Hailing from the twentieth century, brogue shoes and boots provide a touch of class and style to a gentleman’s fashion.
Originating from Ireland it’s interesting that, from initial concept, these shoes were constructed using untanned hide. Further, using a unique technique called broguing, the shoe’s make up included perforations and serrations. Initially, these shoes were classed as an outdoor work shoe for men, and were used for walking through boggy and wet grounds. It was the broguing of the shoe that enabled water to drain through the footwear.
Today, brogues are considered to be appropriate footwear for many different types of activities that include business meetings and various other formal occasions. Consequently their popularity as a formal leather shoe for both men and women, has continued to grow.
The general characteristics of a brogue shoe
In order to be able to call a shoe a brogue, the following characteristics must be present:
- Perforations (or broguing)
- A toe cap with or without decorative perforations
- A low heel
- Heel caps with perforations and/or serrations
- Lace panels with perforations and/or serrations
Traditional brogue shoes have a ‘wingtip’ styling (referred to as full brogue) and are very popular in the United States. There are however many other styles available and the semi-brogue (or half brogue) is probably the second favourite.
Below are the more traditional styles of brogue:
1. Wingtip brogue (or full brogue)
The Hoggs Glengarry brogue shoe is a classic regular wingtip brogue that’s characterised by the pointed toe cap with wings that run along the side of the toes. The toe cap is perforated and serrated along the edges with an elegant perforation pattern in the middle of the toe cap. There is also a perforated pattern on the heel area and around the lacing area.
2. Semi brogue (or half brogue)
A semi brogue is defined by the style of toe cap. This style of shoe has a toe cap that is straight across with a medallion on top which is perforated with a modern style. It’s similar to the wing tip styling.
3. Quarter brogue
A quarter brogue has a perforated toe cap but no decorative medallion, and is often considered to be more suitable for formal wear.
4. Ghillie brogue
This style of brogue is a lace up shoe, suitable for formal evening wear.
This shoe is similar in design to the wingtip brogue but it has no tongue. Historically, this style of brogue was designed especially for the working Ghillie man and was often worn by those whose main purpose was to carry weapons and equipment over boggy ground! The thought process is that by removing the tongue of the shoe it becomes easier for water to drain away and this also helps to prevent the laces from sitting in mud.
In addition, there are other modern styles of the brogue shoe, including the U-cap or U-tip variation. Indeed, nowadays brogue shoes that are made from suede and also brogue trainers appear to be the latest footwear trends making an impact!
When to wear brogues
Rule No 1: The more broguing on the shoe the less formal it is. For example, the hoggs Stirling brogue shoe is less formal than a quarter brogue.
Rule No 2: Ideally, don’t wear brogue shoes with evening wear or a full suit
Rule No 3: For less formal dress, perhaps jeans and a blazer, the full brogue or half brogue brown shoes or boots would be acceptable. This will emphasise the casual styling of your outfit.
Rule No 4: Ghillie brogues should really only be worn at formal evening occasions
Rule No 5: It’s deemed acceptable for quarter brogues to be worn with a formal suit
Hand-made, bench-made British Brogue Shoes and Boots
Many best selling boots and shoes that are actually sold all over the world are still being made in Northamptonshire, England.
At Cherry Tree Country Clothing, we are proud that our collection of bench-made brogue shoes and boots are made using quality materials that will last for many years. For example, our collection of bench-grade classic country footwear made by Hoggs of Fife, feature full leather linings, leather insoles and leather storm welts!
All of the Hoggs of Fife bench-made footwear feature a Goodyear welt, which can be resoled and refurbished, making these a superior footwear that will give satisfaction for many years to come.
We really hope that the above information will help you to make the right choice of brogue shoe to fulfill your own needs and specifications! However, please do contact us should you require any further guidance or advice.