Shoe Types: The Difference Between Oxfords, Derbies, & Brogues And How To Style Them

Shoe Types: The Difference Between Oxfords, Derbies, & Brogues And How To Style Them

Oxfords, derbies and brogues are one of the most common formal footwear. They add grace to a man’s suit. These three types of shoes should be an essential part of a man’s formal wardrobe. While a lot of men wear them on a regular basis, they don’t know the exact difference between them and how to style them. So, if you’re searching for the “best shoe types for me”, you’ve come to the right place.

1)  Oxfords

Oxford shoes have an elegant design and are probably the most formal of the three shoe types. The primary distinction between oxford shoes and derby shoes is that the former has closed lacing whereas derby shoes have open lacing. This closed lacing provides Oxford shoes with a clean look.

How to Style

Oxfords are very formal, therefore to complement their look, they need a pair of powerful trousers that are more relaxed. Depending on the colour of your suit, go for a tan or black oxfords. Also, make sure that your shoes are in top-notch shape. Be it a formal meeting, or office party, you can put these on without any worry. So, now you can stop googling “best shoe types for me for formal events”.

2) Derbys

Derby shoes are quite similar to Oxford shoes and it's majorly the lacing difference that creates the distinction between them.  However, oxford shoes are more formal in nature. Moreover, derby shoes provide a better fit for people with wider feet due to its open lacing system.

How to Style

You can choose casual derby shoes or dress derby shoes depending on your outfit and occasion.  For formal settings, go with a pair of black or dark brown leather derby shoes. Whereas, you can try out suede design if you’re going to a casual event. The versatility of these shoes is really good.  

3.) Brogues

Men’s shoes with decorative perforations, or "broguing," is what we refer to as brogues today. It also has serrations along exposed edges at the facing of the shoe. Unique perforations and features found on brogue shoes can add personality and style to your professional or casual outfit. The major difference between brogue shoes and oxford & derby is the stylish perforations and unique detailing.

How to Style

There are numerous varieties of brogue designs, such as wingtips, full brogues, semi-brogues, and quarter brogues, all of which have distinctive decorative perforations and serrated edges. Pick a pair of brogues that go with your style, attire, and the occasion you are dressing for. You can pair brogue with a classic colour suit or with a stylish blazer over dark blue jeans. It is better if you go for brogue shoes with numerous perforations for informal attire, and ones with lesser holes for formal attire. So, if you’ve been asking experts by searching for “best formal shoe types for me for casual wear” your search ends here.


It is certainly tough to decide which shoe to style with your outfit. Oxford, Derbys, and Brogues all are great choices but it's important to pick the right one according to the occasion. Now that you understand the difference and the ways to style them, you’ll be able to make the right decision.