Currently very popular, the Derby shoe is a timeless classic in any man’s wardrobe. Its smart, versatile design means it stands out from the crowd, making it a firm favourite for a whole host of occasions. 

The men’s Derby shoe: history and characteristics

Whilst smart lace-up ankle boots and Oxford shoes were all the rage in Europe, the first pairs of men’s Derby shoes emerged in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century. 

The history of the Derby shoe

The history of the Derby shoe goes back to the 19th century, when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom decided to make his Oxford shoes more comfortable by changing the lacing. The 14th Earl of Derby, Edward Smith-Stanley, asked his shoemaker to make an open-laced, low-cut shoe for him. A comfortable, well-fitting shoe that was easy to put on yet still smart. The very first Derby shoe was born. 

The brand was later to rework this model, making it a truly classic men’s shoe. Initially renowned for being comfortable workwear, Derby shoes have gradually become more popular for all kinds of occasions.

The main feature of the Derby shoe lies in its specific lacing style. With their open lacing system, Derby shoes adapt to fit the foot and are easy to put on. This makes them particularly comfortable for men, including those with wider feet. Their distinctive V-shaped construction at the front of the shoe makes them easily recognisable. 

Men’s Derby shoes come in a variety of styles, colours and materials, from the simplest to the most luxurious. This makes them a go-to style in any versatile wardrobe.

Paraboot men’s Derby shoes: rubber and stitched soles

Paraboot Derby shoes are extremely comfortable, made from the very best leathers with a distinctive character and personality. Available in both urban and sporty styles, they have cross-generational appeal.

The introduction of the Michael Derby shoe featuring its famous rubber sole saw Paraboot’s popularity begin to extend beyond French soil, spreading throughout Europe and the world. 

Rubber revolutionised Derby shoes by making them more comfortable and waterproof. The result was a more casual, confident style to tie in with the less conventional clothing fashions that were emerging in menswear. 

Steadfastly attached to age-old expertise and craftsmanship, the Richard-Pontvert family was determined to guarantee its shoes were sturdy and strong. This is why, despite the introduction of new manufacturing processes during the 1950s, the brand never turned its back on its age-old stitching techniques (Norwegian, Goodyear and Blake). 

It was convinced that these techniques could never be replaced, as they ensured that men’s Derby shoes were waterproof, sturdy and repairable. The visible stitching on these shoes have therefore become part of the brand’s DNA. 

The must-have Paraboot Derby shoe now symbolises French expertise, renowned all over the world for its timeless look and unrivalled quality. It continues to embody true shoemaking heritage,  passed down through the generations.

Paraboot men’s Derby shoes

Over the years, Paraboot men’s Derby shoes have become the leading name in the men’s footwear market. 

The Michael Derby shoe

The Michael men’s leather Derby shoe is an iconic model designed by the second generation of the Richard-Pontvert family.

It was launched in 1945, just after the Second World War. As rationing was still imposed, the product specifications needed to be fairly simple: two eyelets and shorter (yet strong) laces, thick leather with a piped seam for protection, strong stitching, and a thick and comfortable insole. The sole was made from natural rubber.

Both the men’s and women’s versions featured a Norwegian welt; Paraboot is the world leader in this assembly technique. This method of stitching guarantees the shoe is comfortable and hardwearing, as well as providing full protection from wet weather.

With embroidered flowers, denim fabric, raffia or more recently cowhide, the iconic Michael is constantly updated in unusual materials and colours.

Many prestigious brands have also collaborated with Paraboot to create their own version of the Michael shoe, such as Hermès, Yodji Yamamoto, Ermenegildo Zegna, Christophe Lemaire and Etudes, as well as international names such as United Arrows and Beams. 

This iconic shoe is still the benchmark in the world of fashion and footwear to this day, demonstrating Paraboot’s constant innovation and exceptional expertise.

The Chambord Derby shoe

Ever since its inception, Paraboot has been creating shoes to cater for its male clientèle. The Chambord Derby shoe is designed to be smart, sturdy and comfortable, with a golf toe.

 Named after one of the stunning Loire valley châteaux, this shoe boasts unusual 45° stitching on the apron. This technique is unique to Paraboot, giving it a truly remarkable finish. 

A versatile shoe in a timeless style that fits in with any man’s wardrobe. A Derby shoe to wear for work, at the weekend or for more formal occasions. 

The way the Chambord is assembled makes it suitable for even the narrowest of feet, meaning that the brand appeals to a wider audience. Now a leading style in the Derby shoe market, the Chambord is also available for women. 

