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Every gentleman should have a nice pair of dress shoes in his wardrobe. The most popular dress shoes are Oxfords and Derbies. However, Oxfords are exclusively formal and Derbies are more multifunctional. Derby shoes are appropriate for almost every occasion and outfit.

They are perfect for the office, the weekend and many other events. They are stylish, comfortable and practical. Not the most essential shoes, but really useful: Derby shoes can help you relax a smart look and bring some elegance to a casual one.

What are Derby shoes?

Unlike Oxfords, Derbies have a less complicated design and feature an open lacing system, not a closed one. Derby shoes are made from 3 pieces: 2 quarters sewn together on the heel and one vamp with a tongue. The vamp is the part of the shoe, which covers your toes and instep, the quarters wrap around the heel and are connected mid-foot. The shoelace eyelets are normally located on the quarters. An open lacing system means that the vamp is stitched under the quarters.

Derbies are good for many formal occasions and you can pair them with a suit for sure, as they are another common dress shoes. Suede Derbies are appropriate for casual style, while classic leather Derbies are perfect for formal events.

Types of Derby shoes

How to wear derby shoes

If you are going to get only one pair of Derbies, you better buy shoes in a dark colour, but not black. They should not have any details like broguing or contrast colours. Your first derbies should be made of leather rather than suede and have a chunkier sole. But anyway, there is an option for every taste, you can get whatever you like more. Below you can see the key types:

Classic Derbies

This is the type, which I mentioned above: simple, plain and leather derbies. Such shoes are easy to wear and care for. Choose an elegant pair with minimal detailing.

Chunky Derbies

This is a modern version of Derby shoes. The shoes of such type have thick soles and are more appropriate for a relaxed look. The best option for bold and rebellious personalities.

Derby Brogues

My favourite type. This is a good choice for every day, as Derby Brogues look good with both jeans and chinos. Such shoes feature decorative perforations (broguing). You should avoid anything too detailed, as it can make shoes look too pretentious.

Derby Boots

They look just like classic derbies but finish at or above the ankle. Derby Boots also feature an open lacing system, otherwise it would be impossible to put them on. This boot style is common and gives you a slightly military look.

How to wear Derby shoes

A Derby shoe looks good with both formal and informal styles. As you already know, plain derbies are the most versatile and can be worn with all the outfits mentioned below, but I would like to give you more detailed recommendations on each of them.

With suits

As you already know, the best suit is a bespoke suit. Get one made to your measurements and specifications in Pietrocola Bespoke. You can be sure it will fit you perfectly and look impeccable with your Derby shoes.

Wear a navy suit with a pair of leather brown Derbies, a grey or dark-coloured suit with black shoes, a suit of a light colour with tan-coloured ones. If you are bold enough, you can get cherry red or oxblood shoes and experiment with them.

With chinos

Combine your Derby shoes with chinos to get a nice casual outfit. Beige chinos, white shirt, blue blazer and black shoes together create the right business casual look. Here you can cuff chinos to show your ankles and experiment with different colours and prints of your shirt.

With jeans

The main thing here is to wear the right jeans. Jeans with holes and loose threads, acid jeans and distressed denim will never work with Derby shoes. Opt for dark jeans, which fit you perfectly and finish right at your ankle. You may cuff them for a more casual look.

With shorts

Shorts worn together with Derby shoes create an elegant look, which is just right for some summer party. This combination is also good for a weekend walk or a casual lunch with your friends. Wear white shorts, linen blazer and blue suede Derby shoes and you will get a nice smart casual look.

Best brands

My favourite shoe brands of all time are Barker or Tricker’s. They are both British companies with a very good quality/price ratio. You can find any kind of shoes in their shops and I highly recommend buying Derby shoes of these two brands. All shoes are made of finest leather or suede, have a simple yet sleek look. Built to stand the test of the time, these boots will be the perfect choice for you.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur, fintecher, investor, blogger and author based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and NZ FSPR (Financial Service Provider Register) Approved Person and has great experience as director of regulated companies.
He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their lives. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He is Member of Institute of Directors in London, Member of Changer Club in Riga, Member of Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Member of Singapore Fintech Association, Member of Non Executive Director Association in London and Member of Alumni Network of Draper University in San Francisco. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.
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