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Oxblood shoes – individual and versatile

Oxblood shoes – individual and versatile

November 21, 2018

Oxblood shoes – the different options and how to style them

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 versatile 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. For example, you can use oxblood to pep up a neutral outfit like a grey jacket with chinos or jeans.  And 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.

Oxford shoes style guide

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.

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

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 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.

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.

Oxblood shoes with navy blue suit

The next example below pairs oxblood wholecuts with a 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 wholecut shoes with grey suit

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.

Oxblood oxford shoes with blue jeans

Oxblood Monk Straps

If you want to really turn up the style, try the combination of oxblood and 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.

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.  In the example below @m_hoye wears them with a light, blue grey suit.  Style shown: Thomas Bird Buckingham blucher derby in oxblood.

Oxblood derby bluchers with light blue grey suit

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

Oxblood derby bluchers with blue trousers

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.

Oxblood penny loafer

Other oxblood styles

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

What do you think?

Do you like oxblood shoes and how do you wear them? Please let us know and leave a comment below.  Thanks.

Thomas Bird

Other links : Oxblood (Wikipedia)



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Size Chart

Thomas Bird fits fairly true to size. If in doubt, go half a size smaller. This size guide shows how EU sizes compare to US and UK sizing. Please ask our advice and tell us what you normally wear and we'll be happy to help.

Europe UK USA CM
39 6 7 23
40 6.5 7.5 25
41 7 8 26
42 8 9 27
43 9 10 28
44 10 11 29
45 11 12 29.5
46 12 13 30.5
47 12.5 13.5 31