The Shoe Files: Derbys

The Derby is a classic shoe that will work with a wide range of outfits. If you’re thinking about investing in your first pair of high end shoes, a derby could be a great place to start.

The Anatomy of Derbys

A shoe is defined as a derby based on how the eyelets and lacing sit on the shoe. Derby shoes always feature ‘open lacing,’ where the eyelets are in a separate closing panel sewn to the top of the main shoe.

Because derby shoes feature an additional panel, they aren’t as streamlined and simple as other formal shoes such as oxfords. Because of this, they are typically considered to be more rugged and casual than closed panel shoes.

The other major benefit of a derby is that they tend to be more comfortable to wear than oxfords. This is because the open lacing system is more flexible and forgiving, especially for larger or wider feet.

The History of Derbys

The derby started it’s life as a rural shoe, perhaps inspired by the 12th or 14th Earl of Derby. It came into fashion in the 1850s as a practical boot worn for sporting and hunting.

It soon grew in popularity though, especially with the aristocratic classes, and within fifty years it had become appropriate for wear in town.

How to Wear Derbys

The derby shoe is very versatile. It’s less formal than a closed lace shoe such as an oxford, but is still generally considered appropriate wear for most formal occasions. If in doubt, a plain derby is the best choice for smart occasions, while versions with broguing are ideal for pairing with chinos and a blazer for a classic casual look.

Want more derby inspiration? Take a look at our collection of derby shoes.

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