Shoes are a man’s most important styling elements. Moreover, most of the men out there are really possessive about their shoes than anything else in their wardrobe, just like us. Having a pair of Classic Oxfords in your wardrobe is surely a must for each and every man out there. However, picking the perfect pair of shoes to meet your requirements as well as your personality is very important. To make you more acquainted with all the aspects of Oxford Shoes, we have curated all the important information for you, right here!
Brief History of Oxford Shoes:
Boots ruled the world of men’s footwear in the 17th century. These boots had high heels, side buttons and were tight fitting. Further, the bootleg of these shoes was reduced and side slits were introduced, which came to be known as “Oxonian shoes”. These shoes became really popular around 1825 at the Oxford University. These shoes further got developed and took up the form of the current day “Oxford Shoes”. However, there are various claims by historians that Oxfords came from Scotland and Ireland, where they were referred to as “Balmorals”.
Identifying Oxford Shoes:
There are three main elements that perfectly define a pair of classy Oxford Shoes. They have a low heel, they sit below your ankle, and most importantly, their lacing mechanism is closed near the toe. The closed lacing system provides Oxfords its a streamlined structure, which draws a more formal look. Moreover, the one-side closed lacing system is exactly what differentiates a pair of Oxford Shoes from a pair of Derby Shoes. The derby shoes are open at both, top and the bottom of the lacing system.
- Plain-Toe Oxford Shoes
- Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes
- Wingtip Oxford Shoes
- Seamless Oxford Shoes
- Whole-Cut Oxford Shoes
- Kiltie Oxford Shoes
- Saddle Oxford Shoes
A. Types of Oxford Shoes:
1. Plain-Toe Oxford Shoes
Plain-Toe Oxfords usually have a rounded toe and do not feature any kind of perforations or decorative elements. They are one of the purest examples of elegance and minimalism, and comprise of only the quarter and the vamp. It also lacks a toe cap as well as broguing. Some of the most common finishes that you will find with Plain Oxfords are patent leather and mirror shine. Black is one of the most recommended and commonly used Plain-Toe Oxford Shoes.
- Recommended for: White Tie and Black Tie Events
- Best suited with: Tuxedo, Tailcoat suits
2. Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes
This is one of the most commonly used types of Oxfords and are available in a variety of shades, including brown, tan, cognac, oxblood, and classic black. Apart from the quarter and the vamp, these shoes also have an additional piece of leather, over the toe box. These shoes also feature an additional heel cap and are termed as “poor man’s evening shoes” because these were not traditionally considered fit for a Black Tie event.
- Recommended for: Business Meetings
- Best suited with: Tuxedos, Classic Business suits, black tie suits
3. Wingtip Oxford Shoes
The defining feature of a Wingtip Oxford is its distinctive toe shape, which resembles the letter “W” and “M” from different viewpoints. The definitive toe cap is known as Wingtip and it extends along both sides of this shoe type. These types of shoes are effectively used in casual and semi-formal settings.
- Recommended for: weddings, office wear, smart casuals
- Best suited with: tweed suits, jeans
4. Seamless Oxford Shoes
Considered to be one of the most comfortable as well as the softest Oxfords, these are made with a single piece of leather. Moreover, they do not have any kind of seam, even at the backdrop, thus the name, “Seamless Oxford Shoes”. Also, a Seamless Oxford Shoe utilized almost double the quantity of leather that is used for any other type of Oxford shoes. These very reasons make its manufacturing process a complex one and lead to a higher price tag. Moreover, various shoemakers make even try to pass on a pair of Whole-Cut Oxfords in the name of Seamless Oxfords, so beware!
