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If you are like me, who have always had some sort of affinity towards everything classic, then I guess a pair of timeless shoes is what you’d love to add to your shoe collections as well. Speaking of classic style, how else could you pull it off if you don’t own a pair of…
Yes, you got me – the Oxfords.
You might ask, “Aren’t they essentially “men’s” shoes?” Well yes, they are. And so I have made a quest to find some quality Oxford shoes available in sizes that are gender neutral, or even some Oxford-inspired shoes that are made exclusively for tomboys! Feeling unsure if the Oxfords are what you’re after? Perhaps you will be able to decide for yourself after reading along.
What is an Oxford Shoe
The Oxfords are widely regarded as the most classic and elegant-looking type of shoes of all time, and they don’t just gain such an honorable title for no reason if we take a quick look at its history:
The Oxford shoes have their origins associated with Oxford University students from around 200 years ago. During the 17th century, men across Europe used to wear French high-heeled boots, which was a fashion popularized by King Louis XIV. From some time around the 1800s, however, a new type of shoes named the “Oxonian” emerged from within the Oxford campus. The Oxonian shoes were some half-boots with side slits derived from the high-heeled boots from France, and were meant to be more comfortably worn by those students. Eventually over time, the side slits made their way to the instep of the boot, the laces were introduced, and the boots were shortened to the ankle. Hence, the modern day Oxfords.
The Oxford shoes came from Scotland and Ireland, and are commonly being referred to as the Balmorals up till this day. They get this name from the Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and they were only introduced into Oxford afterwards.
Whichever side of the story is true, we know for a fact that the Oxfords were popular within the campus back in those days. Ironically, they are probably not seen as much around campus when compared to other types of settings today. You are more likely to find them being worn together with business outfits or with casual street styles as statement shoes nowadays.
While many variations of Oxfords are in the market today, what binds them all together is this one special characteristic:
- They have a “closed” lacing system, as opposed to an “open” lacing system which you see in Derby shoes. This means that the Oxfords’ eyelet tabs are stitched underneath instead out on top of their vamps.
Where to Get Oxford Shoes
Here we are finally! I shall be revealing some beautiful and affordable Oxfords to you in this section. Appreciating the wide array of fashion senses among us, I have fetched a selection of Oxfords that fall under “The More Masculine Choice” as well as “The More Feminine Choice” below.
As a general guide:
For butches/ dykes/ any menswear-loving tomboys – you will probably enjoy “The More Masculine Choice” section
For the not-so-hardcore tomboys – “The More Feminine Choice” section is for you
The More Masculine Choice
Have you ever wished you could own a pair of quality, handcrafted, lightweight Oxford shoes that are made in Italy? Now here’s an opportunity for you to check this item off your wishlist! Ace Marks is an American start-up that focuses on creating luxury dress shoes that can be sold at affordable prices. Their Italian craftsmen have been working for some of the most renowned luxury brands out there, and their craftsmanship is deeply rooted in tradition. Besides being traditionally sound (their shoe factory has been thriving for four generations to date!), the shoes Ace Marks has on offer also contain a hint of innovation and boldness. Just take a look at these handsome bestsellers, and I bet it’s hard for you to take your eyes off them too:
The Medallion Toe Thomas – Medallion Toe Oxford Antiques (Diablo/ Rum/ Black)
The Medallion Toe Thomas series are handcrafted from premium full-grain Italian calfskin leather with a fine brush off finish, giving it a very polished look. They are smart-looking yet elegant and simple enough, making it a well-suited footwear for both formal and casual occasions. Currently sold at a price of $295 per pair, it is honestly a good value given its high quality.
And the great news is that Ace Marks makes its shoes available in sizes down to 22.9cm (or 9.02 inches) in foot length, which covers quite a number of our smaller feets! If your shoe size is currently out of stock, you can still make a pre-order purchase with Ace Marks, and they will then make those shoes for you and have them shipped by a promised period.
Another great news? They are currently raising funds on Kickstarter, and with that you can buy any pairs of shoes listed on their Kickstarter Campaign page for just $185 (which saves you $110 off retail!) if you manage to back their projects before the limited quota runs out! This is the most backed shoe in the history of Kickstarter and in fact, they have already been funded with an amount that way surpasses their original goal. So, if you really like any pairs of their shoes, please do make sure to support them before it’s too late! And yes, it ships to anywhere in the world so good luck!
For the more classic styles, my personal picks would be the Diablo Antiques or the Cuoio Antiques.
The Diablo Antiques come in a beautiful burgundy color and would go really well when worn with either blue or black outfits.
The Cuoio Antique, on the other hand, is a real darling to anyone who likes lighter brown shades, and would be a wonderful complement to either dark brown or blue colored clothings.
For the more eye-catchy and unusual styles, the Avio Antique and Cuoio Antique/ Red Antique can definitely create some very stunning visual effects.
The More Feminine Choice
As these Oxfords are authentically menswear-inspired footwear for women, they are available in an extended range of female sizes (from 21.6cm/8.50 inches onwards).
Any of these shoes that reads “true to size” will mean that you need not worry about getting a pair that doesn’t fit as long as you’ve got your measurements right! And as these are some popular shoes, there may be cases where your size is out of stock. Don’t panic just yet though, just let Modcloth know about it and they will try to reorder those shoes to meet the community’s request as much as possible.