Let's make it really easy. Oxford shoes are dress shoes that have the shoelace eyelets stitched directly to the vamp in a way that the lacing is closed. Check the picture to understand it better, you will find the attachment part in red:So, Oxfords are basically the classic dress shoes for men where the lacing is closed. That means that there is no much to tie from the lacing part, so it is important that you find the proper size for your foot length but also foot width. Maybe you still don't see the difference vs derby shoes. Then check our post about the topic: "derby vs oxford".
Nowadays, oxford shoes can be made of many materials, as the term oxfords doesn't have material limitation. So you can find oxfords made of any kind of leather but also suede or canvas.
Types of oxfords
So, we have different types of oxfords depending on the material used but we also have different types of oxfords based on the shape of the vamp piece:
Plain toe Oxfords
Probably the type of oxfords you have in mind. The plain toe oxfords are the most classical design. Nothing can go wrong with this model.
The wholecut oxford shoes are considered the typical handcrafted bespoke shoes. All the external structure of the shoes made with a single piece. It requires expert artisans to create wholecut oxfords properly. One of the most elegant options when choosing men's dress shoes.
Similar to the classical model, the plain toe oxford shoe, but in the captoe oxford shoes the vamp is separated into 2 pieces and the new one, the one over the toes, is called captoe piece. It is about likings. This separation also allows you having two tones on those two pieces making it a two tones oxford shoe.
The wingtip shoes are the most stylish choice. Its vamp piece has the shape of 2 wings, and there comes the name from. It is usually associated with broguing, but it is not mandatory. You can see wingtip shoes without broguing, as the one in this picture:
Usually very related to the wingtip shape, the brogue oxfords are one of the most stylish choices. They are known by their typical perforations (broguing) and you might have full-brogue, semi-brogue and quarter-brogue options. They also use to include a medallion, which are extra perforations over the toe.
"Oxfords not Brogues"
If you have seen the movie Kingsman you will probably remember the quote where Harry Hart gave his protegé Eggsy this advide: "Oxfords not brogues". What does it mean?
We wanted to explain it but then we saw this video from The Kavalier and we would need more than 5000 extra words to explain it in a similar way. It also speaks about the difference between Oxfords and derby shoes, so it is perfect. Enjoy it:
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