Derby vs Oxford Shoes

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

The Derby Vs Oxford debate has continually been discussed amongst men due to its similar appearance and quality. Both shoes offer a formal look suitable for formal wear and embody a rich history.

When it comes to selecting the perfect footwear todays market is filled with a variety of choices.  With each shoe having its own significance which is reflected in how it’s worn. We believe that every man should own at least a few shoe styles out of which Derby and Oxford shoes are a must.

Our editorial will not only help you identify the differences but also run through the characteristics which should assist you with your purchasing decision.


Derby Vs Oxford – What’s the Difference?

Here are the differences between the derby shoes and oxford shoes


What are Derby Shoes?

derby shoes

A derby shoe is an evolution of oxford in terms of comfort. It is known for the open lacing and gives a more relaxed fit than oxfords which makes it a popular choice. The lacing eyelets are attached on top of the vamp, which allows more freedom of movement.


The Derby shoe too has many versions of its origin. Some trace it back to the 12th Earl of Derby, which was on the name of a famous horse race. During the 19th century, it was mainly worn for sporting and hunting events. Later on, it was intended as military footwear during the Napoleonic wars. The first book that mentioned the derby cut was Dunkley’s account book of 1862. However, by the 20th century, it became appropriate footwear for people, and they started wearing it around the city.

Specifications of Derby Shoes

The derby shoes specifications are as follows:

  • They have an open lacing
  • They come with an elongated or round toe
  • They also have three-part panelled construction
  • The leather sole is stitched
  • They give a more streamlined and neater look
  • They usually come with a stacked heel


What are Oxford Shoes?

oxford vs derby

An Oxford shoe is a plain leather shoe that evolved in numerous styles depending on the occasion. Later on, it was known for its closed lacing. The lacing eyelets are sewn under the vamp. Now it is considered a perfect uniform wear to round off a suit.


You will find many theories surrounding the origin of Oxfords. The first theory suggests that Oxfords were derived from Oxonian. It is a half boot with a side slit which grew popular in Oxford University in the 1800s. This side slit evolved with time and moved to the top of the shoe.

The second theory suggests that the shoe originated from Balmoral Castle in Scotland. It grew popular by the name of Balmoral shoe. If you check, then Oxford shoes are called as Balmoral shoes or Bals for short in the USA. the name used in French for such shoes. Traditionally the Oxford shoe had a plain toe cap that you can purchase even today.

Specifications of Oxford Shoes

Oxfords are categorised based on the following:

  • They come with a closed pattern of laces or a closed lacing system
  • They have an elongated toe that you can find with or without a cap
  • Most Consist of a three-part panelled construction
  • They are typically low heeled
  • They have an exposed ankle
  • They come with a stitched leather sole

Derby Vs Oxford – Similarities

Due to the nature of construction both the derby and oxford shoe look similar in appearance with the subtle difference being visible in the lacing system.

Both are luxury dress footwear and are considered the reliable classics that you can carry with utter grace and confidence. They both are made of leather, but in terms of style, oxfords are apt for formals while derbies go great with casual.


Closing Thoughts

It was a competitive analysis of both styles but, we genuinely feel that every man should have different shoe styles. Ensure that your considering quality and comfort before looks and appeal.

Derby Vs Oxford – When it comes to selecting the right formal footwear our answer is BOTH as it allows for a rotation of looks which compliments different styles!


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