Know Your Shoe Toe Types

Categories Fashion

Educate yourself in the various men’s footwear toe shapes and make an informed decision next time you splurge…

Cap toe

This style emphasises the toe of the shoe by using stitching or a decorative piece of leather to divide the toe from the rest of the shoe. Oxfords — the most common type of dress shoe — most often feature a cap toe, as do on-trend monkstraps, usually with one or two lines of stitching. Brogues come with much more decorative detailing — perforations, layers of leather, and serrated details along the edges of leather — but overly intricate leatherwork — fancy medallion detailing on the toe, like you’d see on a cowboy boot, for example — is less suitable for a business environment.


Plain toe

A clean and minimalist look thanks to an elegant toe cap with no detail. Whole-cut Oxfords (constructed from one single piece of leather), Derbies (which subtly differ from the more formal Oxfords because of their open lacing, where the lace eyelets sit on top of the shoe as opposed to closed lacing with the eyelets beneath the vamp creating a sleeker and therefore dressier silhouette), Chelsea boots, and chukkas (a.k.a. desert boots) all feature plain toes.



A pointed toe cap that extends down both sides of the shoe — like wings — that can be worn in both formal and business situations. Often seen in polished patent leather at black tie soirees, while Derbies and Oxfords occasionally feature an M-shape perforated wingtip that can extend right to the back of the heel, although this toe type is a less contemporary style for 2017.




Loafers feature a variety of vamps but a fairly consistent type of toe called the apron — an elevated seam that extends around the front of the footwear that produces a more casual vibe. This apron crease isn’t without its risk — it can look very boxy and daggy when done poorly, but quite stylish when an on-trend pair of loafers executes it well. Bicycle toe is essentially an apron toe where the crease doesn’t wrap around the front, but instead connects with the sole at the toe — an unfortunate favourite of the square-toed shocker.