Discover the Oxford, arguably the most iconic style in mens shoes today. This guide offers a brief history and distinguishing features, as well as contemporary styling tips that will make you appreciate this timeless footwear.
The Oxford has a long, if not slightly murky history. However, its links to Oxford University is well-documented. By 1830, students grew tired of the standard knee-high (riding) boots, known as the 'Oxonian.'
The 'Oxonion,' was turned into a 'half boot', and by the turn of the 20th century it had been "filed" down to the Oxford shoe that we know today.
An Oxford’s most distinguishable characteristic is in its closed-lacedsystem, where the eyelet tabs are sewn under the vamp of the shoe.
The open-laced system is more common, but unlike the Oxford shoe, it has the quarters sewn on top of the vamp and the eyelets stitched on top of the quarters.
The Oxford's closed-laced system, low heel and an exposed ankle gives the wearer an elegant silhouette on which to build on.
Many variations of the Oxford shoe exist today. For the genuine article, your Oxford should be Goodyear welted, or of a similar build quality. As you will see below, an Oxford can come in many styles, four of the more popular include the Semi-Brogue Oxford, with its distinctive perforations across the quarters and capped toe. The iconic Cap Toe Oxford is the best known and widely worn style. Other styles, such as the Plain Toe and Wholecut Oxfords are also widely worn. The shoe's last will have a nuanced but important influence on the shoe's overall look and feel, as will other other factors such as the shape of the toe, the needle work, patina, edging etc.
You won’t go wrong with a pair of black Oxfords for work. For a slightly less formal feel, try dark brown or Dark Oak Oxfords, both of which are versatile colours, and pairs well with many popular suit shades.
Oxfords pair very well with neat casual ensembles, and for semi-formal events. Popular style variations for less formal get-ups include the brown and dark oak cap-toe Oxfords, as well as the the Oxford-Brogue, such as our semi-brogue Oxfords.
More versatile than you think, Oxfords can be worn with denim and leather jacket, chinos and shirt or corduroy and parker - and a lot more in-between. Popular weekend styles include two-tone burnished leather wholecuts, and semi-brogue Oxfords.