Men’s Dress Shoe: Common Details

For so many unfamiliar with the fine details of men’s footwear, “men’s wingtip shoes” suffices to describe any sort of dress shoe that isn’t a boot.

Except that isn’t very accurate at all. Too many consumers use terms like these interchangeably when they shouldn’t.

We’re here to set the record straight with some common terms that apply to some of the styles and details of men’s dress shoes, and what they actually mean.

Dress Shoe Toe Styles

● Round toe
Many men’s dress shoes have pointed toes. However, some are rounded off, in which case they are unsurprisingly referred to as round roes. This style is fairly uncommon.

● Chisel toe
Chisel-toe men’s dress shoes are also fairly uncommon. Instead of a rounded or pointed tip, chisel toe shoes are squared off.

● Plain toe
Plain toe shoes may be either pointed, chisel-toe, or round toe, but they feature no broguing, caps, or other decorations (see below).

● Cap toe
Cap toe shoes have another piece of leather that is stitched over the toe, creating a “cap” over it. Some consider these shoes slightly more formal than plain toe shoes and are often worn for professional occasions or for business.

● Wingtip
Men’s wingtip shoes feature a pointed toe that flares out slightly to the sides of the shoe where the ball of the foot rests, creating a wedge-shaped profile.

Wingtip shoes also feature a unique toe cap in the shape of a “W” or “M”, depending on your perspective.

Broguing and Other Terms

Broguing is a special type of detailing applied to leather (mostly in the form of dress shoes) that takes the form of holes and tiny perforations that decorate the leather’s outer surface. There are many types of brogue patterns, including the following.

● Quarter brogue
Quarter brogues have a toe cap (can be straight or in the configuration of a wingtip) which is perforated along the margin. In a quarter brogue, the cap itself will not be brogued.

● Semi-brogue
Semi-brogues feature perforation along the edge of the toe cap as well as in the middle, typically in a circular or diamond-shaped pattern.

● Full-brogue
Full-brogues are the most decorous of the bunch, with broguing on the toe cap, along the margin of the cap, and often along the quarter or the vamp, depending on how the shoe is constructed.

Whole Cuts
One more style you might appreciate is known as a whole cut, or a style of shoe in which the entire upper is cut from one continuous piece of leather: that is, a “whole cut.”

Whole cuts are exceptionally high-quality, especially when made from full-grain leather. They will age, patina, and break in beautifully.

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