The oxford shoe is a traditional leather shoe that originated in Scotland and Ireland. This style of footwear is made from very heavy leather with lacing that is enclosed. The original oxford shoes were constructed of leather that was not tanned and were not very ornate at all. Today, oxford shoes are designed in a diverse array of styles and materials including leather, suede, and even synthetics. These shoes are classified as dress shoes for women and men alike and lean more towards the casual end of the spectrum rather than dressy. By definition oxfords are below the ankle and in general will have a cap over the toes which is simply a small piece of leather sewn over the toe.
In men’s oxfords there are basically 5 types which are kilties, wingtip, saddle, open laced and closed laced. The open laced shoes are made with the sides sewn on the top front and when laced appear as if they were in segments. In opposition to this style are the closed lace or Balmorals which feature laces sewn under the front of the shoe with the laces over the tongue resulting in footwear that appears to be constructed in one piece.
The kiltie style is very popular and they tend to be more ornate in their design with a fringed leather tongue covering the eyelets and laces and sometimes features tassels on top of this. The saddle oxfords are unique in their appearance in that they have a saddle shaped piece of leather sewn onto them that is of a contrasting color to the rest of the shoe. By far the most desired of all oxford shoes is the wingtip. These feature fancy leather embroidery on the toe that appears to resemble wings. I have owned several pairs of these dress shoes and have always been complimented on my fashion sense when I have worn them in a business environment.
My recommendation for you is that if you are interested in oxfords, never settle for anything other than leather shoes as they are the most durable and long lasting. I would go with a pair of black shoes as well as a pair in Burgundy since these will give you the most use for the majority of colors of pants. Just be sure to have matching belts as well, nothing looks more ridiculous than a man wearing a pair of black shoes with a brown belt. Whatever style of oxford you choose you will be very happy with the look as well as the comfort of them. If you work in a job where you are on your feet and work on pavement such as a car salesman you may want to opt for a pair with Vibram soles to give you mare comfort as well as durability.