Ghillie brogues are traditional Scottish shoes generally seen with a formal kilt outfit, often for events such as weddings or ceilidh dancing.


The Ghillie or Gillie

Scottish gillie

Hardy II, James; A Young Gillie, with Setters and Dead Game; Royal Holloway, University of London;

A Gillie or ghillie is an ancient Gaelic term for a person who acts as a manservant on fishing, hunting, and deer stalking expedition.

The gillies would carry all the Laird’s equipment rods, guns, blankets, whiskey, etc.

It wasn’t unheard of to be asked to carry your Laird over boggy areas or shallow rivers so they wouldn’t get their feet wet.

This brings us nicely to one of the more unusual features of a traditional ghillie brogue is the lack of a tongue.

This was simply to allow the wearer’s feet and socks or hose to dry faster.

Anyone who has done any walking in the Scottish highland will soon tell you how boggy certain areas can get.

The long laces are also to help with this as these are supposed to be tied at the ghillie then twisted 4 times then wrapped around the calf and tied either at the front side or rear.

(up to debate which is correct)

This will then stop the ghillie from coming off when stuck in deep mud and keeps the knot dry for ease of undoing after a long day in the field.


Scottish Highlands

Now that covers the ghillie what about the brogue?

Brogueing is the method of making a pattern of holes over the top of the shoe to help drain water out from the shoe.

Legend says that these holes were used in special patterns to show coded symbols and such masons and other secret societies.

Thistle Grained Ghillie Brogue (1299G)

Thistle Grained Ghillie Brogue (1299G)

As time moved on the style of Brogueing was more seen as a fashion with the gentry so the holes were no longer needed to drain water.

It was around this time that the tongue was reintroduced making them look more like a modern brogue.

At Thistle Shoes we have taken the traditional look of a ghillie brogue and combined it with a modern twist.

Good Year Welted Piper 

Good Year Welted Piper 


Pipe band members from all over the world will testify that Thistle Ghillies are among the best in the world, by using modern materials like PU rubber on the soles of the Good Year Welted Piper  with its all terrain grip ideal for marching on grass or roads

1112 Ghillie Brogue


To our more formal 1112 style ghillie brogue with its full leather sole and traditional steel quarter cleat built into the heel to aid with wear in the heel which greatly extends the life of the ghillie brogue.

Children's Ghillie Brogues

Children’s Ghillie Brogues


Our children’s ghillie brogues available in both black and brown leathers are made to the same high standards as their adult equivalent with extra soft leather upper and lining to allow younger feet the freedom to move and are finished with a rubber sole unit for durability and good grip.


Fashion Ghillie Brogue

Fashion Ghillie Brogue


For the more fashion conscious we offer the Fashion Ghillie Brogue, again made to the highest standard with a full leather upper and leather sole unit, but with the added style of a more chiselled toe section, perfect for those who like to add a bit of modern flair to their traditional outfits.

Ghillie Boots

Ghillie Boots

For those less formal occasions we have the option of the Ghillie Boot. A departure from the traditional ghillie brogue with a higher cut popular among pipe band and festival goers alike.

Day Brogues

Day Brogues

For the weekend we also can offer a day brogue a great modern option for both formal and casual events, whether on a day in the office, at a wedding, or even just to wear with your jeans, our collection includes versatile black and brown shades as well as wide fits for all-day comfort.