The Oxford is an English shoe who's predecessor the Oxonian half boot was popularly worn at Oxford University in the 1800's. It is considered one of the most elegant men's shoes. A plain cap-toed oxford lace up is a staple of many businessmen's wardrobes. Variations of the classic include replacing the toe cap's punched holes with narrower rows of stitching, adding a medallion decoration on the toe, or embellishing the shoe all the way up to a full brogue oxford.
Oxford's closer fit is especially comfortable for men with narrower feet and lower insteps.
The Blucher, also commonly referred to as a Derby, is named after Gehard Leberecht, a Prussian General who helped in Napolean's defeat at Waterloo. The Blucher was first used by soldiers throughout Europe and later developed into a hunting and sporting shoe. It is recognizable by the forward extension of the quarters over the vamp. Bluchers are considered a bit less formal than Oxfords because of the slightly heavier appearance produced by the side straps.
The open lacing allows for easier adjustment allowing extra comfort for men with an extra high instep or wide foot.
Both Oxford and Derby/Blutcher Brogues are commonly made. Brogues are easily identified by their distinctive perforations and stitching. The style first became popular with Irish and Scottish gamekeepers and foresters but was soon adopted by aristocrats and nobility who used them on hunting excursions.
The broguings used to be actual holes meant to allow water to drain out of the shoes. Wing Tips are named as such thanks to their toe caps that are shaped like the spread wings of a bird. They are considered a bit less formal than cap toe models and historically not worn after 6 pm.
Named after the footwear worn by friars in the Italian Alps in the 15th century, the monk strap is made with an upper composed of 3 pieces together with a distinctive single or double buckle. The broad tongue allows for a closer fit and enables a more comfortable fit around the ankle. Monk straps are very versatile in that they can be very elegant when done with a clean vamp or can also be worn more casually. Monk straps are considered to be between loafers and lace ups in terms of formality.
Boot & Chukka Boot
The Chukka boot is named after the playing period in polo and was first brought to the West from India by the British Raj. These are often produced in suede and calfskin, unlined with leather or rubber soles.
Boots and ankle boots have become popular due to their versatility and practicality. Considering that pants almost completely cover the quarters, boots can be matched with clothing outfits the same as shoes, but are generally not worn for formal occasions.
Also called "slip ons" and moccasins (sole and upper made of a single piece of leather), loafers have become popular with men due to the trend towards comfort and convenience. Loafers can be dressed up with decorative vamp designs and with fuller bottoms which give them more scale and stature. Tassel loafers were originally considered a more casual shoe but are often seen now paired with sport coats, but less so with navy or gray suits.
The first Spectators were worn by cricket players in the 1800's. During the Jazz age the shoes were sometimes called "Correspondents" since they were worn by shady personalities who often acted as correspondents in divorce cases. Spectators later were worn by yachtsman and at leisure sporting events and now are common on the golf course. Classic Spectators mix brown or black calfskin with white suede or buck.
Blake construction is a very popular construction used for better made shoes, especially in Italy. This construction is simpler than a welted construction. A single row of stitching attaches the insole to the upper and the outsole. The stitching is located inside the shoe and done by a machine invented by Reed Blake. The technique is sometimes called McKay construction since Blake sold the patent to Gordon McKay. Shoes with Blake construction tend to be more flexible than Goodyear welted shoes since they have fewer layers but since there is a row of stitching through the insole the possibility of moisture wicking from the ground is greater. Contrary to popular belief Blake shoes can be resoled with the use of a Blake soling machine.
Goodyear construction is a welted construction. A rib is created perpendicular to the face of the insole through which twine is stitched. After both the upper and insole are secured to the last, the welt (a third strip of leather) is sewn to the upper and the rib of the insole. A lockstitch is used so that if one stitch comes undone all the stitching does not become unbraided. A second row of stitching is used to connect the other side of the welt to the outsole. The benefits of the Goodyear welted construction are that they are more water-resistant than Blake construction since there are no stitches through the face of the insole. Additionally, a layer of cork fills the space between the ribs on the two sides of the insole. This layer of cork molds to the wearer's foot and adds comfort to the shoe. Goodyear welted construction is a favorite of many of the better English shoemakers. Many consumers like the Goodyear construction because of its sturdy design and clean appearance.
Norwegian construction is a welted construction also commonly referred to as Norvegese. Instead of the upper running parallel to the rib in the insole as in Goodyear construction, the upper is turned outward and sits parallel to the outsole. One row of stitching connects the welt to the rib of the insole and another row connects the welt to the outsole. Since the upper is turned outward, Norwegian construction does not allow a way for moisture to enter the shoe by way of the upper / welt stitching. Norwegian construction is easily identifiable by the stitching along the base of the upper. This construction, like Goodyear, is stiffer than Blake construction. The aesthetic of Norwegian stitching lends itself very well for dress shoes and boots, and adds volume to the shoe resulting in flexibility of wearing with dress as well as more casual attire.
"Suola Due Strati" or Black Rapid in english is a very old construction that arguably offers the best balance between quality and price. Similar in function to Goodyear construction, Black Rapid has two soles which render the shoes very solid yet they are still very elegant and light in weight. Once the shoe is mounted on the last the upper and the first sole are attached by an inner Blake seam, followed by the second sole which is attached by a Rapid seam. This sturdy construction is more waterproof than the Blake construction thanks to the two sole system. Like welted shoes Black Rapid shoes can also be resoled several times without affecting the shape of the shoe.