The debate about which style of shoe is the most fundamental, the most essential, the most unimpeachable, is one seemingly doomed to play out eternally, Ouroboros-like. It’s also a debate that misses the entire point – and indeed the joy – of footwear. There are many different and wonderful styles of shoe – each worthy and timeless in their own right, and each with their own time and place. However, if you forced my hand and told me to I had to pick just one for every occasion for all time, it would probably be the Oxford.
The Oxford – elegant, unassuming, stalwart. Characterised by its closed vamping – that is, eyelet tabs attached underneath the vamp – it offers a sleek and elegant silhouette, most commonly completed with a capped toe. It is a clean, classic shoe, offering a great canvas for leather to shine, with the construction adding soft touches of delineation. Tradition holds that its formality sits above that of a monk strap or a derby shoe, and this is mostly true, though obviously the leather plays a key factor. A cinnamon suede pair, for instance, would still be comfortably worn with weekend separates where a high-shine monk strap would not.