Shoes for the brave. Discover the various types of two-tone shoes and how to wear these wardrobe essentials for different occasions.
Why have one tone when you can have two? It’s understandable to play it safe and opt for a neutral look with a singular shoe colour, but if you’re thinking about catching the eye, maybe it’s time you gave a pair of two-tone shoes a try.
While they might be a bolder choice, flamboyance is for the brave. Read on to learn how you can style them with ease.
What are two-toned shoes?
Two-tone shoes have two colours, which are often contrasting. While sporting many names and styles over the years, you might have heard of two-tone shoes called “spectacular shoes”, “bicolour”, or the standard “two-tone”.
Believed to be designed originally for cricket players by English cobbler John Lobb in 1868, the sporting shoe transformed into the spectacular and rose to fame in the 1920s with movie stars, jazz musicians, and members of the aristocracy embracing the bicolour statement for footwear.
Types of two-toned shoes
Since the 1920s, two-toned shoes have fluctuated in and out of the men’s fashion world. But they have always remained a striking symbol of charisma, whatever the style or dual colour combination on display.
From Coco Channel in 1957 to Michael Jackson in the 1980s, various versions of two-toned shoes have dazzled our screens and magazines over the last century.
Perforated two-tone shoes were particularly fashionable during the 1930s and are closely associated with the brogue due to the perforated style and design.
Decorated perforations or “Broguing” are what make a brogue a brogue. This added detailing contributes to the overall style and craft while helping to blend the two tones of a bicolour shoe together.
Due to their rural history, brogues have a strong relationship with country life and resemble a perfect pair of shoes for a village wedding or countryside fare.
Two-tone wingtip shoes are distinguished by a ‘W’ shaped overlay of leather on the toe. This essential feature of wingtip footwear makes it a classic for two-toned shoes by contrasting the wing colour with the centre and other elements.
Notoriously, wingtips were made their most famous as a black and white shoe, associated with the gangsters and movie stars during the 1930s.
Wingtips are a bulkier shoe, especially at the toe, due to the extra leather padding. So, if boldness is on your agenda, a pair of two-tone wingtips will certainly separate you from the crowd.
Two-tone Oxfords was the style of choice during the 1920s. The closed lacing and eyelets beneath the vamp distinguish this footwear from brogues and wingtips.
Many gents also incorporated the two-tone Oxford style into their everyday appearance as it continued to gain popularity over the decades.
How to wear two-tone shoes
There is a fine line between bravery and foolishness when it comes to style. Here’s a simple two-tone shoe guide to ensure you avoid the latter.
Two-tone tuxedo shoes
A pair of black and white shoes are an ideal way to emphasise the black and white of your tuxedo. While all the other gents at the black-tie event opt for a neutral black, you can stand out with something more spectacular.
For a black and white shoe to sport your tuxedo, we suggest our ‘Jeeves Oxford’. These show-stopping shoes are the ultimate dapper footwear for elegant events that might at any point break out into a dazzling swing dance.
Two-tone brown brogues
Two-tone brogues provide a perfect gateway between smart and casual attire.
For instance, a pair of two-toned brown brogues would fit the bill for a smart-casual scenario, contributing well beneath some navy trousers and a white shirt outside a claret jumper.
Two-tone dress shoes
Do you want to look smart without opting for the formality of a tuxedo? Perhaps something to blend in with a silver or navy suit? Percy Stride’s ‘The Doctor Oxford’ provide the perfect match.
The bicolour of midnight blue hi-shine and blue calf leather with a cream brown leather sole makes these two-toned dress shoes a sublime option for “dress up” occasions or even “city slicking” office working.
Spectacular two-tone shoes
Spectacular by name, spectacular by nature. If you really want to make a statement, even bolder than black and white, what other colour strikes more action and passion to the heart than red?
Percy Stride offers the ‘Arthur Oxford’, a two-tone dress shoe designed to get everyone talking. Wearing such flamboyant footwear will no doubt mark the man as brimming with confidence and vibrant with flare.
However, matching these rare red two-tone beauties is no easy thing. So much so, that we decided to dedicate an entire blog to it. For the short version, we recommend dark blue jeans and blue/white chequered shirts for casual occasions. Even a bomber jacket is known to blend the bulky with the brilliant.
For formality, match our Arthur Oxford's with a black suit. Why not go for gold with a matching red tie to raise the energy levels and bring a bit of heat to the party!
When to wear two-tone shoes?
Two-tone shoes are not just for formal occasions. Any outfit can be elevated with the right type of two-tone shoes. And at Percy stride, we have a sublime selection for sale.
Be bold from head to toe by putting your best foot forward in a pair of two-toned shoes. Subscribe to our newsletter below for more men’s fashion tips and footwear guides.