Oxblood shoes – individual and versatile

Oxblood shoes – the different options and how to style them (updated Oct 23)

How to wear oxblood shoes

Looking for a dress shoe to go with jeans? Or want a colour that works well with black, navy blue and grey?

Yes a black shoe is functional and classic, and brown shoes have their place, but for a lot of people, oxblood dress shoes are the essential part of their wardrobe.

Why? Firstly because oxblood is versatile – it goes well with a range of colours. And it can add a splash of colour to a more neutral outfit. In the photo below, look at how these oxblood loafers add visual interest to the outfit.

Oblood loafers add colour to shorts and pants outfit

Hampton oxblood penny loafers.

For example, you can use oxblood to pop up a neutral outfit like a grey jacket with chinos or jeans, they can look stunning with a black suit. Oxblood or burgundy shoes can make a stronger and more individual statement than black or brown. Oxblood shoes pair up well with black, navy blue, light blue and grey. And they can be dressed up or down.

Trending oxblood choices:

This photo shows how well oxblood, here Thomas Bird Eastwood Chelsea Boots, pairs with black jeans and brown pullover by @youraveragestyleguy.


 Style: Eastwood Chelsea boot.

What is Oxblood?

The Oxblood color has been around a long time. Some people put it in the same group with burgundy and maroon.

The blood of an ox was used originally as a pigment to dye leather. As it oxidised and aged its colour would change and darken to a deeper shade of reddish brown with a purple or blue undertone.

Benson Wholecut Custom Patina Oxblood 

Thomas Bird whole cut oxfords in a custom patina oxblood.

There are different shades of oxblood, from lighter to more reddish blue colours. Generally the darker, deeper shades are the best and are more dressy. Lighter shades are ok for more casual outfits. Oxblood, burgundy and maroon are all in the same tonal area.

Some definitions say that oxblood is red with a little blue in the mix, and maroon is red with a llittle dark brown. Maroon may therefore tone better with a brown suit. Oxblood is also associated with cordovan, although this is more correctly refers to equine leather taken from horses.

Different styles of oxblood shoes

Oxblood shoes and boots

So let's look at the various styles of oxblood, and see how they could look with an outfit, navy blue suit, grey suit, even jeans.  We'll look at oxblood wholecuts, oxfords, monk straps, derby/bluchers and loafers.

Oxblood Shoes & Boot Thomas Bird London

Oxblood monk strap, whole cut and chelsea boot.

Oxblood Wholecuts

First up, the oxblood wholecut. The wholecut look is sleek, elegant and dressy.  Adding oxblood takes it to another level, because it's bold, strong and adds that splash of rich colour. It also adds a sense of individuality. 

Benson Wholecut Oxford Oxblood



Oxblood wholecut oxfords are the most dressy oxbloods. They can look great with a navy or grey suit or dressed down with a jacket and trousers.  We've seen them worn with jeans but that's not their natural place.

The classic combination is oxblood with a blue or navy blue suit, as worn by @mydapperself below, wearing Thomas Bird Benson wholecut in oxblood.    We think the tones go together really well.  It's a strong look.

Benson Wholecut Oxford Oxblood

Benson oxblood wholecut oxfords pair well with a navy suit.

Camden Wholecut Oxford Oxblood

Camden oxblood wholecut features a rubber vibram sole.

Benson Wholecut Custom Patina Oxblood

Benson wholecut in a beautiful custom patina oxblood finish.

This video below shows how well oxblood wholecuts go with a blue pinstripe suit trousers.

The next example below pairs oxblood wholecuts with another grey suit, although the hint of blue in the grey works nicely. The rich colour of the oxblood adds interest to the more neutral tones of the suit. Maybe you could also try lighter trousers with a darker jacket.

Oxblood Oxfords

Traditional oxfords, like their wholecut cousins, are are usually worn dressed up with a formal outfit. The same rules apply - mix oxblood with navy or grey to add that pop of colour. 

