Gentlemen's dress is all about subtleties. So much so that even a sartorial guru can find himself lost in the intricacies of style, fit and the tiny details that really make a piece. There are many versions of the history and etymology of the men's brogues, but what is clear is this style started life as a Gaelic outdoor shoe in or before the 18th century.
The distinctive punched holes that we have come to associate with men's brogue shoes, were originally perforated all the way through the upper and in the beginning were a practical, not decorative, feature designed to let water out when walking on boggy ground. They were considered as country or outdoor shoes until the 1920s, when elegant versions of the shoe became very fashionable. Status was further confirmed in 1930 when the Prince of Wales wore spectator (black and white contrast) brogues to play golf.
Until recent time, brown brogues were still considered to be country attire and were often made on a double sole or commando sole with a Derby upper. Black brogues became popular as city or more formal shoes in the 1980's and were more often than not made using an Oxford construction on a single Goodyear welted sole.
Oliver Sweeney was instrumental in the popularisation of these styles during his time as creative director of McAfee shoes in the 1980's. During this era, the welted suede brogue became very popular as a casual style followed by the tan leather version and the mens brogue boot from the late 1990s onward.
Brogues have featured in our collections for decades and we consider ourselves masters of the genre. Traditional shoe making techniques are key, along with a healthy quest to refine and improve components and finishes. Every man should own at least one pair of brogues. Versatile all-rounders, they’ll prove a reliable failsafe for everything from work to weddings and the local.
How to Wear Brogues:
You should expect to keep your brogues for many years to come, so fit and construction is key. The heavier looking Derby is better for a wider foot and complements casual chinos and jeans, whereas a more formal Oxford like Aldeburgh is perhaps the most versatile of shoes, equally at home in a smart casual setting as with more formal attire. Here is a small selection of our most popular brogues to start your search. Feel free to explore the full collection or contact us for advice.
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