Let’s have a little quiz. Shoes with perforated holes in them are called? Any answer? They are called…. Drum rolls… BROGUES as pronounced as BRO – HGZ. Say it after me, BRO-HGZ. Did you get it? 😁😁

The first thing that came across my mind when I heard the word BROGUES for the first time was “those must be ancient shoes”. But there is more to it than meet the eyes. Join me as we unravel the mystery behind this footwear.

After seeing the image above, I know you might be like;

Oh I never knew this is what brogues are. They look so cool and classic. I like ’em

Well there is a lot to know about brogues which includes what brogues are, revisiting the origins and history of the shoe, the characteristics, brogues for men🚹 , brogues for women 🚺 , types of brogues, how to style your brogues and finally how to care for those shiny little babies of yours πŸ‘žπŸ‘ž.


Let’s start with this question – what is the meaning of brogues? Brogues are made from leather, except recent designs which may come in suede or other styles, and have a distinctive perforated toe cap with serrated edges.

Brogues are often seen as formal dress shoes, despite looking fashionable they are not considered formal enough to wear with a suit πŸ‘”yet. Nowadays more casual brogues are hitting the market with boot and canvas versions, even designs are made for female with a top of feminine look.


Modern brogues can be traced to the 19th century as they originates from Ireland and Scotland, where many people farmed in wet terrains. This gave the need to have suitable footwear.

Brogues were made using strong untanned animal hide and were perforated with holes to allow any water soaked in while working on the farm to drain out.

The word – brogue – originates from a 16th century Irish word “brog” which meant “leg covering”. The shoes were initially worn by men and were considered to be outdoor or country footwear.

In the 1990s, people began to see it as ‘uncool’ and it fell out of fashion but this shoes are hard to die as it found its way back to the fashion world. At the start of the 20th century, brogues became appropriate for causal or business occasion and even suitable for women 🚺 to wear.


Are you thinking πŸ’­?

How do I know one when I see one?. Other shoes could look like it? Are they all in one style?

Then read along to get more answers to your questions. Here is the basic features most brogues have :

1. Low heels

2. Presence of toe caps – this is a type of toe style with a full toe material overlay and an obvious straight stitching line across the top part of the toe. Often see in in dress shoes. A toe cap or bumper is a layer of material attached to the toe of a shoe or boot.

3. Presence of lace panels

4. Presence of heel caps – A heel cap is a piece of leather or another material added to the heel of a shoe or boot.

5. Presence of decorative perforations – Also known as BROGUING is the decorative pattern of holes punched into the shoes which can either be by the sides of the shoe or in front.

Brogues are not only stylish and fashionable but they add funkiness to your outfit with their unique design of perforation. As brogues find its way back to limelight after being out of fashion for a while, various designs evolved and various subcategories were created. Read on to learn about the types of brogues there is.


Before talking about the types/styles of brogues, there are different closure styles/lacing system for brogues. Some of the common closure styles available are laced Oxfords (closed lacing system) , Derby (open lacing system), Monk straps (both double and single), slip on system (with or without elastic), Loafers, and even Boots (with or without laces)

The image above contains different types of brogues. But for better understanding, consider the following.

1. FULL OR WINGTIPS BROGUES : these are brogues with a pointed toe cap with extensions called wingtip that extends along both sides of the shoe and usually ends near the ball of the foot. Depending on the viewpoint, when seen from above the cap is shaped like a β€˜W’ or β€˜M’ hence the name “Wingtip” .

It features broguing along its edges as well as decorative broguing in the center of the toe cap, which is called Medallion. There are a few variations to this style. We also have have sub types like blind brogues, spectator brogues, low wing brogues and austerity brogues.

2. HALF BROGUES : Half brogues also have a toe cap, though they do not have extensions or wingtip but they have a medallion, which makes them more casual than full brogues. This style typically has perforations along the toe cap and the sides of the shoe. Extensions are the lines that run along the sides of the shoe.

3. QUARTER BROGUE: Quarter brogues are defined by their straight toe cap with decorative detailing along the cap’s edge, but nothing in the middle of the toe cap. You can wear these both professionally and casually because they lack as much decorative detail, quarter brogues are a more simple shoe that can pair well with many different outfits. Quarter brogues are a popular choice for work wear because the full broguing can seem a bit busy. Thus the quarter brogue is ideal for business and formal occasions.

4. GHILLIE BROGUES : This is the standard style for traditional formal Scottish dress footwear (including special occasions). It has no tongue and its laces are longer so they can be wrapped around the wearer’s leg, above the ankle but below the calf.


