Loafers vs. Oxfords: Everything You Need To Know
When men think of “dress shoes,” Oxfords tend to come to mind. They are classic and elegant, mostly defined by their closed lacing system that adds a very fancy touch. However, a similar and much more casual kind of shoe is loafers. Though they look rather similar, loafers and Oxfords are very distinct and different shoes that serve two different purposes.
One shoe is pretty much made for formal events, while the other is mostly intended for casual use. So casual, in fact, that some people choose to use them as house shoes or slippers. In order to avoid any embarrassing mishaps or confusion, it is pertinent to know the difference between these two footwear options and when and where to wear them.
In order to help you better learn everything, you need to know so that you can look your best, whether it be at home or at a formal event, here is our comprehensive guide on loafers and oxfords.
Key Differences Between the Two
One of the biggest differences between loafers and Oxfords can be found in their lacing. As stated before, Oxfords are most famous for their closed lacing system that gives them a very fancy feel. This means that the shoelace holes are stitched underneath the vamp, which is the front part of the shoe.
This exact characteristic is what makes them stand apart from every other dress shoe. For example, Monkstrap dress shoes do not have any laces and instead feature a strap, while Derby dress shoes have an open lacing system rather than closed. Basically, this lacing system has made the Oxford as iconic as it is, due to its very sophisticated and regal appearance.
Loafers on the other hand have no laces at all. Loafers are famous for their slip on design, making them easy and convenient to put on and meaning there is no reason to have laces. While this does mean that loafers are perhaps as comfortable as a shoe can be, it is extra important to make sure that you always acquire the correct size when buying a pair since you won’t have the option of tightening the shoes with laces if need be.
Another key difference between the shoes lies in the seam of the footwear. Being that loafers were originally inspired by moccasins, it is no surprise that loafers are seen as a more casual type of shoe. In addition, the stitched seam on the upper part of both shoes is another distinct similarity that stands out.
However, the separate outsole in loafers allows for them to look a bit more upscale than a pair of moccasins or slippers. Oxfords, on the other hand, can have a wide range of seams, though they are very far from being anything like moccasins. From goosenecks to toe caps, or even sporting no seam at all, Oxfords tend to have a bit of variety in the seam department.
When Should You Wear Them?
As mentioned before, oxfords are much more formal than loafers. If you are looking for a more laidback shoe that is casual and simple, a pair of Oxfords would most likely look a bit overdone, whereas a pair of loafers might provide you with ample amounts of comfort and low-key style. Also, if you’re looking for something a bit more unique and sharp than boat shoes or sneakers, loafers are a great option.
When it comes to a semi-casual event, Oxfords might still be a bit too formal, while loafers are often seen as ideal. Being that they are a tad more formal than sandals or tennis shoes, loafers should be your go-to option when it comes to semi-formal, while the Oxfords are best left to much fancier events and occasions.
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