Several names, it stays at elegant shoes par excellence!

In America, men’s lace-ups in general are called Balmoral (like the Scottish castle), in France Richelieu; the English call them Oxford (after the university town) while we Italians tend to use the term Francesine.

However you like to call them, the Oxford is the dress shoe par excellence, perfect for ceremoniesbusiness meetings and formal occasions in general.

There is some debate as to their origins: what is certain is that they first appeared in the 19th Century, initially in Ireland and Scotland, as a lighter version of the boots that up to the 17th Century had dominated men’s clothing in terms of footwear, then later spread to the rest of the world.

In America, men’s lace-ups in general are called Balmoral, in France Richelieu; the English call them Oxford, we Italians tend to use the term Francesine.

Technical matters…

Oxford shoes differ from the equally famous Derbys due to the fact that the vamp overlaps the quarters (in the Derby it is the exact opposite).

They may be totally plain or be embellished with perforations on the toe-cap or over the whole of the upper (this is known as broguing) or else a line of stitching a few centimetres from the toe cap.

[Photo Credits: Internet Archive Book Images on Flickr The Commons]