The Derby shoe offers a versatile option for a dress shoe, with the ability to pair equally well with smart and casual outfits. Nowadays, one can find a host of options with various brogue detailing and options of soles that offer a diverse range to choose from. That being said, it’s important to choose whether you’re wanting to have it primarily for smart occasions, or whether you prefer a ‘relaxed’ smart shoe for your daily wear.
With its “open lace” construction, the Derby is suitable for a gentlemen with a wider fit and higher in-step. This ensures more comfort compared to an Oxford shoe which has a tighter lacing system. Also known as a Gibson or Blucher, the Derby has the ability to be delicate and classy, as well as sturdy and rugged. We go through the options so you can choose your preference of choice.
Image: Viberg Derby Shoe in Cigar Horsehide (above) and Grey Calf (top)
A Derby shoe with a slightly longer and narrow shape are ideal for smart attire, giving a striking silhouette. A classic two or three eyelet option is a preferred choice for those wearing suits on a daily basis. With its slightly longer and elongated toe, it carries an air of sharp sophistication. One can also choose a cap toe Derby that is a sure winner for any choice of formal business wear and perfect for shoe shining. If you’re partial to a bit of brogue detailing, it’s more affective on longer, narrow fits.
Gentleman: Old Classic Derby in Black Calf Leather, £275, by CHEANEY
Ape: Emilio Moro Derby, £195, by SCAROSSO
An evolved hybrid of the classic Derby, nowadays one can find a choice of casual options that still retain the essence of slickness. Easily worn with denim or chinos there are relaxed options with rubber soles, contrast soles or even chunky sole varieties. Traditionally, brogues and suede were introduced as an alternative for use in the country or as weekend shoe respectively. Nowadays, still accepted as casual options, suede offers a relaxed elegance for the city while brogues a robustness that is easily paired with denim. A chunky Commando sole gives more option to wear outside the city while doubling up well for outdoor adventures. Be weary not to mix too casual a shoe choice with smart tailoring as you’ll off-set the look and upset the balance of a well curated outfit. Dark leather tones go well with selvedge denim, while lighter shades of suede and leather suit khaki chinos or washed denim.
Gentleman: Robert Suede Derby Shoes, £375, by TRICKER’S
Ape: Liam Derby Shoe, £215, by GRENSON
Brogues are the perfect example of a cross-over shoe for both smart and casual. Giving you the versatility to wear with jeans and chinos. Commando or Dainite soles can easily be alternated between country and city and are ideal winter shoes to battle unpredictable weather and surfaces. Get your colour combinations right with your outfit to nail killer looks. Pebble grain leather is a good option if you want to go for a finish that works equally well with a suit and causal tailoring. The Triple Welt from Grenson are a great example of a crossover shoe, well suited for heavier weighted wool suiting for smart options. A weathered looking Derby that still offers a good shape in high quality leather is also a nice alternative with a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere about it.
Gentleman: Leather Derby Shoes, £615, by VIBERG
Ape: Urtulan Suede Leather Derby Shoe, £200, by VELASCA