There is no one way of doing things when it comes to fashion. Fashion is a lifestyle, you live it and you rock it as you please though there are flexible rules attached to it. You can style your brogues in different ways. The right shoe size would make you rock your brogues better.

Do you have a brogue or an Oxford or derby shoe and you just keep having thoughts about how you should wear them? The Shoe Hipster has done the thinking and worrying on your behalf and we have a couple of brogues style guide on how to rock your brogues.


Except if you are a tomboy, you may tone down the masculine feeling of wearing a brogue by picking some feminine accessories and pieces for counterbalancing for the manly inspiration.

You may rock your brogues with some pieces of jewelry, a charming hat, makeup accents like bright red lipstick or other bright tones, feminine sunshades (if necessary though) or just have catchy and feminine prints to make the ideal combinations.


Pair your brogues with classic pant color, such as black, brown or burgundy to make them look more stylish.

One of the great things about brogues is that you can easily dress them up or down. Try wearing them with a stylish pair of suit pants or trousers and a shirt and blazer. Also, to ensure your look appears more sophisticated than casual, pick an elegant pair of brogues.

For the ladies, don’t forget the feminine touch like a clutch or a purse, some makeup, bangles, and other accessories. We don’t want to be looking like our dads, brothers or boyfriends, do we?


To rock brogues (especially brown ones) with jeans, remember to keep things simple and smart. To do so, aim for a smart casual appearance with skinny or slim jeans in a dark blue or black. Brown shoes look great with denim. Wear your jeans so they sit just above or slightly over your brogues.

You can complete your look by pairing this with a T-shirt, button down, or sweater. Also consider throwing on a jacket or blazer. For casual looks, go with either half or quarter brogues. You could have a denim on denim look too. Brogues for ladies can be tricky in styling because it is more of a masculine shoe. You can roll up your denim jeans and show off some ankle skin. Or even wear a distressed Jean.


As much as they look dapper on pants, brogues and chinos are a very good pair. As brogues lend themselves excellently to a smart casual appearance, they match well with chinos, as it makes you look elegant yet relaxed. To nail the combination, stick to classic colors for the chinos like cartoon brown, blue ream or even burgundy. Choose good colors for your shoes too. Then, complete your look with a simple shirt. You can also add a blazer if you wish and cuff your pants to show off your ankles.

For the ladies, you can rock it same way but make it more feminine with accessories like scarf, hats and purses.


Colored brogues are of more advantage for ladies as it blends with their feminine side. Pick colored brogues to add a pop to your outlook. Why not spice up your outfit with a little color? Oxblood, navy, and even dark green brogues are attractive color options. You can also find brogues in purple, pink, yellow, and orange,burgundy, white and blue shades. Ladies if it is a colored brogue, good for it.

You can wear colorful, metallic, or neutral brogues with casual dresses. Add a feminine touch by pairing a scarf, belt, or jewelry with your outfit. Choose knee-length or calf-length dresses. Long or maxi dresses can look bulky if paired with brogues. You can also wear solid-colored or patterned tights to add a bit of femininity to your look.


If you think brogues look better when paired with trouser, then you haven’t tried it in skirts. Pair a brogue with a colorful pencil skirt and you would have eyes glued all over your body.

There are several other ways to style your brogues like pairing them with distressed jeans, with plain colored shorts or even maxi skirts. But make sure you rock ’em shoes as it so pleases you πŸ‘ πŸ‘ . Fashion is style and comfort. ❀️ And don’t forget that good shoes complete you. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰


Brogues are generally made from leather so they are super durable and extra withstand to withstand harsh condition. But even at that here are the following shoe care tips for your brogues

1. Use a good cake wax (polish) with a hard bristle brush to coat the shoe well

2. Leave the shoe overnight, then briskly polish it in the morning for a good shiny look

3. Be sure to use the right color wax for different colors of brogues – black wax for black brogue, brown wax for brown brogue and tan wax for a light brown brogue.

4. If any wax gets into the perforated holes, make sure to remove them else it blocks the hole and make it hard for air to go into the shoes

If you own any type of brogue, derby, Oxford or even Loafers or you have a particular outfit with a brogue, you can put it up in the comment section.

PHOTO CREDIT : Trend Spotter, WikiHow, Unsplash, Pixabay, Kilts and more, Getty Images, Fashioned, FSJ shoes, Look book, Girl in Menswear, Stylecaster and Shoe Zone.


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