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The History of the Wingtip Shoe

The History of the Wingtip Shoe

At Wolf & Shepherd, we love talkin' shoes. From where materials are sourced, to what styles are trending, to what innovations are on the horizon - we can’t help ourselves. Fortunately, it’s what we do for a living, so that helps...

 

However, we’ve realized the energy dedicated to never-ending debates about shoe polishing frequency (among other things) can be better utilized. To aide with that, we’d like to introduce to you a new blogging series where we take a deeper look into our shoe styles, how they came to exist, and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe. We hope you enjoy, and learn something along the way!

  

The first in this series is the The Wingtip - a rather interesting looking shoe that somehow became among the most popular dress shoes in the country.

 

The Wingtip Resume

  • Origins in both Ireland and Scotland
  • Part of the “Brogue” family (often used interchangeably)
  • Referred to as “full brogue” if you want to sound snobby
  • Perforated, serrated edges decorate the shoe
  • Descendant of shoes that used holes in them to drain water when crossing boggy countryside in Ireland.

    As with much of design, function and aesthetic are constantly at odds with each other in a battle for dominance. Sometimes you end up with the iPod, other times you end up with cargo shorts. And sometimes, features born out of utility are eventually rendered obsolete, yet are so inherent to the original product they’re just…kept. No where is that more evident than the Wingtip. 

     

    The Wingtip’s traces its roots to Ireland and Scotland, where those patterned perforations actually aided in draining the shoe when traveling through wet, boggy terrain. In fact, the word “brogue” came into the English language via the old Gaelic word for shoe, “bróg”, which can be traced back to “brók”, the Old Norse word for “leg covering”. Eventually this broguing process, known as “punching a brogue” turned into an art form.

     

    Since we no longer are (regularly) trekking through soggy countryside marshland, we think of the wingtip as a slightly more casual shoe than an Oxford or cap toe, however there is still much debate over the shoes formality. 

     

    Wolf & Shepherd’s Style Opinion: The Wingtip is the checkered shirt of your wardrobe. It's designed to be a bit more casual, but can easily be dressed up, adding some personality to your wardrobe. Should it be your everyday shoe? Probably not, but it doesn’t have to be too far off.

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