Remember back in 2015 when Kingsman: The Secret Service was released? We do. From superspies being sliced up the middle to Colin Firth dispatching a pub full of felons, it was a film with plenty of gasp-inducing moments. But one had us splutter through our popcorn like no other; the Kingsman mantra ‘Oxfords, not brogues’.
There’s an ongoing and everlasting argument surrounding Oxfords and brogues — a footwear feud unlikely to be stamped out any time soon. But, while many men prefer the slick, stripped back look of a no-nonsense shoe, we’re not scared of a little bit of detailing. So, below, we’ve laced up the best brogues money can buy…
These Crockett & Jones Pembroke Brogues are crafted from rare leather
What puts these ‘Pembroke’ brogues from Crockett & Jones among the best you can buy? Easy; the leather. Tanned, stuffed, shaved, and then polished, ‘Whisky Cordovan’ is a particular variety of horsehide — and sounds a bit like the name of a suave secret agent itself…
These tan shoes from the heritage shoemaking brand are a masterclass in hard-wearing brogue design. Thanks to double leather soles and a storm welt, they’ll stand up to any weather conditions you throw at them. And, with that trademark wing-tip design and punched detailing, these open-laced Pembrokes are in a class above any Oxfords we’ve ever slipped on.
Crockett & Jones Pembroke Brogues
From Edward Green, the Inverness Brogues have an impossibly slick silhouette
From Pembroke to Inverness. Edward Green’s black calf leather brogues are the height of slim-cut sophistication. Not only do they benefit from the brand’s iconic 82 Last — one Edward Green’s narrowest and most elegantly almond-shaped designs — but the wing-tip detailing is also punched directly into the vamp to give the shoes an unbroken silhouette. It’s smart stuff.
Under those uppers — tightly grained and superbly shined as they are — you’ll also benefit from one of the most durable soles on the market. Crafted from leather, the soles are tanned for nine months in a solution of oak, spruce and mimosa barks to toughen them up for even the meanest of city streets.
Edward Green Inverness Brogues
The Cheaney Arthur III Brogues don’t skimp on the detailing
‘Arthur’. It’s a good solid, English name. And these brogues, from Cheaney, are good solid, English shoes. Forming part of the storied brand’s 125th Anniversary Collection, over a century of shoemaking experience and wisdom has gone into creating these brogues — and it shows.
They’re fully leather lined with a full leather insole, boast Goodyear welted leather soles with quarter rubber tips and are finished in a rich mocha calf leather. But we’re here for the broguing — and the Arthurs don’t disappoint. With a wing cap design, perforation detailing and embossed leather soles, these may be the broguiest brogues on this list.
Cheaney Arthur III Brogues
Church’s Chetwynd Brogues put a subtle spin on tradition
Church’s know how to make a brogue. In fact, they know how to make a brogue so confidently that the Chetwynd plays ever-so-slightly with tradition. It may be constructed on the brand’s signature 173 last, and it may bear all the classic markings of the iconic style — quarter stiffener, toecap, quarter lining etc — but it has been subtly updated.
Modern contours have given the Chetwynd design a more modern feel. A slightly sleeker frame keeps up-to-date with the slim-fit world of modern men’s tailoring. Even the rounded toe is marginally different to older brogue designs. But the rich detailing, punched into the superior calf leather? That remains the same. Because, if it ain’t broken…
Church’s Chetwynd Brogues
Tod’s Brown Suede Lace-Ups add a touch of sprezzatura to the style
Let’s step away from the grand English shoemaking tradition for a moment. Because the polished, burnished leather brogue style may be as formal and fashionable as shoes come — but it can also be dressed down using more textured, brushed materials such as suede. And who better to school us on sprezzatura than the Italians?
Tod’s velvety suede ‘Lace-Ups’ may benefit from English style wing-tip perforations, but the design is Italian through-and-through. Effortlessly elegant, these chunky soled brogues benefit from a rubber outsole with embossed rubber pebbles — not dissimilar to those seen on Tod’s iconic driving loafers.
Tod’s Brown Suede Lace-Ups