In-depth guide to Oxfords here:
What exactly is an oxford shoe? Its history dates back centuries and if you want to learn all the details about it, please check out our in-depth guide on our website, here.
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So what exactly is an oxford? First, it's defined by its quarters which are closed unlike a derby where they're open. Then we have a vamp like here, the ankle is exposed. You usually have a cap-toe and a center seam. As explained, the oxford is just defined by these few characteristics and as such, there are many different kinds out there. Let's do a run through so you know exactly what is what.
1. Cap-toe oxford
Basically, what you're looking for is a shoe with a cap-toe, no broguing which means no hole perforations that's all black with neat lines and elegant last. This is in fact, the very first black oxford I bought as a teenager and I still have it today simply because it's so timeless and versatile.
2. Plain oxford.
Basically, it's like a cap-toe oxford, it just lacks the cap-toe and sometimes you can see a medallion on them but then it's not a plain oxford anymore. Usually, the plain oxford is favored in patent leather for evening shoes so you can wear it with a tuxedo.
So, how should you wear these oxfords? Like I said, first one should be in black. If you have another cap-toe oxford, you can go with a solid, dark brown one that's going to be versatile or burgundy. Plain oxfords are best in patent leathers for evening wear and nothing else.
3. Wingtip oxford or brogue.
Basically, what that means, it has a wingtip in front that is like a W and we did an entire video just about this kind of style so, take a look at it, here.
4. Saddle oxford or Saddle shoe
It has the same closed lacing system but it has a middle strip of leather which is called a saddle. It's particularly popular in the US and outside the US, it never really caught on. It's a more casual style and I suggest you only wear it if you're big into Americana or you just want to create a preppy outfit otherwise, it looks out of place.
5. Kiltie oxford
It's very rare and it actually has an additional tongue on the outside which looks a little bit like a kilt hence the name and it's sometimes seen on golf shoes. Other than that, I really don't suggest you wear the kiltie unless you have a very specific look in mind but it looks very special and unique and people will definitely ask you about it.
6. Whole cut
It's called that way because it is cut from one whole piece of leather. Generally, it has just one center seam in the back and it's very popular these days. The only problem with the whole cut is that if it's made out of a ready to wear shoe oftentimes, it wrinkles more easily simply because it's one piece of leather that is shaped to your last so keep that in mind when you invest in one.
7. Seamless oxford
there's actually not a single seam so you have to get a very good hide that adjusts to the entire last and that's why it's only something you often see in bespoke shoes. Seamless and whole cuts are very sleek and elegant shoes that sometimes, they have a medallion on top and you can wear them with suits but if you have them in brown and burgundy colors, also with sportcoat combinations. Overall though, I'd say it's more in the formal end of things just because of the clean line and the lack of seams.
8. U tip
it's similar to a wing tip but it has that U shape when you look at it from the top. It often comes as a spectator, as you can see here, with two tones and basically, it's a very loud shoe, it's a usual shoe and therefore, it's only suggested if you want to create an outfit that is defined and that catches people's eyes.
That being said, one of the ways to get really a lot out of your oxfords is to change the color of your shoelaces. While a pair of shoes can cost you $200, $300 or $2000, a pair of shoelaces cost about ten bucks and it can really change the entire look.
There are lots of other color combinations for oxfords and since it's such a classic, versatile and timeless last and style, you will find basically anything under the sun.
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