12 Types of Shoes: Models and Types of Footwear for Men and Women

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Décolleté, boots, moccasins: some types of shoes are so well known that they need no introduction. Yet even the most popular models reveal many curiosities that are really worth knowing. 

The types of footwear existing in the world are really many. Did you know, for example, that men’s shoes with buckles are called Monk Straps? Or have you ever heard of duilio, spectator or burford shoes?

So let’s go to the discovery of the types of shoes for men and women among the most popular and fashionable. We know their history, the meaning of their names, the characteristics and the most suitable combinations.

Décolleté: Hyper-Feminie Women’s Shoes

The term décolleté derives from the French language and indicates the portion of skin left uncovered by the neckline and, referring to shoes, represents that type of shoe with a neckline on the back of the foot. 

This model wraps the foot leaving no other parts uncovered besides the neck and, as a rule; it has neither laces nor straps. 

Today the décolleté is proposed with heels of various types and different heights, although, at the beginning of their appearance, in the early 1800s, they had a rather low and wide heel and only later, in the early 20s, did they take on a look more elegant and refined with thinner and higher heels. The neckline it can be U-shaped, variably open or closed rounded or heart.


A famous model of décolleté is the Chanel décolleté which is named after one of the mothers of world fashion, Coco Chanel. Although Chanel pumps were created last century, today they continue to represent the pinnacle of refinement and elegance and for this reason they are chosen as footwear for princesses and first ladies on official visits and during state ceremonies.

The elegant and refined style of the décolleté shoes make them perfect for any occasion, worn with ease at any time of the day with an informal and casual combination or combined with a more elegant look such as a suit or skirt.

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Francesine for Women: The Bon To Shoe pay excellence

The brogues come from a far. They were the shoes of the French ladies in the period before the revolution. 

They are shoes characterized by an open upper and laces that close on the instep. They have been launched on the market in many models and fabrics, very high or with medium heels, in suede, but also in leather or patent leather.

Matching brogues is easy: in fact, they are shoes that are worn with everything, from classic black trousers, to jeans for more informal occasions, but also with skirts and dresses, usually with an opaque black stocking to bring out the legs.

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Women’s Boots: Their History and Transformation

Born as predominantly male footwear, boots began to establish themselves among the female public in the nineteenth century. 

The first women’s boots arrive at calf height, have laces and a rounded tip, the heel is barely mentioned. 

With the new century the woman takes possession of the boots, begins their production on an industrial level, the lines become more feminine, the heel rises and the toe tapers. But it is with the sixties that boots cease to be simple accessories to become fundamental elements of clothing. 

And this is thanks above all to another revolutionary invention: the miniskirt. With increasingly shorter skirts, designers feel the need to lengthen their shoes, the new boots are high above the knee (Jane Fonda in the film “Barbarella” will be the emblem of this new trend), have a side zip that allows you to make them adherent to the leg, they are strictly black or brown, the heels are square and not too high. 

In the early seventies the development of the boots is such that many models are trendy: from ankle boots to thigh-high boots (the now famous boots cuissardes); everything is legitimate, the important thing is to amaze. It is the wedges or rafts that dictate the law in this period, and even the boots acquire a few centimeters of heel both in front and behind. 

The eighties saw the downsizing of the extravagances of previous years, the boots return to normal, lose the zip and widen on the leg to pass the ankle. Some have rigid material to reinforce the leg, they are tube boots, and others are soft and foldable often in suede. At the same time, the unisex boot trend develops. 

Those that are work boots and military amphibians become part of the clothing of several youth groups, first of all the punks.

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Men’s Moccasins: Many types from casual to elegant

Born among the North American Indians with a very flexible sole, the moccasin is a rather informal, soft and light shoe. Today there are really many types of moccasins. 

The American version, the College , dates back to the 1920s, and when lovers of the traditional lace-up shoe appeared they thought it was a house shoe worn by mistake outside, in reality it became, in a short time, very popular and not only among students. American university students. 

Fred Astaire cleared the moccasin by adopting moccasins for tap dancing and even, almost provocatively, with a tailcoat. The most valuable model is the loafer welt stitched (particular hand stitching in which a thin strip of leather is applied externally between the upper, the upper part of the shoe, and the sole), smooth or with tassels. 

The unlined one, instead the penny loafer , in black or burgundy, has remained unchanged since its debut. It comes from the practice of Ivy League students, in the 1960s, of hiding a penny in their tongue.

It was only after the Second World War that Italian shoemakers were inspired by the new American shoe to create a new men’s model, much more suited to the new line of Italian tailoring, especially for light summer clothes. 

Over the last twenty years, designers and manufacturers have revisited the model of classic moccasins and re-proposed it in new shapes, with heels and fringes, with imaginative variations on fabrics, from synthetic ones to python leather and with decorative additions. The moccasin has thus become an emblem not only of casual and informal fashion, but also of elegance, class, good taste and refinement for men and women.

