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Shoes

Your most pressing style questions answered

Question
What's the difference between Oxfords and Derbies?
Answer
Countless men - even those who profess to be style aficionados - cannot articulate the difference between Oxfords and Derbies. Given that wearing an inappropriate shoe could see you commit a range of social and style faux pas - it's something well worth knowing (even if it's just for a conversation in the pub). Quite simply, if you can slide a finger up behind the bottom of your lacing, you're wearing Derbies. On more formal Oxfords, the lacing is "closed." The facing (where the eyelets are located) is sewn under the vamp (the front section of the shoe?s upper), giving it a sleeker appearance.
Question
How do I keep my sneakers clean?
Answer
It's all in spot cleaning, protection and storage. Watch sneakerhead and shoe expert Mr Eugene Tong - style director of Details magazine - demonstrate exactly how to keep your white kicks, white.
  • 01 Spot clean them

    Knock the soles together to dislodge dirt and use a damp cloth to wipe away superficial marks. For the rubber soles, use a damp Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

  • 02 Deep clean them

    Apply a few drops of Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner to a wet shoe brush, shake off and then scrub gently all over to create a foam. Use a toothbrush for hard-to-get-to places. Wipe off with a towel and repeat all over.

  • 03 Re-lace them

    Fresh laces instantly lift the appearance of your sneakers. Remove the laces and either replace them with new, white ones or soak the soiled ones in washing detergent and then place in a garment bag and put in with a hot white wash.

  • 04 Protect them

    After you have allowed the newly cleaned shoes to dry naturally (never put them near direct heat), lay down a towel and spray with a stain and water repellent.

  • 05 Store them

    Lay tumble dryer fabric sheets inside the shoes to help draw out moisture and deodorise them. Space permitting, the best way to keep your sneakers box fresh is to store them in their original box.

Related Products
Question
Can I wear brown (shoes) in town?
Answer
Of course, but only if you remember to take off your hat in the presence of women. We're joking: this is the 21st century and it's a free-for-all out there! There may be very few professional environments left in which brown shoes will be frowned upon but, by and large, wearing a pair of good, leather-soled shoes (that's the default setting for smart shoes) will make you better dressed than 90 per cent of men. However, to get this just right, do think about the colour contrast: dark blue suits can be paired with dark brown shoes, whereas grey suits look best with black shoes.
Question
What shoes are appropriate for a formal wedding?
Answer
In our opinion, a formal wedding requires well-shined, black, plain toe (or cap toe) Oxfords. Given cap toes are popular with well-heeled businessmen, you may wish to leave the detailing to them. Remember, simplicity usually defines elegance, which brings us on to patent shoes. Tempting (perhaps), although not unwelcome at a black tie wedding ? these are much more at home at an evening event such as a ball (you don?t want any "Fred Astaire" jibes from the best man). If you really want to impress your fellow wedding guests, why not try whole-cut Oxfords (made from one piece of leather - see: Berluti)? Now that?s something we could get married to... or in, should we say.
Question
How do I polish my shoes properly?
Answer
We?re not going to lie - it takes time, effort and practice. Check out our comprehensive video where Mr Justin Fitzpatrick of theshoesnob.com shows us how.
Question
Does it matter if my shoes have a leather or rubber sole?
Answer
A leather sole is the proper option for well-made dress shoes. Not only sleeker than a rubber sole, they are easier to replace, so your cobbler will thank you. However, do remember that leather is porous and certainly not your friend in extremely wet weather. If you do live in inclement climes (the entire population of the UK, listen up), there is no shame in investing in a more resilient Dainite sole for a pair (or two) of your smart shoes. Invented in 1894, it?s a technique used by traditional brands such as Church?s, Cheaney and Crockett & Jones - and is the sophisticated route to rubber.
Question
What colour shoes should I wear with navy blue suits and grey suits?
Answer
Generally, you should wear shoes that are at least as dark as your suit. Here?s a quick rundown of suitable colour combinations. Ready? OK. Navy suits go best with variations on dark, rich browns, while snappily dressed businessmen swear by black shoes. But whoever you are, avoid tan as if it were the plague. With lighter blue suits - it?s the same story, but they are perhaps more forgiving with black footwear. Grey suits? Black shoes are your friend. Brown suits can be worn with a dark brown or tan shoe. Wear black shoes with a black suit, and make sure you avoid brown. Got that? Good.
Question
When is it appropriate to wear patent shoes?
Answer
Once created with a linseed oil lacquer, the "patent" effect is now often achieved with a synthetic coating - a gloss that beats the work of any polisher. However, that does not mean it is a substitute for well-shined leather. The rules of fashion have undoubtedly relaxed over time ? we wear patent sneakers on the weekend and patent Derbies to the office. But there is a time and a place for patent dress shoes. We would avoid them at weddings, even if you?re wearing a tuxedo ? their pomp is more suited to other formal black or white tie events, such as a ball.
Question
How do I decide which black shoes to buy? There are endless variations on the theme.
Answer
There is no default option. How are you going to wear them? Every day to work, or only on nights out? With a suit, or more casually? Can you get away with loafers, or must they be lace-ups? This is particularly relevant for men who frequently travel by air: is comfort a priority, or is it trumped by elegance? These are the kind of questions that should help you sift through the options. Most men will want to end up with a few pairs that cover these various bases: loafers for the evening, Oxfords to wear with a dinner jacket or to weddings, and brogues to wear with a suit.
Question
Having spent the summer in deck shoes, I wonder if there's an equivalent for the winter?
Answer
Assuming you've been in deck shoes because you're over sneakers, the easy answer is tan or chestnut brown brogues. The colour goes perfectly with blue jeans and chinos, and they're more comfortable if you are going for a proper walk than any kind of loafers.