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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Oxford Versus Derby's - What's The Difference?

Coming into spring in Australia you might be tempted to step out and go to the race course during the spring carnival or perhaps you have a wedding to go to. Before you consider purchasing a new shoe, make sure you are getting the right one.

Above you will see two illustrations I made of the most common low cut shoes that you might purchase in a store. The top shoe is a Derby, generally worn for day wear and in the country. The Derby is usually defined by an extended heel in the rear of the shoe, often a greater pitch (the curvature of the concavity of the sole span) and a thicker sole. These shoes are generally worn in the country, for inclement weather and for more casual requirements.

By contrast the Oxford below the Derby is a shoe worn in more formal environments such as the office, out to dinner or to a black tie event. The Oxford is by far the most commonly worn shoe. It is usually defined by a closed heel, a slimmer sole which is lower to the ground and a more tapered toe box. It is also defined by the fact that when you tie up the laces of an Oxford shoe the facing joins together to hide the throat of the shoe.

In both Derby and Oxford shoes additional elements can be added or subtracted to change the look of the shoe which can confuse people. For example, a wing tip or toe cap can be sewn to the shoe with or without brogue detail to add additional dimensions and textures to the shoe as well as a heel cap in the rear.

Largely, in order to determine whether you are purchasing one or the other, it's best to a) ask the shop assistant or website and b) examine whether the throat is open or closed by the laces and c) examine the heel to see whether it is extended. Shoe companies can make Derby's look like Oxfords but generally speaking Oxfords will never look like Derby's.

For my tip in spring racing, look for  an Oxford whole cut in a brown or purple patina to pair with a less than suit but if this rain keeps up, consider a Derby to give yourself some distance between you and the mushy grass.

I hope this helps!


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