As usual, let's answer the big question fast and in the most understandable way: What is the difference between derby and oxford shoes? Oxford shoes have a closed lace design while derby shoes have open lacing. That would be the simplest and still most accurate way to explain the main and most characteristic difference. The rest of the differences come because of this one and we will explain it later. If you still have doubts about how to differentiate them just take a look at this infographic and you will probably understand better:
On the oxford shoes, also called balmoral, the lacing piece is stitched frontally to the vamp piece.
On the derby shoes, the lacing piece is not stitched frontally to the vamp piece, and usually, the vamp piece continues till the tongue piece.
Is it the only difference between oxford and derby?
No, the way the lacing piece is stitched is not the only difference BUT all the other differences come from this characteristic that we have already explained.
- Oxford shoes are considered more formal than derby shoes. But anyway, both are good options for formal attires. They can both be worn with a suit but also with jeans. The level of formality will be determined by the colour, and the details you add. For example, when adding broguing to your oxfords you will make them more casual.
- Derby shoes allow people with wider or narrower feet to fit better as the lacing pieces allow more possibilities to find the proper tightening. When lacing derby shoes there is more margin to fasten the lacing loose of tight. Probably this is one of the reasons why derby shoes are a more standard and slightly more versatile choice.
- Derby shoes are more versatile. But don't worry, we will show you ways to make your oxford shoes the most versatile way possible.
How to style your Oxford shoes
Now that you know what makes a shoe an oxford, it is important to know when to wear your oxford shoes.
- Black Oxford Shoes are classical suit shoes. If you have any doubt, black oxford shoes are the perfect shoes for your suit. But at the same time, they are less versatile. It will be more complicated to add it to more casual attires
- Brown oxford shoes are less formal but still a good choice for your suit outfits. Remember that then you will have to make your belt match the color of your shoes. And just another simple rule, the darker is your suit, the darker should also be your brown shoes. Try not to break that rule if you are not completely sure. Take a look at our blog post about blue shoes and brown shoes to have more information about this topic.
How to style your Derby shoes
It is really easy styling your derby shoes so we will just share some examples of derby shoes outfits so you get a better idea and some inspiration
- The versatility of the derby shoes allow them to be used on any business casual attire. The same as for the brown oxfords, please make the color of the belt and the color of the derby shoes match.
- But with derby shoes, there is not need of wearing a jacket. Derby shoes will be perfect in many jeans and chino attires. It is difficult to be wrong.
When to Wear Which One? Derby vs oxford
When to wear derbies?
Derby’s are easily dressed up or down. If you are looking for a work or business casual shoe, derby shoes are the way to go. They will look great with any chino or jean look, and can also be worn with dress pants and a button down. They are perfect for the office, a night out, a friend’s birthday dinner, or any other celebration.
When to wear oxfords?
Oxford shoes are the best for special occasions and formal events. They are the perfect match for a suit or tuxedo to wear at your next formal party, wedding, or black tie event. Wide oxford’s look less formal than slimmer oxford shoes. Obviously, get the one that will best fit you. They look best matched with your favorite dress pant, suit pant, or tuxedo pant.
Shoe Color Guide
Check how to combine your derby shoes with your favourite pants
Check how to combine your oxford shoes with your favourite pants
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