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The History of Oxford Shoes

Oxford shoes are distinguished by their closed lacing style, meaning that their eyelet tabs are stitched underneath the vamp (top) of the shoe. This makes them essentially invisible and creates a sleeker appearance. There are two different origin stories for how the Oxford shoe came to be. One version of the story claims that Oxfords evolved from a style of boot that was once made with side slits. Over time, the boots were shortened into a shoe and the slits were moved to the front, eventually turning into the laces we are familiar with today. The story claims that this style of shoe then became popular with Oxford University students in the late 1800s, hence the name. An alternative version of the story holds that the Oxford shoe originated in Scotland, where it is still referred to as the “Balmoral” to this day, in reference to the castle of the same name. Additionally, early forms of the Oxford shoe may have existed as far back as the mid-1600s. Today, Oxfords have become a staple dress shoe for men and are also frequently worn by women.

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