Whole Cut

As the name suggests. An Oxford-looking shoe made with a single-cut base is produced using one whole piece of a single material to make the base. Instead of different materials patched together to form the various aspects of the base, the base of the whole cut shoe is made from one single cut. With the whole cut shoe, there’s only a smooth base, which consists of all the shoe parts, with a tongue underneath, a lace, and a back and sole.

It is also versatile and a wardrobe staple. It could be worn as a dress or semi-casual. It’s also appropriate for formal dressing. The difference between a whole-cut shoe and a derby is that because the base is cut from a single piece of leather, the two tabs do not require stitching together. Instead, a very narrow ‘U-shape’ is cut to create the two tabs over the tongue (the eyelets are punched in those same tabs).

Also, because it’s cut from one piece of leather, the leather has to be flawless. If it’s full-grain leather, the price tag will be higher.

Making a whole cut on your first pair of shoes is not advisable. Many will notice it.

If this is your first pair of oxfords, choose black. But it will require another investment into a brown loafer. If you can’t afford a brown loafer shortly, go for a dark brown oxford. The reason is that a black Oxford can work with your navy and charcoal suit. You can also get away with it as formal wear if it’s spotless and freshly shined. But it won’t help you in the ‘blue jeans Saturday’ appearance, so you’d need that brown loafer. And, for the sake of the shoe, don’t wear it every day.