It’s easy to fall in love with a pair of oxfords, particularly if you’re browsing for shoes online. They’re naturally sleek, with minimally detailed uppers that give the shoes a sense of formality. And for many people, dressing up is the same as dressing well. Derbies by comparison can get lost in the mix, but I find them infinitely more practical. Like most men, I rarely wear suits. And for daily use, oxfords just look off to me with sport coats and trousers – even worse with jeans. They’re simply too formal.
When it comes to derbies, none make my heart pitter patter as much as the Norwegian split toe. I love them for both their design and how much they repulse others. It’s true they can look a bit taxidermic. And if done poorly, an elongated toe seam can even seem phallic. When everything comes together well, however, nothing looks as good to me. Wingtips are too common; cap toes too plain. Norwegian split toes plant your feet in the ground and say you like something a little different.
Apparently, the style has some workwear roots. John Lobb of St. James calls the style a Navvy cut for how they used to be worn by British navigational engineers (or navvies for short). Nicholas Templeman, who used to work as a lastmaker at the company, tells me men used to wear them when … Read full story here.