The Oxford shoe is a favourite for most gentleman around the world and often without us even realising it. An essential Goodyear-welted handmade shoe style that features in most wardrobes or shoe racks due to its versatility to be a formal dress shoe or business office staple when worn with suiting. The men’s Oxford shoe is a timeless classic that dates back more than two centuries and its name comes from an association to the famous English institution, Oxford University. The Oxford shoe is an evolution of a half boot called the ‘Oxonian’ which featured narrow slits on the sides making it more comfortable to wear around campus than the fashionable high boots of the time.
Characterised by its closed lacing system with a low heel and exposed ankle, all men’s Oxford shoes have a similar silhouette except the Wholecut. Today’s Oxford shoe has developed over the years resulting in an extensive range of different Oxford styles with the toe cap being most popular, especially as a formal shoe.
Oxford shoes feature in several of the Barker collections including the Handcrafted, Professional and Barkertech ranges. Timeless Barker Oxford shoes that feature in the Icon Series to celebrate the Earls Barton village shoemakers 140th anniversary include the Albert, Falsgrave, Lerwick and Winsford styles.
Plain Toe Oxford Shoes
A clean and elegant Oxford shoe that can be worn for many occasions, the plain toe black oxford shoe is generally seen as being the most formal Oxford option and is the go-to choice for black tie events when made in patent or polished leather. It’s a simple design and lack of detail offers a sleek profile when worn with suit trousers. A recommended Barker plain toe Oxford is the Madeley style from the Professional collection.
Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes
The most popular type of Oxford shoe, the cap toe is a business staple and features in most Barker collections including the Handcrafted, London and Professional ranges. The style gets its name from the manufacturing technique which sees an additional piece of leather stitched over the toe. Highly recommended Barker toe cap Oxfords include the Arnold, Bank, Winsford and Wright styles.
Wingtip Oxford Shoes
Wingtip Oxford shoes feature a decorative M-shaped toe cap with edges that extend along the sides of the shoe and results in the wingtip Oxford being a much less formal option. As well as being suitable as a wedding shoe and for office, opting for suede options means they can be part of a business-casual outfit. Popular Barker Wingtip Oxford shoes include the Chancery, Covent Garden, McClean, Southport and Valiant.
It’s important to mention that brogue shoes refer to decorative perforations that were originally invented to allow water to drain from the shoes. Therefore the Barker collection includes that are and are not Oxfords as it’s the lacing that defines them.
Wholecut Oxford Shoes
The only style dressier than a plain toe cap Oxford is the Wholecut and as the name would suggest, Wholecut Oxfords are made from a single piece of leather, resulting in an elegant appearance. The Wholecut is the epitome of formal dress shoes and reinforces that the less detail a shoe has, the more formal it is. Popular Barker Wholecut styles include the Armstrong and Nelson styles from the BarkerTech and Professional collections.
When selecting a Barker Oxford shoes for men it’s advisable to consider the last each style is made on as this directly affects the sizing and fitting of the shoe.