What is an Oxford Shoe?

What is an Oxford Shoe?

These classic shoes originate from the university town of Oxford, England and have been redefined from a men’s style statement to a women’s fashion favorite. Oxford shoes are the go-to footwear if you are looking for unique yet stylish shoes that you can wear comfortably all day long. Let’s learn more about Oxfords. 

 What is an Oxford Style Shoe? 

Gaining prominence in the 1800s, it’s believed that the first iteration of Oxford shoes derived from students at university in Oxford, England that designed the shoe as a rejection of the fashion standards of the time. To put it simply, it comes down to three details for Oxfords: closed laces, a low heel, and exposed ankles. 

What makes these shoes different from your classic brogues and Derby designs is that Oxfords have tighter lacing and the tongue of the shoe is completely covered. The main difference between Oxford and Derby shoes comes down to the laces. The Oxford’s quarters (side panels) are stitched underneath the vamp, whereas the Derby has an open lacing system, where the quarters are sewn on top.

Oxfords are traditional men’s dress shoes, but the classic shoe has evolved to become part of women’s fashion. Women have taken the shoe as their own, redefining the classic cut in fresh ways and blurring the lines between the traditional Oxford, derby, and brogue designs, an act that mirrors the Oxford shoes original premise. 

How to Wear Women’s Oxfords 

The iconic shoe is available in a range of textures including patent leather, calf leather, suede, and canvas. Oxfords come in different styles: classic or plain-toe Oxfords are more formal with minimal styling. Cap-toe Oxfords are named after the piece of leather stitched over the toe box and similarly saddle style Oxfords feature a saddle-shaped piece of leather across the middle of the shoe body usually in a contrasting color. 

close up of a pair of womens oxford brogue shoes

One of our favorite styles of Oxfords are wingtip or brogues named for their decorative perforations called broguing. While this style of Oxford isn’t as formal, it sure is fun!  Embassy London Womens Oxfords are known for putting a colorful spin on a traditional women's Oxford brogue

pair of blue womens oxford brogue shoes

Oxfords can be worn with oversized or skinny denim, ribbed flares, snakeskin leather pants a short of midi dress or skirt. If you’re going for a more traditional, classic vibe, lean into the menswear element with a pair of knee-high socks and a pleated mini skirt. No matter how you style them, Oxfords are comfortable, lightweight, and a playful addition to your closet.

From classic black and brown, to bright colors and prints, we encourage you to step out of line with our collection of Women’s brogues, boots, heels, loafers and trainers. Shop the entire line here.