Shoe Style Guide

Not all shoes are created equal

Here we will look at some of the different types of shoes and what is the difference between them. This is not a comprehensive list but does highlight the most common misunderstandings that we come across and a few of the different names the styles are known by.


Oxford some times called 'Balmoral' refers to the design of the lacing where the 2 facings are joined at the bottom. Oxford shoes comes down in a "V" shape. These are most commonly found on smarter city shoes and can be plain, brogues and anything in between. Black and Dark Brown Oxfords are usually worn with suits and smart trousers but lighter shades and combination colours can be worn casually as well. A best selling example is the Barker Mcclean.


Sometimes known as "Gibson" or "Blucher". Derby also refers to the lacing design but with a Derby the facings run parallel to one another giving a slightly more casual look. Derby's are better for those with higher insteps. Derby's are typically worn with jeans and chinos but the smarter finished Derby's in Black can be worn with smarter attire. An excellent example is the NPS Blair.


Monk Shoes don't have laces and are fastened instead with buckles these can be either the more traditional single strap or a more contemporary double strap. Monk shoes are considered one of the smartest style's of shoe. Generally only worn with smart trousers and suits but with the right Linen trouser can be an excellent smart-casual summer shoe. A superb example is the Carlos Santos Lisbon.


Brogues or 'wing tips' are any shoe that has a combination of punching and gimping. Their are a few different styles of brogues, A full brogue with a wing cap, a half or semi brogue which has a toe cap and the quarter brogue which tends to just have a line of punching on a toe cap. They can also be more formal or casual, they really are a perfect all rounder. Brogues can be oxford or derby and as such can be worn with pretty much anything from suits to jeans. An example of a Traditional country Brogue is the Tricker's Bourton.

Toe Cap

Toe cap shoes ,some times referred to as Oxfords, are plain fronted with a simple cap across the toe. Typically found on Oxford's but can be found on a few Derby's. One of, if not the smartest shoe you can find, Ideal for all functions requiring smart elegant dress. An excellent example is the Cheaney Alfred.


Boots come in all sorts of shapes and styles from a classic elasticated Chelsea, A heavy duty high ankle lace up, A casual summer Desert boot. As such they can be worn with all manner of clothing An example of a Chukka boot is the ionic Sanders Hi-Top as worn by Steve McQueen.

Slip On

Slip on's also known as Loafer's which as the name suggests are slipped on, Sometimes there is a small amount of elastic behind the tongue to aid with the fit. Slip On's are primarily casual shoes worn with jeans, chinos and tailored shorts but the more structured styles in Black, Brown or Oxblood can be worn smartly with trousers in the summer months. A classic example is the British Shoe Company .............

 Boat Shoes

Or Deck shoes are casually worn with jeans, chinos and shorts. Generally moccasin construction with leather laces and sipping on the sole. Any true Boat shoe would be just at home on the deck of a ship as walking round town. An example of a true Boat shoe made in England is the Chatham ...........