- Recommended for: formal occasions
- Best suited with: formal suits, sportscoats
5. Whole-Cut Oxford Shoes
Whole-cut oxfords are also made out of a single piece of leather, just like a pair of Seamless Oxford Shoes. However, they have a seam at the heel counter of the shoe. They feature a closed lacing system, that provides them with a sleek and elegant look. The cost of whole-cut Oxfords is higher than a plain-toe, cap-toe, or Wingtip Oxford Shoes, due to the high-quality leather used and the complexity of manufacturing them. Various Whole-cut Oxfords also feature perforations and come in a number of color variations. Some of the variants of these types may also feature a brogue or medallion. If these shoes are not made with good quality and seasoned pieces of leather, they may shrink easily with time.
- Recommended for: formal evening, semi-formal occasions
- Best suited with: work suits, jackets, jeans (shades of brown only)
6. Kiltie Oxford Shoes
The most defining feature of Kiltie Oxfords is its additional fringed tongue that hangs over its top. This additional tongue is used to protect the insteps from mud and prevents the laces to be caught up with any object. These shoes were very popular during the older ages, however; are a rare found nowadays. These are a strict no-no in any kind of formal setting and can only be used in casual or informal settings.
- Recommended for: informal occasions.
- Best suited with: semi-casual outfits, jeans, chinos
7. Saddle Oxford Shoes
Also termed American-style oxfords, these shoes have a contrasting-colored strip, running down the middle and sides of the shoe sole. A pair of cream saddle shoes, paired with a blue saddle is one of the most traditional looks for saddle shoes, however; you may find various other combinations as well. These are surely one of the most informal sets of Oxfords and are very rarely used in current times. However, if you wish to add something unique and catchy to your wardrobe, this pair is surely a must-have for you.
- Recommended for: casual occasions, outdoor sports events.
- Best suited with: corduroy trousers, jeans, colored chinos
B. Most popular Oxford Shoes Colors:
1. Tan Oxfords
Tan color is surely becoming more and more popular for men’s footwear. Rightfully so, they can easily be paired with anything due to their light and dark tones. Moreover, Tan oxfords can be perfectly paired with jeans, navy pants, as well as bright colored chinos for a semi-formal or casual look.
2. Brown Oxfords
If you wish for a more distinct and striking look, you must certainly walk in with a brown pair of oxfords with Grey, Navy Blue, or Dark Brown suits. A brown pair of shoes will also allow you to stand out of the crowd, without taking away that classic formal look.
3. Black Oxfords
A man’s wardrobe can surely not be complete without a pair of shining black Oxfords. Black is surely one of the best picks for any kind of business meets. Black Oxfords are also the most versatile and can help you achieve any desired look. Moreover, black pairs well with almost every color in this world, thus the safest and the most classic option for your Oxfords.
C. Oxford Shoes for Different Occasions:
1. Oxfords for Formal Occasions
Oxford Shoes surely have an amazing polished and neat look, making them perfect for all formal occasions. A patent black leather pair of Oxfords provides you with a highly sophisticated feel. Also, while picking a pair of Oxfords for a formal touch, try to go in with shoes with a lesser width. The Oxfords which have a wider sole tend to be more on a casual side. Black paid of Oxfords appears to be most formal and go in perfectly with all the formal suits.
2. Oxfords for Smart Casuals
Various Oxfords are also perfect for casual get-togethers like parties, and lunches. Oxfords usually have quite a formal appearance. However, if you pair them with a pretty casual pair of pants, your outlook would be quite balanced. Dressy jeans and colorful chinos are perfect to go with a pair of semi-formal Oxfords. You can pair your attire with a chic top to complete your smart casual look.
1. Oxfords with Pants
If you love wearing trousers or suit pants, Oxfords would be a perfect choice of footwear for you. Due to their neat and slick appearance, these pairs are perfect to go with formal pants. If you need complete attire for a wedding, dinner event, or cocktail party, wearing your formal pants with a pair of Oxfords would be a great choice. However, it is always very important to pick the right color and style of pants to pair with your Oxfords.
