Perfect Way to Wear Brogue Shoes for Men

History of Brogue Shoe

The brogue is a type of low-heeled shoe or boot that is typically characterized by multi-piece, durable leather uppers with decorative perforations and tightening along the visible edges of the pieces.

Brogues have historically been considered to be outdoor or country boots not otherwise suitable for casual or business purposes, but brogues are now considered acceptable in most contexts. Brogues are most often found in one of the four types of toe cap. Nowadays, in addition to their traditional type of durable leather shoes or boots, brogues may also take the form of business dress shoes, sneakers, high-heeled women’s shoes, or any other sort of shoe that uses or evokes multi-piece construction and perforated, serrated piece edges characteristic of brogues.

Different Brogue Shoes Styles

Brogues are most often used in one of four types of toe caps and four types of closure. Most commonly offered as a leather dress shoe, brogues can also come in the form of boots, canvas, or leather sneakers or any other type of shoe that includes or evokes the multi-piece design and the perforated tightened edges characteristic of the brogues.

Toe Taps

Full brogues (or wingtips)

Brogue Shoe

Full brogues (or wingtips)

Complete brogues (also known as wingtips) are distinguished by a pointed toe cap with extensions (wings) that extend along both sides of the toe, ending near the ball of the foot. Viewed from the top, this toe cap design is “W” shaped and looks like a bird with extended wings, illustrating the design term “wingtips” that is widely used in the United States.

The toe cap of the full brogue is perforated and serrated around its edges and has additional decorative perforations in the middle of the toe cap. A shoe with a wingtip-style toecap, but no perforation, is known as an “austerity brogue,” whereas a plain-toe shoe with a wingtip-style perforation is a “blind brogue.” Popular color combinations include a white shoe body with either black or tan caps, although other colors can be used.

Ghillie brogues

Ghillie brogues

Ghillie brogues

The ghillie style has no tongue to encourage drying and long laces that loop around the leg above the ankle and attach under the calf to make it easier to keep the attached free of mud. Despite the practical aspects of their design, ghillie brogues are most often used as part of traditional, formal Scottish dress and are worn mainly on social occasions.

Semi-brogues (or half brogues)

Semi-brogues (or half brogues)

Semi-brogues (or half brogues)

Semi-brogues (also known as half-brogues) are distinguished by a decorative perforated toe cap around the edge of the cap and have additional decorative perforations in the middle of the toe cap. The half brogue was first developed and manufactured by John Lobb Ltd. as Oxford in 1937 in an attempt to give its customers a shoe that is more fashionable than a simple oxford, but not as bold as a full brogue.

Quarter brogues

Quarter brogues

Quarter brogues

Quarter brogues are distinguished by a cap toe with decorative perforations and serrations around the edge of the base, however, unlike semi-brogues, quarter brogues do not have decorative perforations in the center of the toe cap.

Quarter brogues are more formal than semi brogues and full brogues; they are the most formal dress shoes with brogues, making them the best match for business suits.

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Longwing brogues

Longwing brogues are Derby style shoes distinguished by a pointed toe cap with wings that stretch the full length of the foot, which meets in the middle of the heel. Longwing Derby brogues have been the most common in the US in the 1970s, and while the popularity of this style has declined, it remains available.


Closure style is not a distinguishing aspect of the brogue and thus the brogues can be used in a number of closing styles. Brogues are commonly available in Oxford, Derby or Ghillie laced models, but can also be used as buckle and monk strap shoes and slip-on shoes with or without elastic closures.

How to Wear Brogue Shoes?

  • Choose the type of brogue that suits your personality, your wardrobe, and the occasion you dress up for.
  • Choose brogue shoes with lots of perforations for casual outfits and models with small holes for formal outfits.
  • Dress up the brogues by choosing a slim pair in a classic color and wearing a suit or tailored jeans.
  • Pair of light-colored Chinese with classic brown brogues and a button-up shirt for an elegant yet casual look.

Where does brogue Shoes come from?

Brogues were originally designed for use in boggy landscapes, with perforations to allow the water to seep out. These perforations have now become decorative, and in general, a brogue shoe is a patterned dress shoe. Oxfords, Derbys, monk shoes, and boots are all available in brogue types with various closures and varying degrees of decoration.

Wingtips are decorative brogues, or brogues, extending through most of the shoe; creating a wing-like outline on the toe cap. Semi-brogues have a decorative pattern around the toe cap, while quarter-brogues only have a pattern on the edges of the toe.

Final Thoughts

It would be difficult to list all suppliers of brogues; it would also be a challenge to limit it to 50 or 100 companies manufacturing quality footwear. In the future, we will publish a further guide on how to buy quality footwear in general, which will also apply to brogues. With this general guide on brogues, you should be able to find brogue shoes that match your style and suit your needs.

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