Shoe shine cake topper |

Types and Styles of Footwear for the Groom

There are so many different shoe styles out there, it can be a daunting task to pick out the perfect pair for you. You don’t want a stressful wedding, so here is a basic guide to help you choose the perfect footwear for the groom and any male member of the wedding party.

Shoe Styles

Unless you’re planning on having a beach wedding, you are going to need shoes. You can’t put your best foot forward if you’re not in the perfect shoe. Make sure that the shoes you wear on your wedding day are the right shoes for you.


The Oxford: The most basic and formal of the dress shoes, Oxfords are the ideal shoes for either a white tie or black tie wedding. Due to their minimalists design and slim cut, Oxfords can go with any outfit. For a formal outfit Oxfords are traditionally made from patent leather, a coated leather that creates a high gloss finish. The name comes from the shoe’s popularity in Oxford University in the 19th century as an alternative to the half boot Oxonians.  Oxfords are easily identified by their closed lacing; this is when the shoelace eyelet tabs are stitched underneath the vamp (the front part of the shoe).

The difference between an oxford and a derby |
Shoes courtesy of Hugh Harris Formal

The Derby: A more rugged and sturdy variation of the Oxford, designed to make the shoes more comfortable for hunting in. This comfort is achieved from the open lacing it has; the shoelace eyelet tabs are stitched on top of the vamp. This shoe is an unconventional option that is becoming more and more welcome at formal events, but many see these more as work wear. These are less formal than the Oxford and often fall in the area that is too formal for a casual wedding and is too casual for a formal wedding.

The Monk: Half shoe and half boot, the Monk is a formal option for those who want to add some flare to their wedding suit. These are fastened with a strap and buckle instead of laces, this allows the wearer to adjust the width of their shoe to fit their foot perfectly. These shoes come with either one or two straps to create even more variants for the groom who wants to put a twist on his formal suit.

Shoe shine cake topper |
Catch of the day cake topper

Loafers:  This is the less formal option of dress shoe, these slip on shoes have only recently been considered formal shoes and many still find them an odd choice for a traditional wedding. There is always the issue when buying these shoes, if the pair you buy look too informal then it can make you look lazy. Picking a pair of Loafers that look good with a wedding suit takes great skill. I personally would only suggest these for a wedding with a casual dress code and theme, where your choice in foot wear will blend in a little better.

Toe Styles

Now that you’ve seen the different types of shoes that are out there, you have to focus in and make a decision on how you want your shoe’s vamp to look. This is the way that you get to show your style and personality, so choose carefully.

Cap Toe Derby |
Cap toe derby courtesy of Hugh Harris Formal

Cap Toe:  The cap toe is when another piece of leather or fabric is stitched to the vamp and creates a stitched line across the vamp separating the toes, however there isn’t always another piece of leather sewn on, there is just stitching to resemble the cap. This is most frequently seen on the Oxford, but is more than acceptable on any other dress shoe. It is not unusual for the cap to be a different colour to the rest of the shoe; this may make it less formal, but can give the shoe some pizzazz and style.

Plain Toe: There’s not much to say about this style, the shoe’s vamp is left plain. It is, however, the most formal of the toe styles and is favoured for a traditional and formal wedding, as it offers the groom less flair and personalisation than the others.

Plain toe oxford |
Plain toe oxford courtesy of Pinterest.

Brogues: This is a series of punched holes along the seams of a shoe to create a decorative pattern; this is mostly done on cap toe shoes as it runs across the seam of the cap. There are several different types of brogues.

Quarter Brogue: This is the most basic of the broguing and has the punches running only across the seam of the cap. There is no decoration on the cap or on the rest of the shoe.

Brogueing styles |
Brogueing styles courtesy of Pinterest.

Semi Brogue: The semi (or half) brogue has broguing along all the seams of the shoes as well as a pattern being made on the cap of the shoe to add a bit of style to the shoe, without the risk of it becoming garish.

Full Brogue: The full brogue has the same broguing pattern as the semi brogue, but replaces the standard cap with a “w” shaped one, this is also known as a wingtip. This style is the least formal of the toe styles and is the wildest of all the shoes, allowing the groom to show his stylish and bold side. This is often reserved for a casual service, but now people’s views of broguing are more positive and they are welcome at formal weddings.

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