The Avignon Derby shoe

Just as popular as ever, the Avignon Derby shoe is a Paraboot best-seller. Designed in a simple,  smart style, it features a split toe and bears the name of the fortified town in the south of France. 

Just like its namesake town, the Avignon men’s Derby shoe embodies the perfect balance between longevity, elegance and comfort. The interplay of materials and immaculate finishes mean that this timeless pair of shoes suits any style.

The  Avignon leather Derby shoes are now a Paraboot classic. Their versatility make them the ideal choice for anyone seeking a casual chic look.

The Avignon model is also available in a wide range of finishes and colours, meaning that connoisseurs are sure to find the perfect pair to match their personal style.

What’s more, the brand’s iconic rubber sole offers superior grip, ideal for walking in town or in the countryside. 

The entire Paraboot Derby shoe range

As well as these iconic models, Paraboot also offers other men’s Derby shoes in a wide variety of shapes and leathers.

Whether you’re hitting town or relaxing in the mountains, there’s a Paraboot style for you. Among others, check out the Arles, Azay, Clusaz, Frenaye, Rousseau and William models in our Paraboot stores or online. 

When and how should you wear a Derby shoe?

Derby shoes are versatile, lace-up shoes that can be worn on a whole host of occasions. These men’s dress shoes are easy to wear and also look great for smarter occasions.

The men’s Derby shoe: an everyday shoe

Striking a subtle balance between elegance and comfort, the style of this shoe makes it truly versatile and suitable for various everyday situations. Whether it’s for the office or at home, Derby shoes are a perfect addition to your wardrobe. 

Teamed with a suit or tailored trousers, they give you a refined, professional look. If it’s a more casual style you’re looking for, the suede or leather Derby shoes look great worn with jeans or chinos for a trip into town or drinks with friends.

Their open-laced design makes them flexible and easy to adjust, ideal for walking around town in comfort. A must-have in any man’s wardrobe: smart, timeless and practical shoes for everyday wear.

Derby shoes for formal occasions

Building on its success, the men’s Derby shoe continues to reinvent itself every year with new shapes and materials.  This classic shoe now boasts the most premium quality leathers

What’s more, with men’s fashions seeing a return to the use of premium, natural materials, the Derby shoe thoroughly deserves its status as the ultimate in men’s footwear. With menswear becoming more simple, understated and stylish, Derby shoes are now making their way into smarter formal occasions.

Their smart look, elegant shape and immaculate construction make them the perfect choice for special occasions such as weddings, receptions and gala dinners.

Derby shoes stand out from the crowd at such events with their refined look that adds understated style to an outfit. 

They can be teamed with a suit or tuxedo to create a smart, modern style. What’s more, their comfortable feel, breathability and precise adjustment make them an excellent choice for events where the wearer may spend long periods of time walking or dancing.

Derby shoes embody the very essence of classic style whilst offering true versatility for any kind of special occasion. 

Derby or Oxford shoes?

Often compared or confused, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between leather Derby and Oxford shoes.

Derby and Oxford shoes are two types of men’s dress shoes whose main difference is their lacing system.

Whilst Derby shoes have an open lacing system with a wide opening, Oxford shoes have a closed tongue for a refined look. 

Open lacing makes the shoe easier to put on and provides better comfort, especially for wider feet.

Historically worn as everyday shoes in a more rustic, simple style, they now boast premium leathers and refined shapes. Worn with trousers, jeans or chinos, they look great with any outfit. 

Oxford shoes have a closed tongue stitched underneath the vamp, creating a smarter appearance. Historically, they are the ultimate in smart leather shoes. Their understated look makes them perfect for any formal events such as gala dinners, weddings or other special occasions.

Made from shiny leather with perforated toe caps, they look great with suit trousers or smart outfits. 

Skilful stitching techniques  

Each pair of Paraboot shoes is the result of a meticulous manufacturing process using the best stitching techniques for each shape and model. 

This is the case for Paraboot’s Derby shoes which are produced using a whole host of stitching techniques tailored to their shape, demonstrating the brand’s skills.

Paraboot Derby shoes are therefore available with Norwegian and Goodyear stitching, depending on the model. 

Norwegian stitching

This iconic stitching technique guarantees exceptional durability, meaning that the shoes stand the test of time.

Paraboot is proud to be the world leader in Norwegian stitching.

