Know your oxfords and brogues

Oxfords or brogues as shoe types, among the favourites at the workplace, can create potential confusion in most wearers’ minds. Some tips to pinpoint the differentiate the two


It is best to invest in a pair of tan- or wine-coloured brogues, or tan oxfords with hand-painted patina finishes.
It is best to invest in a pair of tan- or wine-coloured brogues, or tan oxfords with hand-painted patina finishes.

Invariably oxfords or brogues as shoe types, among the favourites at the workplace, can create potential confusion in most wearers’ minds. Some say one style resembles the other. Others say one style stems from the other. But if you are ever asked to pinpoint differences between the two, here is some advice from experts that you can use.

Ludhiana-based Arshbir Singh Bhatia, director of Voganow.com, a platform for leather garments and accessories that retails shoes from shoe brand Brune, says, “Oxfords are a pair of formal shoes from Europe, and were born in the 1800s. They have stitch lines at the throat (top part of the shoe).” Oxfords are the most versatile of shoe styles that can work as dress shoes for formal wear and occasionally for casual wear, says New Delhi-based Shrey Gupta, director of Sartojiva, a luxury menswear brand of customized handcrafted clothes and shoes. “They have closed lacing system, wherein the vamp of the shoe is stitched on top of the quarter panel. And the lace eyelids are hidden beneath the facings and the throat. The result is classic,” Gupta adds.

Brogues, on the other hand, are “any pair of shoes with broguing—a design element that creates perforations. These popped up sometime in the 1900s because of changes in fashion needs”, says Bhatia. 

Gupta specifies that brogues originated in Ireland: “Countrymen would wear them while walking through open farmlands or wet terrains. Originally these shoes came with broguing—decorative perforations on the extremities—that was a functional element to drain water out. These perforations were often accompanied by serrations or gimping. Today this (technique) could be on any shoe style—oxford, derby or monk. But brogues were traditionally considered fit for outdoors thanks to their rugged and casual appearance.” 

Bhatia believes it is best to invest in a pair of tan- or wine-coloured brogues, or tan oxfords with hand-painted patina finishes. But a pair of brogues can cover up for oxfords, feels Bhatia. Gupta says you can try burgundy, London tan, navy blue and olive-green oxfords or brogues. 

Sartojiva shoes are priced over Rs12,000 and are designed using materials like suede and ostrich (texture) leather, while Brune oxfords and brogues are shaped out of crest leather, which is a stage of leather processing that is unfinished and not dyed. This leather type matures with age, but requires special shoe crèmes to moisturize it. Brune shoes are priced from Rs6,000-15,000. 

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