DAPPER DERBY SHOES
If there is a type of formal shoes for men that is as popular and old as Oxfords, it’s Derby Shoes. Considered mainly as a dress shoe, these laceup shoes are very versatile and can be worn on formal wear or casual wear. Derby shoes featured extra stitching which ran across the upper of the shoe. This extra stitching made the shoe more durable and robust. Apart from the stitching, Derby shoes were shorter in length and fit right below the ankle, taking away ankle support but providing more mobility. This is one of the reasons why these formal shoes for men were also used in sports back in the day. Derby Shoes became the preferred footwear for sports and hunting in the 1850s and from then, they have acquired the status of formal laceup shoes.
Derby Shoes come in both boot and shoe form and are characterised by quarters. Shoelace eyelets in these formal shoes for men are sewn on top of the vamp. This unique construction method is a characteristic of Derbys and one of the main ways how these laceup shoes are distinct. Known as ‘open lacing’, this construction is the opposite of Oxford shoes and thus, people who want to experience a style other than Oxfords can easily opt for Derbys.
WHY ARE DERBYS CALLED DERBYS?
Derby shoes originated in Derbyshire. ‘Derby cut’ has become a term to refer to shoes with open lacing and the side to side pieces with the lacing on top of the smooth vamp. This construction also gives space to the tongue of the shoe and that’s how Derby shoes are considerably more comfortable than Oxfords.
The origins of the name are a bit unclear but the story goes that an English Earl of Derby, who lived at the end of the 19th century, had difficulty wearing boots due to his healthy physique. He hired a shoemaker to prepare shoes for him that were easier to don with this big stature. Thus, the derby cut for formal shoes for formal shoes for men was born. This shoe then reached the ends of Europe and rose in popularity. The story, however, is not very accurate and due to misplaced records of the actual inventor.
VARIOUS FACES OF DERBYS
Derby shoes are extremely versatile and for a long time in the past, they were used as casual shoes, not to be worn in formal settings. With time, this changed and now these laceup shoes have become dress shoes synonymous to Oxfords.