With this method, the upper of the shoe is firmly attached to the sole using a welt, creating visible outer stitching that gives the shoes a distinctive style whilst guaranteeing they are fully waterproof and easy to repair.

Goodyear stitching 

This manufacturing method creates the same level of sturdiness as Norwegian stitching, but with a more refined look. Goodyear stitching connects the welt to the upper and insole. The welt is stitched on the reverse then turned out, making Goodyear stitching invisible.

As with Norwegian stitching, Paraboot has been skilled in the Goodyear stitching technique for over 110 years.

Just like Norwegian stitching, this hand-stitching technique guarantees the shoe is fully waterproof and easy to repair.

Advantages of the Derby shoe

Derby shoes have many advantages, making them a firm favourite. They are versatile and comfortable shoes, and make a great addition to any wardrobe. 

Their open-laced construction makes them more comfortable, flexible and easy to adjust, meaning they are suitable for a variety of foot shapes. It’s worth considering a Derby shoe style if you are looking for shoes with a good fit.

What’s more, Derby shoes are versatile as they can be worn with formal or casual outfits. Their classic, timeless style makes them a menswear classic

Finally, Paraboot’s Derby shoes are hand-made using stitching techniques that guarantee the shoes are long-lasting and easy to repair. Their open-lacing design also makes them easy to clean, thereby extending their lifespan. 

Men’s Derby shoes in a whole host of different materials and colours

Derby shoes are also ideal for anyone preferring a more confident look. From classic to unusual designs, Paraboot shoes are available in several different materials and colours. 

The different types of leathers used on Paraboot Derby shoes

Paraboot men’s Derby shoes come in a variety of leathers and colours. In smooth, grained, nubuck, patent or suede leather, there’s a style of Derby shoe to suit each and every customer. 

Each of these leathers has distinctive characteristics, from a smooth, shiny finish to a vintage, textured look, meaning that everyone can choose their favourite.

In terms of colours, Paraboot offers a varied palette including classic shades such as black, brown, burgundy and blue, as well as more unusual and contemporary options such as green, grey and beige, plus other seasonal tones.

Paraboot Derby shoes strike the perfect balance between traditional craftsmanship and modern design, making the brand a firm favourite with footwear fans around the world.

New materials for men’s Derby shoes

Always keen to be creative and innovative, Paraboot hones its manufacturing methods each season with the addition of new materials. 

There are now natural materials such as raffia, wool or even animal hair on the insets or aprons of the Paraboot Derby shoes. Rarely found on leather shoes, these materials add distinctive character and style.

In a similar vein, keen to look to the future and offer breathable, lightweight and/or recyclable materials, the design team now offers more and more men’s Derby shoes made from innovative materials such as VentileⓇ  fabric. 

Looking after your Derby shoes

Like all leather shoes, regular cleaning extends the lifespan of your Derby shoes and helps retain their shine

Clean your shoes regularly 

Using an appropriate cleaning method is important to restore the breathability of the leather and remove any build-up of shoe polish or dust. Start by gently brushing the leather using a scraper brush, then wipe with a slightly damp sponge. Allow the leather to dry naturally.

To remove any previous layers of shoe polish, use either a leather cleansing cream or renovating cream. Apply this product to all parts of the leather on the shoe, including the upper, welt and edge of the leather sole, rubbing gently and evenly.

Cleaning and polishing 

Regularly applying shoe polish will help retain the shine on your Derby shoes. Use shoe polish or shoe cream in a colour that matches your shoes, ensuring you choose a high-quality product that will restore their original shine.

Having applied the shoe polish, use a shoe cleaning brush to meticulously polish your shoes. This step will add shine to the leather and give them an impeccable look.

Protecting your shoes from water and stains

To protect your shoes from water and stains, we recommend using a high-quality waterproofing product. Gently spray it onto your shoes, then leave to dry naturally.

If you have worn your shoes in the rain, ensure they air-dry naturally before putting them away.

As a general rule, each time you wear your shoes, put them on a shoe tree to maintain their shape and leave them to dry at room temperature.

The Derby shoe is an absolute classic in any man’s wardrobe. Perfect for any occasion, it is a versatile and comfortable shoe that goes with any outfit in a man’s wardrobe.

With iconic, timeless models such as the Michael, Chambord and Avignon, the brand has a long history of championing the famous Derby shape. Choosing a pair of Paraboot Derby shoes means you are perpetuating the tradition of favouring simple, elegant styling that showcases the brand’s French expertise