An oxford is a shoe shape that features a closed lace system that’s sewn into the upper portion of the shoe. As dress shoes, they’re perfect for formal events. However, they’ve now evolved into semi-formal footwear. There are even slip-on oxfords that are an excellent choice for casual wear.
Oxford shoes are crafted from a variety of textures, such as calf leather, canvas, suede, and even exotic leather. Depending on what style you’re going for, you’ll find a wide range of oxford shoes at Dapperfam....
Why Are Oxford Shoes Called Oxfords?
If you’ve ever Googled, “did oxford shoes originate from Oxford?” you’re right. The oxford shoe is exactly what it says it is – it’s from Oxford University.
In the 19th century, Oxford students had to wear the Oxonian boot, a form of men’s footwear that was extremely uncomfortable. Not only did it have high heels (at that time, men wore high-heeled shoes to show their status), but it didn’t have lace closure and, instead, a button closure.
For this reason, the students decided to create a better boot with a lower heel and side slits. Lo and behold, the oxford was born. Eventually, the students traded the side slits for traditional shoelaces that allowed for a better and more comfortable fit.
Why Are Oxford Shoes Called “Balmorals”?
In the United States, it’s not uncommon for people to call the oxford a “balmoral” or a “bal-type” shoe. This is because other people believe that oxfords actually came from Scotland and not Oxford. The name “balmoral” is an ode to Scotland’s Balmoral Castle.
Oxfords vs. Derbies
These two shoes look alike, which is why people tend to get confused when they go shoe shopping. If you’re wondering the difference between a balmoral and a derby, the answer lies in the lacing.
The laces on the former are sewn underneath the vamp, which is the part of the shoe that covers the front of the foot. On the other hand, the laces on the latter lie on top of the vamp. For this reason, derby shoes are better for people with wider feet. They allow for more freedom, as the wearer can choose how loosely (or how tightly) they want to tie their shoelaces together.
Types of Oxford Shoes
In your search for the perfect pair of oxford shoes, you’ll find plenty of shoe shapes, such as:
- Plain-toe. Plain-toe oxfords are an example of a classic form of men’s footwear. This dress shoe does not come with a cap on the toe and is often paired with formal outfits such as suits and dress hats. The perfect example of a plain-toe oxford is the Madison Anaconda.
- Cap-toe. Cap-toe oxfords feature a cap on the toe. They look like plain-toe oxfords, but what sets them apart is that their toe box does not look “separated” from the rest of the shoe form. An example of a cap-toe oxford is the Madison.
- Wingtip. Wingtip oxfords such as the Galletti aren’t as formal as plain-toe or cap-toe oxfords. However, they’re a great pair of shoes for a fun night out in town. The sides of the shoe feature “wingtips” as well as a pointed toe cap in a W or M shape.
- Saddle. Saddle oxford or saddle shoes are defined by the saddle-shaped fabric that wraps around the body. Saddle shoes come in two colors, with black and white as the most common color combination. Wear a saddle shoe with a gambler hat to complete your cowboy getup!
- Whole-cut. Whole-cut oxfords are made from a single strip of leather and feature a minimalist design perfect for formal or semiformal wear. Since they’re so plain, it would be best to pair them with an embellished dress hat such as the Benton.
If you want to exude sophistication, wear a pair of plain-toe oxfords such as the Steade oxfords. These are fuss-free shoes that are subtle but fashionable at the same time.
However, if you want to draw attention to your footwear and don’t want to wear other accessories, put on a pair of bold wingtip shoes such as the Garrison and Brewster. For casual wear, slip-on oxfords such as the Madison Slip-On are an excellent choice.
Should You Wear Oxfords That Show Off Your Ankles?
Some men like to wear low-cut oxfords that expose their ankles. There’s nothing wrong with this, but be sure to wear the right shoe at the right time. Otherwise, you will look silly, not sleek.
You should only wear oxfords that show off your calf to semi-formal events. As a general rule, your getup should be sharp – this will balance out your informal footwear. For example, when you wear low-cut oxfords, ensure that your trousers, suit, and shirt are pressed to perfection.
An Excellent Choice for Dapper Men
Even if you’ve got your degree, it would still be nice to imagine yourself in the prestigious hallways of Oxford University. Find the perfect pair of oxfords at Dapperfam today to exude the kind of confidence you’d expect from Oxonian alumni, such as Tony Abbott and Sir Grantley Adams.
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