A Definitive Guide to Wholecuts
May 12, 2023

A Definitive Guide to Wholecuts

What is a Wholecut Shoe?

A Wholecut shoe is more than a dressy formal shoe. It is an elegant and versatile shoe solution boasting the highest quality craftsmanship. The combination of its 3 characteristic features makes the Wholecut shoe stand out as a cut above the rest. 


The 3 Characteristic Features

Firstly, it is the closed lacing system, a style that is visibly more formal and classic than other alternatives (i.e. Derbys, where the throat opens out)


Lacing system comparison between Oxford (Closed) and Derbys (Open)

Side-by-side comparison of Wholecut Oxfords (left) and Derby Shoes (right)

Secondly, what makes the shoe ‘Wholecut’ is that the shoe is made from a single cut of leather. Unlike other shoes that encompass around six to eight different pieces of leather stitched together, the Wholecut achieves a seamless look that is subtle, minimalistic and elegant.


Yet, this creates an added challenge to the shoe-making process. Since hides of leather are natural materials, the occasional blemish, growth marks and scratches are hard to avoid. Without the ability to sew together different cuts of leather strategically to hide imperfections, Wholecuts naturally require leather of higher quality.

 Leather making


Lastly, the Wholecut also boasts a Chisel Toe, a sharper elongated look that resembles a chisel. A chisel toe helps draw clean lines that accentuate the Wholecut’s seamless look. 


chisel toe


Variations of the Wholecut

Finer differentiation of the Wholecut involves the method of connecting the upper to the sole. The methods range from the Goodyear Welt, Blake Stitch and Cemented Construction. To briefly explain, the Goodyear Welt involves two-layered stitching which boosts its support and water resistance; the Blake Stitch is a simpler construction whereby the shoe’s upper is sewn directly to the sole; and lastly, the Cemented Construction where the shoe’s upper is simply glued to the sole.


When & How Should You Wear Wholecut Shoes?




Leather Wholecut shoes are perfect for formal or semi-formal occasions when wearing a suit or jacket is required. From there, the specific occasion will guide the selection of the colour and the material of the Wholecut shoe.


Male Formal and Informal Outfit
A Breakdown of the typical Formal and Semi-formal Male Outfits


In more casual settings, the elegant leather Wholecut shoes will look out of place. Still, this doesn’t mean that Wholecuts cannot be worn casually! This is where Suede Wholecuts come in – These types of Wholecuts are more suited to casual outfits and can be paired with trousers and denim pants. 


Light Brown Suede Wholecuts  
 Light Brown Suede Wholecuts – Image credit @ SVED



The most commonly worn Wholecut is in Black. Its attraction lies in its simplicity, providing a hassle-free shoe solution that matches all types of suits donned for work, formal black tie events, or special occasions (e.g. Weddings).

Black Wholecuts
 Black Wholecuts – Image credit @ Pinterest

Recently, brown Wholecuts have emerged as an attractive alternative to the traditional black option. Regardless of whether you opt for a darker or lighter shade, brown Wholecuts provide a fashionable alternative when dressing in suits for formal and semi-formal events. They have also been proven to pair well with jeans for a more casual look.

Brown Wholecuts

Brown Wholecuts – Image credit @ Pinterest

Other than the two most common colours, opting for unique colors like navy blue can also dramatically refresh your wardrobe.

Navy Wholecut Shoes

Navy Wholecuts – Image credit @ Pinterest


Who can wear Wholecut Shoes? 

After discussing all the benefits Wholecut shoes have to offer, a word of caution is still needed for those seriously considering the Wholecut as a purchase. The Wholecut shoe, like Oxfords, fit best for those with a standard-width foot, with a typical instep and arch. 


This means that Wholecuts (and Oxfords in general) are not recommended for those with slightly wider feet or higher instep. Also, men with a high foot arch tend to find Wholecuts tight, especially across the bridge of the foot.

Armed with your newfound knowledge, you’ll certainly better appreciate why Wholecut Oxfords remain the premier choice for male dressing! If you are in the market for an elegant dress shoe that works perfectly with suits, a business professional dress code or formal evening wear, the Wholecut is for you.


Recommended: Oxford Shoes - Arden Teal  

black and oxblood wholecut shoes

            Carlota Wholecut Black Oxford                                                                 Carlota Wholecut Oxblood Oxford

Chestnut and Walnut Wholecuts

            Carlota Wholecut Chestnut Oxford                                                                 Carlota Wholecut Walnut Oxford