An Oxford is a style of laced shoe characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are stitched underneath the vamp, a construction method that is also sometimes referred to as "closed lacing". Oxfords first appeared in Scotland and Ireland, where they are occasionally called Balmorals. Oxfords are traditionally constructed of leather and were historically plain, formal shoes but are now available in a range of styles and materials that complement both casual and formal forms of dress.
Oxfords, characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are stitched underneath the vamp contrast with Derbys, characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are sown on top of the vamp.
The meanings of the terms Oxford and Balmoral vary geographically; in the U.S., "Balmoral" is synonymous with "Oxford", while "Oxford" is often used to refer to any "dressy" style of shoe, including the Blücher (Derby); elsewhere, especially in Britain, the Balmoral is a particular type of Oxford where there are no seams (apart from the toe cap) descending to the welt, a style particularly common on boots.
Oxfords can be made from a variety of materials including leather, patent leather and canvas based on considerations of function or fashion. These are commonly black or brown, and may be plain or ornately styled Brogues.