“Oxfords, not brogues”

9 September 2022

We can’t help it, it’s in our DNA to find the above quote from The Kingsman quite annoying.

Let me explain why.

Example 1

When referring to shoes as an Oxford, this terminology is referring to the construction of the lacing area. The lacing is a nice simple V shape; it’s the classic form of a dress shoe and considered the most elegant, neat and tidy variation. It has nothing to do with the pattern on the shoes.

So, maybe you are wondering what a brogue lacing construction is? Well…there is no such thing. As I am sure you are aware, a brogue refers to the punching on the shoes that can form many different shapes, from long-wing to austerity, but imperatively it has nothing to do with how the lacing area is constructed.

Example 2

At this point you may be wondering what the shoes are called with the ‘line’ across the toe, as the above quote would have you believe this makes it an Oxford. Well, this is called a capped toe. Quite self explanatory, right? Again, there are many variations, but this terminology has no bearing on the lacing construction.

Let’s add in the mix the alternative lacing construction: the derby (AKA the gibson). We have written about this before but it’s worth talking about again. Instead of the V shape lacing, you have what looks like two flaps of leather to create an ‘open lacing system’. This means there is more flexibility in the instep area, ideal for those who have higher arches or like to wear thicker socks. It is considered a more country, casual style.

Example 3

Let’s summarise: You can have an Oxford brogue style, an Oxford toe cap style, a derby toe cap style and a derby brogue style…. Let’s not forget a wholecut which is completely plain with an Oxford lacing.

Are you still with me? Good, I didn’t doubt it for a second. Hopefully you now understand why we dislike the quote “Oxfords, not brogues”, as really it should be “toe caps, not brogues”.

Next time someone asks if you are an Oxford or brogue kind of person, remember this journal entry….

Example 4

A quick test for you, can you work out from the photos which styles are which? I will post the answers below, no cheating, lets see if you know your Derby brogues from your Oxford toe caps!

Example 1) Oxford lacing with an Oxford toe cap

Example 2) Derby laced Brogue

Example 3) Derby laced toe cap

Example 4) Oxford laced brogue

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