“Do you think you could explain the difference between loafers, brogues and oxfords? I get these styles mixed up a lot”.
Descriptions vary across the globe and around the Internet, but here is the way I would define these three styles and the differences between them.
Loafers are lace-less, slip on shoes with a moccasin type construction. For the most part they’re casual shoes especially when the soles are chunky and rubberized. But they can look smarter when the styles are more refined and the leather is dressy. The vamps and the heels of the shoe can be either high or low.
Above are three styles of loafer: casual and flat, dressy and flat, dressy and heeled.
Oxfords are high vamped shoes with enclosed lace-up detailing. They can either be casual or dressy depending on the style.
Above are three styles of oxford: casual and flat, dressy and low heeled, dressy and high heeled.
Brogues (or “wing tips”) are oxfords with brogue design detailing. “Broguing” refers to perforated patterns along the seams and outer layers of the shoe uppers. Brogues often have a distinctive “W” shape on the toe cap of the shoe (the “W” looks like a bird spreading it’s wings, hence the name). There is a difference between “a brogue” and “brogue detailing” (broguing). Brogues are oxfords with brogue detailing, but brogue detailing needn’t be restricted to the style of an oxford shoe. You’ll find loafers, boots and pumps with brogue detailing too.
The style above left is an oxford brogue, while the other two styles are actually pumps with brogue detailing.
One significant common denominator of loafers, oxfords and brogues is that all three styles are available in versions for both men and women. You’ll find loafers, oxfords and brogues in the lasses and gents footwear selections. I hope that clears up the confusion.