Shoes - more than just accessories
Confidence comes from within, yes. But to radiate full confidence, it all starts and ends with a great appearance. The perfect pair of shoes will do its part to accentuate it. An excellent pair of suit shoes is not a luxury, but a necessity. Even sneaker and hoodie wearers need to dress up occasionally, and when the opportunity presents itself, it will be easier for the one who is prepared.
Simply-Si's shoe guide helps men make smarter choices when buying shoes. Once a man knows the options available, he's already halfway to looking good at any event.
When it comes to the different types of men's shoes, there is a hierarchy. In other words: Not all types of shoes are equal. But don't freak out just yet! We explain the differences between an oxford and a derby, between lace-ups and loafers and the other types of men's shoes. The following styles of men's shoes will give you a good overview.
OXFORD, DERBY AND BLUCHER
Starting off our men's shoe guide is the mighty Oxford (or a Balmoral for our British counterparts), probably the most famous evening dress shoe. The Oxford shoe is an elegant, formal lace-up shoe characterised by its 'closed' lacing and the fact that the shoe is made from a single piece of leather. The closed style means that the eyelet tabs on the top of the shoe are sewn over the front vamp or front part of the shoe, restricting the movement of the tab. Oxfords are usually worn for more formal occasions, but can also be worn casually with a business suit. There may be times when someone refers to this shoe as a "closed front", but that's okay because you know they mean an oxford.
The Derby, often confused with the Oxford, is a close relative but not the same type of men's shoe. The Derby shoe does not have a closed lacing system like the Oxford, but an open lacing system where the tabs are sewn under the front vamp rather than attached to the front of the shoe. This type of stitching allows the tabs to move and when the shoe is laced up, it looks like it is divided into segments (top, side, back, etc.). Originally, the derby was a sports shoe, but it was also worn in more relaxed settings such as hunting. Although a Derby can also be worn for formal occasions, it is more casual than an Oxford and arguably offers a more comfortable, functional fit.
In the US, Derby's and Blucher are often used interchangeably to describe the open toe style, but they are actually two slightly different types of men's shoes. If you look closely, you will notice that Derbys have the two sides sewn together under the front vamp, while Bluchers have the two sides connected to the front vamp. Thus, it can be said, "Same-same but different!"
The name Blücher goes back to the Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt (1742-1819), who had his soldiers equipped with this shoe model (at that time still as boots) for the victory march against Napoleon. The internationally used designation still refers to its origins as a robust army boot.
The Budapest shoe is one of the most famous types of men's shoes. However, Budapest shoes are not just a type of shoe, but much more than just an open-laced, double-stitched derby, decorated with broguings (perforations), a heel cap and a wing cap (also called a toe cap). It also has a double sole, a high toe cap and a large heel. What makes the Budapest truly unique is the relatively straight last (wooden moulding) with which it is made.
In Hungary, the Budapest is called the "Carlsbader" whereas the region is called "Karlovy Vary".
Ahh, the Chelsea boot. The preferred shoe style of rock icons The Beatles and the badass soldiers of the galaxy in George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy (yes, Stormtroopers have a thing for Chelsea Boots). This also makes it one of our favourite dress shoes. Originally from the Victorian era but becoming mainstream in the 60s, this cosy ankle boot features a low heel, a fabric tab on the back and the ability to slip on and off thanks to the elasticated side panel. Chelsea boots have a rounded toe and are so versatile that they can be worn with jeans or a suit.
The loafer, characterised by its wide heel and the ability to slip on, was inspired by moccasins, the favourite shoe of Native Americans. Like oxfords, moccasins come in a variety of laceless styles (tassel, penny loafer, monk strap, etc.). Regardless of the style, loafers are generally considered the most casual among the different types of men's shoes. You can put on a pair of loafers for a night on the dance floor with jeans or combine them with a suit - loafers combined with slightly more formal outfits are not recommended.
Brogue shoes are a type of oxford, blucher or loafer that feature a perforated design along the edge of the leather that overlaps the front vamp. In short, brogue is the type of shoes with the holes and thus a distinct type of men's shoes. For this, there are different types of brogues that are worth knowing. To give you even more insider knowledge to leave your trusted shoemaker speechless :-) here are the 3 most popular brogue variants:
Full Brogue or Brogue:
A wingtip shoe in which the perforations are modelled on the letter "W", which starts in the middle of the upper part of the shoe and goes around the sides of the shoe.
Hallf Brogue (Semi Brogue):
A design with some perforations on the edge of the toe cap, but the biggest part of the design are the decorative perforations in the middle of the toe cap of the shoe (medallions).
This is the same as a Half Brogue, but instead of medallions in the toe cap, the Quarter Brogue is plain.