If you’re not quite an expert on Oxford style shoes, don’t worry – not all hope of maintaining a fashionable appearance is lost. Instead of revoking your man card, we’re here to guide you on how to wear oxford shoes the right way.
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Men, it takes time and effort to really grab the reins of your wardrobe. Knowing what suit to wear for which occasion, how to get your tie the proper length, and what pocket square to choose are all building blocks towards truly embracing your personal style.
Nevertheless, without a solid understanding of your shoes, your outfit is doomed. And the reason is because shoes are often overlooked when they’re actually vital to completing a look. To that effect, we’d like to introduce you to the most refined footwear – Oxford shoes
First, What Is an Oxford Shoe?
While many of us consider a shoe to be just a shoe, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Beyond dress shoes and the ever popular sneakers, there is a wide world of footwear just waiting to be laced up.
But how can you tell if you’re lacing up a derby, a monk strap, a cap toe, or a wingtip? Knowing what type of Oxford shoes you’re wearing is a great forward stride in wearing them the right way.
Related Reading: All About the Oxford Cotton Button Down
Main Features of Oxford Shoes
So, what’s the best way to identify oxford shoes? Look at the laces.
Oxford shoes are very easy to identify thanks to their closed lacing array
But if you’re not a shoe aficionado you might be wondering what closed lacing even means. Therefore, to better explain what closed lacing is, let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of an Oxford Shoe.
When looking at the finer details of any footwear, there are a couple terms that you’ll become acquainted with –
Simply put, the top portion of the shoe that covers the foot.
The part of an upper that covers the front of the shoe up to the midsection.
The portion of a shoe that covers the midsection back to the heel.
Oxford vs. Derby
With a closed laced array, you’ll see that the flaps of the shoe open at the top, but they won’t be open at the bottom. Instead, the flaps flow directly into the body of the shoe making a subtle v shape.
This lacing style separates Oxfords from derby shoes – which are often mistaken for one another. However, derby shoes have an open laced array with flaps that open at the top and bottom, attaching to the body of the shoe on the sides.
When you see a closed lacing system on a dress shoe, you can be confident that it’s an Oxford.
Other Identifiers of an Oxford
Although the lacing ultimately defines the shoe style, there are a few other attributes that help identify true oxford shoes.
First up, Oxford shoes have a low heel. And because of this low heel, there’s more exposed ankle. However, with varying shoe heights and style crossovers, the differences between some shoes, such as a Chelsea boot and an Oxford shoe might not be immediately apparent.
Therefore, when searching for authentic men’s Oxford shoes the main difference is in the laces, and the heel.
Also Read: 7 Best Chelsea Boots for Men
How Should Oxford Shoes Fit?View in gallery
With dress shoes, finding the right fit can be a challenge since they frequently require additional space at the front. But if you have too much space, your foot will slide when you walk. And if you have too little space, your toes will be screaming for relief. The simplest way to determine the fit of an Oxford is to put it on and see how well it laces up.
An Oxford shoe that fits properly should be snug over the top part of your foot, and hide the tongue of the shoe.
The tongue should lay flat, without any folds in it. If the tongue is folded or contoured when you lace up the shoes, they are too loose. Or, if you cannot comfortably lace the shoes to hide the tongue, they are too tight.
When to Wear Men’s Oxford Shoes
Out of the many dress shoes, Oxfords are the most formal. They pair happily with tuxedos, business attire, full suits, or sport jacket and slacks combinations. And as the height of fashion, they can even pull off business casual looks with chinos or corduroy pants. But they’re rarely worn with jeans, merely because they look out of place.
When pairing Oxford shoes with casual attire, be mindful of which type you choose. Imagine putting a double-breasted suit jacket over your workout clothes – not a very good look, right?
Wearing Oxfords with a casual outfit can look like you dressed up your feet and let everything else fall by the wayside.
Therefore, save the tightly laced, highly polished, Oxfords for your finer attire. Then opt for more casual derby shoes or a pair of timeless half boot chukkas whenever you’re dressing down.
Although Oxfords are commonly found in black and brown leather, it’s possible to find them in a wide variety of colors and color combinations.
With the more somber hues you’ll exude luxury, and professionalism. But with the brighter, more lively offerings, you’ll have a chance to rock an eccentric look.
