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shoes: oxford and derby

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by herringbonekid, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. i see a lot of misuse of the term 'oxford' when describing shoes, sometimes even by shoe sellers themselves, so in the interests of accuracy here is a brief reminder:


    an oxford (a 'closed-laced' shoe) has 'quarters' (the bit with the eyelets on) which come together in a straight line and are stitched UNDER the 'vamp' (the bit that creases when your foot bends).

    a derby (an 'open-laced' shoe) has quarters which spread out at the bottom and are sewn OVER the vamp.

    the combination of features such as wingtip, cap-toe, brogueing etc does not affect the name of the shoe as these can be found on both oxfords and derbys.

    oxfords are characteristically english and are thought of as the more elegant shoe.
    derbys have their roots in hungary and vienna, and are a tad more robust-looking than the oxford.


  2. The "derby" is also widely known as a "blucher", named after the Prussian marshall Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher (1742-1819), whose forces played a key role in defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. Apparently, Blucher wore a similar pair of boot-shoes. Incidentally, British wellingtons (or "wellies") -- rubber boots -- are named after the Duke of Wellington.

  3. I've noticed this as well, pretty much every shoe that laces-up (that isn't a tennis shoe), people automatically call an oxford.
  4. I see the term "balmoral" used in regards to shoes. Can you define it? I suppose it comes from the castle in Edinburgh.

  5. according to my source book 'handmade shoes for men' published by konemann, the balmoral was originally a high oxford boot made for prince albert in the middle of the 19th century for a holiday at balmoral castle.
  6. It's a really good book and break down of the inside of shoes. I bought it a few years back in a Book store in old town Pasadena.

    Worth owning for any shoe lover.
  7. Thanks for this thread, herringbonekid. I've been searching for bargains on dress shoes for the day if/when I finally get a job interview. I see these terms bandied about with abandon, and figure most folks don't know what they really mean, and as I don't really know, I'm at a loss. I just know what I like in a shoe:cool2:

    I'll keep an eye out for that book, Matt.

  8. pablocham

    pablocham One of the Regulars

    no so cut and dried?

    I think that this might depend on which side of the atlantic you call home. In the U.S. all non boot lace up shoes are called oxfords, but we call those with a closed vamp balmoral (which you call an oxford), and those with an open vamp blucher (what you call a derby).

    I don't think that people using the term oxford for all lace-up shoes are necessarily wrong; it is just a linguistic difference created by unfortunate positioning of the Atlantic ocean and by our thoughtful and timely rejection of servitude to the unsavory George III.:)
  9. Balmoral now refers to what you call an "oxford." Balmoral is simply a close-laced shoe like that spectator shoe.

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