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What Is An Oxford Shoe And Are They Fashionable Today?

Oct 20, 2007
An oxford is a basic shoe constructed from heavy leather that laces up. The shoe originated in Ireland and Scotland. Historically they were made from untanned leather and were somewhat plain. Oxfords of today are created in a variety of styles and are made from many different kinds of leather such as suede or tanned leather and even synthetic material. Oxford shoes are usually considered a dress or business shoe for both men and sometimes even for women.

Contemporary oxfords are shoes that don't come above the ankle and most have a piece of leather carefully stitched over the upper. These are sometimes referred to as oxford caps or toe car oxfords. A dictionary definition of an oxford is, an esthetically elegant style with closed lacing that typically comes in plain, full-brogue and semi-brogue versions.

There are five main categories of oxfords: Bluchers, Balmorals, Saddle Shoes, Kilties and Wingtips. Bluchers oxfords are open-laced leather shoes which have the sides of the shoe sewn onto the front. They appear to have four distinct segments. Shoes in this style with leather soles are often used for jazz dancing. Balmorals are close-laced shoes meaning the laces are not seen as they are under the smooth tongue flap. They appear very streamlined and almost seamless.

Saddle Shoes are oxfords with a piece of leather sewed on them in the shape of a horse's saddle, the saddle being either a different type or color of leather than the base of the shoe. The most popular and well-known variety are black and white. Another variety of men's oxfords are the Kilties. They are more detailed in their design and have a fringed leather tongue that covers both the laces and the eyelets. One of the most popular types of oxford is the Wingtip. This type of fashionable men's oxford derives its name from the toe brogueing (leather embroidery) which resembles the spread wings of a bird. The most formal of the oxford family are the black leather close-laced oxford known as Balmorals. They look smashing with a suit and tie for any occasion. Black is more formal and brown oxfords can be paired with a sportier tweed jacket and slacks.

For women, oxfords have never been more fun or fashionable than they are today. Women can choose from a multitude of styles and colors, from casual saddle shoes to comfort oxfords, fashion oxfords, hiking oxfords and professional types of oxfords. Casual saddle shoes for women feature a traditional split-suede buck, a cushion crepe sole and a comfortable heel. These days they move beyond the traditional black and white to pretty combinations of pastel and other fashion forward colors. Comfort oxfords are sporty shoes with a leather lining, a removable cushion insole and a slip resistant sole. Fashion oxfords come in are either platform sneakers or athletic-inspired sports shoes and have a cushioned insole, suede uppers and a lightweight flexible rubber sole. Hiking oxfords are rugged and versatile sometimes with reinforced steel toes, water-resistant uppers and slip-resistant soles.

There is an oxford for every man, woman, child and occasion. You probably have some in your closet right now. The oxford has been around for centuries and there is no sign of their popularity declining any time soon.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living with his beautiful wife and family in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about oxford shoes as well as designer shoes at http://www.designershoesplus.com
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