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March 29, 2019 2 min read

The history and comparison of the two major styles of footwear the Sneaker and the Legendary and Iconic Desert chukka boot 

In order to understand the two leading competitors in Urban shoe design, it’s important to understand the history and origin of both iconic shoes.

The history of the iconic desert boot

The emergence of the ‘desert boot’ truly began with Nathan Clark and the brand Clarks. When he was stationed in Burma, and serving the British army, Nathan Clark noticed a very specific type of boot that was being worn by off-duty officers. The boots were made in Cairo, soon enough they became part of the official uniform and replaced the old footwear of choice. The boots worn by the soldiers had to withstand the harsh conditions of the desert – this is how the boots got their name.

It was only in the 1950’s that the Clarks desert boot became a ‘fashion accessory’ – as before it was worn purely because of its practicality. It’s important to note that Clarks may have been the brand to put the ‘desert boot’ on the map, but it was the ‘veldskoen’ that spawned the category. Veldskoen or ‘velle’ was first noticed by the colonialists when observing the shoes worn by the Khoisan people.

The Desert Chukka boot VS the Sneaker

The history of the sneaker

On the other hand,Sneakers, emerged much earlier and in the realm of sporting events. The first variant of sneakers was created as early as the 1830’s – the Plimsoll shoe. The shoe was an athletic shoe, with a canvas upper and rubber soles. The composition of the sneakers made them ideal for sportsmen – especially those who played on courts, such as croquet and tennis players. The Plimsoll was a catalyst for many other variations of ‘the sneaker’ that were to emerge later.

The athletes shoe

Ever since the arrival of the Sneaker onto the athletic scene, the shoe became a front-runner for the ‘shoe of choice’ for most occasion – especially on the urban/street scene. The iconic style has been endorsed and supported by many celebrities, but recently there has been a shift towards the Desert boot. Movie stars and celebrities alike are taking an interest in the reimagined legend of the Desert boot.


The Desert Chukka boot VS the Sneaker

The shift in styles can be explained due to the versatility of boot – it can be worn by anyone from any facet of life, there are no limitations. Worn by street dancers, celebrities and business men, the ‘desert boot’ is making a come-back and we’re on board!

Angela Watts
Angela Watts

★ Reviews

Let customers speak for us

213 reviews
You'll love'em

5/5 stars. I've owned Bata, Courteney, livingstone, etc.... These are the best vellies. Not to mention they're ALREADY IN THE USA! So you wait 2-3 days to get them instead of 2-3 months(no kidding). A tip with vellies.. No socks.. If you want to break them in quick put them under steaming water and wear them around the house for 4-5 hours or till dry. AND MAGIC! they conform to your feet and saves you blisters! The leather is sooooo smooth and feels GREAT on your feet. I have 3 pair of Veldskoen Brand vellies and looking forward to getting the new high tops soon!

Well made

Great show that you tel only improves with wear , comfortable and light weight

Excellent shoe!

My husband is South African and almost exclusively wears vellies. I finally gave in and bought a pair for myself and not only are they super cute but they are comfortable and hold up well when we are walking potato fields! Love these!

Love ‘em!!

True to size, so comfy and looks great!!

Great shoes, good quality, delivered on time. Only thing that surprised me was how round the toes were compared to the picture online, but it’s not that big of a deal, still look and feel great.