If you stand a brogue shoe up on its toe, the embossed cap traces out a pattern like the letter W, or a set of wings. In many such shoes, the wings taper off to meet the midsole. This is the sort favoured by city gents or weekend amateurs. But for brogue aficionados, the only acceptable design is when the wings stretch right back to meet at the back of the heel. This is known as the longwing, or the American brogue, although confusingly, the Americans call it the English brogue. Anyway, the style rocks, and has been loved by jazzers, savvy entrepreneurs and teenage moonstompers alike.
The daddy of this shoe was the Florsheim Imperial Shell Full Brogue Derby, a classic of its day. The show was made of cordovan, horse hide with a signature look when it started to wear in. Today's equivalent is the Alden Longwing Blucher, available in one of Belfast's upmarket menswear shops. Talk to your bank manager and see if you can prise upwards of £500 for the pleasure. Assuming that funds are challenged, there are alternatives like the Allen Edmonds McNeil or the Loake Royal. The latter has been revived from the Seventies design and is a shiny invitation to get on the good foot.
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