Have you ever wondered if such a pair of shoes existed which could be your perfect companion in all the occasions? No matter how formal or casual the situation is, these shoes would always be ‘there for you?’ Well, your prayers have been answered by derby shoes, as it is the only pair which can help you achieve a debonair, chic, and a sleek look all at the same time.  

Take any look, pair it with derbies and you’ll realise how these shoes can upgrade your look to a higher notch. 

What are Derby shoes?

These classy debonair shoes have their roots of origin to the 14th Earl of Derby, hence the name. Intellectuals say that the Earl was not quite comfortable into the shoes which were completely shut. Those shoes are the modern-day, Oxfords. 

 Be that as it may, these shoes have also been considered to be a part of another legend. In the 19th century, when a Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher had noticed that his comrades were unable to take off their boots due to their closed-off design. Therefore, as a solution to this problem, he designed one such version of boots which opened up beneath the ankles, inherently making it more spacious.

Also read: Choose The Right Type Of Shoes For Your Suits

This name continues in the US, where people often use Blucher and Derbies interchangeably. 

 What is the difference between Derby shoes and Oxford Shoes? 

 Although both of them are the children reared from a single parent, they couldn’t be more different. Derbies and Oxfords follow two distinct lacing systems, where the former is more or less inclined towards a casual setting whereas the latter is considered to be a perfect fit for formal ones. 

Derby shoes for men follow an open-lacing system, allowing some space between the eyelets tab to flap open. What are the eyelets tabs? These are the strips of leather where the holes are punched allowing the laces to be tied on either side of the shoe. 

On the other hand, Oxford shoes follow a closed-lacing system, where there will absolutely no space between the eyelets tab. More often than not, the designs followed by these two different shoes, indicate the possible settings in which they can be worn and emanate the attitude of the individual who was worn. 

For instance, Oxfords generally are worn in formal, corporate settings, depicting a smart and straightforward nature of a man. On the contrary, derbies depict a casual, fun and happy nature of the man, who can preferably wear them in similar environments.     

Types of men’s derby shoes:

Wearing derbies is a perfect way to add your personal touch to the formal attire you wear, making you the person who is just not so much into the following crowd. 

 1. The Plain Derbies:

Derby Shoes
Photo credits: Pinterest

Plain derbies are an impeccable option for any formal or casual occasions as these are considered to be the most standard out of the lot. They are available in different shades of black and brown, which helps in completing a baggy look or even a corporate-suit look. Derbies can go with suits, blazers, shirts, sport coats, trousers or a combination of any two of them.

Also read: Do You Really Polish Shoes The Proper Way?

2. The Cap Toe Derby:

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Cap toe derbies are generally more casual derbies than other ones which may or may not be supporting broguing. Broguing is basically the creation of perforations at the edge of the toe cap. These derbies make you look suave with denim or a formal shirt, but are not advised to be worn in formal settings.

3.  The White Buck:

photo credits: magazine.brooksbrothers.com

The white buck derbies are extremely versatile out of the lot. As the name suggests, these are white in colour made out of buckskin. Ideally, they should be worn in the warm or hot season. Due to their design and structure, they are preferred to be worn only in casual settings which can help you enhance your casual look to another level. They go perfectly well with casual chinos, trousers, denim combined with T-shirts, cardigan, sweaters or a simple polo shirt.

4.  Moc Toe Derby:

photo credits: gq.com

Moc toe derby, as the name suggests, has a moccasin construction with no extra piece of leather covering the shoe. More often than not, moc toe derbies are closely associated with apron toe derbies which are almost similar. The only difference is that apron toe derbies have an additional piece of leather covering the vamp of the shoe. This sort of design gives the flaps an image of an apron; hence the title. 

These derbies are also known by some as bicycle derbies. They give a dandyish yet debonair look when you pair them up with casuals. However, mixing them up with formal is a bold move which certainly needs to be experimented with at least once. 

5. The Wingtip Derby:

Photo credits: wellbuiltstyle.com

Also known as Brogue, these derbies are mainly characterised by the feature of broguing on the edges and the centre of the shoes. The top caps are in a pointed shape, designed either in a ‘W’, ‘M’ or ‘U’, accompanied by flaps which could extend on either side of the shoe. Therefore, they are known as the wingtip derbies. 

6. Derby Boots:

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Derbies are also featured in the form of boots which can help you rock a suave military look. These men’s derby shoes are designed and structured just like standard plain derby shoes but they are quite long which finish a little above ankle. Try it and you’ll be the most stylish and debonair man out of your coterie. 

How To Style Derby Shoes:

After considering all the types of derbies, you will need to know which kind of derbies suits which kind of occasions and the attire. Here’s a list of things you need to remember while wearing any derby shoes:

  • Always opt for a cap toe or a white buck derby for a more casual or relaxed style. Match it with simple denim and a polo shirt.
  • Avoid playing with colours while wearing derby shoes for any formal occasion. Black or dark brown are the only two options for you.
  • For a more fashionable yet comfortable chic look, wear brogue aka wingtip derbies without a second thought. You’ll kill it!
  • If you want to deviate from the commonplace, hackneyed looks that people usually wear, then wear derby boots. They are extremely stylish and give you the perfect military look. 

In this contemporary era, derby shoes should be a bare minimum in any man’s wardrobe. Luke McDonald once said, ‘A Derby is like a Swiss army knife; they’re multifunctional. If you own a pair of jeans and ever want to look remotely smart, you should have a pair. They even work with cords and joggers.’