When it comes to Kilt Outfits the shoes are quite often the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. As eyes are immediately drawn to either the bright tartan Kilt, flashy Sporran and sometimes even the classy Prince Charlie or Argyle kilt jacket, the shoes can sometimes be forgotten about and left to the last minute. This should not be the case with a good pair of Brogues however, as these shoes are integral to giving the Kilt Outfit it's graceful finishing touch whilst also adding an extra element of style.
The Brogues first originated in Scotland and Ireland way back in the early 12th century with the word "brogue" coming from the Gaelic word for shoe - "bróg". then brogues were originally meant for outdoor/country walking and were not suitable to wear to parties or for more formal occasions. Ironically these days Brogues are worn for the complete opposite reasons and are rarely seen during countryside walking! They were originally designed with holes in the front of the shoes so that water could be drained after crossing boggy, wet marshes and swamps. The holes have remained during modern times but are now used for a more decorative purpose. This most likely comes from the Scottish word "Brogue" which refers to the piercing of small holes with some form of sharp tool.
- Brogues were originally designed for outdoor use and walking in the countryside but are now used for much more formal occasions.
There are many different styles of Brogues available these days. The most famous of these of course is the Ghillie Brogue. The Ghillie Brogue differs slightly from other types of brogue as it has no tongue which allows the shoes to dry much more easily and also features long laces that are wrapped around the wearers ankle and tied just below the calf. The reason the laces are tied this high is to prevent them from becoming caked in mud and dirt like the laces for most other shoes. Although they have many functional design choices Ghillie Brogues are primarily worn at functional events such as Ceilidhs and Scottish weddings. They are a staple of the Scottish Kilt outfit and are the main type of brogue we sell here at The Scotland Kilt Company.
- Ghillie Brogues feature decorative holes on the toe cap and also don't have a tongue to allow for easier drying.
Another type of Brogue that we sell are the "Full Brogues" or as they are sometimes known, "Day Brogues". In the United States these types of Brogues are referred to as "Wingtips" due to the "W" shaped Toe Cap style that is visible when viewing the shoes from above. The Full Brogues feature a different decorative pattern on the toe cap than the Ghillie Brogues which just have many visible dots in no real sequence. When Brogues feature a wing shaped Toe Cap but have no real decorative pattern they are know as "Austerity Brogues", possible due to their cheaper price, and when they have a decorative pattern but no wing shaped toe cap they are know more simply as "Blind Brogues". Unlike the Ghillie Brogues the Full Brogues have a tongue for added comfort.
- Day Brogues also known as Full Brogues, feature a W shaped Toe Cap and decorative pattern on the Toe Cap as well as a tongue.
Other types of Brogues include the "Half Brogue" which features a straight line designed toe cap with stylish decorations and a "Quarter Brogue" which features decorations on the outside of the cap but is plain in the centre. The Quarter Brogue is perhaps the most formal of all Brogues and is most commonly used with business suits for meetings and similarly formal events. The final type of Brogue is the "Longwing Brogue" which, as it is of American origin is known as the "American Brogue" here in the UK. The Longwing Brogue features a pointed toe cap but does not feature a heel cap. This gives them a more sports-like look and feel and they are better suited for exercises such as jogging and running compared to the other types of available Brogues. These types of Brogue were very popular in the 1970's but have unfortunately decreased in popularity since then.
Brogues are very commonly mistaken for "Oxfords" and vice-versa. Although there are definitely many differences between the two it can certainly become quite a confusing subject as technically an Oxford can be a Brogue shoe and a Brogue can also be an Oxford. For a shoe to be referred to as an Oxford it must have a closed lacing system to keep the laces hidden away and to give the shoe a clean and classy look. This type of lacing system is very uncommon with Brogue shoes but it does happen every now and then. Meanwhile Brogue shoes as we know feature "broguing", also known as the many visible small holes on the toe cap of the shoe. Again these can also be found on an Oxford shoe but it is quite uncommon. Oxfords tend to be the more formal of the two shoes but they are sometimes seen with more casual dress and this also applies with Brogues which are being used at much more formal events than they have been in the past.
- Although they are very similar, there are a few differences between Brogues and Oxfords including a closed lacing system and "broguing".