Explore the Different Types Of Brogue Shoes

Explore the Different Types Of Brogue Shoes


Brogues are one of those shoes which can be worn with any type of clothing, be it formal wear or leisurewear. These are easily identified due to their distinct perforation patterns. Brogues originated nearly two centuries ago and are still going strong. Men’s brogues have now evolved into one of the most popular styles of shoes all over the world. In this article, we are going to talk about different types of brogues, their history, and the pairings that go with them. Let’s start with their brief history and origin. 

Brogues-Origin and History

Brogue shoes are shoes with low heels having perforation patterns on their uppers called ‘broguing’ with the parent gallic word ‘Bróg’ meaning the same. This shoe style was invented out of necessity for Scottish and Irish farmers and workmen who used to work in the soggy fields and mines and lived generally in wet climatic conditions. The perforations helped in draining the water thus accumulated from the shoes. Migration from the UK brought this style of shoes to the USA and it first became popular in the roaring twenties and has been in fashion ever since.

Different Types of Brogues

Brogue shoes may be divided into several types as per the frequency of patterns on the upper. They may also overlap and combine with different styles of shoes which leads to whole new styles. There are so many variations out of which the most popular are discussed below. 

  • Quarter Brogues

Quarter brogues have the least number of patterns among all the brogues. These are cap-toe shoes with a distinct brogue pattern only on the seam of the cap. Made generally in Oxford style with close lacings and minimal brogue patterns, these men’s brogues have a formal appeal and should be paired with suits and formal clothes.

  • Half Brogues

These are also known as Semi-brogues. Like Quarter brogues these also feature the perforations on the seam, and in addition to that, they have a broguing pattern at the top of the cap toe. These men’s brogues were first made in 1937 by the shoe manufacturing company ‘John Lobb’ named after the shoemaker who had already passed away in 1895. These are semi-formal shoes as they as not so austere as Semi-brogues and not too decorative as Full brogues. These work well with business casuals.

  • Medallion brogues

This type of brogue has perforations called ‘Medallions’ only on the toe cap or the front of the shoe. These can be used for formal wear as they do not feature much of the extravagant detailing as other brogues do.

  • Full brogues

These are also known as Wingtips. Full brogues have all the patterns or perforations of Semi and Half brogues along with a distinct curved “W” or “M” shaped pattern (depends on whichever side of the shoe you are looking) which roughly appears as wings. These “W” shaped wings start from the seam of the cap toe and run to the side of the shoe before ending at the middle of the shoe, just above the shank. Due to the full gamut of decorative patterns, these brogue shoes are generally a casual affair and work well with jeans and casual chinos. Some adventurous professionals also team them up with business casuals but do that at your own risk.

  • Longwing Brogues

Longwing brogues are the American interpretation of the full brogue shoes. This particular style has all the patterns of the full brogues but the seams do not end at the mid-feet, these run parallel to the sole and join at the back of the heel. These shoes always have open lacing and are used for casual wear. 

  • Spectator Brogues

These are full brogue shoes but composed in two different shades. These were first made by reputed shoemaker John Lobb as cricket shoes way back in 1868. The basic version of the shoe has the upper made of one color and wing caps of the other, mostly black with white, but now some equally good designs have come into fashion like dark brown upper with light brown wingtips or brown with white wings which look particularly appealing to the eyes. Usually used for casual occasions. Looks good with jeans and cotton trousers.

  • Austerity Brogues 

Austerity brogues are shoes constructed in the shape of a brogue with detailing like wingtips but without broguing perforations punched in the leather. These became popular in the UK during World War 2 when there was a shortage of leather among all other things. This style is popular even now and can be used with business casuals.

  • Ghillie brogues

Ghillie brogues are full brogues but without any tongue below the eyelets and having long thick laces. These originated in Scotland as worker’s shoes. The absence of tongue along with the full perforations meant the effective drainage of water and long laces were wrapped and tied around the ankles so they did not get muddied or dirty, which was the original purpose for this design. These shoes are a part of Scottish heritage and usually worn during Scottish formal occasions like weddings with a kilt. 

  • Derby brogues

Derby brogues are Derby shoes with brogue patterns on them. Derby shoes have an open lacing system which means that the laces do not close tightly on the feet and thus instep do not get pinched or chaffed. This is particularly helpful for gentlemen with high insteps or arches. This open lacing is achieved by sewing the quarters above the vamp of the shoe. For those not in the know, ‘Quarters’ means the area of the shoe where holes are punched and eyelets are sewn and the ‘Vamp’ refers to the entire front portion of the upper of the shoe. Derby men’s brogues look equally good with a suit or a rugged pair of jeans or sleek chinos. 

  • Monk brogues

Monk brogues are a combination of Monk strap shoes with brogue detailing. These are closed shoes using single or double straps called monk straps with buckles for closure instead of laces. The buckles can be single or double. The brogue detailing could be of any type, whether Quarter, Semi, or Full. These brogue shoes can be used for casual and semi-formal events as per the detailing.


  • Oxford Brogues

Oxford brogues are Oxford shoes featuring brogue patterns. These are closed laced, below ankle shoes with eyelets not visible due to them being sewn under the vamp of the shoe. This construction makes the shoe appear without any eyelets but holes for laces to pass through, thus creating the so-called classic close-laced Oxford look. The brogue detailing could range from minimal to wingtips. This detailing also determines if this men’s brogue may be used for formal or casual wear.

Difference Between Brogues and Oxfords

Oxfords are shoes featuring a closed laced system, where eyelets are sewn under the vamp so they are not visible outwards, thus creating a refined look without any embellishment or ornamentation and so more used as dress shoes. Brogues on the other hand refer to shoes having patterns or perforations created by punching holes in the leather of the upper. So, an Oxford shoe with this kind of pattern will be called Oxford brogues while Derby shoes having open lacing with brogue design will be called Derby brogues.


Brogues after rising from their humble origins have become a fashionable and trendy choice now. Brogue shoes can be worn for any occasion and every place. They look equally spectacular with business, casual or formal wear. So which style of brogues did you like best? Let us know in the comments