Often used as an alternative term when referring to brogues, the wingtip is an elusive shoe style. It can be quite confusing to distinguish the two and both share many aesthetic features. Therefore, this guide will help in understanding the difference as well as finding the best ones to buy online.
In this guide, we’ll explore the Brogues in detail including:
Quick Buyer’s Guide
What to quickly buy a pair of quality wingtips? Use the Quick Buy guide below. Otherwise, keep scrolling to learn about each shoe and the style’s background.
Wolf & Shepherd
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By definition, the Durant is a blind brogue with a balmoral cap toe. However, it’s a great example of an austerity brogue in the sense that there is no toe medallion. We love Beckett Simonon as a brand and we’re often blown away by their handmade craftsmanship and affordable Argentinian calfskin footwear.
You can also enjoy a 20% discount using our exclusive code “BU20” during checkout!
Read More: Beckett Simonon Durant & Dean Review
Wolf & Shepherd’s Senna is the closest that we could find that we would recommend as an excellent wingtip shoe following the definition below. Known as the world’s most comfortable dress shoe, Wolf & Shepherd have also won our hearts by relieving foot fatigue during a long work day!
Read More: Wolf & Shepherd Senna Review
Although technically a brogue, we couldn’t resist featuring this stunning hand-painted shoe from Maglieriapelle. Handmade in Istanbul, their deep colours are simply mesmerising and present themselves as a unique piece of footwear for your wardrobe.
Read More: Maglieriapelle Pamukkale Brogue Review
Another great example of a full brogue, it was hard not to include the Yates by Beckett Simonon. As we already mentioned, we’re very fond of the brand and these are a great specimen given their aggressive broguing and wide wingtip features.
Don’t forget that you can benefit from out exclusive 20% discount with the code “BU20” during checkout!
Read More: Beckett Simonon Yates Review
An American-made classic, the Strandmoks are probably one of Allen Edmonds’ finest creations. Featuring a Goodyear welt and Dainite rubber soles, they’re hardy and robust shoes with a beautiful vintage finish.
Read More: Allen Edmonds Strandmok Review
If you would prefer to wear boots, there are many wingtip options available. However, after everything that we tried, we couldn’t help but return to Allen Edmonds’ American-made boots featuring a Dainite soles like the Strandmok above. A stylish and hardy boot, they’re perfect for a rugged yet elegant style.
Read More: Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip Boot Review
What Are Wingtip Shoes?
If we had to pick the most commonly misused sartorial term ever, “wingtip” would likely take the cake. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
The wingtip is, on paper, a member of the brogue family. Brogues are some of the most widely worn shoes in menswear, with broguing in some form showing up on everything from sneakers to monkstraps, from oxfords to derbies, and from chelsea boots to chukka boots. They can be found in leather and suede, custom or ready-to-wear.
The thing is, we have an article on brogues as it is. Why address wingtips separately?
The term “wingtip” has been technically misused for a long time now. It’s understandable why this is the case, but we feel that shedding some light on the usage of these terms is in the best interests of anyone who wants to buy shoes without confusion.
Wingtips Versus Brogues: There’s A Difference?
Yes, kind of. We’re rewriting some rules here, but it’s for the greater good.
Let’s break down some terms we’ll be using, for clarity’s sake:
- Brogue: A shoe with perforations in the leather. Often referred to as a “wingtip” by Americans
- Austerity brogue: A shoe with nothing but a wingtip pattern on the upper. No perforations, pinking, or medallions. It’s technically not a brogue as there are no perforations.
- Wingtip: A term used to describe a stitching pattern that’s in the shape of a bird’s wing. Often erroneously used by Americans to describe a full brogue, it’s actually more appropriate to use the word to describe an austerity brogue.
We have decided to use the term “wingtip” to refer to an austerity brogue. Yes, this bucks the industry standard, but the industry standard doesn’t make sense. “Wingtip” is already used incorrectly, and “austerity brogue” is calling something that isn’t a brogue a brogue, so we feel that it’s best to break the terms down and re-define them in a way that makes more sense.
Wingtips have nothing but a wingtip pattern. Brogues have perforations and pinking. Austerity brogue is a nonsense term, and we are throwing it out except to keep it around for historical reference.
The history of wingtips is tied up in that of the brogue.
Brogues are a 16th-to-17th century Scottish/Irish invention. They were shoes made for wading in water; the perforations were functional and served to let the shoes drain. Nowadays, the perforations are purely decorative. For a long time, brogues were strictly country shoes, but the blurring of the lines between country and city wear has made them more acceptable for town.
Brogues are made in full, semi-, quarter-, blind, and austerity versions (click the link above for pictures of each). The austerity brogue, though technically a misnomer, is a member of the brogue family and is thus bound by its history.
How To Wear Austerity Brogues
Because they have less ornamentation than regular brogues, wingtips are a bit dressier than their perforated, medallion-ed counterparts. With that said, they can be easily dressed up or down depending on the color and material you select. How can you wear them?
- Sneaker: Jeans, shorts, casual trousers
- Light-colored leathers and suedes: Jeans, casual trousers, odd jackets & trousers, “casual” suits
- Brown or black leather or suede: Jeans, odd jackets & trousers, business suits
There’s nothing particularly seasonal about a wingtip in and of itself. The style can be worn whenever you like, just be sure that your colors are seasonally appropriate.
- Spring: Stone, navy, or tan suede or nubuck slip-on
- Summer: Bone or white leather or suede derby
- Autumn: Medium or chocolate brown monkstrap
- Winter: Black suede oxford
Do I Need To Buy Wingtips In Addition To Brogues?
The wingtip is a derivative of the brogue, so our advice is to buy a pair of brogues before looking for a pair of wingtips.
In fact, you’re better off buying brogues, semi-brogues, and quarter brogues all before buying a pair of wingtips. These are much easier to find than austerity brogues, and as such you’ll spend less time looking and more time enjoying the shoes you bought.
If you’re a man just beginning to build his shoe wardrobe, a wingtip (if you can find one) is a great sixth or seventh shoe to add to your rotation. Its versatility is such that it can be worn with anything from jeans to suits, so if you invest well, you can have one pair that you wear for years.
Now that you have learned about wingtips, check out some our related footwear guides for men:
- Brogue Shoe Guide
- Derby & Blucher Shoe Guide
- Best Dress Shoes For Men
- Most Comfortable Shoes For Men
- Men’s Shoes Homepage
"Thanks for clearing up a confusing term. I was losing the will to live because no-one could explain to me the difference between wingtips and brogues. Thanks for this helpful guide!"Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★