Knowing the difference could change your wardrobe!

What is an Oxford?

An ‘Oxford’ actually refers to a specific style of lace area not the entire style of the shoe. Where the shoes eyelets are attached under the vamp and when opened cause a ‘V’ shape to occur in the lace area. This is known as ‘closed lacing’


View our range of Oxford shoes

What is an Derby?

A ‘Derby’ refers to the lace area again, but contrary to the Oxford, the eyelets sit on top of the vamp and open as two separate wings of the upper. This is known as ‘open lacing’


View our range of Derby Shoes


Why the difference?

Well the reason shoe makers choose to have Oxfords (Closed) or Derby (Open) laces comes down to the option for fitting.

As the name suggests, a closed fitting is more likely to hold the foot more tightly and if you have a have a lower instep, help stop the shoe

slipping on the heel. However an open lace from a Derby will give wearers with higher insteps or wider feet more room to breath and make

the wearing experience far more enjoyable!  Having kitted out many professional rugby teams over the years, we would generally opt for a Derby as

the style of choice to help accommodate to their larger feet.

How do you dress them?

Traditionally, Oxfords have been seen as a more formal style of lace option as the low profile of the lace allows a delicate trouser to fall neatly onto the shoe. The Derby having a higher profile could disrupt a trouser, so heavier cloths were worn with these that wouldn’t be disputed by the lace.

But in our experience and opinion, people are definitely more likely to notice you limping than what the lace area of your shoe is, if your shoes aren’t fitting correctly. So with that said, we always recommend going with what feels right on your foot.

So its all to do with fitting?

Yes! Oxfords and Derby’s come in many different styles, colours and designs. Having a full fitting service to find which one suits your foot is always recommended, however if you’re dead set on that one pair of Derby’s that may be a little too big for your instep, we have plenty of fitting aides
that can help.

Hopefully this article brings some useful information, however if there is something specific you’d like us to discuss in future please let us know. To be certain of the perfect style of lace, please visit one of our stores to discuss this with one of our shoe fitting experts.

The painfully famous line “Oxford’s not Brogues” does not entirely make sense, as you can have Brogues that are Oxford laced, so from a shoe fitters perspective
there is no difference to either elements of that statement. However if he were to say “Toe-caps not Brogues” that would have made far more sense, but that doesn’t sound half as good and maybe we’re being a bit pedantic.

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