Oxfords VS Brogues

“Oxfords, not Brogues” is a famous movie quote that people would have heard from the “Kingsman” franchise. The quote is a depiction of a fashion choice to wear oxford shoes which are deemed more formal and not brogues. However, “Oxfords, not brogues” is originally from the movie 1954 movie “Sabrina”. One of the movie characters Linus Larrabee, says this quote originally. Since then, the quote has become a popular reference when people argue the superiority of oxford shoes compared to brogues.

But are oxford shoes actually superior and more formal than brogues?s

History of Oxford Shoes

Crockett and Jones Connught Oxfords

It is estimated that oxford shoes have been around for over 200 years. Oxford shoes have become one of the most popular types of dress shoes for men. Oxford shoes originated from a half-boot design known as “Oxonian boot,” which was popular among the students of Oxford University in the 1800s. Oxonian is also a word that describes University of Oxford students. The oxford shoes soon became popular beyond the university and became a choice of shoes for men’s formal wear.

One of the main characteristics of oxford shoes are noticed by their closed lacing system, in which the shoelace eyelets are sewn underneath the vamp (the front part of the shoe). This closed lacing system will make the tongue of the shoes not visible. This gives the shoe a sleek, streamlined look that is perfect for formal occasions.

History of Brogue Shoes

Contrarily, brogues have a much more complex history. The term “brogue” originally referred to a type of shoe worn by the Irish and Scottish peasantry. The brogues were mainly made from untanned hide and featured perforations/holes on the brogue that allowed water to drain out. As the weather in Ireland and Scotland is quite wet, this was perfect for their daily usage. This pattern, also known as “broguing,” were both functional and decorative.

Tricker's Stow (Image via Division Road) (Click on image to purchase)

In the 19th century, the brogues began to evolve into a more formal shoe, with the addition of leather outsoles and heels. Over time, the brogue shoe has become a popular choice for both casual and formal wear and is now available in a variety of styles and colors.

Oxford vs. Brogue Shoes: The Differences

When it comes to formal occasions, Oxford shoes are often the go-to choice for men. Oxford shoes have sleeker and more polished look compared to brogues, which makes them perfect for black-tie events, weddings, and business meetings. In terms of formality, oxford shoes are typically considered more formal than brogue shoes due to their clean, minimalist design.

Brogue shoes, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be worn in both formal and casual settings. They are a great choice for outdoor events, as their perforated design allow for better ventilation, making them more comfortable to wear in warmer weather. Additionally, brogues are available in a variety of colors and styles, making them a great choice to match a lot of different outfits.

In terms of comfort, brogues are often considered more comfortable than oxford shoes due to their design, which allow for better airflow and ventilation. Futhermore, although this differs from shoes to shoes, oxford’s closed lacing system may make the shoes feel a bit tighter around the vamp. However, Oxfords are typically made from higher-quality materials and are often more durable than brogues.


In summary, both oxford shoes and brogue shoes have been popular choices for men’s dress shoes in the past and it’ll be in the future. Oxford shoes are typically more formal and have a sleek, minimalist design, while brogue shoes are more versatile and can be worn in both formal and casual settings. The choice between Oxford and brogue shoes ultimately comes down to personal preference and the occasion for which the shoes will be worn.

So TL;DR it’s very difficult to say which one is better than the other. Oxfords are more formal and sleek. Brogues are more casual and has great pattern on them.

Whether you choose Oxfords or brogues, it’s important to invest in high-quality footwear that are made from durable material and construction method, such as Goodyear welt construction.

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