We owe much to the city of Oxford. From shirts to shoes, many men’s fashions were laced or buttoned up in honour of the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. Often preppy, but always dependable, these myriad styles have become stiff-lipped, sturdy-soled bastions of British menswear — and epitomise the charm and culture of the southern city.
And Oxfordshire’s neighbouring county has similar style credentials. Northamptonshire has been a stronghold of English shoemaking since the 15th Century, and some of Britain’s best Oxfords are made in the small, but well-heeled town of Desborough — around 60 miles from Oxford itself.
These Oxfords are made by Cheaney, a quality, quintessentially English shoemaker that dates back to 1886. And what shoes they are. From capped and classic designs to Oxfords with punched and brogued detailing, Cheaney’s many takes on this fundamental footwear style run the gamut of the iconic Oxford look. And, with such a standard of craftsmanship and quality, the range serves as a reminder why every man should own at least one pair…
A black pair of Oxfords are very, very versatile
The first, foremost and most patent benefit of owning a pair of Oxfords? The style’s innate versatility. And no colour offers additional function or flexibility than black. So, whether you’re wearing a patterned suit or simple smart trousers, a basic black pair of these closed-laced leather shoes will walk themselves confidently into every corner of your wardrobe.
And Cheaney’s selection is second-to-none. The simplest style, the ‘Berkeley’, is a whole-cut Oxford practically begging for a black tie bash. The ‘Alfred’ Oxford benefits from a little more detailing, a capped toe and Goodyear-welted leather sole. Or, for more of a statement, Cheaney’s ‘Arthur III’ Oxford is finished with lashings of subtly stamped broguing; offering wearers transcendent, timeless style.
Berkeley Wholecut Oxford in Black Calf Leather
Alfred Capped Oxford in Black Calf Leather
Arthur III Oxford Brogue in Black Calf Leather
The simple style gives you licence to express yourself
Of course, you don’t have to stick to basic black. While keeping the styling of your Oxfords simple may have its benefits, the relatively plain design can also lend itself to individual, idiosyncratic touches. Think of an Oxford shoe as a blank canvas; tried, tested and modest — but bursting with statement-making, high-stepping potential.
You may decide to step out when it comes to colours. Instead of black or brown, you could opt for a brighter leather. Cheaney’s ‘Brackley’ Oxford, for example, retains the pared-back, basic look — but benefits from a splash of burgundy. The ‘Fenchurch’ style adds brogue detailing to the oxblood leather, and the ‘Lancaster Punch’ goes one better again; introducing a chocolate suede quarter, tongue and throat.
Brackley Oxford in Burgundy Calf Leather
Fenchurch Oxford in Burgundy Calf Leather
Lancaster Punch Capped Oxford in Bronzed Espresso
A quality, well-made Oxford can last forever
But the most compelling reason to buy a pair of Cheaney Oxfords? The quality. The brand offers a full refurbishment service to extend the life of your shoes — but they’ll last an exceedingly long time before they need it. And, thanks to innovations including stitched oak bark leather soles and rubber-studded Dainite heels, you can invest more initially — safe in the knowledge that your shoes will last.
The British brand’s ‘Hythe’ Oxford is particularly sturdy; a wingcap design with a chunky heel that can tackle any terrain. The ‘York’ style is another formalwear delight, with a distinctive navy leather lining and elegant, sophisticated shape. Or, to push the definition of an ‘Oxford’ to its limits, how about the ‘Delamere’? Peppered with broguing, this distinctive design is cut from Cheaney’s pioneering ‘Eco Suede’ and stands on a recycled rubber sole.
Hythe Wingcap Oxford Brogue
York Capped Oxford in Black Calf Leather
Delamere Oxford Brogue in Brown Eco Suede
Want more footwear advice? Here’s how to care for your suede shoes, with Cheaney…
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