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British by Design

Men's Oxford Shoes


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The term men's Oxford shoes is often used to describe any sort of smart men's formal shoes. From a shoemaker's perspective, however, Oxfords are a very distinct style of footwear - and this article takes a closer look at them. 

A Brief History

The history of Oxfords can be traced back to a half-boot with side slits, called the Oxonian, that gained popularity at Oxford University in the early 1800s. This boot eventually evolved into the Oxford shoe, with the side slits becoming side laces and eventually moving round to the front.

Slits With Laces

The essential characteristic here is the concept of a slit. Oxfords are moulded into a fixed shape in the front half of the shoe (the vamp). What controls the access of your foot into the rear half (the quarters) is basically a slit with laces - in contrast with a Derby style shoe - which has flaps instead of a slit. 

Can You Get Your Foot In?

As you might imagine, a slit doesn't give you much leeway to get your foot in so, sadly, Oxfords are not for everyone - myself included :( - if, like me, you have a wider foot, you'll probably struggle to get it in to an Oxford.

How To Wear Men's Oxford Shoes

As the only flexible bit in an Oxford is the slit, this shoe style is incredibly good at retaining its contoured shape and therefore stays sharper looking and sleeker. So, if you're blessed with a not-too-wide foot I would say it makes for an essential part of a gentleman's wardrobe. Check out our showcase below to get an idea of how Oxfords might look ...


Coogan London Men's Oxford Shoes

Here at Coogan London we have a couple of Oxford styles for under £40. If you'd like to learn more about them, please do visit our online shop

Download Free Wallchart  Anatomy of a Shoe  PDF File, 1 Page