When matching Oxford shoes to corduroy, khaki, and twill, it’s easier to experiment with reds, greens, and yellows. With the right outfit and flashy Oxfords to match, you’ll be turning heads wherever you go.
Related Reading: A Gentleman’s Guide to Wearing Brown Shoes with Black Pants
6 Different Types of Oxford Shoes
One common misconception about dress shoes is that they’re boring. But once you start shopping for a good pair, you’ll find that Oxfords give you a lot of variety to choose from.
So, whether you want the pinnacle of formalwear, or reliable wedding gear on stand-by, there’s a shoe to satisfy your wardrobe needs.
1. Seamless Oxford
As the name would suggest, these types of Oxford shoes are made out of a single piece of leather without a seam. However, these are extremely rare and often only found through bespoke shoemakers at extremely high prices. With that being said, they’re also the most formal shoes of the bunch, as they bear absolutely no seams anywhere, giving them a clean silhouette.
2. Wholecut Oxford
If you hold a seamless and wholecut up side by side, you’ll notice that the only difference is a single seam along the heel. But the seam doesn’t take away from a wholecut shoe’s beauty, as they’re just as refined as their seamless cousins.
3. Cap Toe Oxford
By far the most common type of Oxford is the cap toe. Commonly referred to as cap toe, toe cap, or simply a plain toe oxford, these versatile shoes easily fit with everyday attire. But they can also be flexibly worn during more formal events when you can’t get a set of patent leather shoes.
As the name implies, these can be identified by the basic “cap” of leather placed over the toe, along with a second “cap” on the heel. Cap toe Oxford shoes are a closet staple if you want a versatile shoe for any occasion.
4. Brogue / Wingtip
The terms brogue and wingtip are often used interchangeably, which is understandable because they’re actually one in the same. Technically speaking, a wingtip shoe features a brogue decorative pattern. But not all brogue shoes are wingtips. Still with us? Good. Because these are too stylish to pass by.
With brogue Oxfords, look for decorative perforations on the side. Then for wingtips, you’ll want to look for a swooping brogue pattern that runs from the toe to the side of the shoe.
Named after their two-toned separate strip of leather that runs from the inside to the outside, then over across the laces. Oftentimes, you’ll see saddle Oxfords associated with women in poodle skirts during the 1950s. For men today, these make for great casual wear when worn with slacks.
Incredibly rare, the Kiltie Oxford has a fringed tongue that hangs over the top. Depending on the adornment and colors, Kilties can be worn with business casual clothing, and even more formal attire. But pulling this look off requires confidence, because these shoes are statement pieces.
The Best Oxford Shoes to Start Your Collection
After learning about the different types of Oxfords, are you convinced that you need a pair of your own? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you and have a couple shoes that will meet, and possibly exceed, your expectations.
If this is your first purchase towards high quality shoes then make it count and go with the best.
1. Myrqvist OxfordsShop Now
Ready to lace up with the best Oxford shoes for men? Achieve a refined, and timeless look with the Swedish private label brand Myrqvist. They have every type of Oxford you could dream of – including some so fresh that you won’t believe your eyes.
Go dressier with a slick pair in black calf leather. Or get a dashing pair of chocolate suede Oxfords for those more casual situations. No matter what type of Oxford you’re looking for, you can count on Myrqvist to deliver quality goods.
In addition to a large variety of Oxford styles, Myrqvist is known for their high quality shoes. They even offer an option to have a half rubber sole to help extend the life of the shoes. And they’re made of full-grain leather exclusively sourced from Hermes owned Tannery Du Puy in France, then they’re handcrafted in Portugal. These Oxford shoes are meant to stand the test of time.
2. Velasca FeracavalShop Now
Want quality footwear that feels bespoke without breaking the bank? Then, Velasca Milano has what you’re looking for.
It’s no surprise that the Feracaval is one of Velasca’s most popular Oxford shoes. These Oxfords are full brogue, boasting remarkably sharp style, along with heightened comfort from the Vibram sole.
With the options of dark brown suede, or black and brown leather, you’ll want one in each color for every occasion.
Oxford Shoes: Parting Words
By now you can confidently say you know what an Oxford shoe looks like, and how to style the different types of this classic dress shoe.
Now, we’d love to learn more about you. Do you have a pair of Oxford shoes you want to add to your closet? And if so, how do you plan on wearing them?
Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!