To the uninitiated, it may seem like men get a rough deal when it comes to picking out shoes for special occasions. Whilst women have an abundance of options, colours, materials and styles to choose from it can feel that men are limited to tan or black lace-ups.
This just isn’t the case though! There is a huge amount of variety for men to pick their preferences from. Find the right formal wear for your feet from our handy guide to the different formal dress shoes available from our range of London Brogues footwear.
The Oxford Shoe
We can only start with the classic Oxford shoe. The Oxford is most likely the shoe which springs to mind when you picture a formal dress shoe. It is characterised by its ‘closed lacing’ construction, which gives the Oxford its crisp appearance.
This is emphasised by its narrower shape, which can cause some discomfort for those with wider feet. London Brogues has tackled this by incorporating some wide-fit size options into our most popular styles.
An Oxford will usually have more modest semi-broguing or half-broguing on a smaller toe-cap rather than wingtips, as seen on our refined Arthur Oxford or Sidney Oxford. However, it can also form the base for louder styles such as the Spectator Shoe.
For a more detailed introduction to Oxford shoes check out our blog post ‘What’s the difference between an Oxford and a Brogue’.
The Derby Shoe
Like the Oxford, the Derby is characterised by its lacing system and the placement of the shoelace eyelets. These have an effect on the form and fit of the shoe. In the case of the Derby shoe, however, the shoe is constructed with quarters (large pieces which wrap around the sides of the shoe and over the vamp) and the eyelets are sewn on top of the vamp creating ‘open lacing’. This can be seen in our Tommy Derby Shoe.
This style of formal shoes allows for greater comfort for men with a high arch or wider feet. Though it is seen as a slightly more relaxed alternative to the Oxford as a result.
The Monk Strap Shoe
The monk strap shoe is a less familiar cousin of the Oxford shoe. It boasts either one or two fastening straps which are secured by a buckle. These arch over the top of the shoe in place of a set of laces.
It sits somewhere between Oxfords and Derbys on the spectrum of smartness, for those who want something a bit different yet still sharp and smart. Our Leonard Monk shoe comes in both black and tan for whichever suit option you are favouring for your formal occasion.
For more detail on the fascinating history of the monk strap shoe, check out our deep dive into the development of this style icon.
The Dress Boot
For a clear example of a modern dress boot, look no further than our Gatsby boot. Available not just in our luxury, quality leather but also in a range of mixed materials, incorporating heritage tweed.
The dress boot is constructed like an oxford, and is very often the same shape but with a longer shaft. This is a smart ankle boot which in formal settings is typically worn under the trouser leg. This short, lace-up boot may be plain but we think that some decoration on the toe and along its seams make for the perfect patterned companion to your party wear.
The Chelsea Boot
The Chelsea boot is distinctive from a dress boot thanks to its unique construction and distinctive appearance. It is characterised by a low heel and lack of laces. Instead of fastenings, it has an elasticated panel, allowing the boot to be slipped on and off easily with the help of a handy pull tug on the back of the shoe.
They are created using only two separate pieces of leather. These are the front or ‘vamp’ of the boot and the back or ‘quarters’ which are sewn together under the elastic panel on either side. This durable design is quick to care for and creates a sophisticated, tidy look when the elastic gusset is hidden underneath a trouser leg.We offer both brogue and plain options in our range of Chelsea boots. With our unadorned Hamilton Chelsea boots, you can create a discrete toned-down look, with beautiful leather or suede creating a polished and paired-back finish. However, Henry may be more to your taste with some partial broguing on its toe caps and seams for a decorative finish, available in chestnut or tan leathers.