September 3, 2018 in 300 words

A SHOE WORN BY NAMIBIAN FARMERS HAS BECOME A HIPSTER MUST-HAVE IN THE WORLD’S FASHION CAPITALS

Humble origins, hipster ambitions.


Red suede veldskoene go with everything, rather surprisingly. They can be worn with flowing floral dresses, purple winter stockings, and tailored trousers and jeans—the skinnier the better. Originally designed for farmers and settlers who had to trudge for hours over harsh, dry scrubland of southern Africa, veldskoene (Afrikaans for “bush shoes”), are finding a new home in the cupboards of young urbanites in Africa and around the world.

While the original tan leather design of these farming shoes remains popular, companies are increasingly experimenting with new colors, designs, and materials, in order to reinvent the humble lace-ups for a new generation of customers.


Simpler times.

One of the most iconic producers of veldskoene (pronounced “felt-skooneh”), African Leather Creations, has been making the shoes from a small town on Namibia’s coast for more than fifty years. The company got its start when Ewald Schier moved to Namibia from Germany and opened a tannery in 1938. Surrounded by farms, open veld, and endless desert, Schier knew his customers needed a durable, comfortable shoe. While a type of veldskoen was already worn in the region, Schier was one of the first commercial producers to choose the shoe’s now iconic soft kudu hide as the most flexible and durable material.

Schier sold his first pair of “vellies” in 1960. While African Leather Creations is still a family business sixty years later, its shoes aren’t just worn by Namibian farmers anymore, but by German tourists, South African students, and New York City fashionistas.


Ahem . . .

In yet another Groundhog Day there’s not much to these errant ramblings barely uninteresting at all things today. Sorry.

It will happen again. Probably Thursday.


Ed. More tomorrow? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not?