Oxford vs Derby shoes: Know the difference

When you go to a shoe store, it’s an obvious thing that you want to present yourself in a proper manner and for that one of the most important factors is to know about the shoe that you are seeking inside the store. You may know that there are some basic differences between Oxford and Derby shoes, but you might not know what exactly those differences are and where do these shoes actually . Not to worry, together we’ll uncover the mystery.


One of the simplest and most accurate characteristic differences between Oxford and Derby shoes is that Oxford shoes have a closed lace design while derby shoes have open lacing.


Talking about the history, Oxford shoes gained popularity at Oxford University in the nineteenth century. Students of the time rebelled against the uncomfortable, heeled, knee-high boots they were expected to wear by donning what has now evolved into a formal shoe.

Derbys date back to the 1850s and the 14th Earl of Derby who had rather big feet and struggled to get boots to fit. His bootmaker designed a more open cut shoe that allowed him to put them on more easily.


The rest of the differences come because of this one and we will explain about that below.


  • Oxford shoes are considered more formal than derby shoes. But anyway, both are good options for formal attires. They can both be worn with a suit but also with jeans. The level of formality will be determined by the color, and the details you add. For example, when adding broguing to your oxfords you will make them more casual.


  • Derby shoes allow people with wider or narrower feet to fit better as the lacing pieces allow more possibilities to find the proper tightening. When lacing derby shoes there is more margin to fasten the lacing loose of tight. Probably this is one of the reasons why derby shoes are a more standard and slightly more versatile choice.


Talking about the style, derby shoes are considered more versatile. Now let us give some styling tips about both the types of shoes.


How to style your Oxford shoes


  • Black Oxford Shoes are classical suit shoes. If you have any doubt, black oxford shoes are the perfect shoes for your suit. But at the same time, they are less versatile. It will be more complicated to add it to more casual attires


  • Brown oxford shoes are less formal but still a good choice for your suit outfits. Remember that then you will have to make your belt match the color of your shoes. And just another simple rule, the darker is your suit, the darker should also be your brown shoes. Try not to break that rule if you are not completely sure


Wear these shoes for parties and other festive occasions. You can also wear them for meetings, office parties and with literally anything from your formal wardrobe. Some great examples would be tuxedos.


How to style your Derby shoes

The versatility of the derby shoes allows them to be used on any business casual attire. The same as for the brown oxfords, please make the color of the belt and the color of the derby shoes match.

Avoid wearing these shoes in strictly formal settings. These shoes can be worn with casual outfits as they are slightly less formal than the oxfords. You can wear these for date nights, wedding functions or any other semi-formal setting.