Even for men who live in trainers, there’s a frisson that comes with stepping into ‘proper’ shoes, particularly when they’re as storied as brogues. The style’s distinctive perforations were originally designed as an escape valve for bog water, favored by Irish farmers who spent half their work day stomping through submerged fields.
For much of its life, it stayed firmly in the country, good for hikes, but never for the town. But in the 1930s the Prince of Wales adopted the style for golf, pairing his with a grey lounge suit. And suddenly the brogue became a flamboyant staple in jazz clubs.
British traditional shoemaker Grenson even teamed up with New Balance for a brogued sneaker, all holey, caramel leather, but with a running shoe’s midsole and shape. This variety has helped the brogue become a versatile shoe. It wears with everything from a suit to shorts, everywhere from the office to beer gardens. But that versatility comes with picking the right pair. Look for real leather linings. Synthetic materials won’t react to heat and sweat, meaning they’re less likely to mould to your shape and less likely to be comfortable in the long run.
You also want Goodyear-welting, a method of attaching the sole to the upper that leaves a tell-tale stitch mark where they meet. It makes your brogues more durable, and the cobbler can easily switch the soles out as well when they get too worn. Vital, considering a decent pair should last long enough to hand down to your kids.
That longevity and versatility mean it’s worth investing. No other pair of shoes will get as many outings wear or last as long, which brings the cost-per-wear down to pence.
Here are 5 styles you can pick from.
Kunsto Men’s Leather Brogue Oxford Dress Shoes Lace Up
The Kunsto Men’s oxfords wingtip offer a classic look with ergonomic design to provide the optimum comfort and to avoid stress or injury in walking. The leather lining inside is soft and there is enough arch support as well. The sole is synthetic.
Dockers Men’s Moritz Wingtip Oxford
The Dockers brand makes casual, authentic and stylish apparel and footwear. The brand continues to expand its offerings to provide men and women with clothes and accessories that offer versatility for an on-the-go lifestyle. This shoe is made with imported leather. The sole is rubber.
Alpine Swiss Zurich Lace-Up Brogue
Suede inside, this shoe has rubber in the outsole. The updated classic look allows you to dress up or casual under jeans. It is rugged, and yet classic. The traditional lace-up designs give it a secure & adjustable fit.
Unze Men’s Leather Boots Smart Formal Brogue
For a tough and durable look and style, catch these stunning leather boots. These perfect boots are ideal for everyday use. Genuine leather upper with traditional laced-up closure. Mid boot design gives comfort and stability. A beautiful three quarter quilts construction with padded collar. Leather upper, with Leather lining and rubber outsole.
TOMS Men’s Brogue Casual Shoe
This shoe has full grain leather upper and traditional lace-up closure. You will find classic wingtip detailing. Check its cable-stitched welt and warm textile lining. Comfortable molded footbed makes it a pleasure. Redesigned lightweight EVA outsole with serrated pattern.