What is a balmoral shoe? ...

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by speedmaster, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. speedmaster

    speedmaster Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    And what is a blucher? Thanks for cutting this newbie some slack, I'm still not clear on the differences between an oxford and a derby. :icon_smile_big:
  2. medwards

    medwards Honored Professor<br>Moderator, All Forums

    United States
    The oft-noted challenge is that Americans and British participants on this Forum use the same terms to mean different things. In British usage, an oxford is a closed-throated shoe with a laced front. This is what Americans call a Balmoral or (bal). Here's the classic image:



    On the other hand, Americans tend to use the term oxford to mean virtually any lace-up shoe while in the classic British sense a Balmoral is a specific type of oxford with its seam running horizontally along its sides, like this:


    The shoes that Americans on this Forum generally say are bluchers are termed derby shoes in the UK and are identifiable by their open throat front over the instep like this:


    Traditionally, balmorals/oxfords have been town shoes and appropriate (in the right colours of course) for wearing with business suits while derby/bluchers have been their more informal brethren more suitable for country and casual wear. However, this topic has been discussed many times on this Forum and there is certainly a large contingent that finds derby/bluchers perfectly acceptable for town wear, particularly in the US. Moreover, as has been often noted, there is a continuum of formality within each genre and whether a particular shoe fits the occasion may well depend on that specific shoe's styling, construction, leather, colour, finish and related details.

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  3. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    I think that's a superb explanation, thank you. And while I thought I knew what all the terms meant, I didn't know that the British use of the term balmoral referred to a particular type of oxford. (And by the way, the shoe in the photo used as an example is gorgeous!)
  4. Spence

    Spence Super Member

    For goodness sakes use the SEARCH man!

  5. Francisco D'Anconia

    Francisco D'Anconia Senior Member

    ^ Indeed, a search would have revealed this thread: Balmorals and Bluchers - Shoes 101 that includes an earlier publicaton of Medwards's post in this thread. But cut a tyro some slack. This isn't SF.

    While not endorsing Tom James, they do have an excellent explanation of the differences between the oxford/balmoral and derby/blucher in their Virtual Valet - it's both verbal and graphic....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    --^ Derby/Blucher ^ ---------------- ^ Oxford/Balmoral ^ --

    In a blucher, the "quarters" (the part that begins at the laces) flap open, giving extra room at the instep.

    In a balmoral, the quarters meet evenly with no flap.
  6. speedmaster

    speedmaster Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Thanks VERY much, guys! And Spence, I'll be better about the search. ;-)
  7. Mannix

    Mannix Super Member

    +1, there are some real asses on SF.

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