Received an invitation to your best friend’s wedding recently? Or perhaps it was an invitation to a formal business dinner with your boss or a big-time client?
How do you make sure that you look the part and don’t confuse dress shoes with casual shoes? What if you realize too late that those mens brown Oxford shoes you purchased are not actually Oxfords?
In this article we’ll make sure to clearly lay out the differences between the formal shoes called Oxfords, and all the other types of leather shoes you’ll find at your local shop.
Are They Oxfords or Derbies?
Overall, there are two big families of shoes, the Oxfords and the Derbies. Being able to tell the difference between the two is important, and not so difficult to do.
Oxfords are closed-laced shoes. Derbies are open-laced.
Now to understand the difference, we first have to cover the different parts of a shoe.
The Vamp – This refers to the front part of the shoe that covers the toes and the instep.
The Quarter – The quarter refers to the back part of the shoe that wraps around your heel, all the way up to the middle of your foot, where it meets with the vamp.
The Eyelets – these refer to the holes in the shoe where laces are threaded through.
A closed-laced system is when the quarter (the back part of the shoe) goes under the vamp (the front part of the shoe). This gives it a sleeker look, as the eyelet tabs are stitched underneath the vamp. Oxfords use this closed-laced system. So the next time you ask a salesperson for mens brown Oxford shoes, you can confirm whether this salesman knows their stuff or not.
The open-laced system in Derbies, on the other hand, is when the front part of the shoe (the vamp) is stitched under the quarter. This means that the eyelet tabs are exposed, giving it a more casual look.
Oxfords Not Brogues
Anyone who’s watched The Kingsman movie may recall a scene wherein Harry (played by Colin Firth) schools Eggsy (Taron Egerton) about formal dress shoes. “Oxfords not Brogues,” Eggsy says when he gets it. To which Harry replies, “Words to live by.”
Now broguing, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the lacing system. This means that both Oxfords and Derbies can have broguing in them. What broguing really refers to is the little decorative holes that are carved into the leather.
Historically, brogues were a very casual shoe that was made for crossing marshes. The holes in the shoes were meant to help release water that entered the shoe, thus making it easier to dry. In a sense, you could say that they were like an early version of Crocs.
Now when it comes to broguing on Oxfords and Derbies, usually the less broguing that’s found on an Oxford, the more formal it is. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Oxfords that look good with a little broguing.
Where to Buy The Perfect Formal Footwear
Now if you’re looking for dress shoes that are high-quality, hand-crafted, and customizable, we recommend checking out Idrese. They’ve got loafers, wingtips, double monks, and Oxfords that are made with the best full-grain Italian leather. If you’re looking specifically for mens brown Oxford shoes, they have shoes in dark brown and burnished honey available. Check out their online shop at www.idrese.com.
For more information about Custom Mens Shoes and Loafer Mens Brown Dress Shoes Please visit: Idrese