11 Best Men's Oxford Shoes of 2024, According to GQ


If shoes are the foundation of every great fit, the best men’s Oxford shoes are the bedrock on which the entire world of capital-M menswear is built. (After all, no other style is equally at home at black tie galas, weddings, funerals, and on your daily office commute.) To truly understand why these sleek leather lace-ups are so vital to the menswear universe, though, it’s necessary to go back a couple of hundred years, to the campus of Oxford University, when students popularized a new style of footwear that blended the construction, versatility, and comfort of an ankle boot with the sleek look of a lace-up dress shoe. The style caught on, and before long the Oxford—as it quickly became known—was the go-to shoe du jour of discerning dressers worldwide.

Little has changed in the last 200 years. The Oxford retains its essential shape and construction, distinguished by a closed lacing system that gives it a more refined look than other traditional alternatives. What has changed about Oxfords is the sheer variety of them available, from jaunty saddle brogues to traditional wingtips to patent leather statement kickers primed to anchor your most avant-garde fits. The question, then, becomes not, “Do I need a pair of Oxfords in my closet?” but which pairs rise above the rest. The answer, friends, is immediately below.


The Best Men’s Oxford Shoes, According to GQ


Best Men’s Oxford Shoes Overall: Crockett & Jones Hallam Cap-Toe Oxfords

Crockett & Jones

Hallam Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes

Pros

  • Made in England to the highest standard
  • Expert in-house repair services available
  • Available with leather or rubber soles

Cons

You don’t earn a Royal Warrant for making an average pair of shoes. Crockett & Jones has been one of the most respected names in traditional British footwear since 1879, and is currently the go-to shoemaker for none other than His Majesty the King. That means there’s no better source of the most classic of Oxford style, the cap-toe. It of course comes in black (with or without a city-friendly rubber sole) but we appreciate this handmade, burnished brown calf leather pair, which promises to make your best navy three-roll-two look all the nattier.

Best Budget Men’s Oxford Shoes: Beckett Simonon Dean Oxfords

Beckett Simonon

Dean Oxford Shoes

Pros

  • Water-repellent
  • Excellent value
  • Suede lends itself to more casual outfits

Cons

  • Lower-quality leather than our other favorites

Oxfords may have a reputation as the footwear of the old-money elite, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still mix things up when the situation requires. These chocolate-hued, water-repellent suede units are a case in point, with a decidedly un-traditional look that pairs much better with jeans and chinos, or adds a jaunty lean to more buttoned-up ensembles. They’re also ethically made in a Colombian workshop by master craftsmen, which makes their ultra-reasonable price feel even more of a win.

Best Men’s Oxford Shoes for the Office: George Cleverly Charles Leather Oxfords

George Cleverly

Charles Leather Oxford Shoes

Pros

  • Full repair service available
  • Made in England to the highest standard
  • Neat broguing adds more texture than the Crockett and Jones

Cons

What do Winston Churchill, Tim Cook, David Beckham, Ralph Lauren, and Sylvester Stallone have in common? All have gone to George Cleverley for their dress shoes. This pair of sturdy black Oxfords—with just a hint of brogue detailing to casual them up a bit—would be a true anchor of any upwardly mobile nine-to-five wardrobe. Made in England from black-brown leather by a footwear brand with more than half a century of expertise in shodding the world’s most powerful feet, they’ll be ready for the C-suite as soon as you are.

Best Men’s Oxford Shoes for Wedding Season: Morjas Black Patent Oxfords

Morjas

Patent Leather Oxford Shoes

Pros

  • Black-tie appropriate
  • Made by hand in Spain
  • Goodyear welted

Cons

  • Price point remains higher

If the dress code says black tie, just wearing any old black shoes (even really nice ones) simply won’t cut it. The unmistakable sheen of a patent leather Oxford, on the other hand, will put your shoes on par with the rest of your ensemble, guiding your sleekest black-tie fits to new sartorial heights so that all you have to worry about is not outshining the groom. This pair from Morjas—a newer, but already deeply trusted Scandi shoemaker—marries a slightly more approachable price point with all the hallmarks of a Cleverley or a Crockett.

Best Men’s Oxford Shoes for Fashion Guys: Dr. Martens 1461 Shoes

Dr. Martens

1461 Shoes

Pros

  • Comfort sole
  • Rain and mud-resistant
  • Great price point

Cons

  • Less appropriate for formal events

Oxford shoes can be a lot of things, but edgy is not often one of them. If, however, you’re interested in the dialogue between the 19th-century elitism of traditional Oxfords and the mid-20th-century working-class pride of Dr. Martens’ iconic work boots—not to mention the added comfort of a Docs sole—this is the pair for you. Technically speaking, the 1461 is a derby, but that makes it all the more of a powerful choice in a situation where classic Oxfords would be conventional. With the unmistakably chunky stitched soles of Dr. Martens’ iconic low-tops, they’ll give fashion cred to your look while providing an anchor for whatever tailored (or denim) pieces you’re throwing on above them.

