Tough as nails. Heart of gold.

A ghillie – if you should live outside Scotland – is the man or boy who was the Highland chief’s attendant. In later times it referred to somebody who would accompany others on hunting and fishing trips. Being a ghillie was an honourable profession but a hard one. It was the ghillie’s lot to carry the guns, the rods – and on occasion their owners.

And they walked. Through the bogs and rivers and bracken and heather, scaling the highlands or scrambling the lowlands, they walked. If the walking was hard on the man it was hell on his footwear. So came the ghillie brogue.

The ghillie brogue started out as a shoe that would drain water and dry quickly. In the original ghillie brogue, the laces were above the ankle so the shoes wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. Each shoe had a patterned network of fine holes punched in the leather, known as brogueing. This was no designer’s frippery, far from it. Simply, it was to help the water drain.

Today, Thistle makes ghillie brogues as they have always been made. Tough as nails – but with a heart of gold. And now they have a brand to match.