With so many dress shoes, it can be hard to tell a Blucher from an Oxford. That's why we've had our experts come up with a dictionary to help you tell these different styles apart. We hope that you enjoy learning about something we at Samuel Hubbard are so passionate about—the details of shoes. We think that making shoes with the perfect design and construction enables our community to have their diverse adventures.
Highlander is a Blucher. A Blucher is a style of shoe with open lacing and made using a single piece of leather with smaller pieces of leather sewn onto the vamp to create the lacing system. The Blucher has its origins in the Napoleonic wars. During that time, a Prussian army officer named Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, took it upon himself to improve the lives of his men. He had the boots redesigned so his men could be more comfortable. It also enabled them to be ready for battle in a shorter time. This style of boot eventually transforms into an ankle-baring shoe. Today a Blucher is a versatile dress shoe.
Today we know of Bucks as a Nubuck or suede Oxford casual shoe. However, in the late 1800s, Bucks were first made to be worn as a sporting shoe for tennis and golf. They were initially made from deerskin. That’s where the name Bucks originates. While visiting the US in the 1920s, the Duke of Windsor was seen wearing Bucks and the shoe became an instant success. The popularity grew and by the 1950s, the Buck was in its heyday. Experience the Hubbard take on this popular style—Bucks.
The Chelsea Boot design is attributed to Queen Victoria’s bootmaker. The invention of vulcanized rubber made this design possible and the first patent was filed in 1851. The vulcanized rubber was the “elastic” that was used on the sides of the boots. This style was first made for walking, then used in horseback riding. In mid-50’s London, a group of artists, actors, and fashion icons dubbed the “Chelsea Set” by the media were synonymous with a new way of dressing. They favored this style of boot, so the boot became known as the Chelsea Boot. Our original 24 Seven was a Chelsea Boot and our updated 24 Seven 2.0 is the newest chapter in the adaption of the Chelsea Boot to modern life.
Re-Boot and Winter’s Day are Chukka style boots. The name, Chukka, is said to be derived from the seven and a half minute polo period called a Chukker or Chukka. Some believed the Chukka boot resembled the Jodhpur boot used to play polo and others believed the Chukka boot was worn after a polo game. Chukkar also means to stroll or to turn in Hindi. Polo players would wear these Chukka boots while walking after a match. In 1924, the Duke of Windsor acquired Chukka boots while in India playing polo. He wore them while in the US and the rest is history!
Our Founder is a Derby style shoe. This style of shoe has an open lace system where the quarters are stitched on top of the vamp. An authentic Derby shoe has three distinct pieces: two quarters and one vamp with a tongue. The Derby style shoe is thought to have evolved from the Oxford style shoe, providing a more informal look and greater freedom of movement because of the open lace system.
Hubbard Hybrid Sole
Used in our more athletic shoes, such as Blue Skies, and Open Road, the Hybrid Sole is a proprietary design which took two years to develop. A gum rubber outsole tread is designed for the specific activity of each shoe, including a siped sole for a boat shoe, a spikeless sole for a golf shoe, or a hiking sole. New Endeavor is an example of a boat shoe that has a hybrid sole for maximum traction on deck.
Ivy Legend is based on the classic “Penny” Loafer, which was made famous by Ivy League university students. The origin of the loafer goes way back to the Native American moccasin and the Norwegian Aurland Moccasin. This shoe is versatile and timeless enough to have been inspired by both the Iroquois moccasin and the traditional shoes worn by Norwegian fishermen.
Camplight and Early Winter are examples of a moccasin style upper. Historically, moccasins are defined as “a slip-on shoe made of one piece of leather.” This traditionally meant that the sole and sides were stitched together at the top of the shoe. Boat shoes, camp mocs, loafers, and driving mocs are all technically considered moccasins. However, with the addition of an outsole, like our XL Extralight lug sole, the moccasin is transformed into a unique style.
Market Cap is an Oxford dress shoe. In an Oxford, the flaps of leather that contain the lacing eyelets are sewn under the vamp rather than on top of it. The Oxford is a dressier, more formal shoe style with a closed lace system, which differentiates it from a Derby or Blucher style shoe. The Oxford shoe gained its fame from Oxford University students, who, as the story goes, made adjustments to the standard formal boots of the 1800s.
The Frequent Traveler is a slip-on style with elastic side gores for ease of entry. Often confused with a loafer, the slip-on is related more to the Oxford or Blucher in its construction. This is an excellent shoe for a man who doesn’t have time or the energy to tie his shoes
The Fast, DressFast, and Step Ahead are all made with California or Strobel construction. This construction creates a shoe that is flexible and lightweight. Strobel constructions require the upper material to be sewn to a fabric bottom, creating a “sock.” Almost all athletic shoes are made with a Strobel construction because it allows for absolute freedom of motion. That’s why we like it for some of our casual collections.
Italian made soles known for their quality—Vibram has an EVA-based rubber compound that allows for flexibility and lightness in shoes. The founder, Vitale Bramani, invented the soles after a tragedy in Italy made him aware of the need for soles that could stand up to adventures like mountaineering. Samuel Hubbard uses Vibram soles in many of our men’s shoes. Mt. Tam features the iconic Vibram Carrarmato lug sole. The new Snow Lodge 2.0 features a Gore-tex membrane and the Vibram Arctic Grip Sole, specifically designed to have incredible traction in wet and icy conditions.
The Tipping Point is also a Derby style shoe with the addition of wingtip panels and perforated patterning or “broguing.” Any style shoe can also be a “brogue,” once the broguing patterns have been applied. A modern brogue has its roots in a traditional shoe worn in Ireland and Scotland. They were worn outside in wet conditions and the holes in the perforations allowed water to drain from their brogues. Today broguing is a sophisticated decorative aspect of many dress shoes. Market Cap features a light, beautiful broguing as well.