Men’s Guide: How to Buy Oxford Shoes

cap-toe-lace-up-oxford

Oxfords are the classic dress shoes that every man needs in his wardrobe. They can be worn for evening events, business events, or on a regular work day. Oxford shoes are an essential piece for every man’s professional and dressy attire because of their sleek look and their solid place in history.

Oxford shoes are characterized by eyelet tabs that are placed underneath the flaps so that they are invisible. The thin laces are then laced in reverse so that the crisscross pattern cannot be seen. On top, the laces move horizontally across the flaps in straight lines. Usually the shoes are made out of leather and are fairly plain. However, there are different styles and designs that do appear on the shoes.

First of all, it may seem obvious but an Oxford is a shoe with laces, and not a slip-on, monk strap shoe or Chelsea boot. Second, an Oxford shoe has a closed lace system vs. the open lace system of a Derby shoe. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s start with the basics. The uppers of an Oxford usually consist of the quarters and the vamp.

The vamp is that part of the shoe uppers the covers the toes and instep, i.e. the front of the shoe.

The quarters are that part of the shoe uppers that wrap around the heel and meet the vamp in the middle of the foot i.e. the back of the shoe.

The eyelets for the shoe laces are generally located on the quarters (with the exception of a wholecut and seamless shoe). For a closed lace system, the vamp is sewn on top of the quarters and the shoelace eyelets facings are stitched underneath the vamp. The shoelaces are used to tie the two quarters together thus fastening the shoe onto your foot.

In a nutshell, these are the features of a present day Oxford Shoe

Closed lacing system
Low-heeled
Exposed ankle

When to Wear Oxfords: Contrary to common belief there are casual forms of oxford shoes as well as formal ones. Different styles of the shoes can be worn at one or several types of occasions. Listed below are some typical occasions of different formality levels and the oxfords that can be worn to them, as well as what to wear with the oxfords.

Occasion

What to Wear

Casual

There are forms of casual oxfords that have larger, rubber soles and are made with either flat leather or imitation leather. These can be worn with any jeans. Plain or cap toe oxfords can be worn with dark jeans if the shoes are brown. Suede is also acceptable for casual occasions and saddle shoes can be worn golfing.

Dressy

For dressy occasions, any style of oxfords can be worn except for the casual shoes and saddle shoes. They can be flat leather, glossy leather, suede, or quality imitation leather and they should be worn with slacks.

Professional

Professional occasions call for any style but the saddle shoes and casual ones. Wear slacks or a suit. The oxfords should be made with glossy or flat leather only.

Formal

For formal occasions, choose formal styles such as the wingtip, cap toe, or shoes with brogue patterns on them.

Chose the style and material of the shoes based on where they will be worn. The wrong shoes will clash with the attire and appear unprofessional. Here are some basic fashion tips to consider when wearing oxfords.

Oxford shoes can make a man’s attire look sharp and classy. The shoes have a stylish look while still being versatile enough to be worn with many different outfits. A man’s wardrobe is not complete without a few pairs of oxford shoes to make him appear professional or formal. This guide has educated buyers on the styles of oxford shoes, their materials, and the types of occasions to wear them at, how to match them with outfits, and how to shop for them in an easy, simplified way. By utilizing the information provided, men can make informed decisions on which shoes to buy that will compliment their attire and secure positive first impressions from others.