Best Wingtip Men’s Oxford Shoes: JM Weston 376 Reedition Archive Brogues

JM Weston

376 Reedition Archive Brogue Oxford Shoes

Pros

  • Intricate, expert broguing
  • Hand-made in France
  • Repair service available

Cons

With their trademark hole-punch detailing, wingtips offer a lighter alternative to the laced-up seriousness of cap-toe Oxfords, which has cemented them as the footwear of choice for iconoclasts like Thom Browne and Mark McNairy. JM Weston’s take on this classic of the Oxford canon is no less considered, with a more-is-more approach to broguing on the toe, uppers, and even the tongue. Like everything bearing the name of this august French maison, they’re made in Limoges by traditional artisans, and built to last a lifetime.


More Oxford Shoes We Love

Johnston & Murphy Melton Oxford Shoes

Johnston & Murphy

Melton Oxford Shoes

You can spend a lot on a beautiful pair of Oxfords, but, as with all connoisseur-level luxury goods, the improvements will be mostly incremental. For the rest of us, Johnston & Murphy obliges with Goodyear welted soles, a full-leather lining, and a multi-layered shock-absorbing, breathable insole—all for under two bills.

Meermin 116660 Brown Alicante Shoes

Meermin

Alicante Ultraflex Oxford Shoes

These kicks have more to offer than buttery French-tanned brown suede. Thanks to Meermin’s Ultraflex System, which combines the durability and repairability of a traditional Goodyear welted sole with the flexibility of a lug rubber sole, they’re also some of the most comfortable Oxfords out there.

Carmina Wingtip Oxford Shoes

Carmina

Wingtip Oxford Shoes

If you want your wingtips to age as gracefully as a leather club chair on the Saltburn estate, Carmina’s got the goods. Unlike box calf leather, which is given a final protective finish in the tannery, Carmina’s Vegano leather is left untreated, allowing its luxurious cognac hue to burnish and patina over time.

Maison Margiela Tabi Trek Oxford Shoes

Maison Margiela

Tabi Trek Shoes

These freaky Oxfords are actually derbies (see how the laces are attached to two flaps, rather than the upper itself?) but there’s no need to dwell on that. Instead, let’s relish Margiela’s delightful combination of black patent leather, rock-kicking lug soles, and the split-toe silhouette inspired by Japanese tabi socks that remains the brand’s signature. Speaking of which, you might want to pick up a pair of those, too.

Thom Browne Cap Toe Oxford Shoes

Thom Browne

Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes

Few designers love an Oxford as much as Thom Browne, and these offer a summary of everything that makes him one of the most influential designers of the 21st century: classic shape, Italian-made quality, and Browne’s signature grosgrain ribbon on the heel. You don’t have to wear them with shorts, knee socks and a tight little jacket, but it’s always nice to have the option.

John Lobb City II Burnished-Leather Oxford Shoes

John Lobb

City II Burnished-Leather Oxford Shoes

No one knows who invented the Oxford, but if you want a pair with the same quality, attention to detail, and gravitas as those from more than a century ago, John Lobb is the place to go. Handmade in England via a nearly 200-step process—and priced accordingly—these immaculate burnished cap toes pass every measurable test with flying colors.


What’s the difference between an Oxford, a derby, and a blucher?

Oxfords, derbies, and bluchers ( rhymes with futures) are close cousins, with a similar look but slightly different constructions. Oxfords have a closed lacing system with eyelets punched directly into the “vamp” (the term for the piece of leather covering the upper part of the shoe). Derbies and bluchers, on the other hand, both have an open lacing system with eyelets punched into a pair of leather flaps attached to the vamp; on a derby, those flaps (known as quarters) wrap all the way around the back of the shoe. It’s a subtle distinction that gives Oxfords a narrower, more formal look, and a bit less flexibility than the other two.

What should you wear with Oxford shoes?

Oxford are more formal dress shoes, and they demand to be paired with your most refined tailoring, from suits to tuxes. Beyond that, though, let the shoe’s material and details be your guide; suede and broguing typically land on the more casual end of the spectrum (think: chinos and a sport jacket), and shiny patent leather is exclusively for black tie.

What are the different types of Oxford shoes?

By now, shoemakers have been riffing on the Oxford’s essential structure for a couple of hundred years, regularly adding new versions along the way. Here are the ones you’re most likely to encounter:

  • The Brogue: Any shoe with those little dots punched in the leather, usually around the toe area. These were initially a functional feature that allowed water to drain out of the shoes after a walk through a wet Scottish bog, but are now purely decorative.
  • The Wingtip: Brogues with a distinctive W-shaped piece of leather stitched across the toe. All wingtips are brogues, but not all brogues are wingtips.
  • The Cap-Toe: As the name suggests, these versatile Oxfords are distinguished by a leather cap over the toe.
  • The Wholecut: An Oxford with an upper made from a single piece of leather with a seam at the back, which gives it a sleeker, more formal look.
  • The Seamless: Like a wholecut Oxford but without the seam, which makes it just a little bit fancier than its wholecut counterparts.
  • The Saddle: A casual member of the Oxford family that features a contrast-colored piece of leather over the middle (and sometimes on the heel) that lends it a significantly sportier vibe.
  • The Kiltie: Every crew has its wild card, and the Kiltie marches to the beat of its own drum thanks to a fringed piece of leather stitched over the laces.



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