The brogue is a style of low-heeled shoe.
Brogue styles are determined by the shape of the toe cap (a separate piece of leather or material added over the toe box) and include the commonly available full brogue (or “wingtip” in the United States), semi-brogue and quarter brogue styles, and may also be found in the less common longwing brogue style.
Full brogues are characterized by a pointed toe cap with extensions (wings) that run along both sides of the toe, terminating near the ball of the foot. Viewed from the top, this toe cap style is “W” shaped and looks similar to a bird with extended wings, explaining the style name “wingtips” commonly used in the United States.
Austerity brogue has a wingtip-shaped toe cap without any perforations. Blind brogue has no actual toe cap but has perforations in the shape of the wingtip-style as if it had a toe cap.
Semi-brogues or half brogues are characterized by a straight-edged toe cap with decorative perforations and serration along the cap’s edge and include additional decorative perforations in the center of the toe cap, called a medallion. The half brogue was first designed and produced by John Lobb Ltd. as an Oxford in the early 1900s when shoes first began to take the place of boots, in an effort to offer his customers a shoe more stylish than a plain oxford, yet not as bold as a full brogue.
Quarter brogues are characterized by a toe cap with decorative perforations and serrations only along the cap’s edge, and omit the decorative perforations in the center of the toe cap (no medallion). Quarter brogues are more formal than semi brogues and full brogues; they are the most formal of dress shoes with brogueing, making them ideal for pairing with business attire.
Longwing brogues are characterized by wings that extend the full length of the shoe, meeting at a center seam at the heel. Longwing Derby brogues were most popular in the US during the 1970s, and although the popularity of this style has decreased, it remains available on the market. Longwing brogues are also known as “American” brogues.
Spectator shoes, or co-respondent shoes in British English, are full brogue Oxfords constructed from two contrasting colors, typically having the toe and heel cap and sometimes the lace panels in a darker color than the main body of the shoe. Common color combinations include a white shoe body with either black or tan caps, but other colors can be used.
Ghillie brogues are a full brogue with no tongue to facilitate drying and long laces that wrap around the leg above the ankle and tie below the calf to facilitate keeping the tie clear of mud. Despite the original functional aspects of their design, ghillie brogues are now most commonly seen as a component of traditional Scottish Highland attire and are worn primarily for formal social occasions.