Men’s shoe styles fall into over 50 different categories, with aspects of some styles overlapping. Below is a comprehensive gallery of those different styles:
Shoe images in the Shoe Style gallery are copyright of the manufacturer of each shoe.
All Shoe Styles fall into one of four (4) general Shoe Types.
Shoe Types are determined by how shoes are secured to feet.
Both the Oxford and Derby/Blucher use laces to hold the shoe onto a foot, however the Oxford is designed with a closed facing (known as Closed Lacing), and the Derby/Blucher is designed with an open facing (known as Open Lacing).
The Oxford is a more formal type of shoe because it has a cleaner look and a snugger fit. In the U.S. the Oxford is sometimes referred to as a Balmoral, but this is a misnomer, as the Balmoral is a subset of the Oxford style.
It is also common in the U.S. for all men’s dress shoes that lace up to be referred to as Oxfords.
An Oxford is easily identified by the inability to open the bottom of the facing where the shoe laces go (1). This causes the diameter of the throat of the shoe to be a fixed size defined by the construction of the shoe.
The Derby/Blucher is a more casual type of shoe because it has more pieces to it, and there is more control over how snug (or loosely) the shoe fits. A Derby is also referred to as a Gibson in women’s shoes.
A Derby/Blucher is easily identified by the ability to open the bottom of the facing where the shoe laces go (2). This allows the diameter of the throat of the shoe to be somewhat adjustable by the user, and accommodate a wider range of individual instep shapes and sizes.
Derby/Bluchers accommodate orthotics much easier that Oxfords do because of their ability to allow more room within the shoe.
Although the Oxford and Derby/Blucher types are similar there are a number of styles that can only be an Oxford, and others that can only be a Derby/Blucher; For example an Adelaide can only be an Oxford due to its structural design, and a Chukka can only be a Derby as it is inherent in the definition of a Chukka.
It is important to note, that although I have combined the Derby and Blucher as one type, they are actually two types under the general classification of open lace shoes.
The main difference between a Derby and a Blucher is how the quarters are attached (or not) to the vamp. In the construction of a Derby the quarters are a separate piece of leather from the vamp and are laid over the vamp to create a Gooseneck seam. Bluchers are similar to wholecut shoes, where the vamp and the quarters are the same piece of leather (or the quarters continue on to the front of the shoe), but a Blucher is cut to allow an open facing like a Derby.
A Strap shoe, as the name would imply, uses a strap (and usually a buckle) (3) to hold the shoe onto the foot. The most common strap shoe for men is the Monk Strap which also come in a Double Monk strap style. Of course a Sandal is also considered a Strap type shoe.
The Slip on style covers Loafers (4) and most boots that do not have laces.
All shoe style fall into one of these 4 types (with the possible exception of a Zipper Boot).