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.
Low-profile soles might keep shoes sleek, but their lack of traction is an issue in many scenarios. The answer? Lugged soles. While lugged soles do make shoes more casual, many shoes with them are still suitable for business-casual wear, weddings, and other semi-formal nonsense. Today, we’re putting forward a list of some of the best derby shoes out there that will treat you well rain or shine, hills or streets.
1) Grant Stone: Plain Toe Blucher – Earth
Grant Stone was founded in 2016, but they’re already a well-recognized name amongst footwear enthusiasts. This iteration of their Plain Toe Blucher features C.F. Stead‘s Waxed Commander leather in an ‘Earth’ colorway and a heavily lugged sole for some serious traction. That said, the non-lugged perimeter of the sole and low-profile nature of the pattern helps these PTBs remain easy to dress up or down.
2) Kleman for Knickerbocker: Dormance Derby
Kleman‘s Dormance Derby is a more goth-ed-out version of the iconic Postman oxfords. Featuring three spaced-out eyelets and a built on a last with a pronounced toe, they’re finished with a heavily lugged that’s made of natural rubber. While it’s a bit less lugged than many of the other shoes on this list they definitely offer some extra traction and the murdered-out look is something to be reckoned with.
3) Viberg: 145 Oxford – Natural Essex Horsebutt
Viberg has been using more lug-heavy soles on their welted footwear recently, and we love to see it. Their 145 Oxford in Natural Essex Horsebutt features a Ridgeway sole, and while we can argue over the pedantics of what a “lugged” sole really is, I think it’s safe to say the Ridgeway fits the bill and looks fantastic. Made on the wide-fitting 110 last, these shoes fit the workwear aesthetic wonderfully, and the void space on the sole ensures you won’t be slippy around whether you’re trudging through mud, snow, or grass.
Available for $850 from Viberg
4) Tricker’s: Robert Derby – 4497 – Commando – Horween Natural Dublin
Tricker’s footwear just seems like it’s meant to be worn walking through the English countryside, and then hosed off for a nice dinner out — and that’s exactly what a nice pair of lugged derby shoes are all about. Their 4497 Robert Derby’s feature a commando outsole and Horween‘s Natural Dublin leather, ensuring your feet will be comfortable regardless of where you’re walking. They’re finished with French binding, a wood shank, and 360° storm welt.
Available for $545 from Division Road.
5) Common Projects: Lug Sole Derby Shoe
Common Projects‘ blacked-out Lug Sole Derby Shoe are sleek, refined, and low-key rugged. While the all-black colorway helps to dress these up, the lugged outsole makes sure their able to be dressed down with some raw denim or fatigues. While we don’t write about Common Projects all that often, and most of their offerings extend a bit farther down the high-fashion rabbit hole that we generally cover, it’s hard to deny the beauty of many of their pieces; and if a high-shine leather is something you’re after on your lugged shoes, these deserve consideration.
Available for £490 (~$625) from End.
Plus One – Grenson: Victor
Grenson is a well-respected maker of classic, British footwear, but rarely do we see them produce something that lands them in the Plus One spot. That said, we’re thrilled to include their Victor shoe this week. The pattern and style are classic, and the heavily lugged commando sole is just what we were looking for this week. But what sets these apart is the traditional Veldtschoen construction in conjunction with the heavy calf leather with a embossing meant to replicate Russian Reindeer leather.
Available for $755 from Grenson.