Different Ways to Style Your Oxblood Shoes
October 02, 2023

Different Ways to Style Your Oxblood Shoes

The use of oxblood to dye leather goods dates back to the 17th century; and yes, literal oxblood was used to produce the pigments back then. After the leather had been dyed the blood would, over time, oxidise and darken into a deeper shade of reddish brown that would in turn develop a purplish undertone; the result was an interesting, eye-catching colour that was at once regal and bright. 

Obviously, these days we do not use actual oxblood to achieve the same colour, but the results achieved from modern alternatives are just as bright and interesting. Oxblood is an unorthodox, unique colour choice for a leather shoe tone that can, with the right wardrobe matches, be just as indispensable to a weekly workwear rotation or for a dressed down weekend getaway as any other ‘orthodox’ or ‘normal’ shoe colour out there.

Why wear oxblood? 

While walnut, chestnut and black tones are the more common and “safe” options, there is a time and place for the oxblood shoe. Nevertheless, it is unmistakably a loud colour and can often be the first thing that catches someone’s eye in an outfit; for this reason, the oxblood shoe needs to be carefully matched with the right colour combination. 

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At the same time, this is precisely the advantage of the oxblood colour. If you want to stand out, announce your individuality, or add a bit of adventurousness and risk-taking to your day-to-day appearance, the oxblood shoe is one way to do it while still maintaining a sense of elegance and taste. The oxblood colour is sporty, emotive, intense and more vivid than muted tones like walnut or chestnut. Nevertheless, in spite of its bold, expressive quality it remains classy and refined. 

How to pull it off?

There are quite a few options to pair your oxbloods with. In spite of their exoticism they’re actually a surprisingly versatile pair of shoes.

Light Grey or Tan

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For a more formal look which goes well with a pair of oxblood oxfords or derbys, consider suit colours like light grey or tan. You can then opt for a white colour shirt or even something like teal which goes well with the reddish shade of the oxblood.

Navy Blue


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A bolder option might be navy blue to go with your oxblood monk straps or oxfords; while not for everyone and certainly on the bolder side, it can also make for a rather memorable appearance. Definitely pair your oxblood shoes with a red tie to complete the look.

Cream Chinos

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For a dressed down look, pick up a pair of oxblood loafers or moccasins and pair them with cream chinos for a smart and refined weekend look. Complement those with a smart summer jacket or even something a little more sophisticated. 

Blue or White Denim

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For another dressed down option, consider a pair of oxblood boots, chelseas or derbys to go with your preferred pair of jeans, blue or white. 


All in all, while the oxblood colour can seem like a challenging or difficult one to pull off, it actually is quite versatile and can be quite a powerful addition to one’s existing collection of leather shoes alongside staples like walnut and black. While the more common colours might give off a relatively more reserved and neutral appearance, the oxblood colour will allow your outfit to leave a more solid and robust impression.