Understanding Men’s Classic Footwear


The minimum requirement of classic quality shoes in a gentleman’s wardrobe are two or three, alternating throughout the week.

Although, before acquiring a new pair, it is important to know a thing or two about what best suits you and your style. This simple guide can assist you to find the best choice of your next pair.

Its always overwhelming entering a bootmaker and not being able to distinguish what shoe is appropriate for you based on each style.

We will talk about the most popular dress shoes of which all men should become familiar with.

From the most formal, Oxford or Derby, to the slightly more relaxed look, Monkstrap or Loafer, and for something eccentric, the Velvet Slipper.

Formal Footwear


Oxford – Occasionally called Balmorals after Balmoral Castle and later named after Oxford University.
Worn with any formal suit for work or special occasions. It’s thin leather sole makes it the top of elegant men’s footwear.

Derby – Less formal than the Oxfords, where the open lacing gives the shoe a more everyday appearance.
For a professional look, chose a black pair with thin soles and for leisure, chose brown with the laces crossed.

What is the difference between the two pairs?
It is to do with the shoes throat line. Oxford has closed lacing, a stitched throat line, whist Derby is open lacing and is not stitched.

What is Brogue?

It is when a shoes leather uppers have decorative perforations and serration along the edges of these pieces. This will give the shoe a truly formal look. Commonly found on four closure styles; Oxford, Derby, Ghillie, and Monkstrap.

Relaxed Formal Footwear

scarpe maschili casual

Monkstrap – Named after the buckles of those from the friars’ sandals. This is a classic style but usually too casual for the evening, however if worn correctly, it can be just as formal as the Derby. This shoe has been one to gain some recognition recently by the wearer and Pitti Uomo regular Mr Lino Ieluzzi.

Loafer – Also referred to as Slip-Ons or Moccasins used to be worn only at home, but quickly became a desired elegant casual look. A respective aesthetic is seen when it is worn with tassels as it was originally an office shoe.

Something Eccentric
Velvet Slipper – Available in red, bottle green, black, purple or blue with embroidered elements. These can be worn with a matching coloured velvet smoking jacket, or with a tuxedo. For a unique look, they may be paired with denim jeans.

A final tip – “No brown after six”
In principle, choose black for evening events, however if you’re bold, rules can be broken…