A Beginner’s Guide to Men’s Wingtip Shoes (2022 ed.)

infographic wing-tip brogues shoes

Whether you’re dressing for work, going on a date or just going on a weekend trip with the kids – men’s wingtip shoes They are a great option to help elevate your style without looking too formal.

But like any item of clothing, you can’t expect to see a million bucks if you throw on just one pair without knowing the basics of style. There are rules you need to follow and important facts you need to know.

Don’t sweat it; that’s what I’m here for. Today I’m breaking down everything you need to know about wearing, styling, and looking great on men’s wingtip shoes.

By the end of this article, you will find:

  1. What is a Wingtip Shoe?
  2. Wingtip Shoes History
  3. wingtip shoe formality
  4. Who Should Wear Wingtip Shoes?

#1. What is a Wingtip Shoe?

Roughly speaking, a wingtip is Any shoe in which the toecap is extended with short “wings” that reach the edge of the shoe.

However, when you start to get into the technical details of this shoe style, you are faced with exceptions.

majority of The wingtips – but not all – are brogueed, meaning they have ornamental vents along the sides of the toecap and often in other places as well.

several The wingtips — but not all — of the wings extend around to meet the back of the shoe, creating a lower band of leather that surrounds the shoe where the upper meets the soles.

And some Wingtips, but certainly not all, opt for a “two-tone” color scheme, with the shoe’s body being one color and its winged topcap another.

What I’m trying to say is that there are many varieties of gents – but they all share one defining characteristic: An elongated toecap with feathers reaching around the sides of the legs.

#2. Wingtip Shoe History

black and white history brogues

Wingtips are part of the brogue family. Conservatives would still insist on calling them “absolute brogues.”

However, this is wrong because winged hats and shoes without brogging have been around for centuries. It is best to take this technicality with a pinch of salt and recognize that it is a polite nod to history.

The “wingtips” that entered the mainstream style in the early 20th century were derived from Irish and Scottish running shoes called brogues.

these were heavy pierced leather boots To allow water to enter and back out when the wearer was crossing swampy land.

Gross, isn’t it? To us, it may seem like it, but in a world without waterproof coatings and machine sewing, running outside often means having wet feet and brogues at least allowing them to dry faster!

Fashionable shoemakers eventually adopted the style, and a whole family of shoes with decorative holes on the surface was born.

#3. How Formal Is the Wing Tip Shoe?

Jeans and button up shirt paired with shoes

The wingtips have historically been casual—particularly the two-tone “Spectator Shoe” variety in which the upper and topcap are contrasting colors.

The visually “busy” style means they are still more casual than the non-trimmed Oxfords in today’s fashion.

That being said, they aren’t even sneakers. the wingtips are somewhere in the middle a casual version of formal dress shoes (Or dress-casual shoes, if you prefer).

You should not wear them in a solemn and high-formal business setting or in very gloomy affairs such as funerals. Instead, wear them with a sports coat and slacks or just jeans and a casual collared shirt.

brogue suede oxford

The color and design of the wingtip shoe are essential to keep in mind:

  • An all-black leather wingtip It is relatively formal, with narrow wings and a row of small vents.
  • a two-tone shoe They are more casual, with white upperparts and oxblood feathers that go around the legs.
  • suede wingtip boots are minimally formal and should not be worn with a suit. However, they are great for casual summer outfits.

In general, the more holes the shoe has and the bigger the wings, the less formal it is. But color can also play a role. Like any shoe, black will always be more attractive than brown.

Wingtip, or full brogue, is The Most Decorated Members of the Brogue Family:

  • quarter brogues There is a toe cap seam with decorative perforations but no other brogueing.
  • semi-brogues Along the toe cap seam and even at the top of the toe leather, but nowhere nearer the top of the shoe than the toe.
  • full brogues Extend the toecap along the wingtips and along the top and seam of the toecap, and often brogueing on either side of the body of the wing.
  • longwing brogues The term sometimes used to differentiate the wingtips is where the wings meet at the back of the shoe, forming the entire circuit of the shoe. They are a subset of the wingtip style.

#4. Who Should Wear Wingtip Shoes?

dark brown wingtip boots

If you are looking for your first pair of perfect dress shoesAvoid men’s wingtip shoes.

It is an eye-catching look and can go great with the right outfit. However, they are not as versatile as a pair of simple oxfords for formal wear.

You Shouldn’t Use Wingtips as Your Go-to Shoe for Every Occasion one who demands leather dress shoes,

However, if you already have a pair of formal dress shoes, a pair of men’s wingtip shoes can be an excellent step in expanding your dress-casual options. They add a casual and fun air to most social/holiday outfits.

Think of them as shoes that say, “Hey, I’m off the clock, but I still care about how I look.”

Modern adaptations of the wingtip have broadened the formality of this footwear style. From scaled-down formal versions to neon-colored two-tone showpieces, there’s a wingtip shoe for everyone.

Learning about wingtips is only the beginning. Click here to find other essential footwear that a man should have in his wardrobe.

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