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What's an Oxford?

While its history is up for debate, we know for certain that the Oxford gained its name from the city's university students with whom they were all the rage in the 1800s. Since then this traditional style shoe has become synonymous with formal and business wear, but is equally an ideal way to smarten up more casual attire such as chinos. The main difference between an Oxford and a Derby lies in the laces.

 

The former features a closed lacing system in which the quarters, the side tabs where the shoelace eyelets are punctured, are sewn under the front part of the shoe known as the vamp. For those who are still not sure, what we are essentially referring to is the seam that runs directly below laces.

The main characteristics of Oxford shoes include:

 

  • Closed lacing
  • Elongated toe (with or without cap toe)
  • Three-part panelled construction
  • Stitched leather sole.
The main characteristics of Oxford shoes include:
Oxford Shoes

Oxford Shoes

What's a Derby?

Better suited to gentleman who have a high instep, the Derby is commonly thought to be an evolution, at least in terms of comfort, of the Oxford. Setting aside which came first, what we can all agree on is that the Derby has a more relaxed look giving the shoe added diversity both in terms of how they are worn - smart or casual - and how they are made, suede being as popular a choice as leather.

 

Unlike an Oxford, the Derby has open lacing meaning that quarters are stitched on top of the vamp - notice how there is no seam between the tongue and front of the shoe. Less-bound in both appearance and fit, the looser tightened laces allow for more freedom of movement.

Characteristics of a Derby shoe:

 

  • Open lacing
  • Elongated or round toe
  • Three-part panelled construction
  • Stitched leather sole
Characteristics of a Derby shoe:
Derby Shoes

Derby Shoes

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