British VS American Shoe Terms

Photo source

Here in Britain, we often use very different terminology for shoes than they do across the pond. This can make things a bit confusing when you’re reading about shoe style online, as American terms are often used instead of British ones.

Just to help keep everything shipshape in your mind, we’ve recreated a handy translation guide for British VS American shoe terms. 

Oxford VS Balmoral

In Britain, Oxfords are formal footwear with closed lacing. In the US, the terms ‘Oxford’ and ‘Balmoral’ are used fairly interchangeably for this type of shoe. It’s worth noting that in Britain, the name Balmoral is used to describe a specific style of Oxford; an Oxford with no seams except for the toe cap seam.

Derby VS Blucher

We use the name Derby to refer to formal shoes with open lacing. In America, this style of shoe is usually called a Blucher. Once again, Blucher is a name we also use here in the UK, but technically Bluchers are different to a pair of Derby shoes as they feature an upper made with only one cut, with small eyelets sewn on top.

Loafer VS Slipper

Though the term loafer is relatively commonly used in America, this type of shoes are also known as slip-ons and even slippers! This can cause a bit of confusion, as in Britain slippers are casual house shoes.

Co-respondent VS Spectator

In Britain, we usually refer to two-tone dress shoes as co-respondents. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, they are known as spectator shoes. 

English Brogues VS American Brogues

Here’s a a confusing one! Longwing brogues are a particular style of Derby shoe that are known as ‘American Brogues’ in Britain and ‘English Brogues’ in the US. We’ll leave you to try and figure that one out…

Have you come across any other British VS American differences in shoe terms? If you have, we’d be interested for you to share them with us on Facebook.

Share this post