2. Oxfords with Chinos
Oxford shoes, paired with chinos tend to create a perfect informal yet classy look. To keep your chinos coordinated with your pair of Oxfords, try to keep only basic colors in your wardrobe. Brown, Black, Navy Blue, and Sand colored chinos are best to be paired with different styles of Oxfords. For a dressy look with your Oxfords and chinos, you can pick a button-down shirt. However, for a relaxed and casual appearance, you can also try pairing a solid polo or round-neck t-shirt.
3. Oxfords with Jeans
Oxfords are surely one of the most formal-looking shoes, however; it doesn’t simply mean that they would not work out with a pair of classic jeans. If you pair the right color of Oxfords with your jeans, it would certainly turn out to be really stylish. For blue jeans, you must go in with a pair of tan oxfords. If you wish something to pair with your black or other dark-colored denim, you should prefer a brown or black pair of Oxfords. To further enhance your look and to make everything more balanced, try to wear a button-down shirt or a solid blazer with your jeans and Oxfords.
Lacing Oxford Shoes
Traditional Oxfords usually have 5 eyelets for laces, however, several styles available nowadays may even have more or less than 5 eyelets. Laces are one of the most important elements that complete the look of a classic pair of Oxfords.
Below mentioned are some tips that you can follow to achieve the perfect traditional look.
- The laces to be used with Oxfords must be always parallel, horizontal, and the same color or shade as the shoes. Never even imagine picking contrasting laces to pop with your Oxfords.
- To start off, put in both the ends of your laces from the top into the bottom eyelets and pull them from the bottom so that your lace fits horizontally.
- If you have an odd number of eyelets on your shoes, keep the end of the lace on the outside a couple of centimeters longer than the end on the inside. If your shoes have an even number of eyelets, keep them equal.
- Further, you should feed the end of the lace on the outside through the second eyelet on the similar side from the bottom. Thereafter, loop it to the second eyelet on the other side, from the top.
- Continue this procedure till you reach the last eyelet. If your Oxfords have an uneven number of eyelets, you will need to cross over the lace on one side. Therefore, the part of the lace on the outside needs to be a bit longer than the part on the inside.
- Once you have pulled both the ends of the laces from the top eyelets, pull both the ends of the laces tightly. The quarters of the shoes might remain a little V-shaped in the starting. However, with use, the quarters of your Oxfords must align with each other, creating a perfectly horizontal lace outlook.
Tips to buy a perfect pair of Oxfords:
- Figure out the right size: Oxfords surely do have a tight fitting, however; do not buy Oxfords with a tendency in mind that your shoes may loosen up time. A pair of finest Oxfords actually teds to shrink with time. Also, try out your shoes after the first half of the day as your feet tend to swell after the second half and will help you pick the right size.
- Pick the right material: Best pairs of Oxfords surely use the best quality real leather. However, many companies tend to use suede and sell them off to consumers who may not pay much attention. However, if you do not have a problem with using suede, you can surely pick them. Moreover, they are slightly cheaper than the leather Oxfords. However, the real look and feel of a classic pair of Oxfords can only be felt with the use of high-quality leather. Moreover, if you take good care of your shoes, leather Oxfords will age beautifully and last for a really good time period.
- Finalize the type of Oxford that you desire: The huge list of different types of Oxfords available in the market might surely get you confused. However, if you go prepared, you can pick your choice within seconds without wasting any time. If you want a strictly formal look, nothing can beat a pair of Plain-Toed Oxfords, Cap-Toe Oxfords, or Seamless Oxfords. If you want to pick a pair that can work out for formal events as are wearable for casual events, you may go in for Kiltie Oxfords or Whole-cut Oxfords.
All the above-mentioned information should really make you all expert about the Oxford shoes. Also check types of socks to pair with your shoes. Whether you are a die-hard formal dresser or a casual dresser, having a befitting pair of Oxfords, based on the above-mentioned information is surely a must for you. Moreover, all the different types of Oxfords listed above should really make it easy for you to make the right choice!