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Style Book

At Cordwainers, we handpick the world’s most sophisticated shoe styles to build a classic collection with a contemporary twist. Take a look at our style guide, below, to discover what our most fashion-savvy customers are sporting this season…

Professional Cordwainers in England have been making superb-quality shoes from exquisite leather since the 13th century AD. In 1439, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers received the Royal Charter of Incorporation. Cordwainers India continues this proud tradition, updating classic designs from across the centuries—including the monk strap, which originated in the High Middle Ages, the early 19th century Oxford (named after the university), the Victorian-era Chelsea boot, and the 1960s Italian driving shoe.


With American roots and connections to the original moccasin, Loafers have grown from strength to strength over recent years. Another ‘no lacing’ option, Loafers are the most casual style available from Cordwainers. They are commonly produced in both ‘Lined’ and ‘Unlined’ forms.

  • Constructed as either one whole piece of leather or two sections including galosh and apron. Both constructions have a strap
  • Fitting of the last is key around two main points – the Heel and the Joint (widest part of the shoe)
  • Variations: Penny (short strap stitched with a cut-out), Saddle (long strap stitched with a cut-out), Tassel, Unlined/Lined, Split Toe, Wing Cap, Long Wing, Butted / Hand Pulled Up Apron


The most easily recognizable of all classic styles, is the elegant English Oxford. A formal style that dates back over two hundred years, it is thought to have been named by the students at Oxford University, although it is almost certain that the style predates this ‘naming’ further still. The sequence of operations for constructing an Oxford differs to a Derby.

  • Inside and outside Quarters are stitched underneath the Vamp
  • The tongue is stitched in separately underneath the Quarters/Vamp/Facing
  • Often referred to as ‘Closed Lacing’
  • Suited to lower instep
  • Variations: Whole Cut, Toe Cap, Full Brogue, Semi Brogue, Quarter Brogue, Balmoral or Bals, Adelaide, Spectator, Dress


Derby shoes are possibly the most versatile of all shoe styles, bridging the gap between smart and smart casual wear with ease. A Brogue Derby is easily the most recognisable variation, made popular with the introduction of the full country Brogue which was developed for practical uses in the fields. The sequence of operations for constructing a Derby, differs to an Oxford.

  • Inside and outside Quarters are stitched to a tab point either side of the vamp
  • Often referred to as ‘Open Lacing’
  • The tongue is cut as part of the vamp and is not a separate component
  • Suited to wider feet with higher insteps
  • Variations: Whole Cut (Blucher), Apron with Split Toe (Norwegian), Apron, Country Full Brogue, Long Wing, Plain Front, Toe Cap, Formal Brogue, Spectator

Monk Strap

Said to have been developed by an alpine monk in the 15th century, and worn throughout European monasteries, this style was popularised in the 1920s. Unbeknown to many, a Monk strap style hosts similar fitting qualities and construction to a Derby. You could think of a Monk style as a ‘modern day’ Derby, of sorts. With open quarters, and a whole cut vamp and tongue, Monk straps (single and double buckle) are remarkably comfortable on the foot. However, they will not offer the same level of adjustment, due to the absence of laces. The sequence of operations for constructing a Monk is similar to a Derby.

  • Inside and outside Quarters are stitched to a tab point either side of the vamp
  • The tongue is cut as part of the vamp and is not a separate component
  • Suited to higher insteps, but can lack adjustment
  • Variations: Double Buckle, Single Buckle, Wing cap, Toe Cap, Plain Front, Country, Spectator

Driving shoes

These soft, unstructured and ultra-comfortable loafers / moccasins were made famous by the Italians in the 1960s. If made with care and by an experienced hand, a car shoe or driving shoe will last you well. They are typically adorned during the warm summer months, and are often available in bright colours and soft suedes.

  • Extreme, slipper like comfort
  • Can be used as a lightweight loafer substitute
  • Available in a variety of colours, perfect for the summer months


An illustrious past has portrayed the Chelsea boot in various lights along the way. The origin of the name is a matter of debate, but these elastic sided boots date back to the mid-1800s. With strong last development, Crockett & Jones is able to produce a selection of Chelsea boots ranging from smart and elegant to casual country styling. Expert pattern cutting, and shoemaking of the highest order, means Crockett & Jones makes some of the finest Chelsea boots on offer today.

  • Blocking, a trade term, ensures the leather rests on the last perfectly and forms to the customers foot
  • Elasticated sides for comfort and ease
  • Versatile collection from smart to smart-casual with varying fitting options

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