The Veldskoen Experience, Adding Sole to Africa.

Home » TRAVEL THOUGHTS » The Veldskoen Experience, Adding Sole to Africa.
Tags ,
Veldskoen

If you grew up in South Africa, Namibia or Zimbabwe – you’ve seen a pair of Veldskoen – the much-loved tan leather shoes that are rather embedded in our soul and psyche.

Veldskoen are more than just shoes, they are part of South Africa’s heritage and represent a rich history and unparalleled comfort.With a story as rich and diverse as the country they come from, various groups of people believe the Veldskoen, or a version of it, started with them. First documented by the Dutch settlers who arrived in Southern Africa almost 400 years ago, according to Khoisan tribal folklore, there were leather shoes cut from a single hide, being made and worn by the tribe as far back as 1000 years before that.

The name ‘veldskoen’ is derived from the Afrikaans words vel’ (skin) and ‘veld’ (field), combined with ‘skoene’ (shoes) to reflecttheir origin in the country’s landscape. These iconic leather shoes have now been embraced by the world, thanks to the efforts of a company founded by friends Nick Dreyer and Ross Zondagh, along with Driekie Zondagh, the company’s Chief Operations Officer.

The Journey Begins with a South African Olympic Dream

The Veldskoen Shoes brand can be credited with the revival of a South African favourite. In 2016, Nick and Ross, while watching the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio, were unimpressed with the uniform worn by South Africa’s athletes. This dissatisfaction sparked their imagination, leading to a vision of how the athletes could better represent their country. DriekieZondagh suggested a pair of leather Veldskoen, although they weren’t considered fashionable at the time. To change that andmake the shoes more appealing, the trio got to work, creating the Veldskoen Shoes brand now known for its trademark brightly coloured soles and laces.

Veldskoen’s Global Reach

Since its inception, Veldskoen Shoes has made significant strides in the industry, exporting its products to 32 countries, with the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand the largest markets. Their global success can be attributed to a dedication to supporting South African manufacturers by sourcing raw materials locally with all shoes handcrafted with meticulous attention to detail and havinga unique, natural finish. The company’s factory, Hopewell Footwear, is located in Durban, a third-generation, locally-owned family business. This commitment indirectly supports about 1,000 people across various factories and tanneries, aligning with Veldskoen’s mission to make a positive difference.

Their global success attracted notable investors, including Brian Joffe’s Long4Life and international celebrity investors Marc Cuban and Ashton Kutcher, who acquired a 50% stake in the US leg of the business in 2019. The company’s commitment to quality and sustainability earned Veldskeon Shoes the AGOA Exporter of the Year Award in the small business category in 2021. In 2021, Veldskoen Shoes reached a milestone and dream come true by being named the official off-field shoe for South African athletes at the Tokyo Olympic Games, proudly showcasing Veldskoen Shoes as a local brand internationally, representing national pride and the spirit of being South African. 

The Veldskoen Experience: A Tourist Landmark in Cape Town

The Veldskoen Experience recently opened in Cape Town. A museum-style concept space that pays tribute to the iconic footwear and includes interactive displays and exhibits that highlight the history and cultural significance of Veldskoen shoes, showcasing the materials used in their production, and demonstrating the different stages of its rich history and heritage whilst offering customers a unique and immersive way of engaging with their products. In addition to the museum experience, it offers the opportunity to try on different styles and variations of Veldskoen shoes and provides an opportunity for customers to connect with the brand while finding a pair of shoes that not only fits well but also resonates with their style and values.

Supporting Conservation and Communities

Veldskoen Shoes is not only dedicated to celebrating South African culture but also committed to having a positive impact on the environment, conservation and local communities. One of their impact partners is Kariega Game Reserve and Foundation for whom they created a green nubuck chukka boot with half the profits going towards Anti-Poaching and community efforts.Veldskoen Shoes also supports the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy initiative which sees pink buoys placed at selected beaches along the coastline as well as at some inland dams and rivers to help prevent drowning. Another proud collaboration is with Briana Evigan,founder of MoveMe Studios, where sales of the bespoke Veldskoen Ranger Boot positively impact the lives of humans and animals alike.

As the ‘Sole of South Africa’ – if you’re looking for comfortable, handcrafted shoes, a connection to South African culture, or a way to support meaningful causes while looking super cool – Veldskoen Shoes offers it all. In the colour of your choice.

Find your perfect sole mate at https://www.veldskoen.com/ or visit them at 19 Amphion Street, Paarden Eiland in Cape Town. Pics supplied. I do have my very own much-loved pair of vellies and can’t believe how comfy they are.

Share this article

More Articles

Gorilla

Gorilla Trekking In Uganda.

  Uganda, referred to by Winston Churchill as ‘the Pearl of Africa’, is a lush land of rolling hills and diverse landscape, of lakes and mountains, with friendly people to enhance every moment spent there.

Read More »
Mauritius

Mauritius. Paradise Found.

  Mauritius. The One&Only Le Saint Geran – Paradise Found. A glimpse at some of what this intriguing soulful island destination has to offer. I was a guest of South African Airways in celebration of

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: This content is protected.