There isn’t a more versatile pair of shoes that you could wish to find in a stylish man’s wardrobe, than a pair of good quality Brogues, there are a perennial style that sits alongside a trainer. They are ease personified, equally at home being teamed with a pair of jeans as they are suited and booted, finishing off a formal outfit and they perfectly accompany a casual offering as a more formal look.
Now the heritage of this style of footwear is steeped in legend and has as many urban myths attached to it as it has differing variations in its design. Some say it comes from the Old Scottish word for shoes, Brogan or the other great Celts tribe, the Irish who used the word Bròg. But one thing is for sure, and was confirmed by a member of a Coupling Dynasty, Mr Stuart Bromley, yes of the Russell & Bromley empire, the honest to goodness Brogue started life under very humble beginnings. Originally designed as a country, outdoors shoe for farmers of the Celtic regions in the nineteenth century, the perforated patterns made for ideal circulation of water for the farmers and fishermen who were used to having to spend long periods in wet bog like land and the perforations prevented Trench foot and other like conditions, nice.
Today the Brogues has far more glamorous wearers with everyone from The Prince of Wales, Carey Grant and Peter Niven to Daniel Craig, Mr & Mrs Beckham and even the ever stylish Alexa Chung all professing to being fans.
So why is the Brogue so iconic ? We caught up with Tim Little Creative director and owner of the Great British curators of excellent examples of Brogues, Grenson, who told us, “They are the most iconic, cartoonists always draw brogues to signify smart men’s shoes. I think it’s a visual thing, they look totally unique. What started out as practical idea to let the water out of your shoes, became a decorative element that made the shoes look so different. They are also associated so strongly with British shoemaking as they came from here. Very few shoes are famous for their provenance.”
But which is better the Traditional or Contempoarary Brogue ? The Cobbler-in-Chief at another British Footwear institutions, Oliver Sweeney put it, “Whether it’s enlarging the punching design, working with untraditional colours and leathers, or simply making a brogue with a non-traditional construction, we’re all about challenging both ourselves and our customer’s perspectives of the perfect shoe. We don’t shy from using traditional shoe constructions, like the Goodyear welted construction, which ensures that each of our brogues are a hardwearing and incredibly comfortable wear, or from standard calf leathers and colours, we also like to experiment with new ways to make our shoes your first choice. It’s a part of what makes my job as Cobbler-in-Chief at Oliver Sweeney so exciting.”
And of course the Ultimate question when it comes to Brogues is it Black or Tan ? “Both if possible, if not get tan brogues and black derbys. I like my black shoes to be plain. On a tan brogue the punched holes show up better and create the look.” And you must remember, “Only wear them every other day, so get two pairs and rotate. Polish them in the evening and leave the polish on overnight. Buff them up in the morning.” Thank you Tim Little, a true fountain of knowledge.
BUDGET NOT AN ISSUE
Or I have enough money and pairs of Brouges to splash out on a pair of Blue Suede ones like these Hasketon’s from Oliver Sweeney
WATCHING THE PENNIES
If you’re going to invest in a great quality pair of Brogues, don’t look any further than Grenson and these Dylan’s.
WHAT A BARGAIN
You can’t say value for money more than these Dorest Limit from Clarks.