I Know Where Oxford Is but I Don’t Know What an Oxford Is.

Or at least I didn’t until I started doing research for this project. But that got me thinking about how much I didn’t know. So after digging around in a few blogs I’ve come up with a list of shoe types and terms to learn about in my quest to be a style hero. Once I’m done with my research I’m going into the retail jungle of the mall to find these shoes and styles in the wild. This is Style Safari.

Boat Shoes
The traditional boat shoe has a slip resistant sole, is made of oil treated leather, and is worn without socks. They were invented by Paul Sperry in 1935 to help him get around on his boat. This is a shoe for warm weather and for getting wet.

boat shoes


This style of shoe is characterized by its multi-piece, leather construction and the perforations along the edges of the leather pieces. The brogue was originally an outdoor shoe and these perforations allowed water to drain from the shoe. Now the perforations are decorative and the shoes have become more formal.



Chelsea Boot
Invented by Queen Victoria’s shoemaker, this boot distinguishes itself by the elasticized fabric running from below the ankle to the top of the shoe, and by the loop on the back of the shoe. Both of these designs allow the boot to be put on and taken off more easily.

chelsea boot

The Return Of The Chelsea Boot

I was surprised to learn that there are different words for how the eyelets are attached to the shoe. Derbies are shoes with their eyelet tabs attached on top of the vamp, the piece of material that covers the toes and top of the foot including the tongue. This style of construction is commonly called open lacing.



Driving Shoes
These are literally moccasins with rubber soles. They were made so rich Italians wouldn’t be uncomfortable driving in their nice shoes. Since this shoe was designed for leisure, you can be sure it’s comfortable. This is another no-sock shoe.

driving shoe

Driving Shoes – Perfect Summer Footwear

Another shoe designed for leisure, loafer is a catch-all term for a lace-less, slip-on shoe. Loafers were originally created for the royalty and upper-classes of Britain and for many years were strictly an indoor shoe. Now they come in many styles that range from formal to casual.



Monk Strap
These shoes gained their name due to their popularity with monastics. They are distinguished by their lack of laces and instead feature a strap and buckle as a closure. Monks are in the same category of formality as derbies or oxfords: a step above loafers but still not appropriate for formal situations.



This refers to a specific type of lacing and shoe construction. On an oxford, the vamp is stitched on top of the quarters, the pieces of material covering the sides and back of the shoe, into which the eyelets are sewn. This gives the shoe a sleeker shape. This is called closed lacing in contrast to the open lacing of the Derby.



Traditionally, Plimsoll denotes any shoe with a canvas uppers and a thick rubber sole. Originally made in the 19th century, this style of shoe is still popular today both in athletics and fashion. These shoes were the forerunner of most athletic shoes that followed.



This is where I pulled most of my list items from: