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Oxford vs Derby Style Shoes: What are the Differences?

Oxford vs Derby Style Shoes: What are the Differences?

Dress shoes are something that comes in various types, styles, and designs, making a man look polished and stylish comfortably and effortlessly. In today’s post, we will cover two types of dress shoes - Oxford shoes and Derby shoes and how they are different from each other. In addition, we will make a few suggestions to help you choose the right pair between these two depending on the occasion and look simply perfect. Before diving into the discussion on Oxford vs Derby, let’s first talk about what these two types of shoes actually are.

What Are Oxford Style Shoes?


If you want to look elegant and classic in a wedding, corporate event, or your first day in the office, Oxford shoes are the right choice for you. They uplift your ensemble and spruce up the overall appearance effortlessly.

The most important feature of Oxford shoes that sets them apart from the rest is their closed lacing system where the shoelace eyelets are perforated and attached under the vamp. Gone are the days when Oxford shoes used to be made of genuine leather only and look like plain formal shoes. Over time, Oxford-style shoes have evolved and now you get a range of styles matched with formal or casual wear.

Nowadays they are also made of calf leather, faux leather, suede, and canvas. These shoes are mostly available in black, brown, tan, etc. colors, with a plain or patterned design.

In a nutshell, the main features of Oxford style shoes are:

  • Closed lacing
  • Wide toe
  • Three-part panelled structure
  • Stitched leather sole

Here are some varieties that you can choose form:

  • Wholecut Oxford
  • Cap Toe Oxford
  • Plain Toe Oxford
  • Wing Tip Oxford
  • Austerity Brogue Oxford

So, if you want to add a touch of elegance, style, and sophistication to your look, Oxford style shoes are the perfect option.

What are Derby Style Shoes?


Derby shoes, also known as Gibson, Blucher, etc., are considered classic and comfortable men’s shoes of all time. These are perfectly fitted for any formal event and can easily be paired up with a suit. Moreover, they have a sleek and simple appearance. Therefore you can partner a pair of Derby with your casual or smart casual outfits too. Whereas brown or black leather Derby seems more traditional and classy, suede, brogue, and boots often appear more casual.

Unlike Oxford style shoes, Derby has an open lacing system which means quarters are punctured on the vamp, therefore there is no seam between front and tongue of the shoes. They are less confining than any other formal shoes, giving maximum freedom of movement.

In a nutshell, the main features of Derby shoes are:

  • Open lacing
  • Broad or round toe
  • Three part panelled structure
  • Stitched leather sole
  • Exposed ankle

Here are some varieties of Derby style shoes:

  • Plain Derby
  • Cap Toe Derby
  • Wingtip Derby
  • White Buck
  • Wholecut Blucher
  • Apron Toe/ Moc Toe Derby

So, if you are looking for a shoe option that goes well with casual wear and relaxed formal wear, Derby is the right choice for you. Pick the right pair for office, a lunch date or even running a short expedition around a town.

How Do Oxford Shoes Differ From Derby Style Shoes?

Oxford vs Derby Dress Shoes Infographics

Both these dress shoes are great options for men when it comes to giving comfort while walking and adding style to the appearance. Still, there are some differences that make these two shoes contrasting to each other. Let’s talk about 5 major differences between Oxford-style shoes and Derby-style shoes.

1. Lacing System

Though both Oxford shoes and Derby shoes are lace up formal shoes, the lacing system in these two make them different from each other. Oxfords have a closed lacing system where the quarters are stitched on top of the vamp. On the other hand, Derby has an open lacing system where the quarters are sewn under the vamp.

2. Instep

Derby shoes are suitable for people having wide feet. They give more foot space and complete freedom of movement. On the other hand, Oxfords have form fitting instep, perfectly suitable for people with narrow feet.

3. Formal or Casual

Oxford shoes have a more formal and classy look than Derby shoes. With closed lacing and shiny leather finish, Oxfords are considered as the best formal shoes of all time. On the other hand, A Derby shoe is good to go with formal attire. But also they are a perfect fit for casual and smart casual occasions.

4. History and Evolvement

The popularity of Oxford shoes rose in 1800 for being worn in the University of Oxford. Since then the popularity grew across England and then around the globe. Since the beginning they were used to be worn as formal shoes and that same essence is still alive till now. On the other hand, the popularity of Derby rose in 1850 across England. Earlier they were used as hunter shoes because of their comfortable fit, best suited for people with wide feet. Eventually these started gaining popularity as indoor shoes and office wear as well.

5. Eyelets

In a Derby shoe, the shoelace eyelets are joined to the top of the vamp, which results in the eyelets being clearly visible. On the other hand, in Oxford shoes, the eyelets are joined under the vamp, where the eyelets are not at all visible.

Oxford or Derby: Which one will be the Perfect

After having a discussion on Oxford vs Derby, now let’s give a thought on which option is right for you on what occasion.

1. Oxford vs Derby: Style Tips

You have gone through the entire discussion on Oxford vs Derby, how they are different from each other. Has it made you a little confused to choose the right pair for the right occasion? Here are some tips on how to style yourself with Oxfords and Derby shoes. This will help you make the right decision easily.

2. Oxford vs Derby Shoes: What to Wear for Formal Occasions & How

If you want to select Derby shoes for a formal occasion, opt for sleek design, slim shape and single leather sole that can perfectly match your suited look. Especially black Derby in smooth leather style works the best.

Black Oxford shoes can never go wrong with a suited look in a formal event. Brown Oxfords are less formal but still go well with formal outfits. Don’t forget to match your belt color with the shoe color. And if you are choosing brown Oxford, the darker your suit the darker should be the brown shade as well.

3. Oxford vs Derby shoes: What to Wear for Casual Occasions & How

Chunky styled Derby shoes with thick sole in light color can go well with jeans or chinos. The pair of suede Derby is also good for a casual look. Such Derby shoes can add stylish and polished touch to your overall casual look and make you stand out.

Chinos or jeans also go well with Oxford shoes in unusual colors like blue, tan, etc. Complete the smart casual look by wearing something comfortable yet stylish on top. Pay attention to the color of your pants and the shoes.


1. Oxford Vs Derby - Which One is best for Casual Look?

Derby shoes are considered less formal than Oxford shoes. However, both of these can be worn with formal and casual attire. You just need to pick the right color of the shoes and match them with the right outfit.

2. Are Derby Shoes Better Suitable Than Oxford Shoes for Formal Look?

To have a perfect polished sophisticated formal look, without having a second thought, pick black or brown Oxford shoes. Derby also looks good with formal attires, but they are not as formal in style as Oxford style shoes.

3. Can Oxford and Derby Shoes Be Considered As Good Investment?

There is no doubt that both Oxford and Derby shoes are excellent investments. They are classy, timeless and perfect choices for various outfits, ranging from suits, tuxedo, jeans, chinos and more. Be it fully formal, semi-formal, smart casual or fully casual, just pick the right pair of Derby or Oxford shoes, and you are good to go.

Final thoughts,

Hope, the above discussion has helped you decide if you are more of a Derby or Oxford man. You can also appreciate what each type of shoes offers and find yourself with both from time to time. Just remember, each style changes depending on the kind of leather utilized, the color and the ornamentation. If you think making the right choice is not that easy, we are here to help you. At LibertyZeno, you get a wide range of best quality Oxford and Derby style shoes to choose from. Start shopping!

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