Rules are relaxing and more people are now mixing oxfords with casual outfits.  We like how oxblood oxfords have been combined with blue jeans here by Matt, aka @runnineverlong.  Matt is wearing Thomas Bird Harrow oxford in oxblood.

Harrow Cap Toe Oxford Oxblood

Harrow oxford with punched cap toe detailing.

Cambridge Wingtip Oxford Brogue Oxblood

Cambridge oxblood wingtip.

Video below shows oxblood cap toe oxfords with a blue check suit.

Oxblood Monk Straps


Brooklyn Single Monk Oxblood

Brooklyn oxblood single buckle monkstraps. 

If you want to really turn up the style, try the combination of oxblood and single or double buckle monk shoes.  The choice of oxblood with the extra visual interest of the straps and buckles is a great look.  Because it's a strong combination, it's best paired with a strong colour such as blue trousers or navy suit, as seen below, worn by @dailytouchofclass.  He is wearing Thomas Bird Bourne oxblood monk straps. This is one of our favourite looks.

Bourne Monk Strap Oxblood

Bourne oxblood double buckle monkstraps. 

Oxblood bluchers

Oxblood bluchers or derbys are a little less formal than oxfords but also look good with a jacket and trousers or jeans.

Again the oxblood tones well with blue.  

Here's another example of the Buckingham oxblood blucher, with a little more blue in the suit.

Buckingham Derby Blucher Oxblood

Buckingham blucher derby in oxblood.

This video below shows how well oxblood bluchers, pair with a blue tone suit.

Oxblood loafers

Oxblood loafers (below) can also look good sockless with jeans or blue gray trousers.  The style shown is Thomas Bird Hampton penny loafer in oxblood.

Hampton Penny Loafer Oxblood

Hampton oxblood penny loafers.

Henley Tassel Loafer Oxblood

Henley oxblood tassel loafers.

Oxblood Derby Shoes

Derbys are generally seen as less formal than oxfords and feel a little more relaxed. Many people find them also more comfortable. Add a splash of oxblood and they get even more character.

Brighton oxblood derbys.

Oxblood chelsea boots

Chelsea boots are a classic style all of their own, and can be worn casual or smart with a suit. Oxblood adds that extra touch of colour and interest. Then you have further options such as suede and rubber soles.

Eastwood Chelsea Boot Oxblood

Eastwood oxblood Chelsea boots.

Eastwood Chelsea Boot Burgundy Suede

Eastwood chelsea boots in burgundy suede.

Eastwood Chelsea Boot Oxblood Vibram

These Eastwood oxblood chelsea boots feature a rubber Vibram sole.

Milan Chelsea Boot Oxblood

Milan oxblood chelsea boots.

Oxblood lace up and chukka boots

We have covered some of the main styles here, but there are a few others, such as oxblood brogues and oxblood chelsea boots shown below.

Montana Wingtip Brogue Boot Oxblood

Montana oxblood lace up boots with a wingtip toe and commando rubber sole.

Hamilton Chukka Boot Oxblood

Hamilton oxblood chukka boots.

In summary

Oxblood shoes are a great way to add a splash of colour to an outfit.  They can lift a neutral outfit and stand up to stronger tones such as navy.  They can give a message that the wearer is individual and knows their own style.    The choice is yours as to if you go formal with a wholecut or oxford, or less formal with a derby/blucher, monk strap or loafer.

Thomas Bird currently offer a range of oxblood shoes and accessories such as an oxblood belt, oxblood wallet and oxblood cardholder.  Like all Thomas Bird shoes they are Italian made with quality full grain calf leather, with a hand dyed patina and burnished by hand to bring out the depth of the oxblood colour.  Hopefully that comes out in the photos above.  We love oxblood.

Video - Oxblood Monk Straps

What do you think?

Thank you for reading this far. Do you like oxblood shoes and how do you wear them?  Are you a fan too or possibly thinking about your first pair?  If so have a look at our oxblood shoe collection.

What other styles should we include in in the future? message us on instagram @tblon with your ideas.All the best till next time,

Thomas Bird

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Other links : Oxblood (Wikipedia)