Ghillie shoes stand out from the crowd thanks to their unique shape and long laces.
They’re descended in style from the original Scottish brogues, which were leather shoes fashioned from deerskin and designed to be worn while out working the land. The holes were originally added to stop water from gathering inside the shoes, though they later became decorative rather than practical.
The long tasseled laces on modern ghillie shoes also date from the original Scottish brogues. In those days, the laces were left long enough to tie high around the calf in order to keep them out of the mud!
Of course, ghillie shoes are now worn almost exclusively as formal dress shoes with highland dress. They are the ideal shoe to wear with a kilt and kilt socks, and the highland look would certainly not be quite the same without the iconic tasseled laces criss-crossed up the calf.
Though there’s a lot to be said for keeping thing classic, we’re also big fans of style innovation. Kilts don’t have to be worn with high laces in order to be formal. Many gentlemen are choosing more subtle ghillies to pair with their kilts, and we think these can look great.
Shoemakers are now offering ghillies with traditional broguing and shaped uppers that can be worn just as easily with trousers as they can with a kilt. They typically don’t have oversized laces… but most still feature small tassels in honour of their rich heritage.
Whether you choose traditional ghillies or something with a more modern flair, they’re the perfect shoes to pair with a kilt.
Are you looking for a pair of modern ghillie shoes that play perfect homage to their style ancestors? We recommend the sleek Ghillie Adelaide in tobacco suede and tanned vocalou calf.