A Guide to Shoes and Boots: Part 1

Part 1 of my guide to Shoes and Boots, covering dress shoes.

Parts of a Shoe

Parts

The Heel: Technically the part at the bottom of the shoe, in general, and for our purposes, the heel refers to the entire back-end of the shoe.

The Toe Box: The front part of the shoe that covers the toes.

The Vamp: The part of the shoe between the Toe Box and the Tongue area.

The Quarter: The side/back part of the shoe between the Heel and the Vamp

The Tongue: The strip of leather running under the laces.

The Upper: The top of the shoe; comprised of the above parts, not including the base of the heel.

The Sole: The base of the shoe; the part that touches the ground.

This is a generalised list, and certainly not every part of the shoe; for the purposes of this article, the definitions given will suffice.

Court Shoe

139H_BLACK

Court Shoe

The traditional option for Black Tie events, the Court Shoe dates back to the 19th century, and has remained virtually unchanged since. Also known as Opera Pumps, the shoes are typically found in patent leather, but calf skin has become more accepted since the 1950’s (so long as it is highly polished. Rarely seen on men outside of formal events, the shoes should always be highly polished, and are rare; especially in comparison to the rarity of formal events.

Wholecut

Herring-Herring Chaucer II-Black Calf-5196-2712-1

Black Wholecut

With a Wholecut shoe, the entire upper is made from a single piece of leather. This gives the shoe a streamlined appearance, with minimal stitching. In a plain black, these shoes are perfect alternatives to the Court Shoe for formal events; in a brown, or with a medallion (the perforated pattern on the front end) for more casual attire. For formal events, the leather should either be highly polished calf skin, or patent leather. As the upper is made from a single piece of leather, the shoes are typically more expensive than other shoes; a single large piece of useable leather costs more than piecing together smaller pieces.

Brown Wholecut with Medallion

Brown Wholecut with Medallion

Oxford

Herring-Herring Charles II-Black Calf-7064-3741-1

Black Oxford Cap-Toe

Perhaps the most common dress shoe, the Oxford is the perfect shoe for almost every occasion. In a highly polished black calf leather or patent leather, the Oxford is perfectly acceptable for Black Tie events, and in regular polished calf leather it is perfect for everyday business. In a brown or burgundy, the shoe is also perfect more casual events. The most formal Oxford is one with a cap toe (like the one pictured above), but it can also be found with varying degrees of broguing (pictured below).  The Oxford can be distinguished from the Derby by the closed lacing, as opposed to the open lacing on the Derby.

Herring-Herring Chamberlain-Mahogany Calf-4596-2452-1

Oxford Quarter-Brogue

Herring-Herring Lambeth (Rubber)-Conker Calf-4018-2167-1

Oxford Semi-Brogue

Oxford Full-Brogue/Wingtip

Oxford Full-Brogue/Wingtip

Derby

Cheaney-Cheaney Holcot-Black Calf-6685-3506-1

Cap-Toe Derby

Not to be worn to formal events, the Derby is less formal than the Oxford, but can still be worn to work; especially with more casual suits and business casual attire. It is distinguished from the Oxford by its open lacing, which is more noticeable, and therefore less formal, than the closed lacing of the Oxford. Like many other types of shoes, the Derby can be found with varying degrees of broguing.

Wingtip Derby

Wingtip Derby

Monk Strap

Herring-Herring Attlee-Black Calf-5354-2828-1

Two Buckle Cap-Toe Monk Strap

Underrated and underused, the Monk Strap uses a buckle instead of laces. It can be found with up to three buckles, with one buckle being the most formal. In a plain or cap toe, the single buckle Monk Strap can be worn (highly polished) to Black Tie events. More casual varieties are perfect for everyday business and casual events. Try and match the colour of the buckle with the colour of any other jewellery that you are wearing (watch, cufflinks, etc.).

Cheaney-Cheaney Humphrey-Black Calf-6675-3496-1

Single Buckle Wingtip Monk Strap

Herring-Herring Hilton-Mahogany Calf-7475-4011-1

Single Buckle Monk Strap with Medallion

Loafer

Church-Church Darwin-Black Calf-23-34-1

Penny Loafer

The Loafer is a broad category that covers the formal Court Shoe, the Monk Strap, and any slip-on shoe. Ironically, the typical Loafer is the most casual dress shoe, and is only appropriate for Business Casual attire and other less formal attire; it not to be worn with a business suit; it can, however, be worn with a more casual linen or cotton Summer suit. Loafers come in many designs, such as the Penny Loafer, pictured above, or the Tassel Loafer, pictured below.

Church-Church Keats-Walnut Calf-7443-3989-1

Tassel Loafer

Herring-Herring Matisse-Black Calf-3563-1932-1

Tassel Loafer

Keywords

Cap Toe: Referring to the cap covering the Toe Box of the shoe.

Cap Toe

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Broguing: The decorative perforations in the leather.

Quarter-Brogue: Broguing along the lines of the seams on the shoe.

Quarter-Brogue

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Semi-Brogue: Semi-Brogue with an additional decorative pattern on the Toe Box.

semi-brogue

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Full-Brogue or Wingtip: Referring to the distinctive shape of the broguing covering the shoe, resembling the spread wings and beak of a bird in flight.

Wingtip

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Medallion: The broguing limited to the toe of the shoe.

Medallion

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Open Lacing: The Leather pieces holding the laces is stitched on top of the vamp, and remains able to move open.

Open Lacing

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Closed Lacing: The leather piece holding the laces is stitched directly underneath the vamp, creating a more streamlined but rigid appearance.

Closed Lacing

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Coming soon to a web browser near you: Part 2 – Dress Boots

*Images of shoes are provided by Herring Shoes, and are for educational purposes only*

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4 thoughts on “A Guide to Shoes and Boots: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Guide to Black Tie | Suitably Inclined

  2. Pingback: Why Cole Haan Shoes are the Shiz | Royal Jelly

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