How to Style Oxblood Shoes

by Jamie Wilson
Benson Wholecut Oxford

Reviewed & fact checked: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

Oxblood shoes are an easy way of adding colour and detail to your look without going overboard, and this style guide will show you how.

A pair of oxblood shoes, or men’s burgundy shoes, isn’t as gross sounding as you’d first think. Oxblood refers to the colour rather then the actual blood of an ox (which a few of hundred years ago it actually did). Oxblood shoes offer you something a little different rather then the bog-standard black or brown pair of shoes adding detail and colour to your look.

So whether you’re into a pair of oxblood derbies, loafers, brogues or trainers you can find a pair that will slot into your wardrobe with ease and become a staple to your everyday style.

How To Wear Burgundy Shoes: Oxblood Colour

So, with the word ‘blood’ in the name you probably guessed that oxblood is red, and probably not a brightly coloured one. Oxblood does come in a few different tones, but in general it’s a deep, rich colour with a dark tone, similar to a deep burgundy, and with a purple and brown undertone to it. Because of its mix of tones, it’s a fairly versatile colour, and is often used to add a boost of colour to a neutral look. It can easily be mixed into formal and casual looks, but because of its dark tone it works best as a rich leather, so is often used in dress shoes in various tones.

How to Wear Oxblood Loafers

When the weather gets warmer it’s always nice to have something a little different in your wardrobe. Oxblood is a great colour to pair up with a collection of summery colours, with the tone dark enough to give some contrast to a light coloured outfit, but still warm enough to not contrast too heavily with it.  You can go for a simple block colour with your oxblood loafers, or try out a pair with a thick white sole, giving them an instant summer feel. You can also go for tassel loafers in this case, and consider khaki pants to make the fit work.

The great thing about oxblood loafers is that you can dress them up or down very easily. If you’re more formally inclined then team with a pair of trend driven trousers and a crisp white button down shirt for the perfect and stylish look for the office.

How to Wear Oxblood Brogues

Oxblood brogues can be a classic staple in every man’s wardrobe. The deep oxblood colour makes for a stylish and different approach to your look without going too out there and wild with colour and pattern. For a smart, yet quite casual look, then team your oxblood brogues with some selvedge denim jeans and a warm camel roll neck jumper.

Roll the bottoms of your jeans up and throw over a denim jacket in the same shade of your jeans. Don’t be afraid of double denim – it can work if worn properly, especially when the colder weather hits, as it gives you an autumnal feel without being too heavy. You as a wearer will enjoy this fit for your formal events. 

How to Wear Oxblood Trainers

Yes, trainers were originally designed for sports, but most people will pull on their pair are about to take a short walk to the shops rather than a swift jog around the park. This means you don’t have to go for a solely practical design with your trainers, and you can afford to try out more slim lined, stylish pieces. Do you love comfy sneakers with that brown hue?

If you’re going for some oxblood trainers it’s best to keep the rest of the outfit fairly simple, as the trainers will be stand out enough. Oxblood shoes with jeans are an easy combination if you choose to go for a casual look, as you can pair any shade of denim with them and they’ll work. You can go for blue jeans and a beige top to make this look work. 

What To Wear with Burgundy Shoes

Oxblood Shoes with Grey Suit

Grey is one of those versatile colours that can go with a surprising amount of colours, and because of its cool tone, a rich oxblood colour can help complement and gently contrast against it, creating a unique, balanced look. If you’re looking to create a blended mix of tones, try matching your grey suit with a white shirt or jumper to contrast with the dark tone of the shoes. Light grey suits or lighter shades often look so good for wedding moments. 

Try a pair of classic, un-patterned loafers to keep the look sleek and as simple as possible. The overall look will already be busy enough with the mix of colours and tones, so don’t go overboard with detailing or shape, and instead stick to a clean, muted leather finish.

Oxblood Shoes with Charcoal Suit

For a darker tone that offers less of a contrast to the oxblood shoes, try out a more intense charcoal grey suit. Similar to black in its versatility and tone, a charcoal suit offers a subtle contrast to the rich oxblood shoes, and the overall look will appear less intense and give a more formal finish. Keep the suit neutral and balanced by pairing it with an oxford shirt, giving a touch of formality to the look.

Because of the simple tones and subtle contrasts of your outfit you can afford to go a little more dynamic with the shapes and finishes of your shoes, adding some interest with leather etching, a thick sole or a high shine leather.

Oxblood Shoes with Black Suit

A black suit is the standard formal apparel, and it’s generally dressed up with a classic white shirt and black shoes. There’s nothing wrong with this pairing, but a good pair of oxblood dress shoes can make the whole look a lot more interesting. You can keep the rest of the outfit fairly simple, complementing your black suit with a classic white oxford shirt and black tie, and maintaining a small dash of colour with your red shoes. Dress boots, a burgundy tie, and a white dress shirt will look so good for formal occasions. 

Because of the intense tone of the black suit, even a subtle oxblood colour will contrast cleanly against it, so you can go for a darker, less vibrant colour and the look will still have a unique balance. As a black suit is the epitome of formal wear, try changing up the shoes to something a little less restricted. Something like a pair of loafers will keep things sleek without looking too conventional, with the unique design adding a touch of interest to the classic outfit.

Burgundy Shoes with a Navy Suit

Navy is often used as a lighter, less intense alternative to black, and it’s able to match with a lot of similar colours. Its light but versatile tone means it can easily be worn both in summer and winter suits, creating different looks with different coloured shirts, with everything from pastel pink to grey working well with this easy colour.

What many men don’t know is that navy is just as versatile as black or grey as it’s able to be teamed with a multitude of colours and shades. Add something a little different to your look by teaming your navy suit with a coloured or patterned jumper, adding to the autumnal feel of this look. If you can, try and find a jumper with some of the same tines in it as your shoes, as this will bring the look together.

A good pair of men’s oxblood shoes in leather will add a touch of sophistication to your look, especially if they’re in a high shine material like patent leather. This will work at making the sometimes more casual navy suit look sharper and a little more formal.

Further Reading: A History of the Oxblood Shoe

The oxblood shoe dates back as far as the 17th century, where the blood of an ox was used as a pigment to dye leather for shoes or other leather goods. The colour was favourable at the time due to the fact that it oxidised over time, giving you a different colour the more it aged.

Now, the colour can come in many different variations ranging from a dark red to a deep purple. Brands such as Dr Martens have used the colour on a lot of their shoes as its popularity grew. It was used heavily in 2012/13 as a less racy colour than red, as it represents power, passion and fashion (fancy stuff). You should also opt for brown leather shoes and suede when rocking your brown suit. 

How to Style Oxblood Shoes

  • There are many types of oxblood shoes, and each one can be dressed up and down. You can go for loafers, brogues, trainers or boots.
  • Trousers, chinos or smart jeans: these are all a perfect match for your oxblood shoes.
  • Oxblood shoes work great with navy, grey, and black suits. If you want to mix up the standard brown or black office shoes, an oxblood pair are also ideal for the office.
  • Oxblood is a very wintery toned colour, however it can be paired with lighter colours and fabrics for the summer months too.

On That Note

Oxblood shoes can be a very versatile item of clothing. Different shades can transform your look and the right shoe color can look so good with your chosen fit. For a formal look, pair some oxblood Derbies with navy trousers and a blue shirt for colour and detail, or if you’re more casually inclined then go for a pair of oxblood trainers with jeans and a T-shirt. Ready to rock your monks and your favorite footwear? 

Feature image from Pinterest

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