of remaining connected to their roots. It’s a cultural thing that doesn’t fade no matter where you make your home on the globe. And as all expats know, although you live far from our sunny shores, Africa remains in your blood!
Where to buy vellies overseas
If this hasn’t got you champing at the proverbial bit to get your very own pair of vellies shoes, then we don’t know! Of course, if you live abroad, you may think laying your hands on a pair of pukka veldskoen South Africa is impossible. Thankfully this is not the case, especially if you order your vellies shoes via Veldskoen ‘The sole of Africa’. These international suppliers of traditional yet contemporary vellies shoes provide access to truly South African footwear on almost every continent! So there really is no reason for you not to own a pair.
International Suppliers of veldskoen South Africa include:
Why Saffa’s love vellies shoes
If you are new to wearing vellies, there are a few things you should know:
- With a name like veldskoen or vellies, these shoes are about as South African as you can get, making them the ideal gift for a fellow homesick South African. Just watch the tears of gratitude flow when next you pop a pair of vellies onto Santa’s present list!
- Vellies shoes are like no other; in fact, they need taming! Unlike modern shoes (shoes for soft tootsies), they take two weeks to break in. During this time, the shoe will mould to the shape of your foot until it eventually feels like you are walking on air.
- Veldskoen produced in South Africa are ethically produced, which creates jobs and improves the local South African economy. Who would have thought your footwear could help so many?
- Sadly, vellies South Africa are not vegan – while they don’t sit down to a regular steak, they are made from bovine leather. However, this is sustainably sourced from local tanneries.
- Shoe care is a breeze when you wear a pair of vellies because they are built to last and withstand even the harshest climates. Simply wipe with a suede cleaning product! In addition, they’re water resistant, making them ideal for that gloomy, rainy European weather!
- No pair of vellies South Africa is the same. Each pair of vellies is handcrafted from unique pieces of real leather. This means their colour and texture may differ slightly, but this only adds to their unique and bespoke South African-ness!
Putting your best vellies forward
The French have their Louboutins, the Americans their Converse, and the Italians their Berluti, but as Saffa’s, it has always been and will always be our veldskoen! So forget fancy heels, Italian leather, and trendy trainers (takkies!); our vellies shoes South Africa are part and parcel of the African drum that beats in our veins, calling us home no matter where we choose to wander.
Get expert advice from FinGlobal
Like vellies, emigration advice provided by the FinGlobal team is unique, bespoke, and truly Saffa-focused! For over a decade, we have assisted and continue to help South African expats with every chukka boot step of their emigration journey.
From tax to pensions, retirement annuities, and forex, the FinGlobal team can assist with all your emigration requirements and queries, including where to buy your next pair of veldskoen!
Contact the FinGlobal team today for professional, accredited advice backed by industry experience and a warm and friendly South African vibe.
To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will assist you promptly.