The brogue is a men’s dress shoe that has pinking and perforations as design elements on the upper. Ever so slightly less formal than a balmoral but more formal than your average blucher, it’s a classic shoe with a rich history.
It has a place in every man’s closet.
It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which wearing a brogue would be inappropriate. They’re made in leather, suede, canvas, chelsea and chukka boots, and even slip-ons and monk straps.
If you don’t own a pair of brogues, go pick some up once you’re done reading this article.
What Is A Brogue?
“Brogue” is the modern-day English spelling of the Gaelic word “bròg,” which translates to “shoe.” Centuries ago, brogues were worn by Scottish and Irish peasants, and the holes (known as “broguing” or perforations) were functional, existing to allow the shoes to drain water after crossing a river or marsh.
They were made of untanned leather, had no heels, and often had fur attached.
Nowadays, the only similarity is the presence of the perforations, which are purely aesthetic. The perforations are often surrounded by “pinking” which is leather cut in a repeating “V” pattern. While very common, pinking isn’t a prerequisite for a brogue to be defined as such.