*Neuwertig – Vintage FIFE Officer’s Zug Grain VELDTSCHOEN Boot: 44D


SOLD to Mr. M. M., Bullhead City, AR.
  • Fife
    Footwear of Quality
    Officer’s Cap-Toe, Zug Grain, Veldtschoen, Derby
    (Navvy) Field Boot
    Itshide Commando Sole
    Circa 1965
    Euro 540

    Throughout history and into the 20th century, English officers were expected to provide their own kit and there were no shortage of military tailors and outfitters at home and in the colonies to satisfy that demand. Field boots of this type were favoured, where available, and the three or four English bootmakers who specialized in the Veldtschoen constructed variety have done a brisk business throughout this century of seemingly constant warfare.

    Veldtschoen construction is said to have originated in the 16th century, while British patents for the type first appear in the 19th century. It is believed that the Dutch originally imported the technique to South Africa, and the term itself comes from the Afrikaans, “field shoe”. The Veldtschoen construction is exceptionally robust, meant to deflect water with it outward turned upper hide and, in this case, with Itshide high profile Commando sole, bellows tongue and the nearly waterproof Zug leather from which it is constructed, it can be expected to last and serve handsomely for many decades. To my knowledge, few leathers can compete with durability of Zug and it has been the choice of experienced officers in the field (on both sides) ever since its adoption by the British during the Boer War. Most amusingly, to show the waterproof qualities of Veldtschoen construction, a pair of such boots was displayed in a bucket of water for many years in Cordings’ window at number 19 Piccadilly.

    Zug leather, apart from its highly waterproof characteristics is, because of it embossed, raised grain, far less susceptible to bruising or nicking than smooth leathers; witness this present boot, at least 40, perhaps as much as 60 years old, that shows not a single sign of scratching or other damage! It is generally agreed that the Zug grain leathers of the mid century, mostly purveyed by the tanners, Bridge Of Weir and Martins, are of superior quality and longer durable than today’s Zug grains. The latter are more oriented to appearance than to long life. Then again, contemporary Veldtschoen boots are less likely to be worn in the trenches or in Alpine ascends than the vintage pair you see here.

    Fife is a Scottish-owned, family-run business, started by Andrew T. Hogg in 1888 with boots made by himself in Strathmiglo, Fife where the firm is still located. Specializing in country clothing and footwear, this firm is much evolved since its humble origins to become a major supplier to country and military professionals. Like most such businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, Fife has had to court the fashion conscious consumers and adjust their manufacturing costs and quality to meet the competition but the present boot, made in their heyday 40 or more years ago is without compromise, ready for field and stream, hunting and shooting or still more ambitious adventures in far away places.

    The Itshide Commando Sole is without question the finest high-profile, all-terrain, all weather sole in the world. Selected by such shoemakers as John Lobb, Edward Green and myriad lesser known but no less exclusive shoemakers, the Commando sole is also the most imitated of all rubber soles. Imitated but never equaled! In short, this boot is a prize for the collector or the serious rambler. One of the great boots of the 20th Century.

    Size Details:

    44D Continental......10.5D US......9.5E UK, for the medium width foot.

    Shoe Condition:

    Superb, neuwertig! Commando sole shows no actual wear. Tops unmarked and hardly creased as if worn once or twice only to try on. Like new.


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