Long before the Kennedy boys wore a pair of wingtip mens spectator shoes, the two-tone wingtip was an important part of British history.
John Lobb, a famous 19th century English bootmaker, made the first spectator shoes for English cricket players. Before 1868, cricket shoes were white. Playing a game of cricket is a dirty adventure in sportsmanship, so Lobb thought a two-tone version of the cricket shoe would civilize the sport. Needless to say, two-tone wingtips and straight tips became a fashion item in the early 1900s. By 1920, spectators were on the feet of businessmen and elite sportsmen in civilized countries around the globe.
Not All Mens Spectator Shoes are Brogues and Visa Versa
To be clear, not all mens spectator shoes are brogues, and not all brogues are spectator shoes. In order for a shoe to be a brogue, a perforation design must be present. It is usually around the toe area or another area of the upper. Even though most mens spectator shoes have a perforated or “perf” design, some spectator shoes for men have none.
Today’s mens gator shoes and more specifically, spectator shoes for men, are a mixture of vibrant colors and unique toe shapes. They also have versatile sole designs and other important style features. Men today prefer a perforated white vamp spectator with a tan calfskin straight tip toe on a welted leather sole.
Mens Spectator Shoes in the 21st Century
Spectator shoes have taken on new fashion energy in the 21st century. Earmarks of the old 1920s and 1930s mens spectator shoes are still present. However, the new longer last versions built on welted leather soles are in demand across the country. Spectators are the new urban look. No one can deny the beauty of a brown and white spectator penny loafer. And many men love the exquisite lines of a brown and tan brushed calfskin winkle picker.
Men who understand urban styles are not afraid to wear a square toe, navy perforated cap toe spectator. And when they add a tan and white spectator wingtip ankle boot to their wardrobe, the words, “on fleek” take on a whole new meaning.
How to Style Your Spectator Shoes
Men who love style tend to dress from the shoes up, so picking the right suit depends on the shoes. Men who wear Zoot suits love spectators. In fact, most men who have more than one double-breasted linen suit in their closet also have more than one pair of spectator shoes.
Let’s face it, spectator shoes work with any wardrobe. Spectator shoes go with baggy pants with wide legs and skinny slacks with a two-button jacket. Spectators for men cross the lines of fashion in the world of personal style. Mens spectator shoes carry the character of yesteryear, but they also speak the language of the tech age. Men’s spectator shoes are casual and timely, but formal and appealing. In fact, they can also be athletic and inspiring.
Men’s spectator shoes break the laws of staunch and lethargic fashion pundits. They also trample on the rules of conventional mens styles. Mens spectator shoes stand on their own with a pair of vibrant colored shorts, but they can also rock a pair of cut-up jeans. Every man should have at least one pair in his closet.
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, recently wrote a book about the shoe business. His book, Shoe Dog… continued below.
His book, Shoe Dog gives people an inside look at the shoe business. Phil uses many of the common shoe terms in the book. The term, “brogue,” is one of those terms. The word brogue is often misunderstood. A brogue is a shoe that has a perforated design on the upper of the shoe. Many brown and black wingtip shoes sport the classic brogue perforated design on the upper.
The modern word, “brogue,” comes from the Scottish word, bròg. In the early days, Scottish brogues were useful because the holes in the upper of the shoe allowed the water to drain when a man crossed a bog or a small stream. But the perforated designs on today’s brogues are not bog worthy. Most brogues are constructed with a lining under the upper material, so draining water is not a brogue feature these days.
What is the Difference Between a Black Wingtip Shoe and a Brogue?
Arguably, the brown or black wingtip shoe is the most popular brogue upper in today’s mens shoes fashion world. Black and brown wingtip shoes are business titans. Black wingtip dress shoes have a slight lead over straight tip dress shoes in the business world. Not all wingtip and straight tip dress shoes are brogues, even when they are used for formal events.
In order for a shoe to be a brogue, it has to have a perforated, or “perf” design on the upper. The perf design is usually on the tip, and around the eye stay of the shoe, as well as on the back foxing. If there is no perf design, then the shoe is just a lace up wing or straight tip. Perf-less wingtips and straight tips are popular shoe styles. Almost every shoe manufacturer uses the plain wingtip or straight tip to create athletic-inspired footwear, as well as simple casual footwear.
Brown and Black Wingtip Shoes: Why It’s All About the Pattern
The wingtip pattern is popular with shoe fanatics and shoemakers alike. There is a full wingtip style, a semi-wing, a quarter-wing and a long wingtip. Full wingtips have a detailed perf design on the toe. The semi-wing or half wingtip just has a perf design on the toe cap. A long wingtip perf design extends to the back of the shoe, and the quarter-wingtip just has a perf design on the edge of the toe cap. The quarter-wingtip is the most formal brogue.
In today’s fashion world, all wingtips can be formal. Formal depends on personal style and the nature of the occasion. Most men have at least one pair of wingtips in their closet. The wingtip pattern is versatile and can be part of any personal style statement. Athletic designers use the wingtip to create new athletic-inspired casuals, and casual designers use white and black wingtip shoes as the base pattern for their canvas inspired product line.
Brown wingtip shoes are not just for special occasions. Because brown wingtips can be hiking shoes, party shoes, work shoes, they are everyday shoes. They look good with jeans, khakis and dress slacks. And wingtip dress shoes in brown and black are perfect for business suits and for semi-formal and formal occasions. The wingtip upper material and the outsole are also important. Those two elements of the shoe determine when and how to wear a wingtip.
If you can only afford one pair of mens dress shoes, consider buying wingtips. They are versatile, so you can wear them with a variety of outfits and to many different occasions. A pair of wingtip shoes can last you a lifetime and be your go-to footwear for any event.