Ghillie brogues are Scottish shoes with a rich history. Though they are designed to be a practical and functional shoe by nature, today they are generally worn formally. This kind of brogue is typically worn as part of a traditional highland outfit, often for events such as weddings or ceilidh dancing.
The Anatomy of Ghillie Brogues
In many ways, Ghillie brogues are very similar to standard brogues. They are made of leather and feature decorative perforations, or broguing, to the toe cap and upper part of the shoe.
However, Ghille brogues do differ in a significant way to standard brogues! Traditional Ghillie brogues are created without a tongue. They also have much longer laces than standard which are used to wrap around the ankle and calf.
The History of Ghillie Brogues
The original reason behind the design of Ghillie brogues was purely practical. Shoes without a tongue dried quicker, as did the socks underneath. This meant that they were more practical in the Scottish countryside, where, let’s be honest, getting wet is highly likely!
The long laces also originally had a purely functional purpose. Tying the laces higher up meant that your shoes were far less likely to be pulled off in the mud: another likely scenario in the Scottish countryside!
How to Wear Ghillie Brogues
Today, Ghillie brogues are rarely worn on country walks. Instead, they are generally paired with traditional highland dress.
For best results, wear yours with a pair of knee length highland socks and a kilt. The long laces should be wrapped decoratively round the ankles and tied at the top of the calf. Tie them well, and they’ll stay firmly put through a whole evening of ceilidh dancing.
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