The Shoe Snob Blog

March 15, 2010

Written by , Posted in News

The Return Of The Classics Part 3 – Wingtips

Whats great about wingtips, is their ability to be unique and be designed with almost an infinite array of possibilities. Their ability to be modernized has been prevalently shown in society with all of the different types of wingtips that you see these days, spreading it’s style into almost every form of shoe, whether it be dress, casual, sport etc. Unlike the other classics that I have talked about, wingtips have already made their comeback and have done quite a good job of doing so. The only question is, how long will they stay popular? Considering their versatility, I would say for awhile!!!

(Left shoe: Gaziano & Girling; Right shoe: Saion)

While there is speculation on how wingtips (called ‘brogues’ everywhere outside of the States) came about the popular birth story is that they originated in Scotland and possibly even Ireland. In Gaelic, the word brog means ‘shoe,’ hence where ‘brogues’ comes from. Anyway, they were apparently a type of shoe that country men used to tread through their muddy and wet terrain. The holes back then (which must have been bigger) were used to drain the water that would get into the shoes so that the feet would not stay completely soaked. But then again, this is just one theory. Whatever the case, they eventually became a shoe of dress and were a big hit from the beginning to middle of the 20th century but then had a little bit of a disappearing act up until about a couple of years ago. They were considered quite a conservative shoe as well, not something that you would wear with a tux but mostly with dress attire. But like I said before, now you see them in all shapes and forms, having their style now being adopted into the likes of casual and athletic shoes.

(2 shoes by Paul Smith)

What I really like about wingtips is the fact that because of their perforations, which gives them a little bit more of a casual feeling, they look great with jeans. But as always, you have to pair the shoe and the jean just right to get a good look, not just any jean will work nor just any wingtip. But when done properly, you can get an outfit that can stand the test of time, so long as the upper part of the outfit does not manage to get butchered by the dresser . What’s also great about wingtips is that they can turn an otherwise boring casual shoe into something fun. Something about the design just adds a flair that speaks style. I remember when I was selling shoes and Converse introduced their wingtip version of the Chuck Taylor slip-on with eyelets and no laces and it sold out so quickly, it was the hottest shoe around. And even still, it continues to show progress with many designers collaborating to make something different than the norm as you will see below with Vans and Comme de Garcons. To sum it all up, I am glad to see the wingtip returned and in strong form and hope that it continues to flourish as a timeless style since ultimately, that’s what it is!!


Clockwise From Top Left: Vans, Vans, Gaziano & Girling, Gerard Sene, Saion, & ts(s)