Styling Cap Toe Shoes

Cap toe shoes

There are many styles of leather dress shoe - oxfords, derbys, monks, loafers. Some are more formal and dressy than others, down to their general style, design details and colour.

Crossing across some of these classic, fine mens shoes is the cap-toe or captoe.

So in this post we look at:

  • what is a cap toe shoe?
  • are cap toe shoes formal?
  • when to wear cap toe shoes?

We will also compare cap toe oxfords with cap toe derbys and cap toe monk straps, in different colours and outfits.

What is a cap toe shoe?

A cap toe has a seam or horizontal stitching running across the toe, from one side of the sole to the other. It is often done to stitch or join two pieces of leather together, the vamp (main part of the shoe's leather 'upper') with the toe. But this is not always the case. The stitching can be purely decorative to add visual interest as in the oxblood cap toe oxfords below, top right in the photo.

Cap toe shoes vs plain?

Plain oxfords in black without the cap are generally regarded as the most formal shoe. These are worn for very dressy occasions, for example worn with a dinner jacket. (We actually prefer a black wholecut or black patent wholecut for these occasions.)

The black cap toe oxford is a little less formal so has been popular in professional work environments where a smart but discrete look is required eg law, government etc.

Casual cap toe shoes?

Yes, cap toes can be worn casually depending on the colour and the rest of your outfit. Or maybe you just want to express yourself and play with convention. We will see an examples later on including oxfords worn with jeans.

What colour cap toe?

cap toe shoe colours

It depends how formal or dressy you want to go. Black cap toe shoes are the most formal, versatile and safest choice. But if you are thinking about less formal occasions and environment, brown cap toes work really well. We love oxblood cap toes for the extra splash of colour they give, especially with a blue suit. And blue cap toes can look stunning.

Cap toe oxfords

These are the most formal of all cap toes, and black oxford cap toe shoes are the most formal of all. Men's cap toe oxford shoes have been a staple of mens wardrobes for many years. As mentioned earlier, the cap can be a stitched join or seam, or purely decorative.

For our Harrow cap toe oxford, we wanted a very refined and smooth look. We started with a plain toe oxford design and added decorative stitching and punched holes. They go perfectly with a grey suit or navy blue suit as seen below,


black cap toe oxford shoes navy blue suit


The black cap toe oxford above shows how formal this look can be. However the design of Harrow has a certain European or Italian sleekness if you look along the shoe to the toe.

Brown cap toe oxford shoes are less formal than black, but are being worn more and more in formal situations. Here is Harrow in brown, which we think looks great with a grey suit and contrast socks (Photo: @artworth_brothers).


brown cap toe oxford shoes grey suit


Burgundy or oxblood cap toe oxfords are also less formal than black.They look very good with a grey suit to add a touch of colour. Oxblood also looks great with blue or navy.

This photo shows how our oxblood Harrow cap toe shoes can be work casually with blue jeans. (Photo: @dogslovetrucks)


oxblood cap toe oxford shoes blue jeans


And here is Harrow oxblood being worn more traditionally with a navy blue suit.

oxblood cap toe oxford shoes navy blue suit

Cap toe derby shoes

Where oxfords are the most formal, cap toe derby shoes are more relaxed and casual. Perfect for a smart weekend. Tan cap toe shoes are always popular, so we designed our Stratford cap toe derby, with added snakeskin effect detailing. (Photo: @meeeotch).


tan brown cap toe derby shoes suit


Stratford cap toe derby with snakeskin effect toe and detailing:

tan brown cap toe derby shoes

Cap toe monk strap shoes

People often associate cap toe with lace up shoes. We wanted to design a double buckle monk with a cap toe, which is why we introduced Bourne.

Bourne is available in a range of colours, from formal black to less formal colours like oxblood and blue.

Black cap toe monk straps are always a strong choice. The buckles and cap toe provide visual interest, and black goes with many outfits.


black cap toe monk strap shoes grey suit


Tan and brown cap toe monks are good choices too. This pair in conker brown combines well with a navy blue suit. (Photo: @meeeotch).


brown cap toe monk strap shoes blue suit


For something a little different, blue is one of our favourite colours. These blue cap toe monks pair well with a navy blue pinstripe suit. (Photo: @dailytouchofclass).


blue cap toe monk strap shoes navy blue suit

In summary

Mens cap toe dress shoes are a good choice if you are extending your shoe collection. Their are different cap toe styles - oxfords, monks and derbys. There is a choice of colours. So depending on your individual style and the occasion you can go anywhere from formal black cap toe oxfords with a suit to a casual look with oxblood cap toe monk straps and jeans.

The choice of cap shoes is yours.

See more:

cap toe shoes

External links (Wikipedia): Oxford shoe, Derby Shoe, Monk Shoe