Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
We don’t normally cover dress shoes on Heddels, but let’s be honest: everyone needs to dress up at some point or another. Whether you wear business casual clothing daily or just wear a suit occasionally, a nice pair of oxfords will go a long way.
There are a way too many styles for us cover in depth in this six-item list, but we hope this article will put you on the right track to finding your next pair of dress shoes.
1) Allen Edmonds: Fifth Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford in Dark Chili
Allen Edmonds is arguably the most well known dress shoe maker in the US, and with good reason. They have a wide enough selection of styles that most everyone can find a pair they like, and they are a big enough company that they can produce shoes in just about any size and width. Their Fifth Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford is a great middle-range of formality – it’s easy to wear with a suit but won’t look overly formal with just chinos.
Available for $395 from Allen Edmonds.
2) Carmina: Wholecut Oxfords in Brown
By definition all Oxford shoes feature a closed lacing system. That means that the shoes’ facings (the portion of a shoe where the eyelets are set) appear to be made from a single piece of leather; in most shoes, the facings appear to be two separate pieces. These Carmina Oxfords are what is known as a wholecut — not only are the facings from single piece of leather, but the entirety of the shoe is a single piece of leather. Some would argue that a wholecut is not a “true” oxford, but I feel that the wholecut’s formality and closed lacing has earned in a spot on this list.
Available for $450 from Carmina.
3) Meermin: Cap-Toe Oxford in Antique Chestnut
Oxfords are a fundamentally a formal style of shoe, but there is still a wide range of formalities between them. These Meermin Cap-Toe Oxfords, while still being formal, are certainly at the casual end of things. The light chestnut color is harder to dress up than dark brown or black, and the broguing lessens their formality slightly as well. That said, being slightly less formal can actually be an asset, as you aren’t locked in to wearing a suit.
Available for $175 from Meermin.
4) Alden: 907 Oxford in Black
Alden’s 907 Oxford is higher up the formality ladder than the Allen Edmonds and Meermin shoes we just mentioned. This is due to the fact that they are black (considered to be the most formal color) and don’t feature any broguing. While there isn’t anything stopping you from dressing them down, it can be hard to wear black oxfords with anything but a suit. However, if you are looking for a formal shoe for special occasions, this one might be the ticket.
Available for $522 from Leffot.
5) Enzo Bonafé: Classic Balmoral Oxford in Brown
Enzo Bonafé Classic Oxford is an oxford, but it is a subclass of oxfords known as balmorals. The horizontal stitching line that wraps around the middle of the shoe is known as the balmoral line, and that’s what dictates whether or not an oxford is a balmoral. Although I hate rules of formality, balmorals are generally thought of as the being the most formal style of shoe, save for those made of patent leather.
Available for $550 from Skoaktiebolaget.
Plus One – J.M. Weston: Conti Oxfords in Black
I’m normally a sucker for the classics, but these J.M. Westcon Conti Oxfords were too incredible not to include in this list. The broguing and decorative stitching on them is exquisite, but that’s not all that stands out about these oxfords. The heel is slightly tapered and is higher than the heels on most other dress shoes, which gives them a slightly forward-leaning proportion. Like many of the Plus Ones in this series of articles, I have no idea what I would wear it with, but I really wish I did.
Available for custom order from J.M. Weston.