Listen up, people. This blog is going to tell you in no uncertain terms what we mean when we label a shoe as a ‘derby’. If that’s not enough, there’ll also be pictures. Let us begin.
‘Derby’ refers to the way in which the facings (the leather that the laces go through) are stitched to the shoe. Derbies are often known as ‘open lacing’, as the facings are stitched on top of the vamp (the area of the shoe by the tongue) meaning they can be opened outwards. I realise now that this is surprisingly difficult to explain in words, so here’s a handy picture of a Derby next to an Oxford, so you can see the difference.
Derbies were very popular in the late 1800s as casual sporting wear as they enabled easy access and extra space to accommodate the foot.
So now we know what they are, what are the benefits? When can I wear them? What’s for dinner?
Because the facings can open further on a Derby, these shoes and boots are particularly good for anyone with a high instep (the area of the foot underneath the laces) as they are more accommodating. I’ve often found that anyone using orthotics or insoles can also benefit from Derby laced shoes.
With their sporting background, derbies are more casual than oxfords, so if you’re not pushed to that direction because of fit, it’s worth taking into consideration what you need the shoes for. Derbies are great for the dreaded ‘smart casual’ dress code, brogues and any country-style footwear for galavanting through fields with, as they can accommodate thicker socks for all you ramblers out there. They may be less suited for formal meetings and a lot of smart occasions, depending on the company you keep.
So, there we have it. Knowledge is power.