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Derby: Men’s shoes with a wide fit and a high collar

The Derbys are named after a Prussian general, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who wanted them for his army. Later, armies from all over Europe wore them and around 1850 they became very fashionable as men’s sports shoes. It is the exact opposite of Oxford, because the cuffs are sewn over the vamp, which forms a single body with the tongue. 

The Derby can be made both in the smooth and in the decorated version and, depending on the choice, can be adapted to elegant or sporty occasions. Derby shoes, however, typically have a sportier tone. There is also a Derby variant without strings, with side buckle fastening, very elegant. 

A characteristic feature of the Derby shoe is the open lacing; the different variations range from two to five buttonholes. The classic Derby is offered with a smooth front grille, in a perforated and straight semi-brogue version and in a full-brogue version with cuffs. 

The Derby model is ideal for lovers of wide-fitting footwear and for those with a higher-than-average collar in fact thanks to the open lacing the foot slips more easily and also the distance between the two cuffs where the laces are inserted can be adjusted more effectively.

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Oxford: Elegant men’s shoes

They derive from the oxonian, a short boot with openings on the sides in vogue at the University of Oxford. 

They vary in ornamental processing on the tip with small holes, curved seams, sometimes even fringes. 

The Oxford is the classic men’s shoe par excellence, characterized by a closed lacing (this means that the cuffs are sewn under the vamp and close over a strip of leather that is under the lacing itself). 

This type of closure, giving the foot a more collected look, is considered very elegant. Every man should have a pair in his wardrobe; Ideal for formal occasions, celebrations and with black tie.

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Monk Strap: Men’s shoes with buckles

According to some sources, the origin of monk straps (i.e. shoes with buckles) can be traced back to the shoes worn by horsemen in the eighteenth century. Riding boots, in fact, often had – and still do – buckles through which the spurs were fixed to the shoe. 

This accessory would thus become part of the design of the shoes and from here, over time; it has become a characterizing element of classic men’s models. The monk straps are an original middle ground between the formal lace-up shoe and the sportier moccasin. 

It is advisable to wear them with tight-fitting trousers and tight at the bottom. Precisely because of their harmony with dry lines, shoes with buckles have come back particularly in vogue in recent years, especially in their double buckle variant.

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Duilio Men’s Shoes: For a classic style

The duilio are very classic men’s shoes, characterized by full-bodied and rigid leathers, often polished to perfection. 

The small holes decoration is typical, directly from the brogues, but “closed” like Oxford. Both the latter and the duilio shoes can be recognized by a very precise detail: the two flaps of leather that house the rows of eyelets are sewn entirely to the shoe, except for the slit of the laces. 

In this way you have a very formal shoe, but with character. Other distinctive signs: the toe is usually oval or almond-shaped, bordered by a linear captoe, not a dovetail (like brogues instead), the heel and the central upper clearly delimited by stitching and decorations with holes.

The best is obtained with the warm shades of chestnut or dark brown. They give depth and prominence to the openwork. The black option tends to lose charm and charisma. They are excellent with tweed and important wool fabrics and in unusual colors (amaranth, bottle green, navy).

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Brogues: The perfect men’s shoes for casual looks

Footwear of Scottish origins, brogues are born as a “modern” evolution of the traditional shoes of this nation. The distinctive feature is the pierced “dovetail” decoration at the tip, and very “rustic” in the shapes, full and not slender. 

The sole is thick, in leather or rubber, and in this model we see the flaps of the eyelets not sewn on the lower side, therefore “free” to widen the fit and perhaps make it “easier” and more comfortable. 

Perfect for casual, sporty looks and to get closer to striped velvets, moleskin in unusual but natural colors.

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Bonded Model Shoes: A mix of Oxford and Brogues

The shoe model called tied is stylistically placed halfway between the oxford and the brogue. If from the first it takes the more streamlined and formal shape, it remains less and less elegant but never as rustic as the classic brogue. 

The punching with small holes is present, but hardly in a massive way and here too we have free fins (detail for which it differs from the duilio model). In short, they are the perfect footwear for the undecided!

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Spectator: Men’s two-tone Shoes

The Spectator is the two-tone laced shoe

It’s often seen in black and white, in navy and cream, red and beige. It is therefore not formal. It is sometimes cheeky and excellent for attracting attention: if it is easy to find it in the classic brushed calfskin, there is no shortage of patent leather versions. 

It is sometimes accompanied by sporty decorations such as tassels on the laces, fringes. Its golf version is very famous. The colored parts are usually the heel and the “dovetail” of the toe. The flaps can be closed or open. A heel of greater thickness (height) than normal is allowed, as well as a very low heel.

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Burford: The perfect shoes for the office

Another mix: burford shoes combine the comfort of the derby and the formal line of the oxford. Usually we find them only in dark colors since they want to be the formal alternative to the derby (for those with high instep) without getting into the sporty one. We could also compare them to the legate but without holes. Great for office wear. 

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