Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brogues vs Wingtips

There was a time in my late teens when I couldn't tell the difference between Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans. Both ladies sounded the same, especially their singing voices. This was also the case sometimes with Redman and Busta Rhymes. They had the same voice, tone, style and delivery. At some point my confusion was solved to some degree. From a style perspective, until recently, I was very much perplexed by brogues and wingtips. As stated in a an email to the Shoe Snob I have been under the impression that a wingtip is separate and different from a brogue. This 'false' impression would only magnify because sometimes someone would point out what looked like a wingtip but then call it a brogue. Today however I can confidently state that I am no longer confused.

A brogue is any shoe that has perforations on it. These perforations are holes punched into the leather for decorative purposes. I feel that the perforations also serve the function of a distinguishing feature between different types of brogues. According to history brogues originate in Scotland and Ireland. The perforations formed part of the primary make up of the shoe to drain water that would seep into the shoe. Talk about the relevance of function.


wingtip is any shoe that has a W shape design on the toe cap. Any shoe. A full brogue is a combination of the W design and perforations. A shoe with the W design sans any perforations is also a wingtip. A point of interest is the fact that the name wingtip is largely American derived. Which would further explain my state of perplex, because why call it a wingtip when brogue will do just definitively fine.

A semi-brogue is characterised by perforations on the toe cap and some serration on the edge of the cap. There is also some decorative perforation in the centre of the toe cap. The distinction with a wingtip is the absence of the W shape design on the toe cap.


Quarter brogues differ from full and semi brogues in that they have a cap toe with perforations and serrations along the edge of the cap only. Also absent are the toe cap perforations and decorations.


Longwing brogues as the name suggests have a pointed toe cap and longwings effected by the W shape design. Longwings differ from wingtips because the wing design runs the full length of the shoe and meet at centre seam of its heel.


As my education on men's style continues I must admit that I enjoyed reading, researching and asking questions pertaining to this topic. I am confident that I can also impart this knowledge to others who may need it. As always I advocate knowing the name, of anything, that way you appear to know something about it.

Images taken from Shoe Snob, Wiki images and Google images, respectively.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post!

spoozyliciouzz said...

Great post, Mxolisi...i always wondered about the terminology. Now i know the truth!

David said...

I'm glad you posted this, more gents definitely need to get their shoe game down. As for me, I prefer the full brogue balmoral. As much as people like their longwings, I just can't get behind bluchers.

Costa said...

Thank you for the post! Greetings from Canada.

Mikhail said...

Great research, indeed! I had assumed the term 'wingtips' was effected by the 'W' shape, and this validates it. Thank you. Greetings from Canada as well!

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Wafie Zainal said...

Thanks fro the great post. Really helped me in understanding more about the distinct designs and types.

Keep on posting man!

Ken Mann said...

This is a great article! You took the mystery out of brogues :) Have you ever tried J Adler brogues? I really like the quality and fit!

Darian Burkhart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darian Burkhart said...

What brand are the quarter brogues?